Understanding Smoking

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
When it comes to quitting smoking, men and women are not created equal. Research suggests that male and female brains respond differently to nicotine. This may explain why men and women have different smoking patterns and quit experiences. Although they are probably not aware of it, men tend to smoke for the “nicotine rush,” while women more often smoke in response to stress and for the calming effects. For anyone quitting smoking, it’s important to understand your specific triggers, how smoking affects your body, and how you’ll plan ahead to cope with the challenges of quitting smoking. Ladies: read on for useful information to help understand your quit journey. Women may have a harder time quitting smoking than men The research is still mixed on this topic. But a recent study of more than 1,000 smokers who had attempted to quit within the past 2 months found that women had 33 percent lower odds of successfully quitting than men. A gender gap also existed among the 694 smokers attempting to quit without smoking cessation medication. Women worry about weight gain Women fear gaining weight more than men when quitting smoking. The more cigarettes smoked per day, the more weight you may gain after quitting. However, the average person who quits smoking gains between 4 and 10 pounds. While you may gain some weight, it’s important to look at the bigger picture: the health benefits from quitting smoking far outweigh any weight gain. You can help manage weight gain with healthy eating and exercise. Find a healthy lifestyle buddy to help you stay on track. You can share healthy recipes, shop together at the farmer’s market, and make weekly dates to exercise. Women tend to smoke to relive stress Many women have a lot on their plates, juggling home and work life, which can naturally lead to stress.  As you prepare for your quit journey, develop a plan for how you’ll manage stressful situations instead of reaching for a cigarette.  Consider some of these stress relief techniques: - Practice breathing techniques. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. A few long, slow breaths can help your body relax. - Take a walk. If the heat of the moment is getting to you, step away for a few minutes. Get your legs moving and your mind off of the problem. - Talk to a friend. During your quit journey, turn to your supporters–that’s what they’re there for. Whether it’s a stressful situation at work or with your kids, sometimes just letting it out to a kind listener can be a source of relief. Women have so many benefits of quitting smoking When you quit smoking, you can look forward to reducing your risk of many serious illnesses, including heart disease and lung cancer. Lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. But within 10 years of quitting smoking, your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.   For women of childbearing age, quitting smoking can also reduce the risk of infertility and decrease the chances of premature birth, birth defects, and infant death. If you’re looking for other incentives for quitting, there are plenty of those as well: you may look forward to a brighter smile, your clothes and breath no longer smelling of smoke, and you may have more energy. As you can see, you have so much to gain by quitting smoking. So what are you waiting for? Start planning ahead and finding the support you may need on this journey. First, talk to your healthcare provider about quitting smoking and voice any concerns you may have. Round up a support team that can help have your back on this journey.  And look forward to your new healthy, smokefree future!   PP-CHM-USA-1258
If you’ve resolved to quit smoking in the new year, congratulations! If you’ve tried to quit in the past, or talked to others who’ve quit, you know it’s no easy feat. During your quit journey, expect roadblocks and setbacks. But keep in mind that many people before you have traveled this road and succeeded in kicking their smoking habit for good. And you, too, can join the ranks of successful quitters. Before facing any challenge, it helps to know what you’re up against. Here are some common barriers and how to overcome them. “I need a cigarette to calm my nerves.” Many smokers believe that smoking cigarettes helps them relax. While the nicotine in cigarettes may have a temporary calming effect, it quickly fades, leaving smokers with an urge to smoke. Smoking also increases blood pressure and heart rate, which causes an increase in stress levels in the body. Try some of these techniques, the next time you feel stressed. Pause and take a deep breathe in and out. Keep your eyes closed, and concentrate on your breath while you calm your nerves– all on your own. Talk it out with a family member, trusted friend, or healthcare professional. Step out for some fresh air. Sometimes taking a walk is all you need to gain some perspective. “I miss the bonding with coworkers (and friends) during smoking breaks.”                 When you quit smoking, one of the hardest parts may be giving up the social aspects of smoking. The American Lung Association recommends developing a coping plan to help avoid smoking breaks.  Rehearse ahead of time how you’ll respond when a friend or coworker suggests going out for a smoke.  