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The Top Ten Reasons to Keep Smoking

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If you're still not sure you want to quit, with our tongues firmly in our cheeks, we've come up with the top ten reasons to keep smoking.

10. That lighter comes in handy for birthday candles.

9. Your ex-spouse wanted you to quit and you won't give him/her the satisfaction.

8. The occasional holes in your clothes give you a needed excuse to shop

7. Philip Morris needs that money more than you do.

6. Those extra wrinkles give you that "mature" look.

5. The smell on your coat makes it easy to pick it out of a pile at a party.

4. If not for the smoking you'd be perfect, and nobody likes a perfect person.

3. If your sense of smell came back you'd have to do something about that litter box.

2. You wouldn't get any exercise at all if you didn't run outside the building every hour for a cigarette.

1. That rattle when you breathe reassures you that you're still alive.


An Important Quiz for People Who Have Smoked a Long Time!

If you or someone you know is an older smoker, you may think that there is no point in quitting now. Think again. By quitting smoking now, you will feel more in control and have fewer coughs and colds. On the other hand, with every cigarette you smoke, you increase your chances of having a heart attack, a stroke, or cancer. Need to think about this more? Take this older smokers' I.Q. quiz. Just answer "true" or "false" to each statement below.

True or False

1.   True False If you have smoked for most of your life, it's not worth stopping now.
2.   True False Older smokers who try to quit are more likely to stay off cigarettes.
3.   True False Smokers get tired and short of breath more easily than nonsmokers the same age.
4.   True False Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke among adults 60 years of age and older.
5.   True False Quitting smoking can help those who have already had a heart attack.
6.   True False Most older smokers don't want to stop smoking.
7.   True False An older smoker is more likely to smoke more cigarettes than a younger smoker.
8.   True False Someone who has smoked for 30 to 40 years probably won't be able to quit smoking.
9.   True False Very few older adults smoke cigarettes.
10. True False Lifelong smokers are more likely to die of diseases like emphysema and bronchitis than nonsmokers.

Prepared by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Public Health Services
National Institutes of Health


All About Nicotine!

Inhaled nicotine reaches the brain within 15 seconds and concentrations in brain tissue remain high for about 2 hours. Nicotine is transformed by oxidation in the liver to conitine which is then excreted in the urine where it can be detected by a laboratory test. In the brain, it activates the dopamine reward system and increases certain neurotranmitters and hormones including norepinephrine, epinephrine , endorphins, and acth/cortisol.. Other activators of the dopamine reward system include opiates, amphetamines, and cocaine.


How Can I Cope Without Smoking?

Start your "Quit Day" morning without a cigarette.

Don't carry a lighter, matches or cigarettes. Keep all of these smoking reminders out of sight.

If you live with a smoker, ask that person not to smoke in your presence.

Don't focus on what you are missing. Think about the healthier way of life you are gaining.

When you get the urge to smoke, take a deep breath. Hold it for 10 seconds and release it slowly. Repeat this several times until the urge to smoke is gone.

Keep your hands busy. Doodle, play with a pencil or straw, or work on a computer.

Change activities that were connected to smoking. Take a walk or read a book instead of taking a cigarette break.

When you can, avoid places, people and situations associated with smoking. Hang out with non-smokers or go to places that don't allow smoking, such as the movies, museums, shops or libraries.

Don't substitute food or sugar-based products for cigarettes. Eat low-calorie, healthful foods (such as carrot or celery sticks, sugar-free hard candies) or chew gum when the urge to smoke strikes so you can avoid weight gain.

Drink plenty of fluids, but limit alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. They can trigger urges to smoke.

Exercising will help you relax.

Get support for quitting. Tell others about your milestones with pride.


How will I feel when I quit?

You may crave cigarettes, be irritable, feel very hungry, cough often, get headaches or have difficulty concentrating. These symptoms of withdrawal occur because your body is used to nicotine, the active addicting agent within cigarettes.

When withdrawal symptoms occur within the first two weeks after quitting, stay in control. Think about your reasons for quitting. Remind yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and getting used to being without cigarettes.

The withdrawal symptoms are only temporary. They are strongest when you first quit but will go away within 10 to 14 days. Remember that withdrawal symptoms are easier to treat than the major diseases that smoking can cause.

You may still have the desire to smoke, since there are many strong associations with smoking. People may associate smoking with specific situations, with a variety of emotions or with certain people in their lives. The best way to overcome these associations is to experience them without smoking.

If you smoke again (called a relapse) do not lose hope. Seventy-five percent of those who quit relapse. Most smokers quit three times before they are successful. If you relapse, don't give up! Plan ahead and think about what you will do next time you get the urge to smoke.


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