The Encyclopedia of Surgery (2007) defines the term “Smoking Cessation” as an effort to “quit smoking” or “withdrawal from smoking.” Since smoking is a highly addictive habit so cessation can often lead to mood swings, irritability, headache and craving. This happens due to the reduction in the amount of tobacco consumption by an individual who is highly dependent on nicotine. Smoking cessation can be called as one of the best achievements in a person’s life. Smoking cessation increases the life of a person by 10 years.
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In this paper I aim to discuss in detail some facts related to smoking cessation. I aim to explore the relevant literature to support my research. I aim to discuss the importance of the issue by highlighting the most recent statistics as well as the long and short term benefits of smoking cessation. My research will be based on the most recent data available.
In order to understand the importance of the issue let us first explore the statistics available.
- According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2006) prepared by Barker smoking cessation among adolescents in the United States is a rare practice.
- Nevertheless young adults do try to quit smoking and some of them do become successful within a period of 4 years (Barker, 2006).
- Approximately 4% of young smokers quit smoking per annum (Barker, 2006).
- 43% of young adults have failed in their attempt to quit smoking and this rate is higher as compared to the adults (Barker, 2006).
- Approximately 58% of the high school students have tried to quit smoking at least for a day or longer in one year (Barker, 2006).
According to the National Cancer Institute (2007) smoking cessation among young adults who are below the age of 25 has shown no significant change. On the other hand those who are above the age of 25 have shown some significant rise in their attempt to quit smoking. The overall rate is declining among men and among women there is no change. Demographical data shows that there has been a significant rise in smoking cessation among Hispanics. On the other hand white and colored non-Hispanics did not show any change.
According to Cancer Trends Progress Report (2007) in 2006, 51.1% of youth aged 18-24 years attempted to quit smoking. 41.9% adults aged 25 and above attempted to quit smoking. 18 year old Hispanics and black non-Hispanics had a percentage of 45 and 45.1 respectively. White non-Hispanics had a percentage of 42.4. The combined success rate for men and women in 2006 was 8.6%.
In a survey carried out for youth aged 16-25 years the following methods were considered most commonly used for smoking cessation.
|Assisted Methods||Unassisted Methods|
|Health Professional||Cut down on amount of cigarettes smoked|
|Nicotine Gum||Stopped Buying cigarettes|
|Nicotine Patch||Exercised more|
|Bupropion||Tried to quit with a friend|
|Counselor||Told others you no longer smoke|
|Program/Class||Switched to light cigarettes|
|Nicotine Inhaler||Used pamphlets/ videos|
|Nicotine Lozenge||Switched to chewing tobacco, snuff etc.|
|Telephone Helpline||Stopped hanging out with smoking friends|
|Internet Quit Site||Attended anti-smoking events|
|Acupuncture/Hypnosis||Used herbal and alternative therapies|
To support my thesis I have explored the relevant literature available. A total of six articles have been used. Only those articles have been selected that are peer reviewed and most recently updated. I have included one article from the American Journal of Managed Care (1996) since I found its contents to be similar to the modern findings.
Smoking cessation is not an easy job. Literature review has shown that youth have adopted various strategies for that purpose. Several factors influence youth in quitting smoking. They have been mentioned in the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative Report (updated in 2005) and are categorized below:
Peers and Family
It has been observed that quit rates are greatly influenced by peers and friends. Some studies have shown that friends make it difficult for those who want to quit smoking by harassing and smoking around them. Another study shows that friends and peers support a lot in quitting. Some researchers say that young children observe the pleasure that their adults draw from smoking which makes it really difficult for them to quit. The frequency with which friends offer cigarettes and a smoking environment negatively affects the rate of quitting. At the same time it has been observed that those young adults who have at least one parent smoking find it difficult to quit. Other factors that help quitting include parental social support, attachment with fathers and parental support. Young adults are more likely to quit smoking if the parents quit smoking too.
