Quitting once and for all
Stopping smoking is a lifestyle change, Jackson said. The primary barrier is a physical response. If the smoker feels anxious at any time of the day, they have formed the habit of lighting up a cigarette.
Jackson said as much as nicotine is addictive, the feeling that comes with smoking also is addictive, and often is used as a coping mechanism by smokers, because it is soothing.
“The biggest thing people deal with is replacing that feeling of coping. If at work, they get a 10-minute break and they smoke. They have to find a replacement for that activity, find something healthy that helps them relax,” Jackson said. “A lot of it is the challenge. They can get a patch or gum to help with nicotine addiction, but finding something that can replace the habit is the key — replacing the smoking with other things. It is a difficult road.”
Research now reports “strong causal associations” between active cigarette smoking in young people and addiction to nicotine, reduced lung function, reduced lung growth, asthma and early abdominal and aortic atherosclerosis — a condition in which an artery wall thickens as result of the accumulation of fatty materials such as cholesterol.
The CDC said smoking is the chief preventable cause of premature death in the United States.
There are many reasons to quit smoking and quitting can have immediate effects on individual health, and Tobacco Free Coalition said there are some benefits to quitting smoking:
• Decreased blood pressure within 20 minutes.
• Oxygen level in blood returning to normal within eight hours.
• Decreased chance of heart attack beginning within 24 hours.
• Improved ability to smell and taste within 48 hours.
• Improved circulation and lung function within three months.
• The risk of a smoker developing coronary heart disease is cut in half within one year.
Luthye said people forget that about 25 percent of the public are smokers, meaning 75 percent of them are not. Bars and pool halls are exempted from state laws, but she is aware of businesses that have gone smoke-free and are successful.