Tobacco Addiction

Tobacco use is a habit. Nicotine in tobacco is an addictive drug. With every puff, you take nicotine into your body, where it affects the pleasure center of the brain and tells your brain nicotine is pleasurable. The more you smoke, the more marks are made in the pleasure center of the brain, causing the brain to seek more nicotine.

Tobacco use becomes so much a part of your everyday life that sometimes you may not even be aware you have lit a cigarette. Tobacco use goes with other things like meals, talking on the phone, first getting up in the morning, your first cup of coffee, reading a book, and many other activities.

Learn about:

The Facts About Quitting

  • You can quit using tobacco.
  • You do not have to do it alone. Here at Premier Community Health (PCH), we have a trained smoking cessation counselor to help you be successful.
  • Once you smoke your last cigarette and begin the process of quitting, you will notice very positive changes in your body right away. These positive changes to your health can occur no matter how long you have smoked, as long as no permanent damage has been done to your blood cells. Once permanent damage has been done to your blood cells, the cells can become cancerous and build a tumor in your body. Nicotine builds cholesterol in your body, so blood cells can become very thick and attach to the walls of arteries, causing blood clots, artery blockage, heart disease, and/or stroke.

Preparing to Quit

Once you have made the commitment to quit smoking, there are some actions you need to take in preparing yourself to quit. These include:

  • Getting rid of all of your tobacco products (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff) as well as ashtrays, matches and lighters in your home, car, and office.
  • Writing down your five most important reasons for quitting―and putting the list all over your house and car, as well as in your cigarette pack.
  • Putting a picture of a loved one under the cover of your cigarette pack.
  • Developing a plan.
  • Choosing a quit date.
  • Having your teeth cleaned to make your teeth and smile cleaner and brighter.
  • Having gum, mints, and/or hard candy with you at all times to pop in your mouth when you get the urge to smoke.
  • Having your furniture, curtains, and carpets steam-cleaned to lessen the smell of stale smoke.
  • Painting your walls―nicotine sticks to your walls and makes them dingy.
  • Buying new clothes so you can start fresh with some clean-smelling clothes to wear.
  • Redecorating your house―painting, doing home projects, changing the furniture around, buying new furnishings, or decorationing―to give your home a different appearance, life, and feel.
  • Changing your routines (driving to work a different way, eating out at smoke-free restaurants, limiting or delaying the time you spend with friends who smoke).
  • Telling people you are trying to quit smoking―gathering the support you will need from family, friends, coworkers, and others as you go on your journey to become smoke-free and preparing them for the physical and emotional changes you will be going through.
  • Asking friends and family not to smoke in your house or car.

How to Quit

With each attempt, you learn more about what works best for you. If you go back to smoking again, don’t worry, just start fresh the next day. It is normal to have about seven attempts to quit before you do it for good. Be patient and kind to yourself, and reward yourself for even the smallest bit of progress (i.e. cutting down one more cigarette smoked in a day).

Here are more suggestions to help you make the adjustments needed:

  • Use less and less tobacco each day until you do not use it at all (this is not a highly recommended method, because often it is too difficult to give up those last few cigarettes).
  • Change your routine to help remove the association of your activities and smoking/tobacco use (this is very effective in making your mind and body work in a different mode, decreasing the need for cigarettes).
  • Do it cold-turkey―pick a day to quit, and do not use any tobacco on that day or forever after (this is the fastest and most effective way to quit).
  • Find a quit-smoking buddy―find someone who will quit with you, or who has quit successfully and knows what you will be going through (this will provide you with a big part of the support you will need. It will also make you accountable and stay on task!).
  • Use nicotine replacement therapy―there is no reason to feel that you have to quit on your own power; use what is out there to help you quit more effectively (there is no weakness or shame implied when someone uses nicotine replacement therapy. Take advantage of everything out there that can help you quit. Using nicotine replacement therapy nearly doubles your chance of quitting for good).
  • Keep reminding yourself of your reasons for wanting to quit―always go back to your five main reasons for quitting when you reach for a cigarette or tobacco of choice (reminding yourself of the reasons you want to quit will help you get through those low times when you want to give up trying).