About 20 percent of the adult population smokes cigarettes, cigars or pipes. The American Heart Association reports that tobacco smoking accounts for more than 440,000 deaths each year, many of which are preventable. With those kinds of statistics, it may be hard to understand why people start and stick with smoking. In research, much of it done to find out why people dont quit, offers insight as to what makes smoking appealing to some and the facts that help others to kick the habit.
It Makes You Feel Good
Most smokers perceive the effect of smoking as a positive feeling, according to a 2004 Medical News Today article. The scientific explanation for this is that within the first 10 seconds of inhaling, nicotine travels through the bloodstream to the brain. Nicotine receptors release dopamine and increases its flow to the brain. After about 30 seconds, a smoker feels energized and clearheaded.
Cancer Research UK indicates that bonding is one of the personal reasons people give for enjoying tobacco. Smoking is an activity you can share with others. People who smoke have a unique way of meeting new people. New conversations start when smoking in a group, during work or between classes at school, for instance. For teens, especially, bonding is an important part of smoking, according to a 2010 article in Psychology Today by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.,
Stress and Relaxation
While nicotine is a stimulant, people report that smoking relaxes them. It serves as an emotional crutch when the smoker is feeling down. People report feeling more confident and in control when smoking. When feeling lonely and bored, smoking may be a comfort. The American Psychological Association reports that people with anxiety disorders report having a strong emotional bond to their cigarettes.
The Cleveland Clinic explains that there is no safe amount of smoking. Smokers are at higher risk for developing an array of deadly health conditions including heart disease, stroke, and different cancers. Smoking tobacco decreases oxygen to the heart, it lowers good cholesterol, raises blood pressure, damages cells in the arteries and blood vessels, and raises your risk for developing lung cancer, throat cancer, diabetes, chronic asthma and lung infections.
In June 2010, New York State imposed the highest state tax on tobacco that the nation has yet seen. At $11 per pack, New Yorkers are paying $5.85 per pack for the cigarettes, a $2.75 sin tax, plus state and local taxes. A one-pack per day smoker in New York will pay more than $4,000 after one year. Even if you live in a state with a low tobacco cost, at $5 a pack, you will spend more than $1,350 in one year and nearly $7,000 during the next five years.
An article published by MSN Money points out other costs of tobacco smoking. Smokers are charged higher insurance premiums. Resale value of their cars and homes are lower. They pay more for dry cleaning.
Effect on Others
Second-hand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, causes between 22,700 and 69,600 premature deaths each year, according to the AHA. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified smoke that emanates from cigarettes, pipes and cigars as well as exhaled smoke as known human carcinogens. Children of smokers, reports the American Cancer Society, are more likely to suffer from lung infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis and ear infections. Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of giving birth to low-birth weight babies.