The pros and cons of cigarette smoking

Most, if not all long term smokers, have a love/hate relationship with cigarettes. From the moment we awake in the morning until we lay our heads down on the pillow at night, cigarettes punctuate each and every activity of our daily lives.

When we decide to quit, untangling the associations we’ve built up over a lifetime of smoking takes conscious effort something that smoking cessation forum member Zoe illustrates beautifully below.

In her list of pros and cons, Zoe stands back and takes a critical look at her old smoking habit. A powerful exercise in stepping out from behind the smoke screen that nicotine addiction forces us to live behind, a pros and cons list allows us to uncover the truth about our relationship with smoking. From there, the work of healing can begin … as it did for Zoe.

The Pros and Cons of Cigarette Smoking From Zoe

I made a list of what I liked about smoking vs. what I hated about smoking … and though I really missed it at first, looking at this list made me see that I didn’t like smoking as much as I thought I did.

What I Liked about Smoking

  • The bonding I experienced with other smokers.
  • The feeling of creating a ritual.
  • Watching the cigarette burn and watching the smoke swirl.
  • Momentary gratification.

What I Hated about Smoking

  • The after smell on my clothes, furniture, car, house, everything. Yuck.
  • Not being able to breathe properly.
  • The constant nagging cough. All day, all night.
  • Lots of phlegm, lots of throat clearing and losing my voice mid sentence.
  • Painful heartburn every night and every time I drank coffee.
  • Feeling winded after extremely mild activity.
  • Severe throbbing headaches, occasional migraines.
  • Lingering colds and bronchitis.
  • Racing heartbeat, more sweating.
  • Increased rate of hypertension.
  • Dizziness after smoking too fast or having too many cigarettes.
  • Nausea from smoking too much.
  • The constant coppery, ashy taste in my mouth.
  • Yellow skin, teeth and fingernails.
  • Scaly, unhealthy feeling skin.
  • Anxiety from the fear about what I was doing to myself and the consequences.
  • No relaxation, always feeling in need of something. A constant feeling of not being satisfied.
  • Mini withdrawals throughout the day.
  • Feelings of shame while spending time with nonsmokers.
  • Not accomplishing tasks because of wasted time smoking.
  • The late evening/middle of the night trip to the gas station.
  • Going out in bad weather to smoke alone.
  • Feelings of inadequacy and substance dependence.
  • Driving my cat out of the room every time I lit up.
  • Dry mouth and constant feelings of thirst.
  • Coughing so hard that I made myself sick.
  • Trembling hands and fingertips.
  • Fear. Of being unable to quit, of dying an untimely, painful death.
  • The stinging feeling in my lungs when I tried to take a deeper or slower breath.
  • Getting smoke in my eyes.
  • Burning my lips on the filter.
  • Trying to light short butts and feeling my eyebrows singe. Ouch!
  • Re lighting a previously torched cigarette, so I don’t «waste» any tobacco.
  • Overflowing ashtrays, ashes and dust everywhere.
  • Burn holes in my car upholstery and on my clothes.
  • «Will I fall asleep smoking?»
  • «Will I catch something on fire?»
  • Dry, chapped lips.
  • The cost. All that money wasted on ruining my health and well being.
  • My nails and hair grew very slowly.
  • Smoking fueled my compulsiveness relating to other bad habits, such as nail biting and binge eating.
  • Having to reapply my lipstick after smoking.
  • The filthy taste of cheap tobacco.
  • Having to crack the car window in the pouring rain. Wet leg, wet arm, water in my eyes.
  • Tar build up on windows and furniture.
  • The way my hair and skin smelled.
  • Limited motivation and energy.
  • Spilled tobacco in my purse, on my dresser, on my computer desk.
  • Lighting the filter end by mistake…
  • Dropping a cigarette while driving.
  • Trying to tap my ashes out the car window … while the window is rolled up.
  • Dropping hot ashes or losing the tip of a cigarette.
  • Oops! Tapped ashes in my drink.
  • Feeling «exiled» in the smoking section/smoking room.
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell.

Maybe you should sit down and make a list like this for yourself. It might give you the nudge towards where you know you want to be.

Zoe

Zoe is right crafting a list of pros and cons is a great way to open our eyes about what smoking means to us and build motivation to kick this killer addiction to the curb once and for all.

