Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer, it is responsible for approximately 30 percent of all cardiovascular diseases, and is attributed to more than 400,000 deaths a year. More than 50,000 people die each year as a result of the affects of second hand smoke. Why would anyone smoke knowing that smoking is dangerous and causes so many needless deaths? Cigarette and tobacco product manufacturers add ingredients like nicotine which is very addictive. Nicotine and other ingredients in cigarettes provide smokers with a rush or a quick lift in their mood due to certain hormone stimulation in the body. The stimulation of the hormones that make you feel good can become quite addictive to a person. Cigarette addiction is rampant here in the United States, as well as in other countries.


When someone tries to stop smoking, they will experience withdrawal symptoms similar to withdrawals from illegal narcotic drugs. Drug and alcohol addiction specialists even compare the compulsion to smoke and the withdrawal symptoms experienced when smoking is suddenly stopped, to an addiction to cocaine and the withdrawal symptoms that cocaine addicts experience when they suddenly stop using cocaine. Some of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms experienced by smokers attempting to stop smoking include, but are not limited to, headaches, agitation, diarrhea, shaking, nausea, vomiting, intense cravings, physical pain, and depression. Overcoming a smoking addiction is not easy by any means, but it can be done and removing the health and life dangers of smoking is well worth it.


Some people are able to stop smoking for good with the aid of nicotine replacement products and prescription medications, such as "the patch" and nicotine gums, but these do not work for everyone and they do carry some risk with their use, that you should consider before using them to help you stop smoking. You can stop smoking for good with exercise. Exercise can also help to ease some of the withdrawal symptoms and even help to avoid others associated with quitting smoking.


Many people who want to stop smoking are concerned about possible weight gain that is widely reported as a symptom of withdrawal from smoking. It is true that some people can experience a weight gain when they stop smoking, but this weight gain is as a result of substituting food for the hormonal and emotional stimulation of smoking and choosing the wrong foods as a substitute. As a smoker you have become accustomed to having a cigarette in your hand and working your facial muscles as you puffed on it, not having something in your hand and something to work the facial muscles triggers you to crave smoking even more. It is great that you have decided not to give in to the craving for a cigarette and eat something instead, but making better food choices can still calm cravings while not causing you to gain weight. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, crackers, and other crunchy low fat foods are better choices. Exercise can also help you to keep from gaining weight, even when you occasionally choose not so good foods.


Exercise, especially exercise that raises the heart rate such as weight training will increase the amount of "feel good" hormones in your body and leave you in a better mood to continue your fight with not smoking. Exercise will also help the benefits of stopping smoking appear much sooner. Your skin will regain its natural color and elasticity, your lung capacity will grow, your immune system will be strong and healthy, your life will be extended, and you will be happier for having taken the monkey of smoking off your back. Exercise also creates a great new "obsession" to focus on. Exercise is healthy for you and devoting your time to working out to get your mind off of smoking will lead to a happier and healthier you in no time at all.