According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the U.S. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.
Quitting smoking is difficult and may require several attempts. Users often return to smoking because of withdrawal symptoms, stress and weight gain. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, cravings for a cigarette, and increased appetite.
Although it is difficult, quitting smoking greatly improves your health and the chances for a longer, healthier life. People who stop smoking have a lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer. They also will experience:
- reduced risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
- reduced coronary heart disease risk within one to two years of quitting.
- reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- reduced risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
- reduced risk for infertility in women of reproductive age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.
The IDPH Quitline Iowa can help you stop your addiction to tobacco. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help, or click here to visit the Quitline Iowa web site for more information.
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