Despite documented risks, many people still choose to smoke
Provided by Business Psychology Associates
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, yet many people still smoke despite the obvious health risks. Smoking causes more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. each year due to cancer, heart disease, and stroke combined. Of these, half die in middle age, losing an average of 20-25 years of life expectancy. Children of smokers tend to get more coughs and colds, and their lungs don’t get to be as strong as children of nonsmokers.
Smoking by women who are pregnant appears to damage the immune system of their developing children. The study’s researchers suggest that this fi nding might explain why children who are born to women who smoked while pregnant are more likely to develop asthma and other respiratory problems than other children. The cause of the damage may be due to changes to receptors in the developing baby’s immune system that are responsible for recognizing and fighting infections.
Most smokers continue to smoke even though they would like to stop. Currently, there are a number of ways to kick the habit without having to simply rely on will power and go cold turkey. Treatments for nicotine addiction have improved over the past number of years.
Effective treatment for nicotine addiction addresses both the biological (withdrawal symptoms) and the psychological (habitual) components. The biological component can be addressed through the use of nicotine replacement methods that help the smoker to gradually wean himself or herself off of nicotine. These methods include the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, and nicotine sprays and inhalers. The nicotine replacement therapies work to gradually reduce withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, hunger, and cravings.
These methods are all more effective when combined with a smoking cessation program that teaches a smoker how to cope with cravings and withdrawal and how to learn to manage stress. If you are considering quitting, call your EAP for a referral to a counselor who can facilitate a smoking cessation program for you.
For additional information or assistance, please contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or consult a mental health professional. Also visit the BPA Web site.