Smoking cessation has been a topic of interest for years, and sees growing support as the health risks associated with the habit are made increasingly public knowledge. With tobacco leading as the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States, more and more people are turning to methods of reducing if not completely eliminating this detrimental habit from their lives.
Smoking cessation is essentially the process of terminating a habit of smoking. The addictive substance of nicotine found in cigarettes is the main factor that contributes to the difficulty of quitting smoking, as continual use of nicotine products can create a dependency, or even an addiction. The process of smoking cessation is usually undergone with assistance provided by members of a dedicated healthcare profession, although abstinence from smoking is possible through self-management, although potentially more difficult. However, positivity lies with the fact that the percentage of smokers in the United States has gone down dramatically; from 42 percent in 1965 to 18 percent in 2012.
Smoking causes a number of adverse health effects within the human body, and prolonged tobacco exposure greatly increases the likelihood of developing certain diseases. These risks include an increased susceptibility to developing heart attacks, strokes, and cancers of the lungs, larynx, mouth, and pancreas. With tobacco leading as one of the most prevalent causes of preventable death worldwide, at least half of all smokers will shorten their lifespans by an average of 13.85 years. It is estimated that about 50 percent of long-term smokers that contract related diseases do not survive, and it is possible for these risks to be extended to non-smokers as well.
There is an ever-increasing numbers of smokers who are seeing growing support for smoking cessation in its many forms. Effective methods in treating the habits and addictions of smoking include interventions and counseling, both of which can be conducted by healthcare providers. Medical treatments include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and Chantix (varenicline tartrate), which both work to decrease the victim’s dependence on the chemical by gradual weaning. Other forms of quitting range from the “cold turkey” method, which simply involves immediate abstinence from smoking with no weaning period, or the less abrupt method of reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked within a certain time period to decrease dependency.
There have also be various studies conducted on what factors could potentially have either a positive or negative effect on an individual’s likelihood to quit smoking. In teenagers, it has been found that one is more likely to smoke if they feel it will grant them a larger social acceptance among peers. Data collected in a study on more than 20,000 teenagers showed that teens who had at least two friends who engaged in smoking were six times as likely to also pick up the habit intermittently as opposed to those with friends who did not smoke. Contrarily, studies show that when a member of a person’s social circle refrains from smoking, other members of that same circle are more likely to abstain as well, perhaps in an introspective moment to gain control over what was previously an unconscious behavior. Whether the result of a desire to prolong health and restore life, or simply be rid of an expensive addiction, smoking cessation holds much promise as the world’s population continues to see a growing support for ending the habit.
By Darrell Purcell