Smoking: causes, treatment, diseases, consequences and more


What is smoking?

Smoking is addiction to tobacco. The substance is present in products such as cigarettes, hookahs and cigars. Regular tobacco use is responsible for more than 50 diseases, including at least 12 types of cancer.

Tobacco addicts are those who smoke regularly, cannot do without the substance and, if they do, experience various symptoms related to a withdrawal crisis.

Therefore, according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 10), smoking is “ a mental and behavioral disorder, resulting from the nicotine withdrawal syndrome ”. It is found under the code F17.2.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 billion people worldwide smoke. Brazil, in turn, has 24.6 million smokers – this counting only people over 15 years of age.

Smoking is considered the leading preventable cause of death in the world, killing 6 million people annually – the equivalent of one death every 6 seconds. Among Brazilians, there are 200 thousand deaths per year, on average, credited to regular use of cigarettes

Types of smokers

Smokers are classified according to their habits and routines in relation to smoking. There is no better or worse rating – fitting into any of these groups means being exposed to the harms of nicotine and other components of cigarettes.

The types of smokers are:

Passive smokers

Passive smokers are those who do not smoke cigarettes at any frequency or time of the day, however, they live with people who smoke indoors – in general, indoors. They are usually relatives of the smoker.

Passive smokers are just as subject to the consequences of regular cigarette use as those who smoke them. The Anti-Smoking Law, regulated in 2014, which prohibits smoking in public places and outside duly demarcated places in commercial establishments, aims to reduce the number of passive smokers in Brazil.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 600 thousand passive smokers die annually in the world as a result of complications related to cigarettes.

Active smokers

Active smokers are people who actually smoke cigarettes, at any frequency.

They can be divided into some subcategories, and an active smoker can fit into one or more of these subdivisions.

Are they:

Occasional smoker

The occasional smoker is one who does not feel the need to smoke, but smokes from time to time, usually in social situations, such as parties or meetings with friends. The problem with this practice – in addition to exposure to the harmful effects of cigarettes – is the possibility of it becoming a habit.

Habitual smoker

A habitual smoker is one who makes cigarettes part of his routine, generally relating the act of smoking to some daily tasks. There are those who always need to smoke after lunch or while having a cup of coffee, for example.

Relating smoking to routine immutable tasks makes the task of quitting smoking a little more complex. This is because the brain starts to relate those moments of the day – such as mealtime or coffee – with nicotine, as if they were necessarily linked to the act of smoking. There, the smoker has great difficulty in performing these tasks without the company of the cigarette.

The situations that may be transforming your relationship with tobacco into a habit and making it difficult for you to quit are probably rituals that appear to be harmless, such as:

  • Smoking while driving;
  • Smoking whenever you drink alcoholic beverages;
  • Smoking whenever you are in a certain place – like a specific bar, for example;
  • Smoking whenever you are in the presence of a certain group of friends.

Smoker in stress

The smoker in stress usually uses the cigarette as an outlet for problems. They are those who smoke when they need to calm down or while having a hard day at work, for example.

As in the case of habitual smokers, the danger lies in relating the cigarette to certain moments or sensations. The body will need nicotine absorption whenever you are experiencing problems.

Addictive smoker

The addictive smoker is one who effectively needs the substances present in the cigarette because he is already addicted to them. It is subject to withdrawal crises and, among all types of active smokers, it is the one that has the most difficulty in quitting smoking.

Third hand smokers

There is also a third category of people who can suffer losses due to cigarettes, which are third-hand smokers. The term, relatively new, refers to people who are exposed to the harm of cigarettes by exposing themselves to places and objects contaminated by cigarette toxins.

Third-hand smoke includes everything that remains after the visible smoke (which leads to secondhand smoke) has dissipated into the air. The contamination caused by tobacco smoke remains after the cigarette has been extinguished in environments, carpets, sofas, fabrics and other objects for hours or even days after contact with the smoke.

There are still no studies relating to third-hand smoking and the emergence of diseases, as in the case of secondhand smoke, but it is important to keep an eye on the residual effects of cigarettes, especially in children.

As they breathe faster and come into more contact with dusty surfaces, they end up ingesting twice as much dust as adults.

According to Scientific American, studies in mice suggest that exposure to tobacco toxins is the main cause of sudden infant death syndrome, probably caused by respiratory failure.