A number of studies have been carried out to study the environmental consequences of smoking cessation. It has been studied that medical support at home and at educational institutions can contribute a lot in quitting smoking. It has also been observed that societal portrayal of smoking images negatively influences the quitting rates. Those who believed that second hand smoking was equally harmful were more likely to quit smoking. It has been suggested in one of the research that TV and radio programs addressing ways to quit smoking can be beneficial in increasing the quitting rates. Another study stated that teen designed media messages can help smokers to join program that supports quitting.
Research states that the lower the level of emotional distress and stress the higher the rate of smoking cessation. Usually young adults quit smoking due to fear of illness, death and concern about future. At times youth quit smoking at the request of a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Often youth are found concerned about their yellow teeth and gum diseases. These factors often play an important role in motivating the youth to quit smoking. For that matter it has been suggested that smoking quitting programs should focus on personal appearance as well. Studies have shown that the most common motivating factors among youth to quit smoking are current and future health, cost of cigarettes and performance in sports. The most common fears among youth at the time of quitting smoking are stress, increased weight and having no control over their life, privacy and the ability to experiment new things. There is always a constant struggle inside them that forces them to quit smoking and at the same time continue it. Such people often trust those who take care of them and help them in quitting smoking and psychologists. According to the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative Fact sheet (updated in 2005), when young adults take up smoking they think only about the short term benefits and tend to forget about the long term dangers associated with it.
Why is Smoking Cessation a difficult thing?
According to the American Journal of Managed Care (1996) the most common reason why youth find it difficult to quit smoking is the fact that they are unaware of the addictive powers of tobacco. Most young adults start smoking for pure fun with a view to quit it after a certain period. Due to lack of awareness they get addicted to it and find it difficult to quit.
Undoubtedly smoking is difficult to quit. According to the Encyclopedia of Surgery (2007) nicotine acts as an anti-depressant. It helps the body to relax in stressful situations. It makes a person alert by stimulating memory. At the same time it increases the cognitive skills of the smoker by improving his work performance, speed, reaction time and alertness. Smoking also controls boredom. It allows the body to adjust itself in various stressful situations. It also acts as an appetite suppressant by decreasing the demand for carbohydrates. For that matter smoking cessation becomes really difficult for those who have adjusted their body metabolism for it. Quitting leads to irritability, mood swings, headaches and craving. These symptoms often make it difficult for the smokers to quit. Many cannot resist the temptation and start smoking again.
Another factor associated with smoking cessation is the weight gain. As mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Surgery (2007) smoking acts as an appetite suppressant by minimizing the carbohydrates craving. Quitting on the other hand increases the appetite and causes weight gain. Many quitters are demotivated by these factors and find it difficult to quit smoking. Tobacco addicting is comparable to addiction to alcohol, cocaine and morphine.
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Mood swings may often lead to depression which often makes life difficult for the quitters. Quitters usually experience the following symptoms for three weeks after quitting:
- Dry mouth
- Mood swings and irritability
- Sleeping a lot or insomnia
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Craving for cigarettes
- Headaches (Encyclopedia of Surgery, 2007).
Benefits of Smoking Cessation
The American Journal of Managed Care (1996) states that smoking cessation speeds up the process of recovery in patients who have undergone surgery related to hip and knee replacement. Smoking weakens the bone mineral that keeps the skeleton intact. At the same time it also deteriorates the tissue and vessel health. Smoking cessation helps the smooth blood flow and oxygenation and also helps in healing the wound. There is also less chances of post operative wound infection in non-smokers.
It has been stated in the American Journal of Managed Care (1996) that one of the short term benefits of smoking cessation is that it improves respiration and controls asthma and bronchitis. It enhances the participation of children in sports and other recreational activities. This also reduces absenteeism from school which is often the problem associated with the smokers.
The Encyclopedia of Surgery (2007) states that the most common long term benefit of smoking cessation is that it increases the life expectancy of an individual. The sooner the person quits the greater are his chances of leading a long life. Smoking cessation increases the life by 10 years. The American Journal of Managed Care (1996) states that the non-smokers are more productive in the long run as compared to the smokers.
