Why are cigarettes so addictive?
The nicotine found in cigarettes and other tobacco products is known to be very addictive. Have you ever wondered why that is, or what nicotine is doing inside your body? Here, we explain all you need to know to answer the question: Why are cigarettes so addictive? VCP755104 VCP738412
Welcome to Quitter's Circle
Quitting smoking can be a challenging journey. But like many of life’s challenges, you can make it through with support from others. That’s where Quitter’s Circle comes in. Quitter’s Circle was created by Pfizer and the American Lung Association with one goal: to help smokers successfully ditch smoking. Join us as you navigate the quit-smoking journey, or as you support someone who is quitting, by exploring QuittersCircle.com and downloading the Quitter’s Circle app. Quitter’s Circle is for those who are looking to quit smoking and those supporting a loved one who is quitting smoking. We believe that smoking cigarettes is a complex addiction—physical, mental and social—so we’re bringing together communities to cheer on quitters as they tackle the cigarette-free challenge. Quitter’s Circle arms both quitters and supporters with information on how to reach smokefree success. Within the Quitter’s Circle app, smokers can create a Quit Plan, receive Quit Tips and most importantly, form a Quit Team of supporters by inviting friends and family to participate. These tools are designed to help quitters stay on track with their goals. The app also lets friends and family send motivational messages and see a quitter’s latest achievements in real time. Quitter’s Circle provides important resources and information on how to quit smoking. On the website, as well as on the app, you’ll find ways to connect with a doctor and a discussion guide to start the quitting conversation with a healthcare provider. You can read up on the articles we publish each week, whether it’s our guide to smoking cessation according to stock photos, an infographic on how quitting can make you rich(er), or other fun and educational articles meant to help quitters stay on track and inspire each smokefree moment. If you're a supporter and want more information about what your loved one is going through and how to help them, log onto the Quitter’s Circle app to join a loved one’s Quit Team. There, you can show your support by sending your quitter emoticons, stickers and more. You’ll also receive Support Tips to help you be the best supporter possible in the moments your quitter needs it most. The website also has tons of articles just for supporters! Because we know support is important, we want to educate friends and family on how to best encourage smokers on their way to smokefree success. No matter where in the quit journey you are, or whether you’re helping a quitter along, we have something for you here at Quitter’s Circle. Please make yourself at home online or on the app. We hope you’ll keep coming back for more ‘quitspiration’! If you like, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our email newsletter. Learn more about the app, and find links to download, right here. PP-CHM-USA-0661-02
Your quit date isn’t just a number on a calendar – it’s the first day of your smokefree life. There are many factors that go into quitting smoking, so it’s important to pick a quit date that’s right for you – but when? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer, because there’s really no perfect time to quit.  Choose a time when you’re feeling motivated and can focus on preparing for the quit journey and sticking to your goals.  Read on for some tips to keep in mind as you choose the right time to quit smoking. Important Pre-Quit Day Steps The weeks leading up to your quit date are very important. During these weeks, you’ll want to take many steps to prepare to fully commit on your quit date. Some include: Scheduling an appointment with a healthcare provider Writing down your reasons for quitting smoking Telling your friends and family about your decision to quit Once you’ve finished these steps, you may be better prepared to start your quit journey on your quit date. So make sure to pick a quit date that allows for that lead-up time to get ready. Make Quitting Part of Your Routine Some people may try to start their quit journeys while they’re traveling, on vacation, or otherwise out of their everyday routine. Getting away from stressors and being in a completely new place may work for you. However, if you see yourself setting your quit date while away from your daily routine, make sure you consider how you will adjust when you get back. The reality is that you will have to keep up the quit while in your normal routine. Recognize the points during your day when you crave a cigarette. Is it in the car on the way to work, or with your afternoon coffee? Plan to take an alternate route to work while singing along to the radio, or drink tea