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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
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 Lindsay Livingston. This post also appears on The Lean Green Bean. These Cranberry Ginger Energy Bites are a healthy snack to power you through until lunch or dinner! Make them mini and enjoy a few when you need an energy boost! Hey friends! Time for another snack recipe. You may recall I'm teaming up with the folks behind Quitter's Circle this year to share some healthy recipes that could be helpful to those trying to quit smoking, and are delicious enough for everyone to enjoy! A few weeks ago I shared a recipe for Spicy Ranch Popcorn, which is great for keeping your hands (and mouth!) busy when an urge to smoke strikes and is definitely on the savory side. Today I'm sharing these Cranberry Ginger Energy Bites. They're a bit sweeter but not over-the-top dessert style sweet. I actually wanted to name them energy bits....because the whole point is to make them really small so you can enjoy a whole handful instead of just one big one that's gone in a bite or two...but I was worried people would just think I misspelled bites. So I went with bites which, in the end, is what they are. Just very small bites. Instead of using all dates like I typically do in energy balls, I did half dates, half cranberries...which makes them a little more tart and the fresh ginger adds a burst of flavor that I love! Here's how you make them: Ingredients: 1 cup almonds ½ cup pumpkin seeds 2 tbsp chia seeds ½ cup craisins ½ cup dates 1 - 2 tbsp fresh ginger ¼ cup 100% pure pumpkin puree Directions: 1. Place the almonds and pumpkin seeds in a food processor and process until well chopped. 2. Add dates, cranberries, ginger and pumpkin and process until combined. 3. Roll into balls and store in the freezer. They're super easy to make and stash in your freezer. Helpful for keeping your mouth busy when the urge to smoke strikes. Grab a handful and take a quick walk to help the urge pass. If you know someone trying to quit, these would make a great surprise treat for them! And even if you're not trying to quit smoking, these are a great, healthy snack to have on hand. Full of healthy fats and flavor! If you're not worried about perfectly round balls, it's much easier to divide the mixture into 5-6 pieces, place each in plastic wrap and squeeze into a long snake shape. Freezer for 15 minutes or so and then cut into small pieces. Looking for more healthy snack ideas while quitting? You can find more at Quitter's Circle, a website developed by Pfizer and the American Lung Association, with the goal of helping smokers successfully ditch smoking. Check out these 10 Healthy Quit Smoking Snacks. Enjoy! --Lindsay-- PP-CHM-USA-1493
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. Helping someone through a health scare may make you uneasy, but it’s these times of uncertainty when family needs you the most. I recall being by my dad’s side when he had surgery to remove polyps from his throat. My dad always had a raspy voice and we figured the polyps contributed to it. Well, the polyps and smoking. Shortly after my dad’s surgery, doctors asked him to come back for the results of a biopsy – a test to determine whether the polyps they found in dad’s throat were cancerous. They were. We’ve always had a hard relationship with dad and that summer found us tense around one another with my mother running interference. But, that’s when he needed us. A treatment plan was quickly created as his diagnosis of laryngeal cancer was given. And then, we went into action. Leaving behind the feelings we’d had and concentrating on the treatment. Today, I’m grateful that he has been cancer free since January of 2008. More than 16 million Americans are living with a smoking related disease and it seems that my dad joined those ranks. My dad smoked for the better part of his life, quitting only after my mom quit. It’s difficult to imagine how this story may have turned out, had he not quit when we did. And just like with a major health scare, someone who is quitting smoking may need help and support too, and someone to be by their side along the way. Support can come in a number of forms, but no matter how you help someone, being there as they quit smoking is what matters. Having parents who spoke little English AND were nervous around doctors, being the interpreter between them and their doctor was my way of helping them with their health. Can we pause and say how horrid that translator job is for a child? But, I digress. If you are part of someone’s support system, it’s important to understand your role in helping them quit smoking. There are also communities like Quitter’s Circle that provide information and resources to those who want to quit smoking and those who want to help their loved ones quit. Let’s not wait to take action on our health. Let’s get to it! Download this quit smoking checklist and get a plan together to help you on your quit journey! PP-CHM-USA-1486
