We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Why Is It So Hard to Quit Smoking?

Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Chances are, you probably know someone who used to smoke. For those who have managed to kick the habit, quitting was probably one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Smoking contributes to millions of deaths each year, so what makes people start, and why is it so hard to quit?

There are many factors that can influence a person to start smoking, including the depiction of smoking in popular culture, growing up in a home where smoking occurs, and genetics. In fact, research conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2008 revealed that "at least half of a person's susceptibility to drug addiction can be linked to genetic factors."

The tobacco found in cigarettes is addicting because it contains nicotine, a psychoactive substance. Psychoactive substances change how the brain works and can cause changes in mood and behavior. When nicotine is inhaled, the effects are very rapid, giving the user an almost immediate sense of enjoyment. However, this feeling disappears quickly, leaving users with the urge to consume more tobacco products.

The brain function of someone who smokes regularly is adversely affected as it becomes nicotine-reliant. In fact, smokers have billions more nicotine receptors in the brain than nonsmokers. If a user suddenly stops smoking, unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms will occur as the brain tries to adjust to not having nicotine around.

Many smokers connect smoking with things they do during the day, including routines, making quitting that much more difficult. Avoiding these “triggers” is an important step in the process of quitting. There are also help groups, social media apps, and medicines specifically designed to help people stop smoking.

Kicking the habit:

  • According to the National Cancer Institute, withdrawal symptoms may include depression, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and lack of appetite.

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, once a person stops smoking, health benefits include the following: a person’s heart rate decreases within 20 minutes, carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal within 12 hours, lung function and circulation improve within three months, and a person’s risk of having a heart attack reduces by half after a year.

  • Resources for smokers trying to quit include the National Cancer Institute Quitline at 1-877- 44U-QUIT or by finding your state’s quitline by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Chatting with a quit-smoking counselor is also available through LiveHelp.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.