instead of coffee. These little adjustments may help you avoid your triggers. Stress Free Could Mean Smokefree When choosing a quit date, you may want to avoid times when you have added levels of stress. This will leave you with more time and energy to focus on your quit. So if you’re an accountant, it may not be a good idea to quit during tax season. If you work in education, August and September mean back to school – which could be a stressful time. If you work in sales or retail, the holiday season is probably very hectic for you. Take added seasonal and work stressors into account when preparing to quit. Plan Ahead Though it may seem like a nice gesture, quitting smoking on your spouse or best friend’s birthday won’t necessarily make for your best party experience. An absence of nicotine could make you feel irritable and anxious – not a good way to spend the birthday of a loved one. Setting a quit date a month before someone’s birthday might work better – think about how proud you’ll be to celebrate their day smokefree! Slow and Steady Remember: quitting smoking isn’t a sprint. In fact, thought and preparation could help you be successful in your quit attempt. Look back on any previous times you tried to quit smoking. It’s important to reflect on previous quit attempts to understand what to do differently this time. Build on what worked and figure out new ways to address anything that tripped you up. Whether you’re quitting on your own, through a Quitter’s Circle Group Quit, or with a friend, plan to quit during a time that makes sense for you. You can do it! PP-CHM-USA-1434
You may already know about some health benefits of quitting smoking. But what about some of the lesser-known advantages of saying goodbye to cigarettes? Here are four possible benefits of quitting smoking that you may not know: 1. You may sleep more. In one study based on 4,500 adults in the United States, former smokers reported taking less time to fall asleep compared to current smokers. So when quitting smoking, you may be able to get more sleep. 2. Your dating life may improve. A 2013 online poll about dating smokers found that out of 1,020 respondents, who were comprised of non-smokers, former smokers, and current smokers, nearly 89 percent of respondents said they prefer not to date someone who smokes. And 51 percent said that taking a smoke break when out on a first date is unacceptable. Break up with cigarettes, and you may improve your chances of connecting with that special someone. 3. You may be happier after quitting. While some smokers worry that quitting means giving up a source of stress relief and enjoyment, one study found that quitting smoking can potentially lead to feeling happier. In a 2009 UK survey of 879 former smokers*, nearly 70 percent reported feeling happier after quitting smoking.  Most survey participants (88%) had quit smoking for more than one year. So don’t let the short term challenges of quitting smoking deter you. Take a moment to envision the ways your life may be positively impacted. If you need some inspiration, visit our Facebook page, to see the Quitter’s Circle community discuss life after quitting. 4. By you quitting, your child may be less likely to smoke as a teenager. One study of 3,000 third graders found that kids whose parents had quit smoking were 39 percent less likely to become smokers at 17-18 years old compared to children whose parents continued to smoke. If you’re a parent, sibling, or close relative of a child, you can help set a good example for the next generation. Now that you’ve learned some of the potential additional gains you may receive from quitting smoking, take a moment to reflect on which benefits might mean the most to you. Write them down and keep this list handy as a reminder if you need extra motivation to stay focused on your quit journey. *Pfizer provided some funding for this survey. PP-CHM-USA-1175
Amazing occurrences happen every day, and yet they are often moments that are easily taken for granted. But with just a little more free time to observe the world around us, we can transform these experiences into quality memories. Luckily, time is one of the things you may gain after quitting smoking. On average, it takes about five minutes to smoke a cigarette. When you’re not using that time to smoke, it adds up – potentially up to over an hour and a half each day. Use that extra time to savor the little things in life, minutes you can be fully present for – without smoking breaks pulling you away. Read on for some reminders of little moments you may experience on any given day. [SLIDESHOW] Get started on your quit journey and notice the minutes you used to spend smoking add up. With all of your newfound time to spend with family and friends, be sure to savor every moment.     PP-CHM-USA-1393 
