Tobacco Kills: Why are People Still Smoking?

With the numbers, and the ad campaigns, telling us that smoking is deadly, many non-smokers wonder why people still smoke. Many don’t even bother wondering. They make assumptions and rush to judgement.

If we really want people to stop, and to prevent non-smokers from starting, then we have to throw out the assumptions and look at the facts. Here are two.


About 85% of people with schizophrenia smoke cigarettes, and they typically smoke two to three times as much as the average smoker. About 60% to 70% of people with bipolar disorder smoke. Studies have found that young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are two times more likely to pick up smoking.

Why? Nicotine reduces the impairments and symptoms associated with many brain disorders. It can also minimize the side effects and increase the effectiveness of the drugs used to treat these disorders. There is currently some research into creating nicotine-based or nicotine-like drugs, but the stigma and the fact that nicotine can’t be patented are standing in the way of progress in this area.

Quitting Produces a Dementia-Like State

When people say that smoking is the hardest thing to quit, you probably think they are referring to effects such as cravings and irritability. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen discovered a far more powerful obstacle. They found that quitting induces a dementia-like state. 12 hours after quitting blood flow and oxygen uptake are reduced in the brain by up to 17% when compared to people who have never smoked.

The scary part? We don’t know if or when the brain will return to normal functioning. Researcher Albert Gjedde says, “We assume that it takes weeks or months, but we do not know for sure.” He recommends quitting gradually to avoid this effect.

If you’re considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional cigarettes, you may want to think again.

If you do smoke, know the risks. Besides cancer, cigarettes have been linked to several fires and smoking while driving is one of the deadliest driving distractions.

Avatar About Sandra Dalton

With a background as a paralegal, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights, Sandra Dalton launched her freelance writing career in 2000 with a weekly column on Freedom for Suite 101 and pro bono projects for individuals and organizations supporting causes close to her heart. One of her first projects was for the Police Compliant Center writing about police misconduct. Sandra’s legal writing quickly expanded to include personal injury, animal welfare, criminal defense, disability discrimination, family law and much more.