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. Time to be honest, none of us are perfect. The truth is that we all have good days, but we also all have bad days. Sometimes the bad days can really get us down and if we don't do something about it they can be very upsetting. I am a huge believer in not only physical health, but also maintaining a healthy outlook. I know that it is so very important to take care of yourself when you're having a tough day or even a tough week. The sooner you make yourself a priority, and take time to take care of yourself, the sooner you may start to feel better. But how do you take care of yourself? Here are 11 ways to love yourself when the going gets tough, from time-honored activities to some great newbies you may not have thought about before.  11 Ways to Love Yourself When the Going Gets Tough 1. Call a Friend Reaching out to a close friend can do wonders for your spirit. Just having someone to talk to or even someone to listen while you vent lets you know that you aren't alone and there are people who care. *Bonus Points - Schedule a get together with that friend so you'll have something to look forward to on your calendar.  2. Read a Book Reading a book is a great way to be good to yourself when things get tough. It allows you time to relax, unwind and take your mind off whatever is going on. Part of the magic of books is that they can transport us from our everyday lives into the world the author has created.  *Bonus Points - Grab a cup of coffee or hot tea, and wander around a bookstore to find a new book. 3. Go for a Walk or Run Going for a walk or run is a great way to be good to yourself for two reasons. First, getting in some physical activity is great for your body and your physical health. Second, many people find that walking or running gives them time to think and clear their head. *Bonus Points - Take it outside instead of hitting the treadmill or gym as fresh air and sunshine may work wonders.  4. Take a Step to Make a Positive Health Choice Show yourself love by doing something good for your health. If you’re a smoker, choosing to take steps to quit smoking is a positive choice you can make not only for your health, but also the health of those around you. A great way to start the process of quitting smoking is by reaching out to your friends, family and doctors to let them know that you want to quit. A doctor’s advice and support, which includes counseling and medication, can help double your chances of quitting smoking successfully. You can also find more resources about how to quit smoking at Quitter's Circle.  5. Take a Bath Soaking in a hot bath can help to melt your stress away. So draw a hot bath, leave your phone outside of the bathroom (and on silent), dim the lights, add some mellow music, and just enjoy the feel of the warm water on your body. *Bonus Points - Add Epsom salts for sore muscles or a fun bath bomb for bubbly fragrance and color.   6. Schedule a Massage While a massage is one of the more expensive options on this list, it can be an amazing way to show love to yourself when you are having a tough time. Massages are meant to help remove your stress and tension, and your body and mind will thank you too.    *Bonus Points - Two words: Hot Stone. 7. Cook a Favorite Healthy Meal Take the time to find that favorite, healthy recipe, go to the store, get all the ingredients, and enjoy cooking your favorite healthy meal. Cooking can be both fun and therapeutic, plus you get to enjoy a delicious dinner afterward. *Bonus Points - Double the recipe so you'll have leftovers ready for those busy days in your schedule.  8. Write in a Journal Journaling is an amazing activity for getting everything out of your head and onto paper. It helps release your thoughts and in turn lifts a bit of the burdens you are carrying. Journaling is a fabulous way to be kind to yourself and your emotions.  *Bonus Points - Google bullet journaling - it is the newest craze.  9. Watch Your Favorite Movie Pop a bowl of popcorn, grab a nice snuggly blanket and curl up on the coach with your favorite movie (or TV binge). Take your mind off of what is bothering you by letting it dive into your film. *Bonus Points - Make it a double feature. 10. Take a Nap Why we refused to nap as children is beyond me. Sleep is the body’s time to rest, recover and rebuild, so taking a nap can really help on those tough days when you are feeling drained.  A good nap can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go. *Bonus Points - If you are truly exhausted don't set an alarm, just go for it. 11. Grab an Adult Coloring Book Adult coloring books are all the rage for a reason - coloring is a great stress reliever. By focusing on coloring (stay in those lines) you are taking your mind off of everything else for a bit and allowing it to focus just on the page in front of you.  *Bonus Points - Order a new coloring book so you have more than 1 option. PP-CHM-USA-1604
Have you always fancied yourself a line dancer, painter or stand-up comedian? Now that you've quit smoking, you may feel healthier and encouraged to try something new. And with the time and money you save from buying cigarettes, the possibilities are endless. So go ahead, what will you start once you stop smoking? Visit us on Facebook and Twitter using #QuittersCircle and let us know! Have a four-legged friend? Start dog walking. Put those creative juices to use. Start crafting.  Don't forget your helmet! Start biking.  Get back to nature. Start bird watching.  Time to bust out your gym shorts. Start speed walking Pull on your boots and hit the dance floor.  Start line dancing Discover your green thumb. Start gardening. PP-CHM-USA-0718
