Frequently asked questions...
Why do people start to smoke ?
Most people start to smoke as teenagers who think it is
"cool" to smoke. That can result from peer
pressure or promotional influences. Having parents who smoke
strongly increases the chances of one becoming a smoker.
How long can I smoke before it affects my health ?
Facts reveal that it is not "cool" to smoke.
Every day, 3,000 teens smoke their first cigarette, and of
those, 1,000 will eventually die of tobacco-related disease.
Your health is affected immediately because tars and carbon
monoxide from the smoke and tobacco enter your body. You can
also be taking the first step toward nicotine addiction.
How long does it take to get addicted to nicotine ?
According to the Department of Health and Human Services
Office on Smoking and Health, the addiction to tobacco use
-- like most drug addictions -- is not always constant. From
initiation on, the process of graduation from first use to
addiction can take months or even years. In fact, initial
experiences are sometimes negative and require social
pressures and other factors to maintain exposure until the
What diseases are related to smoking ?
The Surgeon General reports that adolescents are unaware
of, or underestimate, the strength of tobacco addiction,
which almost always begins during childhood or adolescence.
A Surgeon General report shows conclusively that
cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addictive in the
same sense as drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
Some people cannot accept the notion that tobacco is
addicting because it is a legal product; but smokers who
repeatedly fail to quit smoking realize smoking is more than
just a simple habit.
Lung cancer is a major problem for smokers, who account for
87% of lung cancer deaths in the US. There are other
problems, too, such as emphysema, heart disease, circulatory
problems, and other types of cancer. In addition, smokers
are more susceptible than nonsmokers to upper respiratory
infections, colds and flu.
If I stop smoking now, how long will it take to reverse the
ill effects ?
Almost immediately. Blood pressure and pulse rate drop down
to normal level within 20 minutes of stopping smoking.
Within eight hours, the carbon monoxide level in blood is
reduced to normal. Within 24 hours, the chance for a heart
attack decreases and within three months, lung function
increases by up to 30%. Within one year, risk of a coronary
heart disease (chance of a heart attack) is half that of a
Is smoking an addiction or a habit ?
It's both. Nicotine was classified as an addictive substance
in 1988 and it is known to be more addicting than heroin.
The habit part is the repeated behavior (cigarette while on
the phone, in the car, or with a drink) that is most
difficult to break and is responsible for the most of the
relapses among quitters who don't use the SMOKENDERS
How long does it take to stop smoking ?
In the SMOKENDERS program, it will probably take four weeks,
as smokers are encouraged to continue to smoke for the first
four weeks. SMOKENDERS promotes a gradual process and
doesn't use scare tactics to get you to stop "cold
Will I gain weight if I quit ?
On average, quitters gain about six pounds under normal
conditions, but you will be healthier and stronger and you
will have more energy. Gaining excessive weight results from
consuming more calories. It is really an eating problem that
adds weight; it is not a direct result of not smoking.
SMOKENDERS provides techniques that will minimize weight
Are all forms of tobacco harmful, or are some forms safer
than others ?
All tobacco use is harmful. Usage requires you to put toxins
in your mouth and body. Not inhaling is better than
inhaling, but is still dangerous enough to pose serious
How will I feel after I quit ?
Almost half of all deaths among the 46 million smokers in
the US are attributable to cigarettes. Despite tobacco
industry claims of making safer cigarettes with reduced tar
and nicotine, the rate of lung cancer deaths among smokers
has increased 500 percent among female smokers and 100
percent among male smokers over the last 30 years.
You may feel worse or you may feel better as the body goes
through its physiological adjustment. It is important not to
get discouraged. Some people feel restless, angry and
agitated. You must remember that these are symptoms of
recovery and will dissipate quickly. Others have no problems
and even experience a euphoric feeling.