Thus, the study suggests that the most effective measure to protect children from the harmful effects of cigarettes is to give up addiction.

What are the components of a cigarette?

Basically, three ingredients are used to make a cigarette: paper, filter and tobacco. The variations of the brands are related to the type and crop of tobacco used.

All those toxic substances listed on the back of cigarette boxes are not placed in the product by the manufacturer, but are born from combustion. At the moment when the tobacco is burned, there are several chemical reactions that originate the smoke that is swallowed by the smoker, which, in turn, is extremely toxic.

It is in cigarette smoke, the result of these chemical reactions, that thousands of substances are found that are harmful to the organism. Approximately 4,700 of these components have already been identified by the scientific community, all of which are considered to be harmful to health. In addition to these, there are many others that scientists are unable to map because they do not even know.

Among the harmful substances that can be found in tobacco and cigarette smoke are:

  • Nicotine, considered the main responsible for smoking (for more information, read the section “Causes”);
  • Acetone, a flammable solvent used in the production of enamels, paints and even in the explosives industry;
  • Methanol, an alcohol used in the production of car fuels;
  • Nickel, an intoxicating solid resistant even to corrosion;
  • Arsenic, a metal used in pesticides, vermicides and poisons in general.
  • Mercury, a metal used, among other utilities, for the production of fluorescent lamps and batteries;
  • Butane, a flammable gas derived from petroleum;
  • Methanal, a preservative for corpses better known as Formaldehyde.


The main reason that leads to addiction is a component that does not come from combustion, but is naturally present in the tobacco leaf: nicotine, which is highly addictive. A study by the University of Massachusetts shows that, thanks to it, the first cigarette already has the power to addict some individuals.

Once swallowed, the substance can be absorbed by the body in less than 10 seconds, directly affecting the neurotransmitters responsible for feelings, moods and behavior.

One of these neurotransmitters is dopamine, which affects, among other things, the sensation of pleasure. That is why, for many people, smoking brings a sense of immediate relief.

Nicotine is addictive because it is a substance with very rapid effects on the body, being fully absorbed by the body in about 10 seconds. In the process, the brain releases adrenaline, which causes a spike in well-being, relaxation and mood.

However, at the same speed at which this peak of sensation occurs, it also goes away. And then the body needs it again. Over time, increasing doses of nicotine will be needed to provide the same effect, making it necessary to smoke more and more cigarettes.

In addition to the physical aspects of the substance’s action, cigarettes are also addictive due to behavioral habits. Once your brain associates certain everyday situations with nicotine absorption, it will become increasingly difficult to go through such situations without a cigarette to accompany (For more information, read the section “Types of smokers”).

What happens when you smoke a cigarette?

From the moment you bring a cigarette:

  1. Tar, a toxic and carcinogenic substance, lodges between your teeth and gums;
  2. Part of the smoke enters the nasal cavities, irritating the mucosa and airways, impairing your perception of smells;
  3. Smoke travels through the larynx, pharynx and trachea, damaging mucous membranes along the way;
  4. Upon reaching the bronchi of your lung, the smoke reaches structures called pulmonary alveoli, responsible for exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide with each breath. It is there, through the blood vessels of the region, that most of the nicotine (from 70% to 90%) infiltrates and, thus, reaches the bloodstream;
  5. Nicotine travels to the heart, which is a kind of control panel for the circulatory system. Thereafter, the substance can reach any part of the body;
  6. From there, nicotine goes to the brain, where it finally increases the release of dopamine and endorphins, another neurotransmitter that also causes a feeling of happiness and well-being.

In total, this process takes 6 to 10 seconds.

What happens when you smoke a cigarette?

From the moment you bring a cigarette:

  1. Tar, a toxic and carcinogenic substance, lodges between your teeth and gums;
  2. Part of the smoke enters the nasal cavities, irritating the mucosa and airways, impairing your perception of smells;
  3. Smoke travels through the larynx, pharynx and trachea, damaging mucous membranes along the way;
  4. Upon reaching the bronchi of your lung, the smoke reaches structures called pulmonary alveoli, responsible for exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide with each breath. It is there, through the blood vessels of the region, that most of the nicotine (from 70% to 90%) infiltrates and, thus, reaches the bloodstream;
  5. Nicotine travels to the heart, which is a kind of control panel for the circulatory system. Thereafter, the substance can reach any part of the body;
  6. From there, nicotine goes to the brain, where it finally finds dopamine and endorphins, another neurotransmitter that also causes a feeling of happiness and well-being.

