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Quit today for a healthier tomorrow

Here are some great reasons to quit smoking today:

  • after 20 minutes, your heart rate drops
  • after eight hours excess carbon monoxide is out of your blood
  • after five days most nicotine is out of your body
  • after one week your sense of taste and smell improves
  • after 12 weeks your lungs regain the ability to clean themselves
  • after 12 months your risk of heart disease has halved
  • after ten years, your risk of lung cancer is less than half of someone who continues to smoke, and
  • after 15 years of not smoking, your risk of heart attack and stroke is almost the same as a person who has never smoked

Not only are there great health benefits to quitting smoking but there are also significant financial savings, improvements to your appearance (avoiding wrinkles, stained teeth and fingers), you reduce the impact passive smoking has on other people, and no more old tobacco smell on your clothing — because nobody likes to smell like an ashtray!

Why do people continue to smoke?

“Nicotine is the stimulant drug in tobacco smoke that causes dependency. It is highly addictive, both physically and mentally. A key brain chemical involved in mediating the desire to consume drugs is the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Research has shown that nicotine increases the levels of dopamine in the part of the brain that regulates feelings of pleasure. This is an important reason why nicotine is so addictive.

The “nicotine hit” is extremely quick. In cigarette smoke it is absorbed directly from the mouth and, because it is alkaline, it dissolves instantly in saliva. It is then carried through the mouth’s lining into the bloodstream and straight to the brain. It only takes a few seconds for the smoker to feel somewhat light–headed and dizzy”.

What happens to my body when I quit?

When someone quits smoking they can suffer various withdrawal symptoms as the body is no longer receiving the nicotine and other chemicals from the tobacco smoke. These symptoms usually only last for a few weeks and can include:

  • Cravings - each one lasts a short time, but may be strong. Over time cravings will reduce
  • Feelings of irritability, frustration, depression or anxiety
  • Feelings of restlessness and / or difficulty concentrating
  • Changed sleeping patterns
  • Increase in appetite and weight gain
How do I quit smoking?

There are a variety of ways to quit smoking. They include:

  • Going cold turkey (choosing a day and just stopping)
  • Cutting down gradually
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (eg patches, lozenges)
  • Other medication (prescription medications — see your doctor)

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Smoking and the University of the Sunshine Coast

What about smoking when you are at Uni? What are the rules? The USC smoking policy prohibits smoking:

  • On or in University premises, with the exception of the designated smoking areas, and
  • Within any University vehicle
So you are thinking maybe, sometime in the future, possibly, right now… I’m going to QUIT smoking?? Here are some places that can help.

This article is compiled by Rebecca Tretheway, in partnership between Student Wellbeing and PUB 352 Public Health Project for the USC Health and Wellbeing Project.

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