What you don't know about dropping the habit could hurt you
Published: June 30, 2014 | BY Ashley Oerman
Myth #1: E-Cigarettes will help you quitA new study by the University of California in San Francisco found that e-cigarettes are not as effective in helping smokers quit as you might think. The review of 82 studies looked at the impact e-cigarettes had on users and discovered that people who smoked the electronic cigs were actually less likely to quit smoking than people who never used them. Crazy, right? Read the truth about e-cigarettes here.
Myth #2: You'll Definitely Gain WeightTrust us, those cigarettes aren't keeping you thin; in fact, one study found that smoking may actually make you gain weight. That's just one more reason to kick the habit for good. So why does this myth continue to persist? Well, it's true that if you compensate for smoking by snacking on unhealthy foods, your pants may be fitting a little tighter, but that doesn't have to be the case. Read more about a new medication that helps prevent weight gain while quitting, plus more stay-healthy tips here.
Myth #3: Quitting is ExpensiveDon't want to invest in pricey patches and medications to help you quit? Well, if you do the math, you'll see that they will eventually pay for themselves when you're not constantly buying cigarettes, says Marc L. Steinberg, Ph.D., an assistant professor of addiction psychiatry. Plus, he says, if you have life insurance you will pay much less on your premiums as a non-smoker.
Myth #4: Hookah is a Healthier Alternative to CigarettesIf you only smoke recreationally—like when you're out on the town, for example—you might think that hitting up a hookah bar is a healthier alternative to getting a little buzz via cigarettes. But you would be wrong. A report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that smoking hookah is at least as toxic as smoking cigarettes and a more recent study by the University of California at San Francisco found that one night of smoking hookah significantly increases your exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens. Yikes.
Myth #5: Quitting After Years of Smoking Won't Improve Your HealthIt's never too late to get the health benefits of being smoke free, says Steinberg. In fact, after just one year without cigarettes, a person can reduce their risk of heart disease by half, he says. And the benefits don't even take that long to kick in. Twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. And just 12 hours after your last cigarette, the levels of carbon monoxide in your blood stream normalize. Two to three months after quitting, you can look forward to your lung function and circulation improving.
Myth #6: You Won't Be Able to Deal With Stress Without SmokingAlthough a lot of people smoke when they're stressed out, studies have shown that non-smokers are less anxious than smokers, and smokers who quit are less anxious than current ones, says Steinberg. So how did this myth get started? Steinberg says that when people are used to coping with stress by smoking, they might feel more anxious when they quit because they're not sure how to deal with their stress levels. But get this: Since nicotine is a stimulant, there's really no stress-reducing benefits that come with smoking. What might actually be de-stressing a smoker during a smoke break is simply getting away from their desk or a stressful situation and taking time to clear their head, which you can totally do.
Myth #7: You'll Lose Your Creative Edge at WorkIf you smoke to get a buzz before you get to work in the morning, you might not be doing yourself any favors. Even though you might feel that smoking gives you an edge or a jump on your work, smoking can actually keep you from working to the best of your abilities. Here's the thing, says Steinberg, smokers are more likely to take sick days and get sick more often in general, and if you're not at work or you're fighting a bug, you're not going to be as productive as you could be. Another bummer: Your boss and coworkers might resent the amount of smoke breaks you take because they could be keeping you from getting more work done, he says.
Myth #8: You'll Lose Your FriendsObviously you won't be able to pop outside the bar on a night out for a cigarette, but Steinberg says that he's never had a patient say that they've lost friends after kicking the habit. Though trying to quit when you're friends are puffing away can be difficult, try to avoid situations with friends where they'll be smoking and schedule a group shindig that does not leave room for cigarettes. And don't settle for cutting back to just a "social smoker." Here,