In total, this process takes 6 to 10 seconds.

Groups of risk

Anyone who has ever had contact with the component in any form tends to develop tobacco addiction – be it in traditional cigarettes or in devices such as electronic cigarettes and hookahs, for example.

In addition to contact with nicotine, some other factors may increase your propensity to develop smoking, such as:

Start smoking too early

Scientists are still trying to understand why teenagers are more susceptible to addiction than adults, but it is certain that they definitely are. This includes tobacco.

The most likely hypothesis so far is that the part of the brain responsible for controlling actions, decisions and impulses in adolescents is directly stimulated by rewards. Thus, anything that provides pleasant sensations to the young organism will impact the individual in a much more striking way than would happen in an adult.

Therefore, the sooner a child or adolescent comes into contact with cigarettes, the more likely they are to become a smoker.

Having family members who smoke

Several studies suggest that living with relatives who smoke frequently has a negative impact on the development of children and adolescents, who are more likely to develop smoking in the future.

According to a survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics (“American Academy of Pediatricians”, published in free translation) published in 2013, somewhere between 23% and 29% of the children of smokers between 11 and 17 years old had smoked at some point in the previous 365 days to the survey, against 8% of the children of non-smokers.

Suffer from some mental disorders

People who suffer from certain mental disorders can seek relief from their anxieties in substances that slightly mitigate the effects of these diseases on the body.

Therefore, patients who have problems such as depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress, for example, may be more susceptible to substances with a high addictive potential, such as nicotine.

Having other addictions

It is very common that, while trying to quit an addiction, a patient ends up replacing it with another one. A person who is being treated for alcoholism, for example, may find comfort in smoking for alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

In this process, it is very easy to move from one addiction to the next, without actually curing any of them.

Genetic factors

Some studies indicate that certain individuals may be more susceptible to developing smoking than others due to hereditary factors. The traits of this phenomenon are more common in people who were exposed to tobacco before they were even born, during pregnancy.


Smoking symptoms are relatively subjective. In some cases, it is common for them to be perceived by third parties even before they are perceived by the smoker himself.

The list of symptoms includes:

  • Constant need to smoke, to the point of feeling the effects of a withdrawal crisis when the body is without nicotine for long periods;
  • Not being able to stop smoking on your own;
  • Continue smoking even after the diagnosis of health problems related to addiction;
  • Stop social, recreational or professional activities, regardless of their degree of importance, for smoking.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after long periods of time without smoking is the most characteristic sign of smoking.

These withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Irritability;
  • Frustration;
  • Outbursts of anger for no relevant reason;
  • Impatience;
  • Fatigue;
  • Anxiety;
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Sleep disorders, which may be insomnia or sleep more than usual;
  • Drop in productivity in routine tasks.

How is the diagnosis of smoking made?

The smoking diagnosis is usually a self-diagnosis – the smoker himself perceives the symptoms or comes to the conclusion that addiction is harming his health. A doctor may also recommend smoking cessation when diagnosing certain health problems caused by smoking.

The clinical diagnosis of smoking will be made through a conversation with your doctor, in which he or she will probably ask questions about your habits and your relationship with smoking.

Some professionals can also apply behavioral questionnaires to indicate the most appropriate treatment for the patient’s reality.

Fagerström test

The Fagerström Test is a quick questionnaire, with 6 questions, that is applied by some health professionals (although you can take the test online, for the purpose of self-knowledge, without clinical value).

The questionnaire assesses your relationship with smoking and measures your level of smoking. The levels range from “Very low” to “Very high”, according to your habits.

From the result of the Fagerström Test, the doctor can recommend the best treatment for you.

Complications: diseases caused by smoking

Tobacco is a highly toxic component, directly responsible for the development and complication of more than 50 diseases, among them, some very serious, such as:

Respiratory tract diseases

Cigarettes can be directly responsible for several respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD, formed by a group of respiratory problems that block the passage of air to the lungs), pulmonary emphysema and asthma.