Some smokers worry that quitting smoking may mean changing up their social activities and losing their “smoking buddies.”  But not to fear, people who quit smoking may actually expand their social networks and make new friends! While those who quit smoking may have less contact with smokers, they may also have the opportunity to try new activities and make new friends with other non-smokers. The Social Side of Quitting For many people, smoking is a social activity, so quitting smoking may mean a shift in your relationships with people with whom you once smoked. Let these smoking buddies know that you’re quitting, and that you’d rather hang out with them in smokefree places. Going bowling or mini golfing can unite many for an enjoyable evening. Make sure to share your reasons for quitting with them – maybe they’ll be inspired to quit with you! Then, you can be each other’s supporters throughout the journey. Wondering how to make new friends as you begin your quit journey? Read on for some tips on expanding your social circle that may compliment your quit. Say Sayonara to Smoking Stigmas Do you ever avoid social situations because you’re worried about what people will think about your smoking? Some smokers may feel judged, which can lead them to hide their smoking status from friends and family. This in turn may prevent smokers from reaching out to find support and help when they quit smoking. When you quit, those stigmas may be a thing of the past. Additionally, you can enjoy spending time with family and friends without having to step out for a cigarette. Here are some things you might be able to look forward to doing with others without having to take a smoke break: Watching a movie in the theatre Going on a road trip Eating dinner at a favorite restaurant The possibilities are endless – and so are the numbers of people you could meet. New Hobbies With New Friends Once you’re smokefree, there will be plenty of new things that you may want to try. Your health benefits may start the first day you’re smokefree, and can continue to increase the longer you keep it up. Celebrate your wellness by taking up a new hobby. Your community likely has plenty of options for having fun and meeting new people. Sports Leagues and Fitness Groups Once your shortness of breath decreases and you are able to breathe better, why not look into fitness classes, or join a walking group or sports league? Exercising can help reduce urges to smoke, and may also help your mind, lungs, and heart function better. Plus, you’ll get to meet like-minded people who are also looking to keep fit! Cooking Classes and Gardening One yummy benefit of quitting smoking is that your taste buds start to repair, and food can taste better. Celebrate by asking friends new and old to check out new restaurants with you. Additionally, your sense of smell starts to improve. Join a gardening club, and once you harvest your veggies, invite the club over to make a homemade meal and savor the smells that come with it. Cooking can help us feel more in control of our environment, and it connects us to the people we’re cooking with. Book Clubs and More There are so many options for meeting new people in smokefree settings. Whatever your hobby is, be it movie watching, comic book reading, stamp collecting, or going to sporting events in smokefree stadiums, it’s likely that there are people who would jump at the opportunity to enjoy it with you. Look into groups forming at the library, rec center or music store. Be in Good Company As of 2002, there are more former smokers than current smokers in the U.S. People embark on quit journeys each day, and it’s very possible that your new friends might have quit smoking stories or tips of their own. Once you quit, you’ll get to join the ranks of millions of non-smokers and former smokers, all potential new friends who can inspire your quit journey every day.   PP-CHM-USA-1391
You’ve done it: you’ve reached a quit smoking milestone. Whether that’s three months, six months or a year, give yourself a pat on the back. It’s no easy feat, but you’ve used the tools at your disposal to achieve success. But there still may be a nagging question in the back of your mind: are you now a former smoker? A non-smoker? When can you officially make the leap to a new, smokefree identity? While there is no set definition of what makes a former smoker, read on to learn some general considerations. In the end, though, it’s up to you as the quitter to decide when you feel ready to declare yourself a former smoker. What’s in a Name? But first, let’s understand some titles: what is the difference between a “non-smoker” and a “former smoker?” According to the American Lung Association, a non-smoker is someone who has never smoked, while a former smoker or ex-smoker is someone who was able to quit smoking. Someone who recently had their quit date­–their first day without cigarettes–is generally not going to call themselves a former smoker. “It might be a little too soon,” says Bill Blatt, the American Lung Association’s National Director of Programs. “They’re still at the beginning of their quit journey and are trying really hard to not smoke,” he adds. But after some time, they might be able to look back on that date as the day they started their smokefree life. Take it One Day at a Time One helpful yardstick is to see how your urges to smoke lessen over time, says Blatt. When you first quit, it can be really hard work to actively manage urges on a day-to-day basis. But overtime, it gets easier.  