Cigarettes do not contain toxic substances.
More than 4 000 chemicals have been identified in tobacco smoke, at least 250 of which are known to be harmful and more than 50 of which are known to cause cancer. 1 Studies have shown that pollution levels in indoor places that allow smoking, are higher than levels found on busy roadways, in closed motor garages and during firestorms. 1
Tobacco use is simply a “bad habit” and not an addiction.
Many people, including smokers, do not realise the degree of addiction of tobacco use. Smokers often believe they will be able to easily quit smoking before health problems occur. 3 They are also unaware that effective treatments are available to help them stop smoking. 3
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance found naturally in tobacco. 2 It is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. 4 Over time, a person becomes physically dependent on and emotionally addicted to nicotine. 5,6
Tobacco use does not lead to tolerance.
Smokers need to take a constant amount of nicotine everyday to achieve the desired effects. 6 After a while, smokers develop tolerance to nicotine i.e. they need to take in more nicotine to get the same effect that they originally got from smaller amounts. 5,6 This leads to an increase in smoking over time. 5
Stopping smoking is easy.
Tobacco smoking is a learned behaviour. 7 Cigarettes become part of a smoker’s daily routine and are often associated with events such as finishing a meal, which becomes a cue to trigger the desire to smoke. 6,8 Smokers also use cigarettes to handle stress and negative emotions such as anxiety. 8,9 To stop smoking, a smoker must learn new coping skills and break old patterns. 5
Often, multiple attempts at trying to stop smoking are required before stopping successfully. 5,8
When a person who is addicted to nicotine stops smoking, the urge to smoke again occurs often and lasts long after the withdrawal symptoms disappear. 5,6
Stopping smoking is impossible.
The most effective approach to smoking cessation treatment is to combine medication AND tailored behavioural therapy. 5 These two treatments in combination have the highest success rates for stopping smoking. 5,10
Your doctor can help you stop smoking. He/she can help you understand what treatments are available and provide you with support to help you stop smoking successfully.
For more information, refer to your doctor or pharmacist (or other healthcare professional).
References: 1. Mostafa RM. Dilemma of women’s passive smoking. Ann Thorac Med 2011 Apr-Jun;6(2):55-56. 2. Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). Fact Sheet on Tobacco Products. [online] 2018 Oct [cited 2020 Jan 24]. Available from: URL: https://www.cansa.org.za/files/2017/05/Fact-Sheet-Tobacco-Products-Oct-2018.pdf 3. Morphett K, Partridge B, Gartner C, Carter A, Hall W. Why Don’t Smokers Want Help to Quit? A Qualitative Study of Smokers’ Attitudes towards Assisted vs. Unassisted Quitting. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2015 Jun;12:6591-6607. 4. Mishra A, Chaturvedi P, Datta S, Sinukumar S, Joshi P, Garg A. Harmful effects of nicotine. Ind J Med Paediatr Oncol 2015 Jan-Mar;36(1):24-31. 5. Muehlig S. Tobacco Addiction. Chapter 7. In: Psychiatric Disorders - Trends and Developments. (ed) Uehara T. InTech, Europe & China, 2011. [online] 2011 Aug 3 [cited 2020 Jan 24]. Available from: URL: http://www.intechopen.com/books/psychiatric-disorders-trendsand-developments/tobacco-addiction . 6. Benowitz NL. Nicotine Addiction. N Engl J Med 2010 Jun;362(24):2295-2303. 7. Roberts NJ, Kerr SM, Smith SMS. Behavioral Interventions Associated with Smoking Cessation in the Treatment of Tobacco Use. Health Services Insights 2013;6:79-85. 8. Jesus MCP, Silva MH, Cordeiro SM, Kortchmar E, Zampier VSB, Merighi MAB. Understanding unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking: a social phenomenology approach. Rev Esc Enferm USP 2016 Dec;50(1):71-78. 9. Choi D, Ota S, Watanuki S. Does cigarette smoking relieve stress? Evidence from the event-related potential (ERP). Int J Psychophysiol 2015 Oct;98:470-476. 10. Black JH. Evidence base and strategies for successful smoking cessation. J Vasc Surg 2010 Jun;51:1529-1537. 11. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). Stopping smoking. The benefit and aids to quitting. [online] 2014 Sep [cited 2020 Jan 24]. Available from: URL: http://ash.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/StoppingSmoking-BenefitsAndAids.pdf .