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 Lindsay Livingston. This post also appears on The Lean Green Bean. This recipe for Spicy Ranch Popcorn is a helpful snack to keep on hand if you’re trying to quit smoking and an urge to smoke strikes! Stash some at work or in your purse to get you through a long afternoon! Hi Friends! It's snack time! Remember last week when I introduced you to Quitter's Circle and a new series of posts that would be coming up? I shared some tips for quitting smoking and one of them was to always be prepared when the urge to smoke strikes. This Spicy Ranch Popcorn is just the ticket! Did you know popcorn is a whole grain?! When you air pop it yourself and are smart about your seasonings, it can actually make quite a healthy snack. Plus, it's a volume snack meaning you can eat a lot of it without totally overdoing it on the calories. Snacks like this are great for keeping your hands (and mouth!) busy for a while without totally undoing the healthy lifestyle choices you're trying to make. Last year I shared this Sweet & Spicy Popcorn Snack Mix, which is another favorite of mine, but this time I wanted something a little more on the savory side. I made it extra spicy because spicy tends to mean you eat slower (because your mouth is on fire!). While this is a helpful snack for those trying to quit smoking, it's also great for anyone looking to add another healthy snack to their rotation. You can stash it in your cabinet, desk drawer or even your purse so you always have it on hand. The funny thing is, I'm not even a huge ranch fan ... I was just browsing for some savory spice combinations and the spices typically used in ranch dressing caught my attention. Here's how I made my version. Feel free to adjust the amount of each seasoning to your liking...and like I said, this is SPICY, so you can definitely cut back on the cayenne pepper if you want. You could also toss in a little parmesan cheese if you're feeling fancy! Here’s how you make it: Ingredients: 1/4 cup popcorn kernels (5-6 cups popped) 1 tbsp butter, melted 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp dried parsley 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp dried chives Directions: 1. Place popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch sack. Fold over the top and use the popcorn button on your microwave to pop. (Alternatively, you can pop in a pot on the stove or using an airpopper machine.) 2. In a small dish, combine melted butter and spice. 3. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl. Slowly pour spice mixture over popcorn while stirring. Continue stirring until most kernels are coated in spice mixture. Pretty easy, right?! Just be careful not to burn your popcorn like I did or you'll be smelling it every time you microwave something for the next week! Enjoy! --Lindsay— PP-CHM-USA-1492
Winter is well underway. Between frigid weather and gray skies, it’s easy to long for some warmth and sunshine. If there’s a person quitting smoking in your life, this winter might be especially difficult for them. Without cigarettes, they may feel irritable and moody – and the winter temperatures don’t help. But just because the weather is cool doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great winter activities to do with your quitter. Whether you’re on call to help them when urges to smoke arise, or helping them plan alternative activities that don’t remind them of smoking, you can be a source of warmth and encouragement for your quitter this winter. Catch Up Over a Hot Beverage What’s better than hot cocoa on a winter day? Offer to meet your quitter at your favorite cafe, or invite them over to your house for a hot drink. It might be wise to avoid coffee, as caffeinated beverages may be a smoking trigger for some people. Try another winter favorite – herbal peppermint tea or warm apple cider – instead. Ask them how their quitting journey is going so far, and if there is anything you can do to help. Do a Winter Craft Picking up and holding a cigarette may have become a routine for your quitter. Help them find something new to do with their hands while enjoying some winter crafts. Together, you can learn how to knit or crochet, or make paper snowflakes. Whether you end up with a warm scarf or a wintery decoration, you can enjoy spending time together while keeping your hands busy. Make a Healthy Wintery Snack Besides having urges to hold cigarettes in their hands, your quitter may also have the urge to put something in their mouth. Making a crunchy snack like a winter trail mix to take on the go may help them out with some of those urges. If your quitter is worried about weight gain that might happen, cut up some vegetables or fruit instead. Share a Blanket and Have a Winter Movie Marathon Although your quitter may occasionally get the urge to smoke, remind them that cravings usually go away after 3-5 