Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
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If you have tried to quit smoking, you know how hard it can be. It is hard because nicotine is a very addictive drug. For some people, it can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
Quitting is hard. Usually people make two or three tries, even more, before finally being able to quit. Each time you try to quit, you can learn about what helps and what hurts.
Quitting takes hard work and a lot of effort, but you can quit smoking.
RECOGNIZING YOUR ADDICTION
Every smoker is addicted to a slightly different combination of “stimulants” in cigarettes and the act of smoking. A stimulant is the addictive property in a cigarette that keeps you craving for more, even though you know you shouldn’t.
You must find out what you like about smoking. Write that reason down. By writing it down, you will understand it.
WHY DO YOU SMOKE?
Is smoking a “positive” experience for you? If so, then you have conditioned your mind and body, through prolonged exposure to smoking, to get positive feelings when you smoke.
Non-smokers don't experience the roller-coaster ride of the highs and lows. Instead, they maintain a much higher level of well-being. They don't need a cigarette to relax – they have learned to relax naturally.
The Effects of Nicotine
Nicotine affects almost every system in the body. When you take a puff, your heart beats faster, your pulse quickens, your veins constrict, your blood pressure increases. Your adrenal glands pump out adrenaline that increases your heart rate, relaxes many of your smooth muscles, and raises your metabolic rate. Even the electrical activity in your brain changes.
These are powerful biological effects. Indeed, nicotine is a very powerful drug. In fact, it is one of the most toxic of all drugs, comparable to cyanide. Take enough nicotine and it can kill you. But the amount of nicotine in a single cigarette is only 8 to 9 milligrams on average.
The amount of nicotine that smokers inhale from each cigarette is even smaller. Most popular brands of cigarettes deliver less than 1.5 milligrams per cigarette. This amount may be somewhat higher or lower for each smoker, depending on how deeply you puff and how many puffs you take from each cigarette.
But nicotine is so potent that even this small dose causes significant changes in the functioning of numerous organs and systems in your body. When people first take up smoking, these physiological changes seem extremely unpleasant. Beginning smokers usually experience nausea, dizziness, headache, stomach upset, coughing and other uncomfortable symptoms. But people who continue to smoke soon develop a tolerance to these symptoms, until they become unnoticeable.
Tolerance is a term used to describe an important feature of addiction. Tolerance has developed when, after the repeated administration of a drug (in this case, nicotine) produces a decreased effect. As well, tolerance has developed when increasingly larger doses must be administered to obtain the effects observed with the original dose.
What does this mean for the smoker? The small dose of nicotine delivered by several puffs on a cigarette may make people feel ill the first few times they try smoking. But after they’ve been smoking for a week or so (repeated “self-administration” of nicotine), several puffs and even an entire cigarette no longer have that effect. Now they’ll feel ill only if they smoke several cigarettes one after another (a larger dose).
Psychologically, tolerance to the unpleasant effects of nicotine allows the smoker to focus on nicotine’s pleasurable physiological effects. Many smokers don’t realize that nicotine’s effects on the heart, the nervous system, and the endrocine system are significant contributors to the relaxation, alertness, stress relief, and other good feelings they experience.
This combination of physiological and psychological effects provides so many positive reinforcements that smoking quickly becomes an established habit.
As the term tolerance implies, a smoker actually becomes accustomed to having a certain level of nicotine in his or her body. In fact, research studies have shown that (without realizing it) smokers regulate the number of cigarettes they smoke in order to maintain their own personally preferred level of nicotine. For example, smokers who are given a very high nicotine cigarette will puff less often than usual, so they don’t take in more nicotine than their preferred amount. Likewise, with a low nicotine cigarette, the smoker will take more puffs than usual, in order to get that preferred amount of nicotine.
When no cigarettes are smoked for a while (when someone is trying to quit), the smoker doesn’t get any nicotine. And it is the lack of nicotine that produces unpleasant physiological symptoms in the body. Medically, these symptoms are called “withdrawal effects.”
To relieve these withdrawal effects, many smokers must continue to take in their usual amount of nicotine. This is a sign of “physical dependence” on nicotine. Doctors define physical dependence as a change in the body’s functioning that is produced by repeated administration of a drug, such that continued doses of the drug are needed to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
But that’s not all. Smokers also become accustomed to the psychological effects of smoking. After the smoking habit is established, the smoker needs to smoke in to feel “normal.” In other words, the effects produced by nicotine, and the behaviors associated with smoking, become necessary to maintain the person’s optimal state of well-being. This condition is referred to as “psychological dependence.”
