Patient: Hi, I currently have a problem with smoking and im really stressed out about what i can do about it! During the week im incredibly health conscious, i dont eat too much saturated fat or salt, and i exercise 3-5 times a week. However come the weekend and ive had a couple of alcoholic drinks, all i can think about is smoking and it really worries me the damage i may be doing to myself by having 5-6 cigarettes on a saturday night, i keep trying to give up but i cant tell if its an actual addiction, or merely a habit, though i cant tell whats going to do me more damage, a few cigarettes or the stress of worrying about them! Ive done several hours of research using the internet to try and find out a little bit more information about it, but all i ever find is peoples opinions and no hard facts on what the effects really are, so i thought i would try and ask somebody with the knowledge to perhaps help me get through this somewhat stressful time and if necessary, inform me if i really do have a problem with smoking or not. Any help you can provide me would be greatly appreciated! Thank you Steven Gale
Doctor: While 5-6 cigarretes or more every weekend technically does not qualify as addcition to smoking, the fact that you are i nclined to do it every weekend against better judgement suggests that you may be developing some amount of smoking dependance. The best way to stop smoking is to chart out a plan and pick out a date after which you decide not to smoke at all. As this date nears try and consiously reduce the number of cigarettes you are smoking and switch to a brand that you dont like. Interact more with non smoking friends or colleagues. Try and disctact your self when you start thinking about smoking by taking a drive or talking to people. There are also various nicotine based patches and gums which can help you quit. While at this point you may not be addicted, the longer this goes on the higher the chances.Long term smoking can affect the lungs, and is a risk factor for many diseases of the heart as well as other cancers. All the best.