More Information About Smoking
Even if you aren't thinking of quitting now, you might find the following information helpful:
- Why Do I Smoke?
- Social Smoking
- Smoking and Your Body
- Cost Calculator
- Secondhand Smoke
- Tobacco Companies
- Learn More
Why Do I Smoke?
What does smoking do for you? Despite the health risks, you smoke because it fulfills a need. Get to know your habit and why you smoke. It will help you get to know yourself better and will help you develop a plan if you decide to quit in the future. Print a copy of the Why Do I Smoke? worksheet.
Many college students who smoke don't think of themselves as regular smokers. Rather, they define themselves as "social smokers" who smoke during social activities, but don't believe they're addicted to smoking.
You might be surprised to learn that like many "social" smokers, you're more dependent on nicotine than you thought. No amount of smoking is safe—even social smoking has negative effects on your health and produces secondhand smoke that affects those around you.
Smoking and Your Body
Smoking has serious long-term consequences and is the #1 cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S. Smoking also has some pretty unpleasant immediate effects:
- Increased stress. Smokers actually have higher stress levels. The "relaxed" feeling they get happens when their bodies return to the normal unstressed state non-smokers are in all the time.
- Difficulty breathing due to cough, tightening of the airways, and increased mucus.
- Decreased performance during physical activity due to less oxygen being delivered to the muscles.
- Increased risk for heart attack and stroke due to smoking's effects on cholesterol, hardening and constricting of the arteries, increased blood clotting, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. It only takes 1–5 cigarettes per day, and the effects can be seen as quickly as 30 minutes after smoking.
- Bad breath, tooth decay, heartburn, and ulcers.
- Ear and sinus infections, nasal irritation, pneumonia.
Have you ever added up how much you spend on cigarettes? Try it—you might be surprised how much cigarettes are costing you!
Environmental tobacco smoke, also called secondhand smoke, is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. It is involuntarily inhaled by nonsmokers, lingers in the air hours after cigarettes have been extinguished and can cause or exacerbate a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.
If you smoke, you're producing secondhand smoke, and chances are good that others are breathing it in. And, if you hang out with others who smoke, you're breathing in their secondhand smoke—you're smoking twice as much!
As far back as 1984, tobacco companies have admitted to targeting young adults. In the words of one executive, "Younger adult smokers are the only source of replacement smokers...If younger adults turn away from smoking, the industry must decline, just as a population which does not give birth will eventually dwindle." And there's more:
Learn more about Quitting Smoking.