Biological, psychological, behavioral, and cultural factors all play a role in nicotine addiction, making smoking one of the hardest addictions to beat. About half of people who quit return to smoking. Even after years of not smoking, some ex-smokers still have occasional cravings for cigarettes.
Some experts suggest that, in addition to depression, there are three major areas responsible for the inability to quit:
How well a person does in the first 2 weeks of smoking cessation is critical to their success. Smokers should not be shy about seeking all the help they can during this period. Although withdrawal symptoms can be intense, treatments are available to reduce them.
Attempts to quit are never a waste of time, since the amount of smoking is reduced during these periods. People who keep trying still have a 50 - 50 chance of finally quitting.
Researchers have been trying to discover individual risk factors or sets of behaviors that can help predict why specific people fail to quit. Some factors include:
Among many studies, however, only one found a single consistent factor for failure to quit: Cheating during the first 2 weeks of withdrawal, even with the patch, nearly guarantees that a person will smoke again in 6 months.
Studies show that women have a harder time trying to quit smoking and have less success with abstinence programs than men. There are many proposed reasons for this:
On the positive side, evidence suggests that when women quit, their lung function seems to improve more rapidly than in men who quit.
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