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Smoking Your Choice


Reference Summary

Introduction
Smoking is a major public health problem. More than 400,000 deaths per year in the
United States are due to smoking. These deaths are a result of cancers, breathing
problems, strokes, and many other smoke-related health problems.
The percentage of adult Americans who smoke is about 1/2 of what it was 40 years
ago. More and more people are deciding not to smoke and 40 million people have
already quit smoking successfully.
This reference summary will help you understand your choices when faced with
smoking.
Why Some People Smoke?
Most people start smoking between the ages of 10 and 18. Peer
pressure and curiosity are the major influences that persuade
teenagers to try smoking.
Smoking alters the mood by making the smoker feel alert then
relaxed. A substance called nicotine causes these feelings.
In large doses, nicotine is a poison that will kill a person.
Cigarettes contain small enough doses of nicotine so that
smokers do not die, but feel a relaxing sensation that makes
them want more.
Nicotine is very addictive. A substance is addictive when:
People who use it want to use it again. This is known as redosing.
Over time, larger amounts are needed to satisfy the user.
The user experiences very unpleasant symptoms when trying to stop the habit.
Dosage
Nicotine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream; within 30 seconds of entering the
body, it reaches the brain. It causes the brain to release certain chemicals that make a

This document is a summary of what appears on screen in X-Plain. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice
of a doctor or healthcare professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. Like any printed material, it may become out of date over
time. It is important that you rely on the advice of a doctor or a healthcare professional for your specific condition.

1995-2008, The Patient Education Institute, Inc. www.X-Plain.com hp090104
Last reviewed: 08/4/2008
1


person feel happy and energetic. One of these chemicals is called epinephrine. The
feeling that nicotine produces is often referred to as a high or a buzz.
Half an hour after smoking, the buzz fades away and the smoker is left feeling tired
and wanting more. This feeling is what causes smokers to light up the next cigarette.
This cycle of stimulation and depression keeps repeating, which leads to addiction.
Since the body is able to build up a high tolerance to nicotine, smokers gradually
smoke more and more in order to get the same high.
It has been proven that the craving for nicotine increases with levels of emotional and
physical stress. Therefore, feeling stressed or physically exhausted can also lead to
more smoking.
Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person decides to stop smoking, the craving for nicotine leads to withdrawal
symptoms. These symptoms
include:
Short temper
Anger
Aggression
Negative feelings.
Why Most People Don't Smoke?
In the sixties about 1/2 of American adults smoked. Today, only about 20 to 30% of
American adults are smokers. Here are the 10 most common reasons why more and
more people choose not to smoke:
Tobacco contains at least 43 substances that are known to cause lung cancer
and other cancers.
Smoking causes other lung diseases that can be as dangerous as lung cancer,
such as bronchitis, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease),
emphysema, and bronchiectasis.
Smoking causes several diseases of the blood vessels, leaving smokers with
twice as much of a chance of having a stroke than non-smokers.
Smoking causes heart disease and increases the chance of stroke and heart
attacks.
Smoking can cause impotence, the inability of male smokers to have a
satisfactory erection.

This document is a summary of what appears on screen in X-Plain. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice
of a doctor or healthcare professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. Like any printed material, it may become out of date over
time. It is important that you rely on the advice of a doctor or a healthcare professional for your specific condition.

1995-2008, The Patient Education Institute, Inc. www.X-Plain.com hp090104
Last reviewed: 08/4/2008
2



This document is a summary of what appears on screen in X-Plain. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice
of a doctor or healthcare professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. Like any printed material, it may become out of date over
time. It is important that you rely on the advice of a doctor or a healthcare professional for your specific condition.

1995-2008, The Patient Education Institute, Inc. www.X-Plain.com hp090104
Last reviewed: 08/4/2008
3


Smoking creates bad breath.
Smoking impairs taste, smell,
and hearing.
Smoking causes heartburn,
and buildup of acid in the
stomach, leading to ulcers.
Smoking decreases blood flow
to the skin, including the face, which causes wrinkles that
make a person look older.
Smoking is an expensive habit! As the price of cigarettes
continues to rise, a smoker that smokes 2 packs a day could save about $2,000
a year by quitting.
Did You Know
Smoking not only causes lung cancer, it also causes cancer of the mouth, larynx,
esophagus, kidney, bladder, pancreas, uterus, and cervix.
Smoking has been PROVEN to cause cancer.
Not everyone who smokes will develop cancer, but smokers between 35 and 70
have 3 times the death rate of people who have never smoked.
Low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes are safer than others, however, a smoker will
usually smoke more of them and take longer puffs to get the nicotine their body
craves, so they have very minor health benefits.
Young people are more likely to become addicted to nicotine than older people;
however, anyone who starts smoking is at risk of becoming addicted.
Smoking without inhaling is just as dangerous as inhaling; any part of the body
exposed to smoke can be harmed. Cancers of the lip, mouth, and tongue are
more common among cigar and pipe smokers.
Menthol cigarettes are not safer than other kinds of cigarettes.
Smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco and snuff, contains more cancer-
causing substances than smoking tobacco.
It is never too late to quit smoking; the body starts healing itself as soon as a
person quits smoking. 10 years after quitting smoking, the chances of lung
cancer decrease by almost half.
Your Choice!
Smoking is addictive. Scientists have always been aware of it, smokers experience it,
and finally tobacco companies admit it!
Most people feel that the one benefit of smoking, a few minutes of feeling relaxed, are
not worth the price in health and money.
To those who have not yet started, the best advice is don't even experiment! Addiction
could develop fast and quitting may not be easy.

This document is a summary of what appears on screen in X-Plain. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice
of a doctor or healthcare professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. Like any printed material, it may become out of date over
time. It is important that you rely on the advice of a doctor or a healthcare professional for your specific condition.

1995-2008, The Patient Education Institute, Inc. www.X-Plain.com hp090104
Last reviewed: 08/4/2008
4


To those who already smoke but wish to stop, quitting
is difficult but many successful smoking cessation
programs exist. 40 million Americans have already
successfully quit.
When a patient quits smoking the body tends to
recover and repair some of the damages caused by smoking. Within 20 minutes of the
last cigarette both blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal. Your chance of heart
attack is reduced 4 hours after you quit.
Within 3 months of quitting, lung function improves by about 30%.
In about one year, the risk of heart problems is half what it would have been, if the
patient had continued to smoke.
After 10 years of smoking cessation, the death rate from lung cancer is nearly cut in
half. The risks of other cancers also go down, and the risk of strokes becomes similar
to that of non smokers.
It is therefore NEVER too late to quit smoking.
To smokers who plan to continue smoking and deal with the health consequences, be
considerate of those around you who do not wish to share your smoke. If you smoke
in your house, consider the effects of smoking on other people and children who live
with you.