Cigarettes are truly one of a kind. No other product- When used correctly kills more than ½ of its customers! However they do not receive the “recognition” they deserve. News, social media and other outlets often focus on other terrible addictions. A prime example is the opioid epidemic. It seems like you cannot go 5 minutes without hearing about opioid use and abuse. While, this is certainly a very serious problem that needs attention and solutions it unquestionably is not the “biggest killer” around. That title is reserved for none other than-Tobacco! Tobacco is still the number 1 leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Nevertheless tobacco gets very little press or public outrage.
How can this change? Well we know that the tobacco companies would prefer that it does not. One thing that can be done is to not place blame or guilt on ourselves. Often many people are desperate to quit smoking and get stuck in a vicious cycle of not being able to quit and then feeling guilt and shame. Instead of blaming ourselves let’s take a closer look at who is to blame- Tobacco Companies!
Tobacco companies chemically engineered their products to produce maximum addictive properties. One tricky way they achieved this was by free-basing nicotine to the brain. Tobacco companies added ammonia to cigarettes to change the pH, thus allowing free-basing to occur. If you hear the words free-basing and instantly think of crack cocaine you are not alone! Actually the methods drug dealers and tobacco companies’ use are one in the same. They both add ammonia to their products to increase absorption and thus speed up the delivery to the brain. Tobacco companies also go to great lengths to ensure that there is a consistent amount of nicotine in each and every cigarette to maximize addictiveness. All of these manipulative and tricky processes add up to making it harder to quit smoking. While quitting smoking can be very challenging and the tobacco companies certainly are not making it any easier, it is important that you quit smoking. Use every tool and resources available to you and do not be afraid to ask for help. Because you too are “one of a kind”.
Laura McConahey MS