quitting smoking can be hard, not quitting can be even harder on your
health, your wallet and your relationships. Knowing the truth about some
smoking myths may make quitting a little easier.
Myth 1: I can quit anytime.
Quitting isn’t just about willpower. Smoking addiction has two basic
causes: nicotine and habit. Nicotine dependency is stronger than many people
realize. Years of smoking make the brain dependent on nicotine — the
brain craves nicotine and these cravings can be difficult to resist. Medicinal
nicotine helps curb the cravings, freeing the quitter to focus on changing
Myth 2: I’ve smoked so long, quitting won’t
make a difference to my health.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health
at any age. Only 20 minutes after you quit, your blood pressure drops.
Within three months, your heart attack risk begins to drop, and your lung
function begins to improve.
Myth 3: I’m going to gain
a lot of weight.
Actually, the average weight gain after quitting smoking is just five pounds.
Using a nicotine medication, particularly nicotine gum or lozenge, has
been shown to help. These products can also reduce withdrawal symptoms,
including hunger. Other ways to control your weight: Use the time you would
spend on a smoke break to take a walk or do some other type of exercise.
If you miss the hand-to-mouth connection, try snacking on low-calorie treats
or fruit and drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.
4: I smoke light cigarettes so I’m not at risk.
Cigarette companies admit that there’s no safe cigarette. Once you
inhale tobacco smoke you’re exposed to more than 4,000 chemicals
and at least 69 cancer-causing substances. In the over 40 years since they
were introduced, “Light” cigarettes have not reduced smoking-related
disease or death. Don’t be fooled by the smoother feel on your throat
Myth 5: I’m too addicted to quit.
There are ways to increase your chances of success. Talk with your doctor,
set a quit date, use proven quit-smoking products and ask for support from
friends and family. Most importantly, don’t give up. Most smokers
don’t succeed on their first try, and learning from each attempt
can help you get closer to becoming a nonsmoker.