The fact is, cigarettes are addictive. The constant urge to smoke is all part of a nicotine addiction.1 Admitting to yourself, or anyone else for that matter, that you may be addicted to nicotine can be incredibly hard. But it’s important to confront the issue so you can truthfully answer the question ‘Habit or addiction?’ and then do something about it.
The big question: Are you addicted?2
- Do you smoke your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning?
- Do you still feel the urge to smoke, even when you’re in situations where you can’t, or when you don’t have any cigarettes?
- When you’re so sick that you have to stay in bed, do you still smoke?
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, there’s a very real chance that you may be addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes.
So what can you do?
Quit! Admit to yourself that you are addicted to nicotine, and get some help to put smoking behind you. The effects of smoking are far-reaching, not just for your lungs, but your brain and your heart, and the rest of your body too.3 And not just for you either, second-hand smoke affects the health of all those around you.4
By quitting smoking, you will begin to experience the benefits almost immediately … and they only get better with time: you’ll have less carbon monoxide in your blood, your cholesterol and blood pressure will reduce, you’ll be able to breathe easier and your risk of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer will plummet.5
The earlier you quit, the greater the benefits will be. But it’s never too late, whatever your age and however long you have been smoking, you will still reap the benefits of quitting.4
What are your options?
Quitting is hard, but it is worth it, and talking to your doctor may make the process a little easier. Your doctor can provide advice, counselling and smoking cessation treatment, where appropriate, to help free you from your dependence on nicotine. In fact, smokers are up to 4x more likely to succeed in quitting with the help of a healthcare professional compared to quitting unaided.6
Admitting that you’re addicted to smoking is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it takes an awful lot of strength and self-reflection, and it’s the first step to successfully quitting.
Together with the help of your friends, your family and your doctor, you can go nicotine free, and put the habit, and the addiction, behind you.
©Pfizer 2019. Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. Sydney, Australia. PP-CHM-AUS-0824, 04/2019
1 Benowitz, N.L. (2010). Nicotine Addiction. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(24), pp.2295-2303.
2 NIH. Instrument: Fagerstrom Test For Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Available at https://cde.drugabuse.gov/instrument/d7c0b0f5-b865-e4de-e040-bb89ad43202b. Accessed 8 March 2019.
3 CDC Fact Sheets. (2016). Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/. Accessed 8 March 2019.
4 Better Health Channel. (2015). Passive smoking. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/passive-smoking. Accessed 8 March 2019.
5 Ellerman, A., Ford, C. and Stillman, S. (2012). Smoking cessation. In: M. Scollo, and M. Winstanley, ed., Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issues., 4th ed. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria, pp.13-16.
6 West. R (2012) Stop smoking services; increased chances of quitting. NCSCT Briefing #8. London: National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.