Cardiovascular diseases

Regular use of tobacco directly affects blood vessels. This characteristic causes serious heart diseases, such as atherosclerosis (a disease caused by the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arterial walls), arrhythmias, heart failure and even a heart attack.

According to data from the Brazilian Society of Hemodynamics and Interventional Cardiology (SBHCI), smokers are up to three times more likely to suffer a myocardial infarction than non-smokers.


Cigarettes stimulate the production of catecholamines, a substance that, in turn, causes blood vessels to contract and speeds up the heart, leading to the development of high blood pressure.

Cerebral and aortic aneurysms

According to a study by the São Paulo State Department of Health, two out of three cases of cerebral aneurysm are related to tobacco use.


The increase in blood pressure and the accumulation of fat in the arteries caused by regular tobacco use make smokers a strong candidate for strokes and strokes.

Gastric ulcers

The muscle that prevents stomach acids from passing from the stomach to the esophagus is weakened by constant cigarette smoking, causing these acids to come into direct contact with the stomach mucosa, giving rise to ulcers.

Skin ulcers

Tobacco decreases the production of collagen and other fibers that guarantee support to the skin, thus favoring the appearance of ulcers.


According to the Institute of Eye Diseases (IMO), compared to those who do not smoke, smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts. The disease consists of an eye injury that can lead to blindness.


Osteoporosis is the accelerated loss of bone mass, causing pain, shrinkage, deformities and fragility in the bones (which leads to fractures).

It is estimated that smokers lose 1% of bone mass a year, since the body has greater difficulty in absorbing the minerals responsible for the structure of bones.


Thrombosis occurs when there is the formation of a clot that obstructs the passage of blood through an artery. Tobacco affects the dilation of blood vessels, favoring the appearance of the problem.

Premature aging

Tobacco disrupts blood flow and, consequently, the arrival of nutrients to the skin, thus causing premature aging.

Menopause before the age of 40

Cigarettes are responsible for a phenomenon called ovarian failure, in which the ovaries stop producing eggs.

In general, women who smoke enter menopause at least two years earlier than women who do not smoke.

Infertility in both women and men

Cigarettes affect hormonal production, hampering smokers’ ability to bear children.

The effects are more intense in female smokers, since the cigarette directly affects the functioning of the ovary.

Sexual impotence

Tobacco has negative effects on blood flow, which consequently makes it harder for blood to reach the penis and makes erections impossible.

Various types of cancer

Cigarettes can be a causative agent of several types of cancer, including:

  • Lung cancer;
  • Mouth cancer;
  • Laryngeal cancer;
  • Pharynx cancer;
  • Stomach cancer;
  • Esophageal cancer;
  • Pancreatic cancer;
  • Kidney cancer;
  • Liver cancer;
  • Cervical cancer;
  • Bladder cancer;
  • Some types of leukemia.

Dental problems caused by smoking

Tobacco can also cause several problems for oral health. The most serious complication is oral cancer . According to a survey by the University of California, for every 10 people who develop the disease, 8 are smokers.

In addition, the patient who smokes is also a strong candidate for developing a phenomenon called periodontal disease , with twice the chances of receiving this diagnosis compared to non-smokers.

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones that support the teeth. Among its consequences are pain, bleeding and even tooth loss.

As if that were not enough, tobacco directly affects the healing process of the gums. Therefore, treatment for periodontal disease tends to be less effective in smokers.

The tar present in tobacco is also responsible for two dental changes that directly affect the smoker’s self-esteem and quality of life: bad breath and the appearance of yellow or brown stains on the teeth.

The icing on the cake is that, as it directly affects the smoker’s immune system, tobacco can considerably delay the patient’s recovery after any dental procedure, such as an extraction, for example.

Complications in passive smokers

The most unfair side of the smoking scale certainly tends to the side of passive smokers, who do not smoke, but because they are exposed daily to toxic cigarette smoke, they run the same risks of developing certain diseases as active smokers.

By inhaling cigarette smoke, secondhand smokers and third-hand smokers are exposed to the same risks and illnesses as active smokers. Research shows that a non-smoker who is married to a smoker has a 20% greater chance of dying from heart and lung disease than people who do not have constant contact with cigarettes.  

Passive smokers who are exposed to cigarette smoke for shorter periods are also at risk of developing some problems, such as rhinitis, cough, conjunctivitis, allergies and, for passive smokers with asthma, the worsening of the disease.