A day may come when you pass by smokers on the sidewalk or sip your morning coffee and you don’t feel an urge to light up. A study has shown that it could take at least six weeks for your brain to adjust to the absence of nicotine (the addictive substance in cigarettes). During these weeks, you may feel the strongest urges to smoke. Avoid Even One But Blatt cautions quitters to remember that long after you quit smoking you may still experience occasional urges for cigarettes. “That’s normal,” says Blatt.  But be sure to avoid having even one cigarette, he adds. “That’s how people have slips. It’s easier to have none than one.” When Blatt’s father quit smoking over three decades ago, he recalls his dad would still have urges. He used to smoke while talking on the phone at work; so whenever the phone rang, he would subconsciously reach for his chest pocket where he once kept his cigarettes. “It was such an automatic behavior and speaks to the power of addiction,” says Blatt. Even two years after quitting, his dad called himself “a smoker who chooses not to smoke,” says Blatt. “He didn’t want to go so far to tempt fate, until he was smokefree for a couple of years.” Check In With Yourself Whether it’s been months or years since your last cigarette, give yourself a pat on the back. So, based on your accomplishments, is it finally time to consider yourself smokefree? Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider your new non-smoking identity: Have my urges to smoke generally faded? Do I no longer look back on smoking positively? Do I embrace my new smokefree lifestyle? The answers to these questions may help you decide if you are on your way to becoming a former smoker. Your Title, Your Decision In the end, when you decide to call yourself a former smoker is completely up to you. Quitting smoking is a personal decision and journey, so no matter how many supporters you have behind you, this call is entirely yours to make. When you decide that you are indeed a former smoker, don’t forget to share and celebrate your milestone with everyone who has supported you. When did you start calling yourself a former smoker? Comment on or share this article’s post on the Quitter Circle Facebook Page!   PP-CHM-USA-1300
Quitter’s Circle, and the internet as a whole, can be a convenient resource. It can seem like the world is at your fingertips, and in many ways, it is. But once in a while, it’s a good idea to put down your screens, get out of the house, and embrace what the world has to offer. Some state and local fairs and festivals provide a way to spend a smokefree day. The many sights, sounds and smells can help keep your body and mind occupied and off cigarettes. There are resources online and in your local newspaper to find fairs, festivals, and other community events near you. Check out some other perks of these events to enjoy while you’re on your quit journey. Grab a Friend and Get Walking Many smokers fear gaining weight when they quit smoking. This is an understandable concern, but there are steps you can take to help manage weight gain. Adding walks to your exercise routine, along with eating well, can help manage your weight. Call a friend and get them to walk with you! Whether you’re hanging with a fellow quitter or a supporter, a fair or festival is a unique place to catch up while moving. As you walk through the fair, you can enjoy rides, petting zoos, musical performances and more – and maybe even treat yourself to some fresh local fruit or delicious local cuisine from community vendors. Feel the Fresh Air One benefit of quitting smoking is being able to breathe more easily. Within two weeks to three months of quitting smoking, your lung function begins to improve, and within one to nine months of quitting smoking, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Why not experience this while also being outdoors and enjoying some sunshine? Relax! Although quitting can come with some irritability, getting out of the house and into an energy-filled atmosphere could help put a smile back on your face. Attending a fair or festival is a way to enjoy some carefree, fun time with friends and family. Celebrate with some carnival games, and maybe even win a prize! Make sure to capture a picture of your fun, smokefree day. Visit Health Booths Did you know that some health organizations and non-profits have booths at fairs and festivals? These organizations often provide free educational resources, and may have people available to speak to you about different health topics. Be sure to ask about smokefree resources in your own community, such as support groups, American Lung Association resources, or local healthcare providers.  If you’re smokefree, you may even want to find out how you can help inspire others.    PP-CHM-USA-1310
