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Smoking Cessation Health Center

Frequently Asked Questions About Quitting Smoking

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What's in the cigarettes I smoke?

Your body gets more than nicotine when you smoke a cigarette.

There are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Some of them are also in wood varnish, the insect poison DDT, arsenic, nail polish remover, and rat poison.

The ashes, tar, gases, and other toxins in cigarettes harm your body over time. They damage your heart and lungs. They also make it harder for you to taste and smell things and fight infections.

Why is quitting smoking so hard?

Many people who kicked the habit say it was the hardest thing they ever did. Do you feel hooked on cigarettes? You're probably addicted to nicotine.

Nicotine is in all tobacco products. It temporarily makes you feel calm and satisfied. At the same time, you feel more alert and focused.

The more you smoke, the more nicotine you need to feel good. Soon, you don't feel "normal" without nicotine. It takes time to break free from nicotine addiction. It may take more than one try to quit for good. So don't give up too soon. You will feel good again.

Quitting is also hard because smoking is a big part of your life. You enjoy it. You may smoke when you are stressed, bored, or angry. It's part of your daily routine. You may do it without even thinking about it.

Smoking goes with other things, too. You may light up when you feel a certain way or do certain things. For example:

  • Drinking coffee, wine, or beer
  • Talking on the phone
  • Driving
  • Being with other people who smoke

You may even feel uncomfortable not smoking at times or in places where you usually have a cigarette. These times and places are called "triggers" because they trigger, or turn on, cigarette cravings. Breaking these habits is the hardest part of quitting for some people.

Quitting isn't easy. It often takes several tries. You learn something each time you try. Remember that millions of people have quit smoking for good. You can be one of them!

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