An Inca survey also shows that children who grow up exposed to cigarette smoke are 20% to 25% more likely to develop lung cancer in the future.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 700 million children worldwide are passive smokers. In Brazil, small children account for 40% of passive smokers in the country. Secondhand smoke is considered to be the third leading cause of preventable death in the world.

Complications in pregnant women

You have certainly heard that pregnant women cannot, under any circumstances, smoke or be exposed to cigarette smoke. This is due to the devastating effects of nicotine and carbon monoxide absorption by the body, both for the pregnant woman and the fetus.

Mothers pass toxic substances from cigarettes directly to babies’ bodies through the umbilical cord.

Among the bad effects that can be experienced by pregnant women who smoke, both actively and passively, are:


Nicotine absorption can lower blood sugar levels during pregnancy, leading to a phenomenon called hypoglycemia. The consequences can be, among other things, fainting headache , anxiety , impaired memory and increased cholesterol rates .

Muscle fatigue

Nicotine makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin C, which causes pregnant women to suffer a lot from the effects of fatigue during this period.

Decreased nutrient absorption

Cigarettes reduce hunger and, as if that were not enough, some nutrients are not used properly. Therefore, babies who have been exposed to nicotine during pregnancy are at serious risk of being malnourished.

Delay in baby’s development

The toxic substances present in cigarettes directly affect blood circulation, which can lead to delays in the development of the fetus. Depending on the stage of pregnancy and the amount of cigarettes that the pregnant woman smokes per day, these developmental problems may be more serious.

Malformation in the baby’s cardiovascular system

Various research and studies suggest that exposure to nicotine can impair the formation of fetal blood vessels.

In addition, it is known that the hearts of babies in formation undergo considerable spikes in acceleration when nicotine reaches the mother’s bloodstream.

Child’s lung problems

Babies exposed to tobacco while still in the womb can develop several health problems typical of smokers, such as considerable reductions in breathing capacity and congenital lung problems – such as chronic bronchitis, for example.

Premature birth

According to a survey by the University of Auckland in New Zealand, 10% of all premature births are due to the mother’s contact with toxic cigarette smoke during pregnancy.

Risk of miscarriage

Research indicates that smoking during the first trimester of pregnancy considerably increases the risk of miscarriage, bleeding and placental detachment – a phenomenon that can compromise the amount of oxygen available to the fetus inside the uterus, among other serious consequences.

Baby with chemical dependency

In rarer cases, children of smoking mothers may be born addicted to nicotine. These children even suffer from withdrawal symptoms.

In this type of situation, babies may need to undergo drug treatment to detox.

Why does tobacco cause so many diseases?

The reason why smoking causes breathing problems is logical: the toxic smoke that is inhaled with each puff affects the lungs, causing various harmful substances to be stored there. But what about diseases that affect other organs?

Among the 4,700 toxic substances that arise from the combustion of tobacco, it is known that at least 69 are cancerous, that is, they have a high potential to cause different types of tumors.

These substances are carried throughout the body through the bloodstream and absorbed by the fragments of DNA that make up the body. DNA is responsible for causing mutations in cells and, consequently, in the functioning of several organs.

It is through the absorption of toxic substances from tobacco by the DNA strands of cells that cigarettes have the ability to cause so many serious diseases.

The damage caused by tobacco works over the long term, and it can take years – and even decades – to manifest.

Smoking numbers

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the world. A survey carried out in Brazilian territory by the National Cancer Institute (Inca) reached numbers that justify this title conquered by tobacco addiction.

According to the survey:

  • 23 people die per hour in Brazil victims of complications related to cigarettes, which results in 200 thousand deaths per year;
  • 25% of deaths from heart disease in the general population are caused by smoking. Among people under 60, this rate jumps to 45%;
  • Tobacco is to blame for 85% of deaths from pulmonary emphysema and asthma;
  • 90% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are smokers;
  • 30% of deaths from cancer of the larynx, pharynx, mouth, cervix, bladder, kidney, pancreas and esophagus are the fault of the cigarette;
  • 25% of deaths from stroke can also be placed on the smoking bill.

The same survey showed that smokers live with some worrying odds. Smokers have:

  • 5 times more likely to suffer a heart attack;
  • 5 times more likely to develop pulmonary emphysema – a degenerative disease that affects the lungs;
  • Twice as likely to suffer a stroke compared to people who do not smoke.

