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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
Uplifting results from a study on partners' healthy behaviors showed that over a two year period, cigarette smokers 50 years of age or older were more likely to quit smoking if their partner also quit than if their partner continued to smoke. About half of the 60 participants whose partner quit smoking also quit, compared with 8% out of the 400 participants whose partner continued to smoke. This may not be so surprising—we are often inspired to make changes when those we love make healthy behavior changes, or we decide to tackle challenges together. Keep in mind: when one person in a couple continues to smoke, they may trigger urges for the person trying to quit. Your positive behavior of quitting smoking may help your partner also achieve success in quitting smoking. Think of everything you can do together throughout the quit process, from picking a Quit Day, to meeting with a healthcare provider, to finding ways to distract yourself when you have the urge to smoke.  If you quit, your partner may do the same. Your partner may be more likely to successfully quit smoking if you also tackle the challenge! So this Valentine’s Day, are you ready to quit smoking with your loved one?  This may be the best Valentine’s Day gift - perhaps love really does conquer all. PP-CHM-USA-1629
Throughout the year, there are so many exciting occasions to throw a party – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and much more. What’s more exciting than the end of a sports season or a championship game? These athletic events are a great reason to get together with friends and loved ones, snack on game-day food, and root for your favorite team. But note: these parties may present pitfalls for those who have recently quit smoking. Between alcohol, old smoking buddies, and unhealthy desserts, there are some aspects of parties that can trigger an urge to smoke. Luckily, there are ways to prepare that may help you score a smokefree evening – no matter what you’re celebrating! Have a Plan Like most aspects of your quitting journey, it’s good to have a plan for specific activities to help avoid urges to smoke. Before you go, make a plan of who you can call or text if you need encouragement, especially if they’re not going to be at the party with you. Bring items like gum, lollipops, healthy snacks like carrot sticks, and stress balls with you to keep your hands and mouth busy if you have an urge. Decide what time you plan to leave, and stick to it. Avoid a Celebratory Drink For some people who are trying to quit smoking, alcohol can be a trigger to smoke. Alcohol can also lower one’s inhibitions, making it harder to stick to your quit plan.  Though it might seem that one drink at a party couldn’t hurt, it is a good idea to avoid the use of alcohol during your quit journey, as it can lead to slip-ups. Instead, make yourself a tasty beverage with your favorite juice and sparkling water, or bring a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider to share. Let others know that you can be the designated driver – having this important responsibility may help other party-goers remember not to offer you a drink – helping you maintain your newfound smokefree state. Stick to the Veggies Some smokers fear gaining weight when they quit. The average weight gain is about 4-10 pounds – so you might want to limit excess sweets as you develop your healthy lifestyle. One study suggests that foods like fruits and veggies may make cigarettes taste less desirable for some people – an added bonus to help you on your quit journey. While there may be a lot of unhealthy sweets and baked goods at the party, there’s often also a platter of cut vegetables (also known as crudité, if you want to be fancy.) Try snacking on that, and the fruit salad, instead! Stay Inside and Make New Friends It is possible that there will be other smokers at any party you attend. They might invite you to smoke with them. Before the soiree, practice saying in the mirror or with a friend “No thanks, I’ve quit smoking.” If you notice others going to smoke, stay in a smokefree location, such as inside the house, with other non- and former-smokers. Use the opportunity to meet new non-smoking friends, and see what you have in common. Maybe they’re the missing drummer in your band, or the perfect person to go to an art class with! Bring a Friend Of course, you can also invite a non-smoker or former-smoker friend to join you! If you weren’t invited with a plus one, make sure to contact the party host to check that it’s okay. Be open and honest and let them know how your wingman will help you stay smokefree over the course of the party. Quitting smoking is a challenge – but according to a 2015 survey of 146 adult smokers who were trying to quit, 80% of them reported that support from others was very important to quitting successfully. Let your friend know how best to help you if you’re having an urge at the party. They can help distract you until the urge passes – perhaps by the next time your team has the ball! PP-CHM-USA-1616
Not all people are alike, and in tough situations, everyone needs different forms of support from their loved ones. What kind of supporter are you? What type of supporter do you need to be more like? Here, we provide four different supporter profiles to help you figure out what kind of supporter you can be, and how that matches up with the needs of your friend or loved one who’s quitting smoking. The Cheerleader Who You Are: You provide unconditional support, especially when your quitter is feeling low. You are a positive thinker and believe anything can be achieved if you just try, try, try. Who Your Quitter Is: Your quitter responds best to positive thinking, affirmation and high-energy motivation The Coach Who You Are: You’re excited by the work ahead. You’ve created a game plan and talked your quitter through strategies for success. You have catch phrases like “Let’s get to work” or “Time to cut the