Resources for coping with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Top 6 reasons people say they smoke
“It helps maintain my weight.”
“It helps me stay focused.”
“It’s a social thing I do with my friends.”
“I’m afraid the quitting process will be awful.”
Nicotine is a powerful, addictive drug that enters the brain with each puff on a cigarette. It briefly boosts your mood, making you feel calm and more alert. But over time, your energy level and mood can drop, causing you to crave a cigarette for another boost. The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need, which then leads to more smoking.
Good news: you can beat your addiction and win. Many Canadians have found success with quitlines, nicotine replacement therapies and other support.
Many smokers believe that smoking relaxes them. In fact, it does the opposite to your body. Smoking makes your heart beat faster, your breathing quicken and your blood pressure rise.
Why do some smokers feel relaxed when they smoke? Smoking releases dopamine – a chemical in your brain that creates feelings of pleasure. But this feeling of relaxation lasts for only a few moments. Often, it’s not the cigarette, but taking a break from work or a stressful situation that is the real relaxation.
It’s true that nicotine can suppress your appetite and may increase your metabolism slightly. But smoking puts an enormous amount of stress on your heart and lungs. There are healthier and much less expensive ways to manage your diet than smoking.
Smokers often say that smoking helps them concentrate and stay focused. That’s because nicotine is a stimulant. Unfortunately, smoking also blocks blood vessels, arteries and veins, starving the brain of the oxygen it needs to function properly. The good news is that non-smokers find ways to maintain focus – without the high price of smoking.
It’s easy to believe that smoking is part of the reason you have a good time with friends who also smoke. But chances are you’d have just as much – or more – fun without the cigarettes. Old behaviours may be powerful, but with the many restrictions on smoking in public places, it’s easier than ever to be social without cigarettes.
Some people who smoke may be worried about the symptoms of withdrawal. Dealing with withdrawal can be hard, but there are tools to help. Withdrawal symptoms don’t last forever and are a sign that the body is healing. And it won’t be long before you’ll experience the health benefits of quitting.
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