At the extreme, many smokers who run out of cigarettes or are unable to smoke, become totally preoccupied by thoughts of having a cigarette. This behavior is often referred to as “compulsive drug use.”
Is Smoking An Addiction?
Physiological and physical dependence, withdrawal, and compulsive drug use are the defining characteristics of “drug addiction.” Does this mean that smoking is an addiction? Certainly, the smoking habit meets many of the criteria needed to qualify as an addiction, including:
A highly controlled or compulsive pattern of drug use. The experienced smoker has a lot of smoking patterns that (if broken) are disturbing.
Psychoactive, or mood-altering effects involved in the pattern of drug taking.
Drug functioning as a reinforcement to strengthen behavior and lead to further drug ingestion. It’s the nicotine that keeps people smoking.
Using these criteria, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report (in 1988) on smoking made several major conclusions:
-Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting.
-Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction.
The pharmacological and behavioral processes that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
All smokers show signs of physical and psychological dependence on nicotine. Their bodies crave nicotine, and they will smoke until their bodies have taken in a certain level of nicotine. Thus, addiction is more a matter of degree. Its not if you are addicted but how addicted you are.
OH smoker . . . Your Heart is grace from God . . . keep it
Almost everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, emphysema, and heart disease; that it can shorten your life by 14 years or more; and that the habit can cost a smoker thousands of dollars a year. So how come people are still lighting up
Increased health risk
Cigarette smokers not only have an increased risk of lung cancer, but also many other cancers, including mouth, lip, larynx, kidney, oesophagus (gullet) and cervix.
Smoking also contributes to virtually all the non-malignant but common heart, circulatory and lung disorders, including fatal heart attacks, strokes and emphysema.
Smoking rates in women increased so much during the post-war years (1950 to 2000) that lung cancer rates in women rose sharply. What was predominantly a male condition in the 1950s (one case in women to every ten in men) became almost as common in women as men, in the 1990s. In parts of Scotland, where smoking rates are particularly high (for both sexes), lung cancer has even overtaken breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women.
It's never too late to stop
There are two important facts to remember. First, 50 per cent of those who smoke will die prematurely as a result of cigarettes, for one reason or another (usually cancer). That's half of all smokers! Second, it's always worth giving up. After 12 to 15 years from the last cigarette you smoke, the risk of getting lung cancer drops (even in people who previously smoked quite heavily) to a level virtually as low as for non-smokers.
Watch out for early signs
Early warning signs for lung cancer are difficult to pin down. Many smokers expect to have 'a bit of a cough', often lasting most of the winter months, or find themselves less energetic or shorter of breath than they used to be. But symptoms like these or a slowly resolving chest infection (particularly if it develops into pneumonia) could be because of a previous undiagnosed lung cancer. Strangely enough, many smokers give up cigarettes just a few weeks or months before the diagnosis is made - as if they had some sort of unspoken recognition. Ironic really, since so often it happens after a lifetime of half-hearted attempts to stop smoking, at a time when it would have done some good!
They are doing stage III trials for NixVac in our area. I saw it on the news. Very interesting mechanism--they link proteins with nicotine to create anti-bodies against the nicotine. The thought is that the nicotine then doesn't reach the receptors in the brain breaking the "reward" associated with smoking.
There are now products used to wean those who can't stop smoking.
Anyway, if you really love your health, always follow what the packet says: CIGARETTE SMOKING IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH. If you love your wallet: SMOKING IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR WEALTH.
---Just one act of random kindness at a time and you can change the world---
Well that's only in the Philippines I guess; *Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health* always imprinted on the cigar packet. I just said the second one.
---Just one act of random kindness at a time and you can change the world---
It’s a fact that smoking triggers and stimulate different kinds of cancers and illnesses.
Each time a person smokes a cigarette, he or she will be losing part of their life
span, health, money and honor. We are living in a world where there are so many
anti-smokers working against smoking and for this reason, smokers are generally not seen in a respectful light. So why not start to think about the benefits of stopping smoking and stop being addicted instead of losing all these for the sake of a cigarette?
The advantages of stop smoking are not only a better health and modified
life span, but it can also have an advantages on social life. When a smoker stops this addiction he or she will have a lower risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
It will also mean that the ex-smoker will breathe in fresher air instead of cigarette smoke,which will mean less instances of coughing and breathlessness.
Last edited by JackBean on Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Yeah it is a bit harsh to judge people who smoke. Think about it, couple decades ago people used to discriminate against fat people and those with mental diseases openly as if they were less than normal. Of course now we know that obesity has a very strong genetic component, and that some people really cant help it. Well smoking and many addictions are also hereditary, and maybe some people just help it. And as long as they havent hit rock bottom maybe we should just leave them alone
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