Science and Tech


Smoking So Addictive Even 10% Of Cancer Survivors Can't Quit

A study from the American Association for Cancer Research says 1 in 10 cancer survivors still smoke, despite being at greater risk.
Posted at 8:27 PM, Aug 06, 2014

Cancer survivors smoking? Sounds pretty crazy right?

A news study shows 1 in 10 cancer survivors still smoke.

​The CDC reports smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and more than 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking. 

So how could someone who already went through the horrors of cancer increase their risk of getting it again by smoking? Chances are, they are really, really addicted. 

Nicotine changes the levels of chemicals in the brain causing that relaxed feeling many smokers enjoy. But, the more they smoke, the more the brain gets used to the nicotine. That makes you need more to get the same affect.

Then, if you try to stop smoking, your brain has a hard time adjusting and you can experience withdrawals and cravings so powerful it may be difficult to quit — even if you've already been through cancer treatments.

A report from the Surgeon General says, "Nicotine is just as addictive as heroin and cocaine."

And the American Heart Association lists irritability, anxiety, depressed mood, and weight gain as side affects of nicotine withdrawal. 

An article by the American Cancer Society recommended that "doctors take a more assertive role in asking cancer patients whether they smoke, and referring smokers to quitting programs."

Health organizations usually suggest patients gather support, stay away from things that trigger their smoking habit and develop coping strategies when trying to quit smoking.