Newfoundland and Labrador Smokers’ Helpline
8 common myths about tobacco use.
Most smokers know that smoking isn’t good for their health. But when it comes time to change our behaviours, our human mind is quick to come up with reasons to maintain the status quo. In order to feel better about smoking, many smokers will justify or rationalize their behaviour. Don’t worry, this is quite normal and common with any addiction.
By knowing that your mind is going to try and resist change, you can prepare in advance and be ready for it when it happens. If you need help, call the Smokers’ Helpline and we’ll show you how: 1-800-363-5864
Here are a few of the most common rationalizations smokers use to continue smoking.
While it’s great that you exercise and eat well, these healthy activities aren’t going to undo the negative effects of smoking.There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and 50 of them are known to cause cancer. But cancer isn’t the only thing you have to worry about; smoking affects almost every part of the body.
You may not know this but smoking is the leading cause of premature death and illness in Newfoundland and Labrador. Studies show that one-half of regular smokers will die from smoking-related illness and one-half of those deaths occur prematurely in middle age from ages 35-65.
To learn more about the negative effects of smoking, read 25 health risks of smoking.
Now for good news: your body will begin to recover from the negative effects of smoking as soon as 20 minutes after you quit smoking. You can read more about the health benefits of quitting here.
It is never too late to quit! There are amazing benefits to quitting at any age, even after decades of smoking. A breakthrough study conducted in January 2013 revealed that those who quit between the ages of 25 and 34 will gain about 10 years of life over those who continue to smoke; those who quit between ages 35 and 44 gain about 9 years; those who quit between ages 45 and 54 gain about 6 years; and those who quit between ages 55 and 64 gain about 4 years. Think about it—what would you do with those extra years?Your body begins to recover from the effects of smoking as soon as twenty minutes after your last cigarette! After just 24 hours smoke free, your chance of a heart attack begins to decrease. Over the first few months, circulation improves; coughing, congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath decrease; walking becomes easier; and your overall energy level increases. Not only that, the health benefits will keep on coming as your body continues to heal over time!
While it’s true that quitting can be stressful, there’s no evidence that the stress will have any long-term negative effects on your health. This, however, is not the case if you continue to smoke; scientific evidence clearly shows that smoking is bad for your health.Another reason you may feel stressed is that the physical withdrawal symptoms from nicotine are often misinterpreted as stress. But, like stress, these symptoms are temporary, and normally last about a week to month.
Most likely, you’ll find yourself feeling better after you quit. People who quit often start taking better care of themselves, eating healthier meals and exercising. They may also feel less guilty since they aren’t spending money on cigarettes.
Remember, in the long run you’ll feel so much healthier and stronger that this short duration of discomfort will be long forgotten. Research clearly indicates that quitting smoking is the very best thing you can do for your health.
In some cases, people may gain a little weight when they stop smoking (usually about 5 pounds). This is due to the slowing down of their metabolism as they return to a state of well-being.This small weight gain is in no way near as damaging to your health as smoking, if at all. You’d have to gain 80 or 90 pounds to do as much damage to your health as smoking one pack of cigarettes a day!
So don’t worry about gaining weight. The excess weight isn’t harmful and will usually disappear after the body adjusts to the way it was before you started smoking. You will be way more ahead healthwise if you quit smoking.
One of the main reasons others may be encouraging you to quit smoking is because they care about you and don’t want you to get sick. If you were to develop one of the serious illnesses that are linked to smoking then this would certainly impact your family, friends and others who are close to you. Another concern is secondhand smoke. If you smoke around others (in a vehicle, inside your home or even when near others outside), then they may be exposed to all of the same harmful toxins that you are exposed to when you smoke cigarettes.
Secondhand smoke causes illness as well. Even if you’re not ready to quit smoking right away, it’s a good idea to make your home and car smoke free to protect others from the toxic cigarette smoke.
It’s definitely worth it to try again. Relapse is common and is part of the process of quitting. It often takes several tries before a person quits for good.Each time you try, you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Just adjust your plan and try again. For example, if you tried quitting cold turkey, you may want to try using a nicotine replacement therapy.
If you tried a smoking cessation medication in the past without success, don’t rule it out just yet. Perhaps you weren’t quite ready at that time, but are ready now. Give it another try.
Over the years, thousands of scientific studies have been conducted all over the world and it’s been well established that smoking increases the risk of certain illnesses, including certain types of cancer. It’s not possible to know who will develop an illness, or which illness they will develop; we simply know that your chances are greater than if you didn’t smoke at all.While it’s possible that you may continue to smoke and not develop any smoking-related illness, why take that chance?
Smoking is the leading cause of premature death and illness in Newfoundland and Labrador. You don’t want to wait until your doctor advises you that you are possibly in the beginning stages of one of these illnesses. The time to make a change is now, and there are plenty of options available to help you quit and stay smoke free.
Nicotine replacement therapy products are safe when used properly. Using of one of these aids to help you quit is always much safer than continuing to smoke.When you smoke a cigarette, you are inhaling not only nicotine, but over 4,000 other chemicals—over 50 of which are known to cause cancer. With a nicotine replacement product, you are receiving a safe, controlled dose of nicotine only.
Also, in general, these products are used for a maximum of three months. After that, you’ll be completely smoke and nicotine free.
So, there’s no reason to be afraid of nicotine replacement therapy. It really does help people quit.