Smoking Addiction – What is it?
Smoking addiction begins when one of the following habits is formed:
- nicotine dependence occurs through smoking cigarettes
- drug addiction occurs through substances like cannabis (marijuana), cocaine, and heroine.
Scientific research has shown that most young smokers were influenced to begin the habit by observing their friends or older siblings smoke. A teen’s susceptibility to peer-pressure is also affected by his parents’ approval or disapproval of smoking. Likewise, advertising may reinforce the smoking habit. Media marketing techniques can create the impression that smoking is a socially acceptable norm.
Smokers quickly become addicted to the nicotine in tobacco. A MORI survey indicates that teenagers have similar levels of nicotine dependence as adults. One third of smokers light up their first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking. One in twelve light up within the first 5 minutes. Over half said they would have difficulty going without smoking for a week, while 72% thought they would have difficulty giving up altogether.
Young people who try to stop smoking, especially during the early stages, experience similar withdrawal symptoms as adult smokers. Read one man’s story of how he quit.
Smoking Addiction - Health Effects
Health effects from a smoking addiction are numerous and begin once an individual smokes his first cigarette. Beginner smokers are two to six times more likely to suffer from health effects such as coughs, increased phlegm, wheezing, and shortness of breath than non-smokers.
The earlier teenagers become smokers, the greater the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema (abnormal dilation of air spaces in the lung). Other health effects experienced by adult smokers include accelerated osteoporosis, earlier menopause, and impaired reproductive capacity.
If a pregnant woman smokes, her baby’s brain development and birth weight is affected. The baby would also have a higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), hyperactivity, and behavioral problems. Chronic respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma are significantly more common in infants and children who have one or two smoking parents.
Children with parents who both smoke receive a nicotine equivalent of smoking 80 cigarettes a year; this quota is based on continine levels (a standard nicotine test) in the saliva of these children. A child’s health is acutely affected by passive smoking.
Smoking Addiction – Stopping
The consequences of a smoking addiction -- from the health affects to the hardships on a smoker’s loved ones -- are strong reasons to quit. From the first moment a smoker rejects a cigarette, health benefits accrue. The question is this: how does one conquer a smoking addiction? If an addicted smoker quits cold turkey, he or she may experience powerful withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are physical and mental changes following interruption or termination of drug use. When a drug that the body has grown accustomed to is no longer ingested, the body enters a period of re-adjustment. If an addicted smoker is unaware of this re-adjustment time, he or she will have a harder time overcoming the addiction. Therefore, an addicted smoker should not attempt to quit in ignorance. He must know what to expect.
Many people experience symptoms like irritability, aggression, depressions, restlessness, poor concentration, increased appetite, light-headedness, waking at night, and cravings. These symptoms generally last between 2 and 4 weeks, but an increased appetite continues for several weeks.
A well-thought plan to overcome a smoking addiction is vital for success. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Nicotine replacement therapy methods such as chewing gum, skin patches, tablets, nasal sprays, or inhalers ease withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and mood changes. Studies show that these methods can almost double the chances of breaking a smoking addiction.
- Bupropion (tradename Zyban), which does not contain nicotine, can help an addicted smoker resist the urge to smoke.
- Accountability lends support. Do not try conquering your smoking addiction on your own.
- Pinpoint habits or locations that are associated with smoking and change the routine.
- Keep an accessible list of reasons for freedom from a smoking addiction which can be read when tempted to restart.
- Don’t give up. Full victory may come after a relapse. Try again, bearing in mind what might have triggered the setback.
- Remember, God can help.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions