HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide
Section III–Lifestyle Issues
Don’t Use Tobacco Products
Benefits of Quitting
Smoking is our nation’s #1 preventable cause of illness and premature death. Over 400,000 people in the U.S. die each year from the effects of smoking.
Because you are young, you may not be concerned about this or the long-term consequences of smoking cigarettes or cigars. You may not worry about getting lung cancer, emphysema, and/or heart disease, because if one or more of these occur, it will be 30 to 40 years down the road. These illnesses may not motivate you to quit, but they should! Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your health! If health benefits don’t make you want to quit smoking, focus on the immediate benefits of quitting, such as:
Below are 6 common reasons smokers use to explain why they smoke and why their reasons are incorrect.
The High Cost of Cigarettes
The boxes below show the minimum amount you can save if you quit smoking now. The figures are based on an average cost of $4.00 per pack. The totals don’t include the interest you would earn if you put this money in the bank.
Snuff Out Smokeless Tobacco
Regardless of whether you smoke it, chew it, or just place it between your cheek and gums, all forms of tobacco are hazardous to your health. “Snuff”and chewing tobacco were once considered safe alternatives to cigarettes. They’re not. If you use smokeless tobacco, you absorb nicotine through the mucous membrane of your mouth. Nicotine absorbed in this way is no less addictive than nicotine inhaled from cigarettes or cigars. If you use smokeless tobacco, you run a high risk of: Cancers of the mouth, esophagus, larynx, and stomach; a precancerous condition called leukoplakia (a whitish, wrinkling of the mouth lining); heart disease; gum disease; and tooth decay.
The best way to avoid these risks, of course, is to never use smokeless tobacco. But if you already use it, here are some suggestions to help you give it up:
Medications That Can Help
Some tobacco users who are addicted to nicotine find it easier to quit smoking using nicotine reduction therapy. This includes using a nicotine patch (e.g., Nicoderm, Nicotrol), a nicotine gum (e.g., Nicorette), or nicotine lozenges (e.g., Commit). These little doses of nicotine let them reduce their nicotine cravings and wean themselves from cigarettes with less anxiety and irritability. The patch, gum, and lozenges are available over-the-counter. A nicotine nasal spray (e.g., Nicotrol NS) and a nicotine inhaler (e.g., Nicotrol) are available by prescription.
Another prescribed medication (Zyban) does not contain nicotine, but alters brain chemistry to help reduce cigarette cravings.
Also, studies have shown that combining a stop smoking medication with behavior modification greatly increases your chances for success. For a step-by-step guide to quit smoking:
For More Information, Contact:
American Lung Association
The Virtual Office of the Surgeon General
©2005, 6th edition. American Institute for Preventive Medicine All rights reserved.
March 21, 2007