SmokingStudies of ex-smokers show that their risk of dying from smoking-relateddisease decreases with each year of non smoking. Encouraged by such evidence,more than 40 million people in the U.S. quit smoking in the year following the1964 surgeon general’s report. The proportion of males who smoke decreased frommore than 60 percent to about 25 percent; however, the percentage of women whosmoke cigarettes increased.
Smoking also became more prevalent among youngadults, with about 29 percent of high school seniors admitting to smoking in1975; but by 1987 this proportion decreased to 18.7 percent. There are programsthat exist to help smokers quit. Some involve group support, whereas others useaversive techniques in which participants smoke many cigarettes rapidly to thepoint of becoming sick of them.More than 30 million persons in the U.
S. say that they would like toquit smoking but cannot. One hypothesis to explain this problem is that thesmoker craves the effect of the nicotine in the smoke. In a 1988 report, thesurgeon general declared nicotine to be an addictive drug comparable to otheraddictive substances in its ability to induce dependence.
The report also calledthe monetary and human costs far greater than those attributable to cocaine,alcohol, or heroin. Attempts to help persons quit smoking through counseling,participation in support groups, and, for those with a strong physicaldependence on nicotine, substitution of chewing gum containing nicotine tolessen withdrawal symptoms.Science