There is no time like the present to make the changes you dream of a reality in your life. Don’t give another day of your precious life over to smoking quit now.

Surprising smoking facts and tobacco statistics

If you’re thinking that it’s time to quit smoking, or have just quit and need some motivation to keep going, use the smoking facts below to fuel the fire in your belly that will help you beat nicotine addiction, once and for all.

20 Surprising Smoking Facts and Tobacco Statistics

1) There are 1.1 billion smokers in the world today, and if current trends continue, that number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by the year 2025.

2) China is home to 300 million smokers who consume approximately 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year, or 3 million cigarettes a minute.

3) Worldwide, approximately 10 million cigarettes are purchased a minute, 15 billion are sold each day, and upwards of 5 trillion are produced and used on an annual basis.

4) It’s estimated that trillions of cigarette filters, filled with toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke, make their way into our environment as discarded waste yearly.

5) Five trillion cigarette filters weigh approximately 2 billion pounds.

6) While they may look like white cotton, cigarette filters are made of very thin fibers of a plastic called cellulose acetate. A cigarette filter can take between 18 months and 10 years to decompose.

7) A typical manufactured cigarette contains approximately 8 or 9 milligrams of nicotine, while the nicotine content of a cigar is 100 to 200 milligrams, with some as high as 400 milligrams.

8) There is enough nicotine in four or five cigarettes to kill an average adult if ingested whole. Most smokers take in only one or two milligrams of nicotine per cigarette however, with the remainder being burned off.

9) Ambergris, otherwise known as whale vomit is one of the hundreds of possible additives used in manufactured cigarettes.

10) Benzene is a known cause of acute myeloid leukemia, and cigarette smoke is a major source of benzene exposure. Among U.S. smokers, 90 percent of benzene exposures come from cigarettes.

11) Radioactive lead and polonium are both present in low levels in cigarette smoke.

12) Hydrogen cyanide, one of the toxic byproducts present in cigarette smoke, was used as a genocidal chemical agent during World War II.

13) Secondhand smoke contains more than 70 cancer causing chemical compounds, 11 of which are known to be Group 1 carcinogens.

14) The smoke from a smoldering cigarette often contains higher concentrations of the toxins found in cigarette smoke than exhaled smoke does.

15) Kids are still picking up smoking at the alarming rate of 3,000 a day in the U.S., and 80,000 to 100,000 a day worldwide.

16) Worldwide, one in five teens age 13 to 15 smoke cigarettes.

17) Approximately one quarter of the youth alive in the Western Pacific Region (East Asia and the Pacific) today will die from tobacco use.

18) Half of all long term smokers will die a tobacco related death.

19) Every eight seconds, a human life is lost to tobacco use somewhere in the world. That translates to approximately 5 million deaths annually.

20) Tobacco use is expected to claim one billion lives this century unless serious anti smoking efforts are made on a global level.

Tobacco offers us a life of slavery, a host of chronic, debilitating illnesses and ultimately death.

Take Your Life Back

As smokers, we learn early on to put up a mental wall of denial between our smoking habit and the harsh reality of the damage we’re inflicting on ourselves with every cigarette smoked.

We tell ourselves lies that allow us smoke with some level of comfort. We say we have time to cancer doesn’t run in our we can stop any time we want the bad things happen to other people. And because smoking is typically a slow killer, those lies support the framework of our wall of denial for years and years.

Eventually though, most smokers find that the wall begins to crumble, and bit by bit, smoking becomes a fearful, anxious activity. This is when most smokers start seriously thinking about how they might find a way to quit smoking for good.

A crucial step in the recovery process from nicotine addiction involves breaking through that wall of denial to put smoking in the proper light. We need to learn to see our cigarettes not as the friend or buddy we can’t live without, but as the horrific killers they truly are.

If you’re a smoker wishing you could quit, make your mind up to dig your heels in and do the work necessary to quit smoking now. You’ll never regret it.

Sources

Cigarette Litter How Many? Clean Virginia Waterways Longwood University.

Cigarette Litter Biodegradable? Clean Virginia Waterways Longwood University.

The Health Consequences of Smoking A Report of the Surgeon General 2004. Dept. of Health and Human Resources Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nicotine IDLH Documentation 16 August 1996. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Radioactive Cigarettes 02 April 1980. Tobacco Documents Online.

The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke A Report of the Surgeon Generals 04 Jan 2007. U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.


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