Is smoking curable? What is the treatment?

Smoking is curable , and there are several treatment modalities with proven effectiveness. It is important to seek help to quit smoking, as this task is more difficult than it seems. Among people who try to quit smoking on their own, only 5% actually succeed in a 12-month period.


Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

You have certainly heard of some devices with small concentrations of nicotine for those who want to quit smoking. These are transdermal patches, chewing gums, inhalers, nasal sprays and lozenges.

All of these items are part of the so-called Nicotine Replacement Therapy, better known by the acronym, NRT. Basically, these objects release small amounts of nicotine into the bloodstream, preventing the (ex) smoker from suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

As time passes, the amount of nicotine released decreases, until the brain no longer needs these small doses of the substance.  

In general, treatments with NRT last for periods ranging from 2 to 4 months. Depending on the case, the doctor may recommend that the experience be extended a little further.

Some NRT devices are very common and sold at the pharmacy without the need for a prescription. You may even have tried it yourself with gum and stickers. Despite this, it is very important to have medical monitoring. The guidance of a professional will greatly facilitate the mission of giving up smoking once and for all.


From the moment you start NRT, forget about cigarettes – and not just because that is the goal of starting to invest in nicotine replacement.

Smoking while on TRN devices can throw very large amounts of nicotine into the bloodstream, which can lead to an overdose.

If you experience a relapse during treatment (which, believe me, happens and is perfectly normal), stop using the devices immediately and talk to your doctor about the best way to resume NRT.

Are nicotine patches and gum addictive?

No, as long as they are used in the right way. It is important to follow the medical guidelines so that the treatment is effective, safe and does not feed the addiction.

It goes without saying that people who do not smoke or have been diagnosed as smokers should stay away from this type of device, right?


Varenicline is a remedy that is generally recommended for anyone who has tried other ways to quit smoking and has not been successful.

The substance acts directly on the brain receptors responsible for assimilating nicotine, decreasing the desire and the need to smoke.

The advantage of varenicline is that the drug continues to act on the brain even if there is a relapse. If you smoke while taking the medicine, you will not experience the same pleasure as you did before. This makes the process of not needing cigarettes much easier.

Generally, the patient starts by taking a dose of 0.5mg per day, and gradually increases until reaching 1mg daily. The treatment lasts an average of 4 months.

Those who use varenicline may experience some side effects , such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, altered sleep habits and vivid dreams.

If you have a mental disorder and / or use specific medications to treat it, it is important to communicate this to your doctor before starting to take varenicline, as the medicine can destabilize the situation. Pregnant women and children under 18 years old cannot take varenicline.


Bupropion is an antidepressant that can be used in anti-smoking therapy. It is usually indicated for those who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day.

The drug works by stimulating a brain neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is responsible for the sensation of pleasure emitted when the body absorbs nicotine. With Bupropion, dopamine is constantly releasing that feeling of well-being, making the smoker no longer need a cigarette for this.

The doctor may recommend that you take the medicine once or twice a day, according to your history. The treatment usually lasts for about 3 months. Ideally, the use of Bupropion should be associated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and other nicotine replacement therapy.

The use of Bupropion hydrochloride to fight smoking is delicate due to the list of contraindications of the product, which includes scenarios such as:

  • Epileptic patients or those with a history of seizures;
  • History of bulimia, anorexia and eating disorders in general. Studies conducted with Bupropion in this group of patients showed a higher incidence of seizure episodes after using the drug;
  • Patients using other drugs that already contain Bupropion among its components, as high doses of the substance can cause seizures;
  • Patients who are undergoing treatment to abandon the use of alcohol or sedatives;
  • Patients who regularly use other antidepressants. Therefore, it is important to notify your doctor if you use any other controlled medication before starting treatment with Bupropion.

For more information, read the package insert carefully and talk to your doctor about any doubts and adverse situations before starting treatment.


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a treatment modality based on the monitoring of a psychologist.

In general, therapy is a complementary treatment to any other drug treatment against smoking. Therapy and medication go hand in hand to optimize the outcome and ensure that the chances of a relapse decrease dramatically.

The meetings will help patients deal with the difficulties and setbacks of the journey to quit smoking, in addition to helping the smoker to resolve emotional issues that may be intensifying their relationship with nicotine.