According to the Cancer Trend Report (2007) the long term benefits of smoking cessation include reduction in the chances of lung cancer by half as compare to those people who continue to smoke. The sooner a person quits smoking the better it is for his future health. Cessation also minimizes the risk of getting other types of cancers such as that of larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder and cervix. Quitting before the age of 30 increases the chances of leading a healthy life. According to the American Journal of Managed Care (1996) those women who do not smoke but are married to smokers have greater chance of developing lung cancer.
Smoking cessation also decreases the chances of getting coronary heart diseases. After quitting the chances are reduced by half within one year. After 15 years of quitting the risks are the same as that of non-smokers.
The American Journal of Managed Care (1996) states that smoking cessation also promises a healthy growth of the fetus in pregnant women. It prevents miscarriages as well as pre-mature births. It also prevents children from developing lower respiratory infections. Smoking cessation also prevents low birth rates.
The Journal further states that smoking cessation also helps in saving the money. A person who smokes one pack per day could save a handsome amount each year which can be used for other healthy purposes.
Smoking cessation also protects the environment from 40 different pollutants that are found in tobacco smoke. The pollutants can be harmful to both humans and animals. The danger of fires due to cigarettes thrown in the forests could also be avoided.
The Encyclopedia of Surgery (2007) gives a detailed account of the treatments available for smoking cessation. Several pharmacological therapies are available for those who are willing to quit smoking. These include nicotine patch, bupropion, SR, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler and nicotine nasal spray. Some other second line therapies include Clonidine and nortriptyline. A proper plan is essential for a successful quitting. This can be done either through some help from the concerned doctors or by the smoker himself. In either case it is the motivation and the will power of the smoker that can make the plan successful.
Social support is very essential and can make it easy for a person to quit smoking. It is usually the friends who force a person into smoking. Support from the family, friends and other people around can make smoking cessation easy.
Other methods used include cold turkey which means abrupt cessation of nicotine. Not everyone can do it since it requires great will power. Laser therapy is another way which targets certain points in the body to arouse the feeling of relaxation associated with tobacco. It also helps in stress reduction, lung detoxification and physical cravings. Acupuncture also helps in smoking cessation. Hypnosis is another technique which is often found very useful by the patients. In hypnosis the patient directly talks to his inner mind to solve the conflict of quitting or not quitting. Aversion techniques remind the patients of the dirty aspects related to smoking such as yellow teeth, bad breath, poor health and dirty ashtrays. “Thought Stopping Technique” is often applied by the psychologists for those who want to quit smoking. In this technique the quitter is given a rubber band that he or she wears on the wrist. Whenever there is a craving for smoking the band is pulled so that upon releasing it the quitter feels the pain. In this way the thought becomes associated with pain and eventually fades away. Rapid smoking technique strictly schedules the smoking time to once in a day for the first three days.
In conclusion it is well stated that healthy body makes a healthy mind. Smoking is injurious to health. It is better to get rid of this habit as soon as possible. It has already been mentioned above that smoking leads to cancers of various types, cardiovascular diseases, poor respiration and many more. It shortens the life span of a person by ten years. Smoking cessation techniques can assist a person who is willing to quit smoking. Most importantly it is the will power and dedication of a person that is needed to quit smoking. Smoking cessation can be beneficial to the person himself as well as to his family as well. At the larger level it protects the environment which is already at the mercy of human beings. With all these benefits undoubtedly smoking cessation can be called as one of the best achievements of a man’s life.
Barker, D C. “Use of Cessation Methods among Smokers Aged 16-24 years-United States, 2003”. MMWR. Weekly, 55(50); (2006). Web.
“Influences on Youth and Young Adolescent Quitting.” Tobacco Cessation Collaborative Fact Sheet”, 2005. Web.
“Quitting Smoking.” Cancer Trends Progress Report- 2007 Update, National Cancer Institute. (2007). Web.
“Smoking Cessation.” The Encyclopedia of Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Caregivers, 2008. Web.
“Smoking Cessation Benefits.” The American Journal of Managed Care, (1996). 2008. Web.
“Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence.” Clinical Practice Guidelines, US Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Web.