Nicotine addiction is notoriously hard to overcome. The highly addictive nature of nicotine causes extremely adverse withdrawal symptoms to take hold once an individual attempts to quit smoking, making it difficult for them to stay off cigarettes in the long term. The great deal of effort put into it, though, benefits the lives of those who manage to do so in a number of major ways. But what reasons commonly act as the motivation to quit smoking? Read on to find out.
Smoking dependency, or the compulsive need to smoke, is caused by nicotine, a stimulating agent found in tobacco leaves, smoke, and products such as cigarettes and cigars.
By binding with nicotinic cholinergic receptors in the brain, nicotine facilitates the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that brings about a pleasant, euphoric feeling. The more one smokes, the more their body and mind begin craving a constant supply of nicotine, until before long, a pattern of addiction is established. One-third of those who smoke even once becoming regular smokers, with only 7% of those who attempt to quit managing to do so.
In addition to the universal addictiveness of nicotine, a genetic inclination has also been uncovered. This causes certain individuals to be more susceptible than others to nicotine addiction.
Social pressure can also be a central factor in developing a smoking addiction, as the vast majority of smokers begin smoking with their peers as teenagers. Smoking is initially often associated with social acceptance and friendly gatherings, with smokers encouraging non-smokers to join in as part of a group-forming habit.
Research points to a number of leading reasons that manage to convince more smokers to successfully quit. In addition to offering the possible motivations to seeing their smoking cessation through, former smokers note that listing the benefits one is looking forward to enjoying once they quit smoking can help them focus on their end goal, acting to motivate them further as they begin the path toward cessation.
Self-image and appeal to others are two closely related subjects, with both acting as key motivators to quit smoking. Cigarette smoking and smoke are drastically age one’s skin, causing it to become wrinkled, lackluster, and dry. Stained teeth and fingernails are two other common effects of smoking. Bad breath, smell, and taste are additional results of smoking addiction. In fact, due to the myriad adverse effects brought on by smoking, most single individuals state they would refrain from dating someone who smokes.
Smoking cessation can change all that, improving one’s appearance and overall presence on a number of different levels. As one begins noticing the benefits that quitting smoking has made possible, their sense of accomplishment and self-worth are likely to improve, which in turn could be picked up and appreciated by those around them.
Smoking has repeatedly and unequivocally been proven to cause life-threatening physical conditions, such as various forms of cancer, lung diseases, cardiovascular illnesses, and diabetes. Together, tobacco-related issues are responsible for roughly 8 million deaths a year.
Smoking cessation helps counter a great deal of the damage tobacco causes one’s physical health. The longer one manages to avoid smoking, the more their body is able to repair itself: after just one smoke-free hour, a smoker’s heart rate and circulation will return to normal; after 24 hours, their chances of developing a heart attack are significantly reduced; after 48 hours, their senses of smell and taste intensify; and after two weeks, their lung functioning improves by up to 30%.
The vast improvement to one’s health is also reflected in the long-term, eventually resulting in resilience in the face of smoking-related illness, and in greater longevity, during which former smokers are able to live a more independent life than if they would have continued smoking.
In addition to causing significant damage to one’s physical health, smoking has been shown to induce detrimental mental health issues, contributing to the appearance of anxiety and depression symptoms, and in the case of the smoking cessation process, body image issues. Quitting smoking helps mitigate against these issues, by reducing the frequency and severity of smoking-related mental health symptoms such as irritability and difficulty concentrating.
Former smokers are also able to breathe more easily, exercise and exert themselves longer, and enjoy more potent sensorial experiences thanks to their newly revived taste and smell. Such physical benefits greatly contribute to one’s quality of life, and as a result, to improve their overall satisfaction from it.
Cigarettes, cigars, and other smoking paraphernalia can be expensive. As a smokers’ nicotine dependency worsens, they can lose control over their finances, with larger and larger portions of their salary going toward addiction. Smokers who go through a single packet of cigarettes per day spend roughly $3,000 a year on cigarettes. Trading that expense for a down payment on a new car, a vacation, a hobby or saving it for a rainy day is a major driving force for many smokers to finally find the motivation they need to quit.
Smoking affects not only the smoker themselves but also those in their immediate vicinity. Exposure to second-hand smoke is a life-threatening issue that can put children and physically at-risk populations (such as those with asthma) in harm’s way. Deciding to quit smoking offers them, as well as former smokers, a better quality of life. As the smoke clears, so to speak, those around a former smoker are able to spend time with them without the unpleasant and concerning effects that smoking brings about. Though not always a matter of direct health threat, an improved family and social life can act as the most convincing argument for smoking cessation of them all.