“No more grabbing a cigarette as soon as my feet hit the floor. No more ashes all over my car. No more smelly house, car, clothes, me!” A member of the Quitter’s Circle Facebook community recently posted the above comment describing her life after quitting this January. We couldn’t have said it better. Can you relate to her gratitude in becoming smokefree? We’re so proud of our Facebook community, 150,000+ members and growing.  You hail from around the country, from big cities to small towns, but are connected by the common desire to become smokefree. Many of you have shared your experiences of quitting smoking, and in turn, are motivating others.  As a tribute to the Quitter’s Circle community, we’ve read through your hundreds of Facebook comments and selected a few to turn into inspirational quit smoking art. We understand that quitting smoking takes planning,  practice and persistence, and Quitter’s Circle is here to celebrate your daily victories and support you. To those who are new to Quitter’s Circle, both quitters and supporters, we welcome you to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.  Enjoy the artwork below and share with friends, family and fellow quitters. There are numerous benefits to quitting smoking, but how does it really feel to be smokefree? Many of you have shared your experiences. See what the commenters below have said about quitting smoking. From a prettier smile to money saved for a vacation, you’ve praised the many perks of becoming smokefree. You’ve followed some of our useful tips on quitting smoking, and we’re delighted to hear what’s working for you. Many of you have embodied the spirit of Quitter’s Circle by supporting each other along the way. When one quitter recently shared that she was “6 weeks” smokefree, this commenter was quick to praise her accomplishment. You never know when your story may be that inspiring nudge to help someone along their quit journey. So keep the Quitter’s Circle going!   PP-CHM-USA-0967  
Crisp September weather and changing leaves means Back-to-School season is in full swing. Between busy store sales and shifting away from more relaxed summer routines, this time of year can be filled with added stressors and triggers for anyone on their quit journey. Whether you’re the parent of a student, working in education, going back to school yourself, or simply dealing with more school buses on the road on your way to work, it’s important not to let the possible stress of the season derail you from your quit plan. Take stock of your smoking triggers and make sure you have a plan to manage urges that may arise. Triggers can be anything in your daily life that make you want a cigarette, from feeling stress about getting the kids out of the house on time, to seeing a co-worker smoking on their break. Read on for some tips on dealing with these urges and managing triggers, then get ready to turn over a new leaf. 1. Get to Know Your Triggers If you haven’t already, take a moment to write down the various instances throughout the day that you feel an urge to smoke. Are there certain places or situations that make you want a cigarette?  Did you always smoke after a heavy meal or first thing in the morning? Does work or family stress often lead you to want a cigarette? By knowing your smoking triggers, you can plan ahead to try to avoid these situations or have an alternate coping plan. 2. Stick to Smokefree Places Try to stay away from places where others will be lighting up. That may mean avoiding walking by the smoking area on the way into the office or keeping your distance from friends who smoke around you. Make plans with friends for smokefree activities such as seeing a movie, going for a hike, or hitting a “back-to-school” sale. 3. Practice Saying “No” Sooner or later you may be offered a cigarette.  Practice saying “no thanks, I’ve quit smoking,” in front of the mirror or with a friend. 4. Reach out to Supporters The urge to smoke lasts only three to five minutes, whether you light up or not. So when you feel an urge, try texting or calling a friend.  Reaching out for support can help you get past those few minutes. 5. Keep Your Mouth Busy If you miss the feeling of having a cigarette in your mouth, chew on a piece of gum, a toothpick or cinnamon stick.  Carry a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. And keep healthy snacks on hand like trail mix or carrot sticks when you crave something crunchy. 6. Keep Your Hands Busy You may be missing the feeling of having a cigarette in your hands. Instead, try doodling in a sketchbook, playing a game on your phone, knitting, squeezing a stress ball, flipping a coin, or playing with a rubber band on your wrist. 7. Just breathe, deeply. Taking a few slow, deep breaths may help you get through these triggering moments. This isn’t just a good technique for when you’re feeling stressed, it may help you get through an urge to smoke. Need an extra distraction? Practice deep breathing while taking a quick walk around the block. These are some of the basic techniques for managing urges. Find quit smoking tips that work for you and trade them with other quitters. Visit our Facebook page and connect with quitters to swap stop smoking tips.   PP-CHM-USA-1261