minutes, whether they smoke or not. In that time, hop onto the couch, get under a warm blanket, and start your favorite wintertime movie. Time does fly when you’re having fun! Help Others Stay Warm When the weather gets cold, those without proper housing, heating, or warm clothes may struggle. Collecting gently used coats and boots to donate to a shelter or clothing drive, or volunteering at a soup kitchen with your quitter can give you both an especially important winter task to accomplish. Your quitter may enjoy having the opportunity to help others feel good. Whatever you do for your quitter this winter, make sure you show them the warmth in your heart. In a survey of 146 adult smokers who were trying to quit, 80% said that support from family, friends, and coworkers is very important to successfully quit smoking. By providing a warm, supportive environment for your quitter, you could be helping them to achieve quit smoking success.  PP-CHM-USA-1641
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 Lindsay Livingston. This post also appears on The Lean Green Bean. Here are three simple tips to help quit smoking if you're ready. Take a step towards a healthier life today! Hi Friends! Don't worry, you're not at the wrong blog. A few months ago, the folks at the American Lung Association & Pfizer reached out to me about a partnership. They’ve developed Quitter's Circle, a website full of information, resources, and tips for those who want to quit smoking and their supporters. There's even an app that both quitters and supporters can use. We've all seen the graphic ads and images of quit smoking campaigns, but I’m a big fan of supporting someone to quit smoking with positive encouragement and lots and lots of support. While I've never been a smoker, something you guys may not know is that hubby started smoking while we were in college. Since we dated for most of our college careers, I can remember plenty of cold nights standing outside with him while he smoked one last cigarette before bed, plenty of drives with the windows down to let smoke out of the car and plenty of loads of laundry that smelled like smoke. Eventually, I put my foot down and encouraged him to quit. I believe it was the summer before our senior year when he decided he was ready. I'll never forget him calling me late one night while he was digging through the trash can trying to find that last pack of cigarettes he threw away because he just wasn't sure he could do it. It’s scary to think how cigarettes can really have a hold on us sometimes. In the end, I'm so proud to say he beat smoking and I like to think I played a supportive role in the process. I truly believe quitting smoking is a huge step toward improving your health and the health of those around you (i.e. my health and the health of our future children is what I was thinking at the time). I put together a few tips to quit smoking to help you or someone you know and wanted to share them with you today. #1: Set new goals to focus on Think of quitting as taking a step toward a healthier life. Once you've made the decision to quit, it may help to set a couple of new health-related goals to focus on to help distract you from the temptation of smoking. For example, you could use this as an opportunity to improve your eating habits! Set a goal to meal plan and food prep for 4 weeks in a row. Or pick a new physical activity, skill or hobby to work on improving. Maybe you've always wanted to try Crossfit or a Body Pump class at the gym - now would be a great time! Or maybe you want to learn to play the guitar that's been sitting untouched in the corner for the past few years. Having something else to work toward besides the single goal of quitting smoking may help give you something to focus on other than the task of quitting smoking, which might seem overwhelming at times, and can also help distract you from temptation. #2: Plan ahead Many people enjoy the social aspect of smoking and the breaks it provides in their day. An important part of quitting is planning ahead so you can be ready when the urge strikes. Consider keeping a journal where you record when urges strike so you can see patterns and work to address (or avoid) them. Keep healthy snacks and drinks on hand. Snacks that can be eaten slowly over a short period of time, like trail mix, popcorn, etc. are a good start. Also keep water (plain or flavored) on hand at all times to keep you hydrated, and keep your hands and mouth busy! Over the next couple of months, I'll be sharing a few nutritious recipes that might be helpful while trying to quit (but are also delicious enough for anyone to enjoy!). I've got a couple of healthy snacks that pack a nutrition punch and can also be eaten slowly to keep your hands busy, a pre-portioned dessert you can keep in the freezer and more! So stay tuned! If you feel the need to get away from your desk, grab a friend and go for a quick 5-10 minute power walk break instead of a smoke break. If you know alcohol inhibits your ability to resist cigarettes, consider cutting back on alcoholic drinks while you're trying to quit smoking to help avoid giving in to cigarette cravings. Remove triggers from your routine. If you usually start the day with a cigarette, try changing up the order of your morning routine, choosing a new healthy breakfast (or adding breakfast to your routine!), or add in a morning workout. Anything you can do to avoid following the same morning routine where you'll encounter triggers and urges to smoke is a step in the right direction! #3: Have a Support System in Place There's no doubt that quitting smoking is hard, but having a support system in place can help. Tell your friends and family that you're planning to quit. Talk to others who have quit successfully about what worked for them.  