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What is Chain Smoking?

Chain smokers often smoke one cigarette after another.
Chain smoking can include pipes.
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  • Written By: Kris Roudebush
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2014
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Chain smoking generally refers to individuals who smoke frequently. A more accurate definition is someone who smokes one cigarette after another, often using the old cigarette to light a new one. Chain smoking most often refers to cigarettes but can include pipes and cigars.

Chain smoking is often a sign of addiction. Smoking addictions, like all addictions, are difficult to beat. Nicotine is the chemical that causes addiction by stimulating the pleasure centers of the brain on several levels. While the effects of smoking are on a much lower level than other addictive drugs, users will develop a tolerance which allows them to take in greater amounts of nicotine without getting sick. Chain smoking gives the user a constant source of nicotine that users find calming and stimulating at the same time.

Most smokers, including those involved in chain smoking, want to quit. In fact, it’s estimated that those who eventually succeed in quitting have tried as many as seven times before finally quitting for good. Non-smokers should understand that smoking is not a habit, it’s an addiction.

Nicotine, the cause of smoking addiction, is an insecticide and is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Despite this, it’s not a carcinogen. Cancers, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and other circulatory diseases are caused by the consumption of tobacco, tars, and carbon monoxide in the cigarettes.

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Physical and psychological factors play major roles in smoking addiction. Nicotine acts on the brain disrupting the normal flow of information. The brain will counteract this disruption but the adjustment is often a slow one. Without nicotine the brain needs time to adjust back to normal function. This adjustment period is called the withdrawal syndrome.

Psychological factors also occur over time as a smoker learns when and how to smoke to get the most effect from the drug nicotine. Chain smoking often conditions smokers into feeling that the very act of smoking is a constant source of pleasure and relief. This can make quitting even more difficult.

Despite the odds, quitting is the healthiest thing a smoker can do. In fact the benefits of quitting can be seen as soon as 20 minutes from the last cigarette smoked. Smokers who are able to quit before or during their 40’s reduce their cancer risk by up to 90%. The growing industry of safer nicotine products, which provide the fix that smokers need, means that no smoker should have to suffer the numerous health problems associated with smoking.

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Discuss this Article

anon278765
Post 4

My father smokes a cigarette every five to 10 minutes. I can't stand being around him. I will simply not let him in my room or anywhere around me. I am 13 and too young to die from second-hand smoke.

Telling a smoker what they are doing is bad is unhelpful. It's not like they are actually going to stop. If you think that's the case, don't be stupid. Cigarettes might be as bad as heroin and cocaine, but I'd rather my dad did one of those. I love him but if I had to choose between my life and his life, I'd choose mine. He already decided he wanted to end his when he started smoking. Sometimes I wonder how he even got past 40.

anon93103
Post 3

I have a very "comforting" story:

My grandma owns a cottage along a river in NW Pennsylvania. Well one day, I went out in the river on a kayak to an island. With my grandparents and brother (I'm not that old).

Well, once we got over there, after maybe a half hour or so, a five-year-old and his mom came to the island. We stayed there for a little bit then the boy (the five year old) invited us to his "cottage" (so to speak, it was more of a log cabin). And his dad was there, along with who I assume were the boy's aunt and uncle. The dad, was a very heavy smoker, not quite a chain smoker, but close. He was probably lighting up a cigarette every 15 minutes. The next day the same thing happened. However, the dad came over later and we didn't go over to the cabin. And on the island, which I think we stayed for maybe an hour and fifteen minutes, the dad smoked maybe 4 or 5 cigs. In an hour and fifteen minutes, give or take. And he was not setting a very good role model for his child.

So, you can obviously see some connection. My "story" was just to give another example.

And, my tip to you is show him the dangers of smoking online so he actually understands that he is killing himself. Furthermore, give him all his options to quit his habit for good. I hope it works.

anon83335
Post 2

wow, i had never imagined it to be this bad. what i think you should do is just stop telling him that he's doing the wrong thing. one day he will realize it himself that he's killing himself.

laney77348
Post 1

My companion is a chain smoker. He is 53 years old. He weighs around 280 pounds. He is not active at all. He will use an electric chair in stores, in fact. You can hear him breathing hard when he takes five steps.

Ninety percent of the day he is sitting, chain smoking these off brands of cigs which god knows what's in those and drinking coffee. The other 10 percent, he is sleeping.

He is up most of the night also smoking. He continues to smoke in the bathroom that is not ventilated so he is smoking and breathing in the bathroom smoke. He doesn't want to quit. How can I get him to understand that he is killing himself? Thanks so much. --E

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