cigs!” You’re not afraid to give a little tough love, but are also there with a motivational speech when the situation calls for it. Who Your Quitter Is: Your quitter responds best to pep talks, high fives and constructive criticism. The Fixer / Project Manager Who You Are: You mapped out your loved one’s quit on a calendar and/or spreadsheet, and plan to help them stick to it. You love the rush of crossing off items on your to-do list, and you see helping your friend as just another item. You’ve channeled organizational adrenaline into a plan for you and them. You correspond with your quitter via email and automated alerts. You are highly rational and always on call for your quitter. Who Your Quitter Is: Your quitter responds best to color-coded plans, instructional guides and constant communication. The Sponsor / Spiritual Guide Who You Are: You are cool, calm, and collected when talking to your motivated quitter. You are great at helping your quitter reflect and think about the big picture and long term benefits of their quit. You take them to yoga. You believe answers are best solved when they are talked through. Your support is driven by love and faith. Who Your Quitter Is: Your quitter responds best to philosophy, nature, meditation or prayer, virtual reality, and kale smoothies. Interested in receiving more supporter tips or sending online encouragements to the quitter in your life? Download the Quitter’s Circle app. PP-CHM-USA-1520
The following post was sponsored by Quitter's Circle as part of a guest blogger series. All thoughts, opinions and stories expressed in this post are purely those of Abby Land. This post also appears on Back at Square Zero. January is a great time to set a new goal. Everyone around you is excited and motivated with their own goals and it can be a bit contagious. Are you ready to jump in and set your own New Year's Resolution?  It is crucial not to take this resolution, or goal setting, lightly. It has been reported that 77% of people only make it through the first week before their resolution goes out the window. Even worse, only 40% of people who set New Year's goals and resolutions continue to maintain them six months later, which dwindles down to 19% two years later. How can you stick with your resolutions? How can you be the person who continues on until you reach your goal?  It is really important that you take your resolution seriously and prepare for it.               Don't Call It a Resolution Think of, and refer to your resolution, as a goal. Resolution always has a negative connotation as people joke about how quickly they are broken. As soon as you say the word resolution, it seems people are wondering when you will "break" that resolution, almost as if they are betting against you. So, if resolutions are made to be broken, goals are made to be met, and sometimes even crushed and dominated. This year set a goal, not a resolution.    Do the Research Don't just jump into your new goal. Set yourself up for success by finding some free time to research what it will take to meet your goal. For example: If your goal is to run your first marathon, you'll want to research different races to see which ones are best for you, given your time frame, location, budget, etc. If your goal is to quit smoking, you may want to do research to better understand why it can be difficult, and how you may be able to quit successfully. Create a Plan Now that you have done the research, it is time to create a plan. Those who go into their goal with a specific plan in place may be more likely to succeed than those who just wing it. If we stick to our previous examples - for someone wanting to run their first marathon, this would mean looking at the vast array of marathon training plans available and finding the one that fits you the best. Be sure to take into account things like which plans have more running, which have more strength training, and what the peak mileage is. Be sure to stick to a beginner level plan if this will be your first full marathon. For someone who wants to quit smoking, creating a plan might include getting rid of all the cigarettes in your house, enlisting the support of family and friends, consulting with a doctor, planning healthy alternatives to smoking when a craving hits, and joining the Quitter’s Circle community for additional resources and support.        Buy the Supplies It’s important to be ready on whatever day you decide to quit smoking so that nothing can hold you back from reaching your goal. Therefore, you need to have all of your supplies in place and ready to go. Make a list, head out and get that shopping done. For someone working on their marathon goal, your list might include things like new shoes, running gear, and fuel for long runs.  Enlist Help Finally, those who are most successful with their goals are those who do not go at it alone. Be sure to enlist help, especially from friends and family to make your journey toward your goal a successful one. Those heading toward a marathon goal may also want to consider hiring a running coach to help them along their journey, or join a running club. Whereas those who are trying to quit smoking should be sure to connect with their healthcare provider to help create a quit plan in order to have the best chance at success. PP-CHM-USA-1553
  On Quitter's Circle, we celebrate every day that quitters show incredible determination to overcome a powerful addiction and kick cigarettes in the "butt"! Since the holiday season is upon us, we’re in the spirit to tell you just how awesome you are. In lieu of holiday gifts, we bring you these holiday GIFs to celebrate the season, a healthy you and a smokefree 2017 – with a few of our favorite happy dances thrown in for good measure. Staying smokefree over the holidays is no easy feat, so you've earned these little digital nuggets of joy! Happy holidays and may your new year be smokefree!           PP-CHM-USA-0637
