We talk a lot about drugs and alcohol and their negative effects on the body. One substance that often gets overlooked, but is so common, is nicotine. In America, 24.8 million men (23.1 percent) and 21.1 million women (18.3 percent) smoke. There have been numerous large-scale campaigns in recent years to encourage people to stop smoking. Some municipalities have even begun forcing people to stop smoking by passing smoking bans. However, smoking still remains one of the top addictions in the United States.
Awareness of the Dangers of Smoking
We have come a long way in the past few decades when it comes to smoking. When we watch old tv shows or movies or see old ads, we may be surprised by how cigarettes were once so commonplace. Before we knew they were so harmful to our health, nearly everyone smoked at one time or another. Smoking used to be common in homes, in school offices, on game shows, and in baseball dugouts. No one thought twice if the person next to them decided to light up.
Today, smoking is much more limited. Those who do smoke may be more conscious about where they smoke and who they smoke around. Second-hand smoke, with its negative consequences, has gotten a good deal of attention in the last two decades. Many states now have more regulations when it comes to smoking. It took many years and a lot of discussion, but at least 27 states now have some sort of smoking ban. Most restaurants are now smoke-free, and many bars have also been forced to eliminate smoking areas.
Not everyone who smokes wants to quit. Some people consider it the one little pleasure they allow themselves, and have no intention of stopping. Many Americans, however, have tried to quit many times and failed. They know the dangers of smoking, that it causes different types of cancer, lung and heart disease, stroke, and emphysema. They feel the pain in their pocketbook with rising prices and cigarette taxes. But as with any addiction, even the threat of health problems and the extreme cost of the substance isn’t enough to stop the addiction.
There are a variety of ways to get help with quitting smoking. Most people try stop-smoking products that can be bought in stores or over the internet. Patches, gum, and water vapor cigarettes are among the most popular. There are also prescription medications and alternative ways, such as hypnosis and laser therapy. Smoking, while harmful, is not usually viewed as an addiction that needs rehab to overcome. But for some people who have tried other methods without success, getting the help of a healthcare professional may be necessary.