Why Is It So Hard to Quit Smoking?
Smoking is so extremely addictive that many people fail at their first attempt to quit. Learn more about why this is true.
The American Cancer Society says about 70 percent of smokers want to quit and about 40 percent make an attempt to stop smoking each year. However, only 4 to 7 percent actually accomplish this goal without assistance.
Why is it so hard to quit smoking?
The short answer is nicotine. The long answer is more complex. First, nicotine is physically addictive and, second, nicotine addiction also causes psychological changes in smokers because they connect its pleasurable feelings to many different aspects of their lives. Cigarette smoking becomes interwoven with their lives, so that when they try to quit smoking, they not only have to beat back an addiction to smoking, they also have to deal with dozens of triggers that can prompt a desire to smoke.
Nicotine is a drug that naturally occurs in tobacco. When you puff on a cigarette, you inhale nicotine in the smoke and it then spreads through your body. Nicotine interferes with communication between nerve cells. The result is a relaxing, pleasant feeling that makes you want to smoke more.
As you continue to smoke, your body adapts and becomes tolerant to nicotine. You have to smoke more cigarettes in order to achieve the same pleasant feeling. Because your body metabolizes nicotine quickly, the level of nicotine in your blood drops within a couple of hours and you find yourself needing to smoke repeatedly throughout the day to refresh the drug’s effect. At some point, enough nicotine may accumulate in your system that you may need only a certain number of cigarettes each day to keep the level stable.
Source from Medical Review Magazine