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Are You Ready To Quit?

Northcentral PA AHEC wants to help you become smoke-free


by Tiphanie Stocks & Susan Gage - July 6, 2020

Quitting tobacco use and breaking a nicotine addiction is difficult. The Northcentral PA AHEC offers online and live classes throughout the year to help. There are many issues to consider when making the decision to quit using tobacco and nicotine. We would like to briefly address addiction and how smoking affects our health, as well as those around us.

Most smokers and nicotine users know that they are addicted, but they may not understand all the aspects of that addiction. The American Lung Association uses the Three-Link Chain of Addiction model to explain how smoking connects to our lives. The first connection is biological or physical. Nicotine causes many different physical reactions in the human body. It decreases anxiety, normalizes mood, suppresses appetite, and increases heart rate. The big reaction happens in the pleasure center of the brain, causing feelings of reward and arousal. This is the connection that produces withdrawal symptoms and keeps us coming back for more. The second connection is psychological or mental. Most tobacco use is a result of environmental cues that trigger automatic behavior such as always having a cigarette with a cup of coffee or always smoking while driving. Tobacco is also used to deal with stress and other emotions. This is the connection that ingrains smoking as a habit. The third connection is social. Smoking and tobacco play an important role in social situations and “hanging out.” Your friends and family members may smoke and expect you to do the same, or your co-workers always go out to smoke on their break. You must unlearn this behavior in order to quit smoking and stay smokefree. The Freedom From Smoking clinics will give you the tools, tips, and techniques to overcome this addiction. Watch this quick video to learn more:

Most smokers and nicotine users also know that smoking is bad for their health, but they may choose to ignore that fact. The American Lung Association estimates that 480,000 Americans die each year due to diseases directly related to smoking. These smoking related diseases include lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, COPD, and many other health problems. Watch this quick demonstration on lung health to learn more:

Non-smokers are also harmed by smokers through second and thirdhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke exhaled by the smoker and the smoke coming off the end of the cigarette. According to the CDC, there are more than 7000 chemicals in secondhand smoke. A study from the National Institutes of Health identifies some of these chemicals as nicotine, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide just to name a few. It was recently discovered that thirdhand smoke is a problem. Thirdhand smoke is defined as residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces and the clothing of smokers by tobacco smoke. Thirdhand smoke can be inhaled, swallowed, and absorbed through touch by anyone.

Many smokers may believe that they can find a safer way to use tobacco; however, this is not true. Pipes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to combustible cigarettes. All these choices contain the addictive drug nicotine and other chemicals that will cause adverse health effects, not to mention the fact that inhaling anything other than oxygen into your lungs is harmful. All evidence-based research indicates that complete tobacco cessation is the best outcome for quitting smoking.

The next Freedom From Smoking clinic sponsored by the Northcentral Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center will start on Monday, July 13, 2020 at 5:30 pm. This clinic will be held online via Zoom. Please contact Tiphanie Stocks at (570) 724-9148 or to register for this course, or if you are interested in attending clinics in the future.


Videography: Andrew Moore

Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: Tiphanie Stocks & Susan Gage

Anchor: Rhonda Pearson


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Northcentral PA AHEC

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