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Home / Health & Fitness / The Science of Why it’s Hard to Quit Smoking

The Science of Why it’s Hard to Quit Smoking


At this very moment, there are countless people all over the world whose fingers are itching to reach into the deep recesses of their pockets. They crave for a smoke, and they do. And the sad thing is, cigarette smoking has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Many efforts have been made in an attempt to reverse smoking trends. But it looks like the problem isn’t getting any better. It’s only getting worse. Why it’s hard to quit smoking?

cigarette smoking society

Cigarette Smoking and Society

Around 6.5 trillion cigarettes are sold all over the world each year. This translates to roughly 18 billion cigarettes per day. Furthermore, there are an estimated 1 billion smokers in the world.

Here’s a list of more staggering facts recorded by Verywellmind:

  • By 2030, if the trend continues, the number of deaths will rise to eight million.
  • Smoking is the direct cause of one of every five deaths in the U.S. That translates to roughly 480,000 deaths annually, 1,300 smoking-related deaths per day, 54 deaths per hour, or almost one death per minute.
  • Every cigarette you smoke cuts five to 11 minutes from your life. Over a lifetime, that can reduce your life expectancy by as much as 12 years.
  • Around 25 percent of all heart disease deaths and 75 percent of lung disease deaths are directly attributed to smoking irrespective of any other cause.
  • Every day, 3,200 Americans under 18 will light up their first cigarette.
  • Of these, 2,100 will go on to become full-time smokers.

You can ask smokers, and a good number of them will tell you that they know the harmful effects smoking can bring. They know very well that cigarette smoking will offer them nothing but poor health, and yet, despite every warning, they still do it — aware of the consequences but choosing to turn a blind eye to the truth.

Cigarette Smoking Consequences

The most popular disease associated with consequences of regular cigarette smoking is lung cancer. Other fatal illnesses include heart problems and stroke — just about every part of your body, really. (The Center of Disease Control and Prevention can tell you more.)

But if you’re one of those people who have decided to quit smoking for good for the sake of those around you, and ultimately, yourself, then good for you. Quitting cigarette smoking completely just might be the best decision you’ve made in your entire life.

But a fair warning: quitting after years and years of smoking isn’t going to be a walk in the park.

Here’s why:

Quitting Cigarette Smoking Difficulty Level Clincher

As it happens with every destructive habit existing on the surface of the Earth, cigarette smoking is easy to pick up. But it’s nigh impossible to leave. There are specific reasons for that, and Dr. Deardorff tells us the three reasons:

#1 Genetic predisposition

Through Health Science advancements, it has been found that genetics can influence health issues. Genetics holds a substantial contribution to smoking behavior. It also differentially influences cigarette smoking and its multiple aspects. This explains why some people can’t stand smoking at all, how some can smoke occasionally, or why others become regular smokers.

#2 Nicotine is addictive

Nicotine triggers the pleasure centers of your brain, releasing dopamine. When nicotine intake is discontinued, smokers will experience physical withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are what make people want to start smoking again to stop the withdrawal symptoms.

Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Cravings for a smoke
  • Flu-like aches and discomfort
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headache
  • Cough, chest tightness
  • Sore throat
  • Sore tongue, gums

#3 Rewarding psychological aspects of smoking

Behavioral and social aspects of cigarette smoking are highly rewarding for the smoker. Smoking behavior is closely linked with daily activities, peer pressures, and “cues” — such as after a meal, when socializing with friends, drinking alcohol, when “taking a break,” experiencing stress, or done to relax.

These psychosocial-behavioral aspects of smoking can be just as challenging to overcome as the highly addictive nicotine.

The Takeaway

If you’re looking for a way to completely avoid all of these consequences, then it’s best to never start smoking in the first place. Nevertheless, cigarette smokers aren’t entirely to blame. These factors explain why, despite using behavioral approaches and anti-smoking medicine, more people actually relapse.

Upon deciding to completely quit smoking, the first few weeks are usually the hardest. According to the experts, it takes at least eight to twelve weeks for an individual to start feeling more comfortable without smoking. Or if you have the budget, there’s a quicker way to get rid of your smoking habits.

Laser acupuncture might be the solution you’re looking for.

cigarette smoking say no to smoking
Image Credit: The News Chronicle

Nevertheless, while quitting smoking completely can be hard, the results are well worth it in the very end.

Learn more about how to keep your body healthy as you check out Wellness Fit some more.

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