“Almost everyone knows that smoking causes cancer.

Smoking is responsible for about 1 out of 5 deaths in the US. Lung cancer deaths among Hispanics are 2-3 times as high for Hispanic men as they are for Hispanic women. Smoking also causes emphysema, and heart disease. Over the long term, smoking leads people to develop stroke and many types of cancer, including: lung, throat, stomach, and bladder cancer. People who smoke have high chances of infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Smokers not only develop wrinkles and yellow teeth, they also loose bone density, which increases their risk to osteoporosis. Smokers also tend to be less active than non smokers, because smoking affects lung power. Smoking can also cause fertility problems and can impact sexual health in both men and women.

So how come people are still “lighting up”?

The answer is “Addiction”.

Smoking is a hard habit to break because tobacco contains nicotine which is highly addictive, like heroin or other addictive drugs. The body and mind quickly become so used to the nicotine in cigarettes that a person needs to have it just to feel normal.

People start smoking for variety of reasons. Some think it looks cool, others start because their family member or friends smoke. Statistics show that about 9 out of 10 tobacco users start before they are 18 years old. Most adults who started smoking in their teens never expect to become addicted. That’s why people say it’s just so much easier to not start smoking at all.

There are two factors that will determine your success in quitting smoking for good:

  • Will – you must have the desire to give up your habit of smoking and create a strong will to avoid a smoking relapse;
  • Mindset – you must learn about the effects of smoking, understand its consequences and face the facts that you need to stop smoking and follow, finish and maintain a “quit smoking” plan.

Staying smoke free will give you a whole lot more of everything, more energy, better looks, more money in your pocket, and in the long run, more life to live!!!”

Michelle J. Alexandre, MD