The following post was sponsored by Quitter's Circle as part of a guest blogger series. All thoughts, opinions and stories expressed in this post are purely those of Sili Recio. This post also appears on My Mamihood. Is it me or has this year sped up in the time/space continuum? I’ve put up the holiday decorations, started ogling additional ones at the store and of course, started thinking about the reason for the season. This is my favorite time of the year. I tend to sit back and think about family while attempting to plan for their visits. Y’all know I love me some lists! I may or may not have 3,098 for the month of December. I see you over there judging me! Don’t, okay? I dislike resolutions because I feel that, by their nature, they are meant to be broken and never maintained. My daughter takes issue with smoking. I don’t know where she picks this up, but she has really honed in on the health aspect of it. She really wants everyone to be healthy.   More than 4 in 10 adults that smoke attempt to quit in a span of a year and more than 16 million adults in the U.S. are living with a smoking related disease. I want us to help them. Not with a resolution but with a revolution! Let’s not wait until January 1st to give ourselves permission to be healthy. Here are a few tips I wish we’d had when Mami quit smoking. Plan –  I’m obsessed with lists and quitting smoking is no different than any other project where a list could be helpful. So let’s plan! You can check out what exactly a quit plan is and how it can help you along the way. Let people know – This is important on so many levels. I know it’s difficult because sometimes we don’t want to say we are doing something and then not go through with our plans, but letting people know will help establish who your support system will be. It also helps keep you accountable to people who are supportive and genuinely care about you. Set a date – On your calendar, be sure to write down the date of when you are planning to quit smoking, and stick to it! Count your money – How many packs of cigarettes do you smoke in a month? A year? Write down what you’ll be saving by not buying cigarettes and plan for how you will spend that money. This will give you an additional incentive on those hard days. Find support – If you write this on your plan, you can check it off already because I got you on this one (you’re welcome). Download the Quitter’s Circle app! It helps you track your success, and gives you all types of resources to help you on your quit smoking journey. Remember how I said to let people know so you can identify who will be supportive? Well, you can add those supporters to your Quit Team on the app. Show yourself some grace – Nearly 7 in 10 adult smokers want to stop smoking. It’s not an easy journey. The 5 steps above may help you get there, but if you don’t show yourself some grace in the process, I’m afraid this journey will be a lot more difficult for you. Do the best that you can and cut yourself some slack on the days when you fall short. Let’s not wait til the New Year to make the decision. Start putting together your quit plan today. It’ll bring an extra bit of peace of mind to your family and friends. Won’t that be a great gift? PP-CHM-USA-1488
The following post was sponsored by Quitter's Circle as part of a guest blogger series. All thoughts, opinions and stories expressed in this post are purely those of Sili Recio. This post also appears on My Mamihood. Smoking had always been part of my life as I was growing up. So much so that it never really occurred to me that it was bad until I was able to read the small print on the side of my mom’s cigarette packs. I was a kid and though I learned they were bad for you, I didn’t really grasp the issue. I didn’t understand the undertaking when someone decided to quit. Addiction, Defined (noun) the state of being constrained by a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Crazy, right? My mother was a smoker. As was my father. When I was younger, I took up the habit of casual smoking. I never thought too much of it. I’d heard stories about my dad’s own addiction starting early. But I knew he wouldn’t approve of me smoking. Besides, I wasn’t smoking regularly, right? It wasn’t until we moved to Orlando that I felt like something was wrong. I distinctly remember going through cabinets and drawers one day when my parents were out. I was looking for a cigarette. I’ve had other cravings before, sure. But this was my first time feeling the urge to have a cigarette. My heart was beating fast and I was slightly panicked that 1. I wouldn’t find a cigarette and 2. If I did find a cigarette, I’d get caught smoking it. There were no cigarettes in the house for me that day. But the damage was done. I realized that this was not a game. And it scared me a bit because I’d never felt that way before. Even with the “casual” smoking that I thought wasn’t a big deal, my body was already attached to cigarettes. See, my brain was already about that cigarette life. Thankfully, that incident scared the crap out of me and I didn’t touch another cigarette after that. What About My Parents? I became hyper-focused on getting my mom to quit smoking. I’ll never forget the day that we went in to the doctor’s office for our physicals. My mom had always been small. She was tiny, actually. Measuring 5’0” on a good day and always hovering around 100 pounds. I think I get my freakish metabolism from her. But here’s the thing, she’d been trying to gain weight. I don’t know what possessed me but I wanted my mom to quit so badly that I suggested “maybe you would gain weight if you stopped smoking.” I figured she wouldn’t get too mad at me IN the doctor’s office, but that it would be a long journey ahead trying to get her to quit. The doctor took one look at her and started taking her vitals and providing all the shade I needed to know that I’d done the right thing. As he checked her lungs, he said “it sounds like you have the beginnings of emphysema.” I do not know if it was the look on my face or the words from the doctor, but the cigarette mom had before we entered that office was the last of her life. Quitting Was Terrible