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Introduction to Smoking

Harry Mills, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 14th 2016

Like most people, you already know that smoking is bad for your health. But do you really understand just how dangerous smoking really is? Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive drug that makes it difficult for smokers to kick the habit. Tobacco products also contain many poisonous and harmful substances that cause disease and premature death. Did you know that out of a group of 1000 smokers (age 30), that a full quarter of them (250!) will die of smoking-related illnesses prior to completing middle age, an additional quarter will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses shortly after retirement age, and another large group will develop disabling chronic illnesses as a result of their smoking? Most people don't know the odds of getting sick as a result of smoking are really that bad, but when you calculate the numbers, that is how they come out. For many people, truly understanding the very real dangers associated with smoking becomes the motivating factor that helps them to quit.

woman smokingAlthough it can be a very difficult habit to break, smoking is ultimately a choice; it is your responsibility to choose whether or not you will continue to smoke. This article provides a brief synopsis of the risks associated with smoking; an overview of nicotine addiction, including why it is so difficult to give up smoking; and an outline of the advantages and disadvantages of quiting. Once you have decided to quit, you will benefit from the information in this article about the physiological, psychological, and behavioral aspects of nicotine addiction; the different methods available to help you quit; and the steps you can take to make the process easier. Learning about and understanding the many facets of the smoking habit can put you on the right track to successful smoking cessation.



    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    smoking - grace - Jan 27th 2010

    In your own understanding...Why smoking is very harmful to the people?Why they are addicted to the tobacco?


    struggle to quit everyday - smokerrr09 - Oct 14th 2009

    i am 16 years young and i have been smoking since the age 10.. for all you wondering why people smoke ; i cant speak for anyone but myself but i had a very difficult life growing up now thats not to blame but thats what my 13 year old sister at the time did to what she thought " solved her problems" so she had me try it..i hated the feeling and didnt wanna do it but at the time it was also the "cool thing to do" so i kept smoking thinking  would impresss the older guys and my friends. but smoking is veeeerrrryyyy gross, i feel myself getting more tired and fear my lungs being black and to tell you the truth death is my worst fear so i have no clue why i would wanna do that to myself.. i tell myself every morning that im not going to have a ciggarette but its like my bodys telling me just one more ciggarette every time..i struggle to quite everyday all day i think its very unattractive for women to smoke but i find myself not being able to even picture a life without smoking. sound crazy? yes. do i know it? yes. can i help it? not sure. when i try to avoid a ciggarette it seems like my body phenes for it more. at this second im trying not to grab one but the temptation over powers understand why people smoke, you wont, to understand why they just wont quit, you wont. everyone has their weaknesses and for us smokers, its just one of them. the key to quit is never giving up and i hope to reach that point sooner then later.

    I just wonder why people smoke!!! - Change - Oct 13th 2009

    It seems obvious that smoking is really really bad, and people tell us not to smoke. Yet, in everyday life, I keep seeing people smoke, almost every where there are people smoking. I recently started to learn to smoke. Is it the case that, taking up smoking is also not easy?. I've smoked about 3 or 4 packs of cigarette, but I still feel that I haven't been able to get the joy of smoking. Instead, I feel tired and get headach when I smoke. I just wonder, is it true that it takes time and effort to get to smoke, and if so, why do people still smoke? Even for people who haven't been addicted to smoking at all, why do they take up smoking? What are the reason?

    PT4Life - Ronnie - Jul 2nd 2009

    Man, I am so happy that I quit smoking.

    Smoking - - May 9th 2009

    Why do people smoke? What joy do they get out?Of it it just kills them. Why do people throw there lives away.

    I quit... - joshua - Mar 21st 2009

    I quit smoking. Honestly, and as a matter of fact, it is divine intervention. plrayers do help!! My Lord Sai has helped me Quit Smoking.

    Ignorance is bliss!!! - - Jan 6th 2009

    To the person who wrote that smoking is not that bad.   I happen to work in the health care field and spent many years treating patients with lung cancer.  Perhaps one of the most difficult ways to die let alone stand by and comfort them during their decline.  I feel sorry you have taken your attitude.  Don't start freaking out on the care givers one day when you need help.  We run around caring for you people and get bitched on when we don't do it quick enough, well enough etc....  You keep puffing away.  I hope you have good insurance because it is not only costly to buy cigarettes but it sure is expensive when you can't work and pay for treatments when you are not well.  Enjoy your delightful habit!!!

    Smoking - - Jan 4th 2009
    If its really bad for health & others too. Why dont you ban the manufacture itself. Uproot the tree itself.

    - missy - Nov 16th 2008
    I smoke and it is bad yes, but the way i see it is its your body do what you want we all gotta die some way the world is overpopulated as it is and if you have such a big problem with smokers maybe you shouldnt be so simple minded and understand that people start smokeing usually for the same reasons we all do and it is an addiction.. Maybe you have never been addicted to something so you dont understand you have just heard of people quiting so you know its possible and you think everyone should do it but even after you quite smokeing even years down the road the want to is there.  So you should not be so thick headed and instead of discriminating against smokers understand that it is a real problem and nobody likes to do it so maybe you should try being supportive and not so negative.  Everyone knows its bad for your health instead approach it differently obviously that line isnt working for anyone. and when your so negative about it, it just makes us smokers feel even worse about smokeing and the depression and frustration causes us to want to smoke even more so yea smoking is a very selfish inconsiderate thing to do but so is being rude about it

    @$!%# - - Feb 4th 2008
    Wow whoever is the dumb retard that says smoking is not bad-Think of it this way. smoking is the 3rd leading cause of death by smokers and nonsmokers alone. do you want to be the one adding to this highly accurate statistic? I didnt think so. so id think again when id say smoking is okay.

    stop smoking - - Jan 10th 2008
    I think smoking is very bad and you shouldnt start because you wont be able to stop. It doesnt harm only tou but think about all of your friends and family. They can suffer with you of second hand smoking. Remeber its not only you whos suffering but the people yu care about or even around you are too.

    a difficult habit - jahji - Nov 14th 2007

    Its a very difficult habit know wat.. and of course some people have lung cancer just because of it,, un lang hahaha

    - - Jan 30th 2007
    I smoke to but i still think it's bad and i wish i had never started it because it is bad for you'r health and some poele like the dummy that said it wasnt bad dont think so because they have never known any one to die from lung cancer or the other million reason you could die from smoking but after that its to late.

    What?! - - Oct 16th 2006
    Just one person dying is bad, let alone 250!! Think about it this way--250 out of 1000 is one fourth-that's right--one fourth of smokers. So let's say there are 10 million smokers world-wide, and one fourth of them die, that's 2.5 million people dead. How can that not be bad?! As for smoking, it's one of the most dangerous and deadly habits one can have. My advice: don't start!

    i think - - Mar 27th 2006
    i smoke and i dont think that 250/1000 smokers dying is that bad. and smoking isn't that bad...

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