Well Being

Top 7 Smoking Myths That Stop You From Quitting

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You just smoke when you're stressed; you think it's good for your figure; or you think it's your body, and you'll do what you want. There are a lot of excuses that keep you puffing away, but deep down you probably know you should quit. AOL Health's “Myths That Keep You Smoking” may change your mind about your favorite excuse.

1. Quitting will make you fat: Thin models and actresses who smoke, and ads like the one above from Virginia Slims make you think that cigarettes are the key to keeping your figure, but quitting doesn't have to mean gaining tons of weight. The average quitter gains about 10 pounds at first, but studies have shown that health-minded quitters tend not to gain as much weight: Clearing up your lungs actually makes it easier to exercise and rev your metabolism, so once your cravings go away, you should be able to peel off the excess weight by replacing your afternoon smoke with an afternoon run.

2. Smoking just a few times a day is fine: Unfortunately, smoking isn't like having a glass of wine. There's no “in moderation” rule that allows for a safe amount of smoking. A long-ranging Norwegian study showed that women who smoke one to four cigarettes daily are five times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smoking women; men who were also “light” smokers were almost three times more likely to die of lung cancer. Both men and women were nearly three times as likely to die of coronary artery disease.

3. Quitting is expensive: Gums, patches, and medications can cost up to $600 over the course of quitting, but smokers pay thousands a year to maintain their smoking habits. AOL Health estimates that a New York state resident who smokes a pack a day is paying around $4,000 a year, but even in states with lower taxes, it's a pricey addiction.

4. Smoking is only bad for the person who smokes: Of the non-smokers who die from lung cancer each year in America, 3,000 die from secondhand smoke, and several studies have shown that spouses and family of smokers have a much higher risk of lung disease, cancer, heart disease, and developing asthma.

5. Cigars and chewing tobacco are healthier than cigarettes: Though these are taxed less heavily in most states, they're still addictive and bad for your health. Chewing tobacco is highly addictive and associated with high risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, cheek, gums, tongue, neck, jaw, face and lips. Smoking a cigar is the equivalent of smoking 20 cigarettes (an entire pack), and cigars have higher concentrations of toxins and cancer-causing tar.

6. I've been smoking for so long, it doesn't matter if I quit now: A study at Duke University showed that if you quit before age 35, you can expect to live as long and as well as a non-smoker. At any age, quitting immediately improves lung function and lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer.

7. I'm not really addicted, so I can quit whenever I want: Nicotine is one of the most highly addictive drugs out there, even more so than heroin. Nearly 70% of smokers want to quit, but only 4% to 7% actually manage to do so without help.

via AOL Health