Although I was proud of her for deciding to quit, that was just the beginning. Mami did lots of things that made me think she was magic and quitting smoking was one of those things. Mami is one of the many Americans that has tried to quit smoking. I wish we had support groups like Quitter’s Circle back then. A place for her to turn to during that process. With tools and resources as well as a support group that is there to help you along the way, Quitter’s Circle can provide support during the process of quitting smoking, for those who want to lead a smoke-free life. Mami confessed later that she had tried and failed to quit smoking before. I don’t know how many times she did that. And I don’t know what possessed her to stick to her guns at that time. I think the idea that cigarettes were really making her sick was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Dad eventually quit as well. I think it was easier for him since he had someone supporting him through the process. Someone who had already experienced what he was going through. It’s good to know that there are sites these days dedicated to help those who want to quit. Support is imperative. From family, friends, and even your doctor, I can’t say this enough. Quitter’s Circle has a great resource page for those that want to help, but might not know how.  It can be a valuable resource for those who are taking their health seriously and want to kick the smoking habit. Have you ever smoked? If so, share your story. PP-CHM-USA-1485
It may feel like the holidays are a long and challenging season of not smoking you need to get through. But remember, quitting is all about taking it one hour, one day and one week at a time.  If you have concrete strategies to make it through tough moments, you’ll be able to resist the urge to smoke when it strikes and move on. Let’s talk about the biggest pressures of the holiday season and how you can avoid them. Parties… If you know that attending a certain get-together will make you want to light up, think about skipping it this year. If you must attend, come with a game plan. Urges usually last for three to five minutes, whether you smoke or not. Tools like your Quit Kit and a list of things you can do instead of smoking (like drinking a glass of water or chewing a piece of sugarfree gum) will help distract you until the feeling passes. Ask your host if you can help them serve apps or DJ the tunes — whatever it takes to stay busy! Friends and family who smoke… If you know you’ll see a group of friends and family over the holidays who you’ve smoked with in the past, especially if you’re hosting, you might want to give them a heads-up you’ve quit. If they still pressure you to smoke, know exactly how you’ll say no. It might be, “Nope, I actually quit,” or “No thanks, I’ve had enough of those already!” Practice saying your response out loud in a mirror before you have to say it for real.  Food and drink… ‘Tis the season of an endless supply of cookies. But it’s important that you continue to make healthy choices. Avoid spicy and sugary eats, which may increase urges, and lean in on that veggie platter. Crunchy healthy snacks like nuts and carrot sticks will keep your mouth busy  and give you the energy you might need to handle potential stress.  At parties, stick to low-cal non-alcoholic options, like seltzer with lime.  Keeping hydradted by drinking plenty of water can reduce headaches and help you manage your weight.  Stress… Stresses like having lots of family in town, tons of gifts to buy and hardly any vacation time may cause you to want to light up.  Your preferred relaxation techniques — from deep breathing to pillow punching — will help get you through those hectic holiday moments. Don't be too hard on yourself either. If you don't tackle your whole shopping list or have seconds on dessert, that’s okay. You’re accomplishing so much just by not smoking, like saving money from not buying cigarettes and improving your family’s health by avoiding secondhand smoke.  Stay focused on those victories and before you know it, you’ll be ringing in the New Year smokefree and feeling better than ever! What are your tricks for avoiding holiday smoking pressures? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter! PP-CHM-USA-0624
What can you hope to gain after quitting? There are plenty of health-related benefits you might be able to look forward to. Beyond those, there may be other benefits in your day-to-day life. Here, we breakdown six benefits that you may notice as you journey farther into your quit. 1. Food may taste better Score! Treat your taste buds to a dinner at that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Or, check out recipe websites and get inspired to test-drive a new recipe at home. 2. Your sense of smell may improve If there was ever a time to splurge on a beautiful smelling plant or new scented bodywash, that time is now. And speaking of splurging.... 3. The savings can really add up Based on the average retail price of a pack of cigarettes in the United States ($6.28), a pack-a-day smoker can save more than $2,000 a year if they are able to quit. 4. Your lungs may thank you One to nine months after you’ve quit, chances are that day-to-day activities like climbing stairs or carrying groceries won’t leave you feeling out of breath. Hear that sound? It’s your lungs thanking you. 5. You won’t have to worry if smoking is socially acceptable Whether it’s a wedding, a college reunion or just a night out with friends, you may not have to worry about whether or not your smoking may distance you from the group. To celebrate, plan some fun, smokefree activities. 6. You may save time You may never have thought about it, but quitting smoking can save you a lot of time. Consider that the typical smoker takes about five minutes to smoke one cigarette. If you smoke a pack a day, quitting can save you more than one and a half hours everyday. That’s over 600 hours saved in one year. Now you may finally have time to finish that home improvement project. PP-CHM-USA-1516