And what if I stopped smoking?
This brochure is designed for those who are not seriously
Print this brochure, rather than read it on the screen
If, like the majority of smokers, you do not see stopping smoking immediately, this brochure is designed for you. Its purpose is to inform you of the advantages of life without cigarettes and to encourage you to stop smoking. The information that it contains is based on the experience both by smokers and ex-smokers, as well as a review of the most recent scientific knowledge. We would love to share this information with you.
The advantages of life without cigarettes
Have you thought carefully of the advantages of life without cigarettes? Use the space below to make a list.
The advantages of life without cigarettes:
Here is what a number of men and women ex-smokers told us in one of our surveys:
Improve your health by stopping smoking
You risk becoming seriously ill if you continue to smoke. Stopping smoking is the most important thing you can do to protect your health, regardless of your age and the number of years you have smoked.
Women gain a lot by quitting smoking
By stopping smoking, you also protect your children
Drawbacks of smoking
Have you thought carefully about the other drawbacks of smoking, besides the health risks? Use the space below to make a list.
Drawbacks of the smoking habit:
Here are some drawbacks of smoking mentioned by the participants of our surveys. Keep in mind that these drawbacks will disappear if you stop smoking!
Did you know?
In smoking, you absorb:
In smoking, you put the health of others in danger:
The risk of lung cancer is 26% higher for nonsmokers if they live with a smoker than if they do not. The risk of heart attack is 23% higher.
The image of yourself that you present to others
Today, it is becoming worse and worse to be seen smoking. Consider the negative image you give of yourself to your family, your children, your friends, your work colleagues, to your bosses. In quitting smoking, you will project an image of a strong and responsible person, capable of willpower, conscious of your health and that of others.
The example given to children
Adults who smoke carry part of the responsibility when adolescents imitate their behaviors. By stopping smoking, you will give a positive example for the younger ones.
Supporting the Tobacco Industry?
In buying cigarettes, you are supporting an industry that targets children and youngsters, manipulates the composition of the tobacco to make it more addictive to smokers. This industry admits also to have lied, because despite of its multi-year denial of the fact, it has known for a long time that nicotine causes a physical addiction.
What smoking costs
How much do you spend each day on your cigarettes? _____ $ / day.
Multiply figure by 365 to obtain your spending per year _____ $ / year.
Multiply figure by 10 to find your spending over ten years _____ $ / 10 years.
Write down below what you can buy with this money:
Why do you continue to smoke?
Have you really sat down and asked yourself yet why you continue to smoke, considering the drawbacks of the habit? Use the space below to make a list.
The reasons why I continue to smoke:
Here are a few reasons explained to us by smokers who participated in our surveys. Each is followed by an explanation of why the logic is not the best:
"I like to smoke."
You can find the pleasure you get out of cigarettes elsewhere. If you stop smoking, you will have feelings of success, you will feel in better shape, you will fully rediscover tastes and smells, foods and drinks will taste better, you won't always be out of breath. By stopping smoking, you will not have to worry about the risks that you run for your health and the health of others anymore.
"Smoking relaxes me."
There are other ways to relax than by smoking: breathing deeply several times, taking a walk, doing more sports, practicing a relaxation technique, getting enough sleep, taking a nap, etc.
The pleasure and feelings of relaxation after you smoke a cigarette are actually linked to your dependence on the nicotine itself. They are consequences of the elimination of the negative feelings of having a nicotine withdrawal. Nonsmokers feel neither pleasure nor relaxed when they absorb nicotine. If you stop smoking, you will realize that you do not need cigarettes to be relaxed and live happily. Smokers have forgotten what it is like to be completely relaxed, as they are always afraid of having a nicotine withdrawal.
"Cigarettes help me cope with difficult moments."
Ask yourself truly, do cigarettes really help you deal with your problems? Lighting a cigarette when a problem comes can prevent you from clearly discerning the problem and the solution.
"Smoking helps me concentrate and work better."
Nicotine facilitates concentration mostly because it reduces withdrawal symptoms (e.g., restlessness and anxiety); using nicotine just allows you to focus yourself on something other than these symptoms. In reality, cigarettes reduce intellectual performance, because of diminished flow of oxygen to the brain.
"I will quit one day, just not right now."
You probably do not see smoking for the rest of your life. What are you waiting for? Quitting smoking will not be easier later than now. Is it not better to stop smoking now, rather than after you contract a disease caused by smoking?
"I don't have the willpower to quit."
There are actually 36 million ex-smokers in the U.S.A. If millions of people are able to stop smoking, then you certainly capable of doing it as well! Look around you, you certainly know several ex-smokers. Remind yourself that you do not have less willpower than anyone else. You can succeed at stopping smoking as well. Contrary to what many smokers believe, stopping smoking is not only a matter of will power. It demands a particular knowledge. You can acquire this expertise by reading the brochures in this series.
