Cigarette Smoking: The Side Effects of Nicotine

Smoking cigarettes and the destructiveness of nicotine’s side effects are not really helpful, on a personal level, unless they teach us how to stop smoking cigarettes. When I drank I smoked like a chimney. Nearly all the other drunks I knew smoked too. So I thought I would put something on the blog about it. To answer the question, why is smoking bad.  The personal stuff is from my experience. The facts are from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

risks from smoking cigarettes

Nicotine Addiction Facts:

  • Nicotine is the psychoactive drug in tobacco products that produces dependence. Most smokers are dependent on nicotine.
  • Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.
  • Quitting smoking is difficult and may require multiple attempts. Users often relapse because of stress, weight gain, and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Examples of nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite.

“Side Effects” Of Quitting Smoking:

  • Smoking cessation lowers the risk for lung and other types of cancer.
  • Smoking cessation reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Coronary heart disease risk is substantially reduced within 1 to 2 years of cessation.
  • Smoking cessation reduces respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking.
  • Smoking cessation reduces the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
  • Smoking cessation by women during their reproductive years reduces the risk for infertility. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

Giving up Nicotine:

Among current U.S. adult smokers, 68.8% report that they want to quit completely, and millions have attempted to quit smoking. Starting in 2002, the number of former smokers has exceeded the number of current smokers.

Percentage of adult smokers who stopped smoking for more than 1 day in 2010 because they were trying to quit:

  • 52.4% of all adult smokers (23.7 million people)
  • 62.4% of smokers aged 18–24 years
  • 56.9% of smokers aged 25–44 years
  • 45.5% of smokers aged 45–64 years
  • 43.5% of smokers aged 65 years or older

How To Stop Smoking Cigarettes:

The majority of cigarette smokers quit without using evidence-based cessation treatments. However, the following treatments are proven effective for smokers who want help to quit:

  • Brief clinical interventions (i.e., when a doctor takes 10 minutes or less to deliver advice and assistance about quitting)
  • Counseling (e.g., individual, group, or telephone counseling)
  • Behavioral cessation therapies (e.g., training in problem solving)
  • Treatments with more person-to-person contact and intensity (e.g., more time with counselors)

Cessation medications found to be effective for treating tobacco dependence include the following

:Nicotine replacement products

    • Over-the-counter (e.g., nicotine patch, gum, lozenge)
    • Prescription (e.g., nicotine inhaler, nasal spray)
  • Prescription non-nicotine medications, such as bupropion SR (Zyban®) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix®).

The combination of medication and counseling is more effective for smoking cessation than either medication or counseling alone. Here is a government website to help you explore methods for quitting smoking. Explore Quit Methods.

cigarette butts

How can the above Nicotine Addiction Facts help you. You can share them with your family. This could help them understand what you are going through and possible get them to cut you a little slack. Maybe share this information with you work colleagues or whomever else has to be around you. Not everyone turns into a dick when they quit smoking but many people do.

Here is an illustration (Thanks Wikimedia) on the side effects of nicotine on your body.

side effects of nicotine

Here are some of the more terrifying effects of cigarette smoking. They are excerpts from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) webpage on their new public service announcements. I have already seen a few of them on cable TV. Anyway the page has the videos of the clips and the text excerpts are below. Link to original article CDC Features

Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Your Teeth and Gums

You are twice as likely to have gum disease than a nonsmoker. The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease. The longer you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.

Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Your Pregnancy and Baby

Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems in a mother and her baby. A baby may to be born too early, have a birth defect, or die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Even being around cigarette smoke can cause health problems for a mother and baby.

Effects of Cigarette Smoking for People with HIV

You’re more likely to develop the harmful consequences of smoking than people without HIV. These illnesses include cancer, heart disease, or stroke.You’re more likely to develop HIV-related infections than a nonsmoker with HIV. These illnesses include thrush (a mouth infection) and Pneumocystis pneumonia, a dangerous lung infection.

Stopping the Effects of Cigarette Smoking –
Stopping the Side Effects of Nicotine

1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)

Link to original article CDC Features

 How long does it take to quit smoking?

I stopped once for about 9 months and went back. I quit smoking again for about 4 years and relapsed for a year or two. I quit again and it has been 5 years this time. There is no easy way to quit smoking.  I went with the “quit smoking naturally” plan.  So far it seems to be working this time around.  Of course I quit drinking before I stopped smoking this last time so I am pretty sure I am done for life.  But who knows?  There is no stop smoking timeline.  You just go until you get it done.

What Happens To Your Body When You Quit Smoking?

The biggest thing I noticed was I stopped running out of breath for no reason. I could job across the parking lot without panting like a dog.  The inability to do normal exertions was troubling  me more than the side effects of nicotine.  After quitting smoking for a few months everyone I know who has “kicked” feels better.

Other Reasons To Stop Smoking:

  • not needing to make sure I have my cigarettes with me before leaving the house
  • I especially enjoy not needing to fit in smoking before I go into a store to shop (I always wanted to be sure I had my “fix” before I got stuck somewhere I would not be allowed to smoke)
  • I found out I can drive my car without firing up a cigarette
  • I also don’t have to run to the smoking area during my breaks at work
  • I don’t have to cop up cash to buy cigarettes so I can choke them down.

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