Bust some of the myths that can make you question quitting smoking.
Fact: Nicotine found in tobacco products is a very addictive drug. Exposure to nicotine alters brain chemistry resulting in tobacco dependence and nicotine addiction.
Fact: Filters do not protect the smoker. They are designed to make smoke particles smaller, which make nicotine easier to absorb.
Fact: NRT (patch, gum, inhaler, lozenge and nasal spray) is much safer than using tobacco.
NRT replaces some of the nicotine your body receives from tobacco products, but at a much lower level. Most of the harm from smoking is from the tar and carbon monoxide which are not found in nicotine replacement products. Nicotine from NRT is delivered much more slowly and at lower levels than from smoking. As a result, the risk of becoming addicted to NRT is small.
Fact: The sooner you quit, the sooner your health can improve.
- Within 20 minutes after quitting your body starts to heal.
- After 12 hours without a cigarette, the body cleanses itself of the excess carbon monoxide from cigarettes and increases the body's oxygen levels.
- One year after quitting, the risk for coronary heart disease decreases by half.
- After 2-5 years, your risk for stroke is similar to that of a nonsmoker.
- After 10-15 years of not smoking, the risk of all tobacco related diseases are greatly reduced.
Fact: It is not healthy to breathe any amount of tobacco smoke. Tens of thousands of nonsmokers die every year from breathing others' secondhand smoke.
Fact: Smokeless tobacco is still tobacco. While you are not inhaling it into your lungs, it is still being absorbed through the lining of your mouth and circulating through your bloodstream to all parts of your body. Although there is no secondhand smoke to endanger others, spitting the excessive saliva produced from smokeless tobacco can be offensive to others.
Adapted from the following sources: Truth Initiative, American Lung Association, CDC and the American Journal of Public Health.