MYTH 1: There are no immediate benefits when someone stops smoking and have to wait years for any benefit.
TRUTH: The health benefits of smoking cessation (quitting) are immediate and substantial. Almost immediately, a person’s circulation begins to improve. The level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline. A person’s pulse rate and blood pressure, which may be abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal. Within a few days of quitting, a person’s sense of taste and smell return, and breathing becomes increasingly easier.
MYTH 2: Cessation only benefits the young smoker.
TRUTH: Smoking cessation benefits men and women at any age. Smokers who quit before the age 50 have half of the risk of dying in the next 16 years compared with people who continue to smoke. Older adults who quit smoking also have a less risk of dying from coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
MYTH 3: The best way to quit is going “cold turkey”.
TRUTH: Each person’s success is different, however, the most effective way to quit is by using a combination of counseling and nicotine replacement therapy or non-nicotine medicines (Zyban, Chantix etc).
MYTH 4: Freedom to smoke is a choice and does not impact on others.
TRUTH: 53,000 people a year die from second hand (passive smoking) smoke. Researchers have found that infants as young as three months old accumulate nicotine and carcinogens in their bodies when they are exposed to tobacco smoke.
MYTH 5: Everyone knows how bad smoking is.
TRUTH: While most of the people are generally aware that smoking is not healthy practice, instances of poor knowledge about the health risks. Relatively few women are aware of gender-specific health risks, including Cervical Cancer, Osteoporosis, early Menopause, Miscarriage, Ectopic Pregnancy, and Infertility. Fewer than half of Canadian adults aged 55 to 74 years identified that smoking is a major cause of heart disease and in China 90% smokers are at risk.
MYTH 6: If you cannot quit the first time you try, you will never be able to quit.
TRUTH: Quitting cigarettes are sometimes the hardest of all addictions. The number of doses delivered to the brain is about 200 per day, if the person smokes one pack per day. Multiple tries are usually the norm.
MYTH 7: Quitting cigarettes are expensive.
TRUTH: A pack-a-day smoker can spend $1500 per year or more. Quitting smoking has the potential for large savings on future health costs. Men, less than one in four smokers believe smoking causes serious health problems.
MYTH 8: Just a few cigarettes a day cannot hurt.
TRUTH: Although lung cancer has, in general, a linear dose-response relationship with tobacco use, the risk for cardiovascular disease, which accounts for a significant proportion of tobacco-related illness and death, becomes evident with the consumption of 3 to 5 cigarettes per day.
MYTH 9: “Light” cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes.
TRUTH: The so-called “light” cigarettes are just as harmful to health as “regular” brands, but most smokers remain sadly misinformed about this fact. More than 160 countries have signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which prohibits the use of descriptors that may create the false impression that a particular tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products.
MYTH 10: It is easy to stop smoking; if people want to quit, they will.
TRUTH: While many smokers are able to stop on their own, many find it difficult or impossible to quit because nicotine is addictive. Nicotine may be comparable to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol in addiction potential. The benefits of quitting smoking are well documented, and many people who are serious about quitting make several attempts before they quit for good.
MYTH 11: Once a smoker, always a smoker.
TRUTH: More than half the Americans who have ever smoked have already quit. Despite the difficulty many people have quitting smoking, the millions of former smokers are living proof that people can quit – and in many places, most smokers already have.
MYTH 12: Smokers may die earlier, but all they really forfeit are a couple of bad years at the end of life.
TRUTH: The average smoker who dies from tobacco-related causes loses about 14 years of life. Elderly smokers have the physical health expected of people two to four years older and the mental health expected of people 10 years older than their actual age. The chemically dependent patient in recovery experiences devastatingly high rates of tobacco-related deaths.
MYTH 13: Tobacco is good for the economy.
TRUTH: The World Bank analyzed the net economic effect of tobacco and concluded that money not spent on cigarettes would instead be spent on other goods and services that in turn would generate other jobs and economic activity to replace any that would be lost from the tobacco industry.
MYTH 14: The tobacco industry no longer markets to kids or undermines public health efforts.
TRUTH: Cigarette advertising continues to reach children. Children who own tobacco company promotional items (T-shirts, caps, etc.) are up to seven times more likely to smoke than those who do not own these items. Children aged 12 to 17 years – the most likely age
(Adolescences) of smoking initiation – are twice as likely as adults to be exposed to tobacco advertising and teenagers are three times more sensitive to cigarette advertising than adults are.
MYTH 15: Psychiatric patients cannot quit cigarette use.
TRUTH: Effects of a tobacco ban on long-term psychiatric patients research by Harris1 looked at one year before and one year after the ban. 23 smoking patients had cardiopulmonary compromise before the ban and 17 were given a clean bill of health one year later.
MYTH 16: Smokeless tobacco is safe and is a good way to stop smoking.
TRUTH: Snuff contains 10 times the amount of nitro- amines found in cigarettes and this is 100 times the amount that the FDA allows in other products. Levels of cancer causing tobacco specific nitro -amines (TSNA) were significantly higher in US brands than Swedish brands, suggesting that companies can produce a product with lower levels of TSNA if they choose to.
MYTH 17: We have already solved the tobacco problems.
TRUTH: The public health problems caused by tobacco use are far from solved. More than one in five US adults (nearly 50 million people) smoke, and globally, about 1.3 billion people are smokers – more than at any time in human history – and more than 1 billion will die from tobacco-related causes during this century unless urgent action is taken on the local, national, and international levels.