Lean on your support system when you slip-up or when you're having a stressful day and fill them in when you successfully resist a craving so they can cheer you on! If you're looking to be a support system for someone trying to quit, this DIY Quit Kit is a great gift idea! Enjoy! --Lindsay-- PP-CHM-USA-1489
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. Running can be beautiful and freeing, a sort of stress relief if you will. Many people even consider it a form of therapy to go out and pound the pavement as it has mental, and physical, health benefits. However, even though being able to run is an amazing gift, there are days that are tough. One of our main goals as runners is to reduce the number of tough days and maximize the number of good days. The truth is that running can be tricky enough on its own without adding in any extra complications, so it is very important to check and make sure you don't have anything sabotaging your running.  Could These Actions be Sabatoging Your Running? 1. Staying Up Too Late Running takes a lot out of your body and you need to give it time to rest, recover and rebuild.  Most of this recovery process happens when you are sleeping. However, if you aren't getting enough sleep at night not only will you be tired, but you also won't recover properly which will hinder your runs. It is important that you aim for the daily recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night to optimize your running recovery and your energy levels. If you are in intense training, like for a marathon, even more sleep can be beneficial to recovery time, so go ahead and enjoy that weekend nap.    2. Eating Too Much Junk Think of your body as a machine - you get out of it what you put in. So, if you are constantly fueling your body with junk then what you get out of it is junk: feeling sluggish, upset stomach and increased risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Trying to have great runs when you feel like this is really tough. On the other hand, when you put good fuel into your body it shows. You feel better overall and you can tell a huge difference in your running.  3. Smoking Running is a largely cardiovascular activity that requires a lot out of your heart and lungs, and is a great way to keep them healthy. However, what happens if you start running as a smoker? The truth is that you're setting yourself up for a hard road. Can you do it? Yes! I have an amazing friend who ran a full marathon as a smoker. However, she mentioned again and again that the hardest part for her was not tackling the miles, but feeling like she struggled while running. Years of smoking had made it tough for her lungs to function properly and give her the oxygen she needed while running.  The marathon inspired her to quit and as she went on that journey she noticed that the less she smoked, the better she felt running. If you, or a runner you know, is looking to quit smoking, check out Quitter's Circle for information on how to quit and how to support those that are trying to quit. 4. Not Warming Up When you jump right into a run not only can you increase your risk of injury, but you may also be more likely to have a worse run, one where you start out with heavy legs and take a while to get moving. However, by warming up appropriately first, you can reduce that heavy leg feeling and find that you are able to get right into your run. Start off your warm up with a 5-10 minute walk, then do 10 leg swings on each side, 20 butt kicks, 10 squats (really squeeze it at the top to activate those glutes), and finish with 10 walking lunges before going into your run.   5. Forgetting to Stretch Just like it is so important to warm up to reduce the risk of injury, the same goes for your cool down. At the end of each run it is important to walk for 5-10 minutes to let your body cool down. Then, instead of just going inside and plopping down on the couch or heading out to sit at your desk job, it is essential that you stretch post-run. Be sure to take about 5 minutes to stretch and hold those stretches for long enough that they'll count (I suggest 20 to 30 seconds each stretch). Your body will thank you for it. 6. Drinking While a glass of wine can be a nice treat, numerous glasses may have a negative impact on your running. When you go to bed after too much drinking, your body doesn't rest properly. Then you wake up not only feeling mentally and physically exhausted, but also dehydrated. Put all of these together and it can lead to a pretty terrible run. So be smart and don't sabotage yourself, either don't drink at all, or exercise moderation. PP-CHM-USA-1587