When a longtime smoker declares their desire to quit, it can be an exciting time for those who wish to see them live a healthier lifestyle. But remember that your quitter may be feeling a mix of emotions about quitting, some positive, and some negative. As a supporter, it’s crucial to listen to your quitter’s needs and encourage them to proceed at their own pace. Respect that your quitter is leading their quit journey, and you’re there to support them along the way. Start by simply asking, “How can I help you?” While you may be in a supporting role, don’t underestimate the impact you can make. In a recent survey of 146 adult smokers who were trying to quit, 80 percent said that support from others was very important for their quitting success. To help be the best supporter you can be, read on to learn about three different forms of quit smoking support. Physical Support A major challenge of quitting smoking is managing urges to smoke. Help your quitter resist these urges by having something other than cigarettes to keep their mouth busy. Alternatives include toothpicks, sugar-free lollipops, chewing gum and hard candies, or crunchy, healthy snacks. Make a Quit Kit with these items for your quitter, or keep one handy when you’re with them to show your dedication to their well-being.  Simply being with your quitter during moments when they desire a cigarette can also be beneficial. Though the urge to smoke usually passes within 3 to 5 minutes, your presence may help distract and comfort your quitter during those difficult times. As their lung capacity improves and they get less winded, invite your quitter to go for walks or toss a ball around. Being there as they overcome challenges will encourage your quitter to keep it up. Emotional Support When your quitter gives up cigarettes, they may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, frustration and irritability. Don’t take their moods personally; instead, be a source of positive support. If they want to talk about their feelings, be a good listener. Remind them that these symptoms will fade with time, and the benefits of quitting make the effort worth it. During the quit smoking journey, your quitter may get discouraged with the process. If they have a slip, help them get back on their feet and focused on their goal of a smokefree life. Encourage your quitter to make a plan to deal with urges to prevent future slips. Your quitter will also have milestones to celebrate during their journey, such as one-week, one-month or six-months smokefree. Recognize these successes as notable milestones for your quitter! A little praise can make a big difference. You can also surprise them with a card, a home-cooked meal or tickets to see their favorite band in concert. Financial Support Some smokers cite the costs of quit smoking treatment as a barrier to using them. In a survey sponsored by the American Lung Association and Pfizer involving 483 adult smokers in the US, 78 percent said that quit smoking treatments or aids are too expensive. If money is a concern for your quitter, you can help them set up a Quit Fund. A Quit Fund is an online fundraising tool to help pay for expenses during their quit smoking journey such as doctor’s visits, exercise classes, or healthy groceries. By contributing to their fund, you’re showing that you’re invested in their positive life change. Your quitter’s other friends, family members and coworkers can donate to the Quit Fund as well. Together, your support will add up, covering some of the costs during their quit journey. Or maybe your quitter will use their Quit Fund to plan a smokefree celebration! No matter what they use their quit fund for, your quitter will be filled with gratitude for your generosity and foresight. Quitting smoking is a challenging journey. But your support can make a difference during this journey. Whether its handing your quitter a sugar-free candy at the right moment or asking them “how are you feeling?” after a tough day, your thoughtful support can help your quitter stay focused on their quit smoking goals. To learn more about ways you can help someone quit smoking, visit the For Supporters section of QuittersCircle.com. PP-CHM-USA-1284