"I am dependent on the nicotine."
Nicotine is a substance that results in a strong physical addiction. After all, dependence is the main reason why smokers continue to smoke. With each cigarette, you strengthen and reinforce this dependence. Nonetheless, you will only need about 2 to 3 weeks of not smoking to get rid of the dependence. It is quitting smoking that is the very door to the prison of dependence. And in fact, many ex-smokers have told us that freeing themselves of this dependence was less difficult than they thought. And if they had known how easy it was to stop, they would have done it even earlier.
"I'm afraid of the withdrawal effects of quitting."
These symptoms generally disappear within 2 to 3 weeks. The "patch," chewing gums, nasal spray and inhalator containing nicotine, as well as a new drug called bupropion, reduce or eliminate these symptoms. By using these products, you double or triple your chances of successfully quitting.
"If I quit smoking, I will gain weight."
It is true that some people gain weight after they stop smoking. Understand however, that this weight gain is usually moderate (3 to 4 kilos, or 8-10 pounds) and many simple and effective techniques exist to either lose the weight or to avoid gaining it in the first place. The use of nicotine-containing products or of the bupropion drug by ex-smokers limits weight gains a little, or at least postpones the smoking cessation related weight gain.
"It is too late, the damage is done."
This is bad logic. No matter how old you are or how many years you have smoked, quitting smoking is beneficial for your health. It is NEVER TOO LATE to stop smoking.
"I only smoke a few cigarettes. It isn't very dangerous."
This is bad logic. Many scientific studies have shown that "small time" smokers run serious risks. For example, people who smoke 1 to 10 cigarettes a day run 10 times the risk of cancer as nonsmokers.
"I smoke light cigarettes. I run only small risks.":
The term "light" cigarettes was invented by the tobacco industry to fool smokers into believing that these cigarettes are less toxic or less addictive, a fact which is not true. Machines establish the level of nicotine and tar written on the cigarette packets, but people do not smoke like machines! Smokers of light cigarettes do not smoke the same way that smokers of "regular" cigarettes do. They inhale the smoke more deeply, take longer and more frequent puffs, make shorter butts and block the ventilation holes around the filter to avoid diluting the smoke with air. As a result, the levels of nicotine and other toxic substances in the blood are not much different for people who smoke light cigarettes than for people who smoke regular cigarettes.
"If I try to quit, I'm afraid I will just start again."
Relapsing is a normal phenomenon, a part of the quitting process. On average, ex-smokers make 4 serious attempts to quit before they free themselves from cigarettes. It is not a shame to relapse! Just try again and again. Every attempt increases your chances of success.
Why not take the leap?
You probably do not see smoking for the rest of your days. So why not quit now, before you become sick from a smoking-related disease, or before making your family sick from a disease related to your smoking? Many ex-smokers have said that stopping smoking was the best thing they ever did in their lives, and one that made them the most proud. Start by getting motivated. Inform yourself, speak with those around you or with your doctor, prepare an attempt, then try to stop, even if you might relapse. On average, ex-smokers make 4 serious attempts to quit before they quit for good. It is entirely normal to restart many times.
We can help you!
We can give you individualized advice to motivate you to stop smoking. Just respond to our questionnaire and return it to us. In return, you will receive a personalized evaluation of your responses. You can choose to receive a series of these evaluations, updated periodically. We have also created a series of brochures that can be useful to you, in particular the brochure entitled "It is final, I am quitting smoking." You can order this material at the address on the first page. If you have access to the Internet, you can obtain all of this material at the following address: http://www.stop-tabac.ch. All of our material is free of charge.
Prepare yourself, actively
Of course, instead of stopping smoking all alone, it is better to get help through a doctor, through a specialist in tobacco withdrawal, or through a support group. You will find the necessary addresses on the following page. Use products that substitute for the nicotine in cigarettes (patch, chewing gum, nasal spray), or the drug bupropion. These products double or triple the chances of success of your attempt to quit.
Where can you find help and information on quitting smoking?
Additional Internet Links
DOCUMENTS AND LITIGATION
Articles and Publications
Products For Sale
Treatment & Support Services
The stages of change
The stages of change
This brochure was created at the Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine of the University of Geneva, with the support of the Swiss Cancer League, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss-Romande Lottery, the Geneva Department of Social Action and Health, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, The Swiss Foundation for Health Promotion, Pharmacia & Upjohn, the Swiss Pulmonary League, the Cipret-Genève and the Jura Canton Health Service. We thank the Swiss Association for Smoking Prevention (at) for it help and support.
Copyright (c) Jean-François Etter 1999. All rights reserved.
Author: Jean-François Etter. Translated from French into English 1 March, 1999 by MCART.org
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