Say it out loud to make it real. Tell people you have quit, so they can help keep you on track. Plan alternate activities to do instead of taking a smoking break, such as sipping a cup of herbal tea or discussing your favorite zombie show with a coworker. “I don’t want to gain weight.” Studies show that those who smoke, on average, weigh less than those who don't. When smokers quit, their bodies calibrate, and a few extra pounds often show up on the scale. But not everyone gains weight. Remember that the health benefits from quitting smoking surpass a small weight gain. Work with a healthcare provider to develop an exercise routine and healthy eating plan. Walk around the block with a coworker during former smoking breaks. It's a stress reliever, and gets you up and moving. Brown bag your lunch. Home prepared meals will more likely be healthier than typical restaurant fare, and you can pick foods that keep your hands distracted during your quit–like carrot sticks and pretzels.  “Smoking cessation treatments are too expensive.” Consider how much you’re saving by quitting: a pack-a-day smoker can save up to $2,000 a year. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more health plans are covering quit smoking interventions at no cost, and this may include medication and counseling. Specific coverage varies depending on your plan, so it's important you reasearch to learn what's included in your policy.  Talk to your healthcare provider about your options, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what your plan covers. If you’re still finding the costs to be too much, it’s time to make an investment in your future health. Start a Quit Fund. Ask family and friends to contribute to your Quit Fund so that you can kick off 2016 with the goal of being smokefree.  ​PP-CHM-USA-0655
Quitting smoking and weight is a topic that may come to a quitter’s mind. Many want to know: “Will I gain weight? If so, how much?” In fact, worries about the potential of gaining weight can hold smokers back from even trying to quit. But not everyone gains weight after quitting. Some people may even lose weight. Here are few things you should know about smoking and weight. How do I weigh the pros and cons of quitting smoking versus potential weight gain? Studies have shown that the average smoker may gain 5-10 pounds, and the health benefits of quitting smoking outpace modest weight gain. And the important thing to remember is that you can take action to overcome any potential weight gain. You can minimize weight gain as you quit, or lose the pounds after you quit, through a healthy diet and exercise. (Why not take advantage of your improving lung function and sense of smell to counteract any potential weight gain?) Why do people gain weight when they quit smoking? There are several reasons why quitters gain weight, but one reason is that the nicotine found within cigarettes increases the number of calories your body burns. Additionally, nicotine acts to curb your appetite. With a potentially slower metabolism and a healthier appetite, some ex-smokers may put on weight. What if I really don’t want to gain weight but want to quit smoking... Take action! Quitting smoking also improves lung function. Embrace those healthy lungs by becoming more active. Increasing your activity level may help offset potential weight gain from living cigarette free. Additionally, some studies have shown that those who quit smoking with the help of smoking cessation medication gain less weight. Reach out to a healthcare provider to learn about the resources available to you. Finally, if you’re still worried about how ditching cigarettes may possibly change the way you look, remember that by kicking the addiction, you may be able to clear up those stains on your teeth and nails and stop the damage smoking may cause to your skin . There are so many benefits to quitting smoking. Don’t let a scale keep you from taking on a healthier, smokefree life. VCP754911
Whether you’ve already quit, or January 1 is your Quit Day, you’re a superstar for committing to making 2016 a smokefree year! So, we want to know: Why is staying off cigarettes this year so important to you? Is it your health? Your family? Saving money? We get it, the answer may well be “all of the above,” but knowing your main motivator is an important part of your Quit Plan and staying smokefree when you have an urge to smoke. (And don’t forget, the Quitter’s Circle app is there for you whenever you have the urge to light up.  Check out these reasons to be smokefree and post your #1 reason on our Facebook page!  Health You've been worried about the long-term health consequences of tobacco, and you’re ready to do something about it. After all, once you quit, your lungs will begin to clear themselves of toxins and repair themselves.  After one smokefree year, you’ll have cut your risk of heart disease in half.  Plus, you’ll decrease your risk of stroke and certain types of cancers linked to smoking.  Saving money When you think about quitting, you see dollar signs. Lots of ‘em. If you smoke a pack a day, your savings could total up to $2,000 a year from not purchasing cigarettes anymore! That's over $20,000 in ten years. You’re psyched to put that money towards your child's education or a few dream vacations. Family You can’t stand that secondhand smoke may be getting those you love sick, potentially increasing their risk of respiratory infections, stroke and certain cancers. Or maybe you have a loved one who is worried about you and really wants you to quit. You’ll reap the benefits of quitting as well, but your family is your number one priority. Good Looks You’re ready to be the most attractive version of yourself, and cigarettes are holding you back! It’s time for beautiful white teeth–watch those stains from cigarettes go away, clean fingernails and fresh breath. With a face as beautiful as yours, the words “premature wrinkles” and “tooth decay” are the biggest motivators in convincing you to ditch smokes for good.  Saving Time  The time you save by not smoking is the real deal. If you spend six minutes smoking a cigarette and smoke a pack a day, that's two hours every day that are devoted to smoking. You’re ready to do more important things with that time, like work on your happy dance!  PP-CHM-USA-0618
