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Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that makes cigarettes so addictive. Although some people who give up smoking have no withdrawal symptoms, many people continue to have strong cravings for cigarettes. They also may feel grumpy, hungry, or tired. Some people have headaches, feel depressed, or have problems sleeping or concentrating. These symptoms fade over time.


Many people say the first step to quitting smoking successfully is to make a firm decision to quit and pick a definite date to stop. Make a plan to deal with the situations that trigger your urge to smoke and to cope with cravings. You may need to try many approaches to find what works best for you. For example, you might:

Some people think smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff), pipes, and cigars are safe alternatives to cigarettes. They are not. Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth and pancreas. It also causes precancerous lesions (known as oral leukoplakia), gum problems, and nicotine addiction. Pipe and cigar smokers may develop cancer of the mouth, lip, larynx, esophagus, and bladder. Those who inhale when smoking are also at increased risk of getting lung cancer as well as heart disease, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema. Using a hookah to smoke tobacco poses many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking.

When you feel an urge to use tobacco, keep in mind that even though the urge may be strong, it will likely pass within 5 to 10 minutes whether or not you smoke a cigarette or take a dip of chewing tobacco. Each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to stopping tobacco use for good.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have had a lot of interest recently as a replacement for smoking traditional cigarettes. But e-cigarettes haven't proved to be safer or more effective than nicotine-replacement medications in helping people stop smoking.

You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don't fool yourself into thinking that you can stop there. More often than not, having just one leads to one more. And you may end up using tobacco again.

Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter's blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be dealing with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.

Do you want to quit smoking? That's half the battle. Now that you're taking this big step, we have lots of help available to get you ready to quit. Our proven tools, tips and support can help you end your addiction to tobacco and begin a new, smokefree phase of your life.

Being active can curb nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms. When you want to reach for a cigarette, put on your inline skates or jogging shoes instead. Even mild exercise helps, such as walking your dog or pulling weeds in the garden. The calories you burn will also ward off weight gain as you quit smoking.

Learn about 3 steps that can lead to quitting smoking for good. This how-to quit smoking video also includes a short introduction to lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (low-dose LDCT).

As time passes, you will find these symptoms grow weaker, and you will think about smoking less. If you have severe or long-lasting symptoms, it might help to discuss them with a health professional or a QuitlineExternal Link counsellor. It might also help to use nicotine replacement therapyExternal Link or prescribed stop smoking tablets. For more tips go to Craving a Cigarette Right NowExternal Link ?

Remove yourself from the situation. Go for a walk, take a deep breath or have a drink of water, and ask yourself if you really want to be smoking again. Try not to waste your energy on self-blame. Instead, treat that cigarette as a sign to revise your quitting strategy.

Next time you quit, spend some time thinking about what has worked for you in the past, and what challenges caused you to go back to smoking. Then make plans for what you will do this time when those temptations come up again.

Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you which stop smoking medication would suit you and how your usual medicines may need adjusting when you stop smoking.You can also go online at and create your own quit plan with easy-to-find information suited to you.

Although there are benefits to quitting at any age, it is important to quit as soon as possible so your body can begin to recover from the damage caused by smoking. For instance, on average, 12 hours after you quit smoking the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Carbon monoxide is harmful because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives your heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen.

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical compound present in a tobacco plant. Tobacco products are addictive because they contain nicotine. Nicotine keeps people using tobacco products, even when they want to stop.Nicotine replacement therapy, also known as NRT, helps you quit smoking by gradually providing the body with smaller doses of nicotine over time, without exposing you to the toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke. In conjunction with a behavioral program, NRTs have been found to increase the success of smoking cessation and are available over-the-counter and by prescription.

The data are are so compelling that many workplaces have instituted smoking bans, and research shows a parallel drop in heart attacks, hospital visits for cardiac problems and, in some states, deaths.

There is little direct evidence that one nicotine product is more effective than another (figure). Thus the decision about which product to use should be guided by individual preferences. The patch delivers a steady level of nicotine throughout the day and can be worn unobtrusively. The main side effect is skin irritation. Wearing the patch only during waking hours (16 hours a day) is as effective as wearing it for 24 hours a day. Eight weeks of patch therapy is as effective as longer courses, and there is no evidence that tapered withdrawal is better than abrupt withdrawal. The inhaler resembles a cigarette and may be useful for people who want a substitute for the act of smoking. The nasal spray delivers nicotine more rapidly and may satisfy surges of craving. Gum, spray, inhaler, and lozenges may all cause irritation in the nose or mouth. For highly dependent smokers, a 4 mg dose of nicotine gum is more effective than a 2 mg dose.

This question has been a vexing one to both clinicians and public health practitioners since the adverse affects of smoking became known to us. There are divergent truths. On one hand, in most developed countries, the majority of people who have ever smoked in their lifetime have successfully quit (11). On the other hand, many people with chronic diseases that are clearly worsened by cigarette smoking are unable to quit. So why can some patients quit quickly and easily while other patients smoke right up to their premature death?

The answers to this question are perhaps as varied as our patient population, with a variety of different factors that are important. Tobacco use has many features of a complex chronic illness such as diabetes. For example, in diabetes, the incidence, severity, and outcomes of disease is related to a variety of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors (i.e., parental history of disease, exposure to infections, comorbid disease, obesity, etc.). In cigarette smoking, there is evidence that genetic factors, early life exposures, and environmental factors (i.e., living in an area that restricts smoking or heavily taxes cigarettes) influences smoking uptake and cessation (10,12).

What are the components of this addiction that has many features of a chronic illness? The addiction itself has physiological, psychological, and behavioral components that will be addressed below. Central to addiction to cigarettes is the role of nicotine, the pharmacologic agent that is critical in maintaining smoking. While burning cigarettes emit over 4,000 different agents (2), the evidence that nicotine is the main culprit in maintaining addiction is strong. For example, cigarettes from which nicotine has been removed or those with ultra-low levels of nicotine have never been widely accepted by the smoking public, whereas chewing tobacco and snuff, both of which deliver large amounts of nicotine, are widely used (20). Nicotine meets criteria for drug dependency in that it promotes compulsive use, has psychoactive effects, and reinforces its own use (19,21).

The psychological component of smoking addiction may be one of the most challenging to deal with (25). People who advance beyond the experimentation stage of smoking may have additional reasons for doing so, such as undiagnosed psychiatric disease, a desire to lose or maintain weight, or other factors (26). The threshold for both initiating and maintain smoking may be different in at-risk individuals. In addition, there may be genetic or early life exposure factors that predispose people to becoming and staying smokers, although this field is controversial (27,28).

Thousands of people quit every month using stop smoking services. You're around 3 times more likely to stop smoking for good with their advice and support. They offer a range of help including:

Yes, there are medicines such as bupropion that can help you stop smoking by reducing cravings. You need a prescription for these treatments, which you can get from your stop smoking service or doctor.

Although more research is needed into their long-term effects, evidence so far shows that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking. This is because they do not contain tobacco, which is responsible for the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes.

There is some evidence that some people who smoke gain weight after stopping. A review of studies found that people who stopped gained around 4kg one year after stopping. But, not everyone gains weight when they stop smoking. 041b061a72


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