By going smokefree, you could improve the well-being of your friends, family, coworkers, and even your pets. Here’s how the cigarettes you smoke affect the people around you. Your Family Have kids at home? Lighting up around them increases their risk of developing ear infections, asthma, and other breathing complications—like coughs, shortness of breath, and even bronchitis. Children who grow up watching their parents smoke are also more likely to become smokers as teens. Being an adult, of course, doesn’t protect anyone from the damaging effects of cigarettes. The lungs and hearts of all family members in your home are put at risk by secondhand smoke, no matter how wide you keep the windows open—or how many fans you make use of. Your Coworkers Even if you’re not puffing on cigarettes in the office (or other worksite), your colleagues can still be impacted. Smoking can decrease your productivity on the job, plus all those potential medical complications linked to smoking. Heart disease, diabetes, and reduced immune function (to name just a few) can cause you to take more time off than a non-smoking colleague. One study estimated that smokers cost businesses an average of $5,816 extra dollars each year. Your Neighbors Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of them are toxic and 70 have been shown to cause cancer in humans. Breathing in secondhand smoke—whether it’s from a neighbor’s burning cigarette or from a cigarette outside your window—has been shown to have instant effects on the cardiovascular system of nearby individuals. Over time, secondhand smoke takes a toll on people’s lungs and has been found to increase the risk of stroke in those exposed by 20-30%. The Good News The sooner you quit, the more likely you are to improve your own heart and lung health, as well as the hearts and lungs of people you coexist with. In fact, your commitment to quitting can inspire others to follow in your footsteps.   If you and your spouse both smoke, your decision to quit can increase the odds they’ll do the same by 67%! (How’s that for some serious influence?) Of course, you don’t have to be married to the person you’re inspiring to have an effect. A close friend of yours who also smokes is 43% more likely to quit if you lead the way.   The earlier parents quit smoking, the less likely their children will pick up cigarettes themselves.   When you give up cigarettes, you’ll have more time left over from those smoke breaks you’re no longer taking—plus some extra savings from no longer shelling out all that money for packs of cigarettes. Perfect chance to do something good for the health of your colleagues, family members, or friends. (Need ideas? Head to our Future Self page!) How has quitting smoking helped the important people in your life? Share your story on Facebook or Twitter. VCP762906
Change is in the air. A new season is about to begin. What better time than now to turn over a new leaf by becoming smokefree? Are you considering quitting? If so, this might be because you’re aware that putting down cigarettes can improve your health, help you save quite a bit of money by not buying cigarettes and free up more time for you to focus on something other than your next smoke break. Maybe you’ve tried quitting before. If you’ve encountered a setback, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to nix cigarettes. Often, success takes several tries. And there are a number of steps you can take—like talking with your healthcare provider and allying yourself with a strong support network—that can make your next attempt more likely to stick.  Do you want to make a change in your life? And if you knew you could quit and succeed, would you be more likely to do it? If you’re still on the fence about stubbing out cigarettes once and for all, here are some signs you are indeed ready to make the change of becoming smokefree—and to join the wide community of quitters here to welcome you! You Want to Feel More Energized Tired of feeling so tired all the time? Cigarettes may be to blame for your fatigue: Nicotine is a stimulant that can excite our brains and bodies, which can make it harder to fall asleep or get quality Z’s. Small wonder that many smokers report difficulties falling and staying asleep—as well as trouble waking up once the alarm rings in the morning. You Want to Lower Your Stress Levels You might think that reaching for that cigarette is a way to reduce stress. But reports are finding this may not be true in all people. Studies show that some quitters feel less anxious than those who continue to smoke. You May Want to Look—and Smell!—Better Smoking affects many aspects of your body and mind. This includes your appearance. Teeth, skin, hair, and nails suffer from exposure to (and ingestion of) cigarette smoke—both your own and secondhand smoke from others’. Looking and smelling a bit better may be one of many reasons to get and stay smokefree. (And if you’re worried that this is a selfish motivation, consider that between two and 10 smokers trying to stay smokefree think appearance is a huge incentive to stay away from cigarettes, too.) You Have Someone Else You Want to Quit For Your health is priority number one. But knowing that going smokefree benefits everyone around you can be a major motivator to stick to your quit! Having a certain someone—whether that’s a child, a parent, a significant other, or even a close friend—who’s on your side from the get-go, can help during times of doubt. They can help you remember who else’s health is at stake each time you light up. Remember, no amount of secondhand smoke is safe for those around you. And by quitting cigarettes, you’ll be giving those loved ones a healthier you! VCP760304