In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps to eliminate one of the main obstacles for those who want to quit smoking: the relationship between smoking and habits, such as smoking at certain times or places.

This habitual relationship with smoking arises from the so-called non-conscious association, which causes two unrelated actions (such as at breakfast time and smoking, for example) to become related. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help to break these imaginary links between smoking and routine.

A study by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP) showed that, among smokers who bet on cognitive-behavioral therapy, 93.4% quit smoking even before the 6th week of treatment.

It is important to emphasize that cognitive-behavioral therapy is just one of many types of psychotherapy in existence. The ideal is to find the type of therapy that works best for you.

Support groups

Visiting support groups regularly can be an interesting experience for anyone struggling with smoking. Listening to the story of other patients with similar trajectories can help smokers to understand their relationship with cigarettes and to see the harm that the habit causes through other people’s narratives.

Throughout Brazil, it is possible to find guidance to start this type of treatment in any public hospital or health unit. To do this, just go to any of these places with your identity card in hand and request information about the National Tobacco Control Program.

In addition to referring the smoker to an accredited support group, the team responsible for the program will also schedule some appointments to guide the patient about other treatments available. The process is completely free.

Alternative treatments

Some alternative therapies can go a long way towards keeping smokers away from addiction. Remember that many of these treatments have no proven efficacy and do not dispense with conventional medical and psychological monitoring.

Alternative treatments for smoking include:


Some studies indicate that the technique of stimulating specific points on the body with the help of metallic needles can contribute to decrease withdrawal symptoms during treatments against smoking. However, there is still no official conclusion on this.

In treatments for ex-smokers, the priority points during acupuncture sessions are usually the regions of the hands, feet and ears.


Speaking of ear, auricolotherapy is a technique that consists of applying pressure to specific points in the region to reduce anxiety, which can be a great villain and cause relapses during anti-smoking treatments.

This pressure can be done with the use of acupuncture needles, massages, magnetic spheres and even laser beams.


Meditation is known to provide several benefits for practitioners, including the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression. This helps considerably in reducing the consumption of cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.


Hypnotherapy – or the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes – is a bet to treat several problems, including smoking. Although its effectiveness has not been proven, a number of studies estimate that 40% to 70% of patients are successful in quitting smoking after undergoing hypnosis sessions.


Some foods, especially herbs and vegetables, act directly on the neurotransmitters responsible for emitting sensations of pleasure after the absorption of tobacco. Therefore, it is believed that adding them to the menu can be an extra push to give up the cigarette once and for all.

Among these foods are ginger, oats, Ginseng, valerian and cayenne pepper.  

Cigarette substitutes

It is very common, especially among young people, to think that just replacing conventional cigarettes with other nicotine products is an efficient way to fight smoking.

What is bad for your body is tobacco – it doesn’t matter in what form the product is presented. So while using any of the following products seems like a brilliant alternative to replace official smoking cessation treatments, be aware that it will only be covering the sun with a sieve.

Electronic cigarette

The electronic cigarette (also known as e-cigarette or e-cigarette) is still unknown to science – nobody is very sure about the effect of the product on the body.

What is known so far is that, although it concentrates nicotine levels much lower than the common cigarette, this device has a series of allergenic and carcinogenic components, in addition to having no positive impact on those who are trying to quit.

Therefore, the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) so far is that smokers who wish to stop smoking do not bet on electronic cigarettes as an alternative.

Soluble tobacco

Soluble tobacco is the key component of a series of products sold as alternatives for people who want to quit smoking. In general, it is present in sweets such as lollipops, candies and chewing gum (quite different from the chewing gums used in NRT).

These products are just more fun presentations of tobacco, with no therapeutic effect. In addition to not helping much in reducing the doses of nicotine in the body, the sweets also bring more negative impacts to health.

Nicotine compounds, sweeteners and artificial flavorings, products with soluble tobacco can cause these substances to accumulate in the gums and gaps between the teeth, favoring the accumulation of microorganisms in the region and even the appearance of cavities.

Flavored cigarettes

Flavored cigarettes, very popular with teenagers, only use that taste of mint or grape to camouflage the taste of tobacco. The substance, however, remains present – and all the harms caused by it, too.


As with aromatized cigarettes, the pleasant smells and flavors of narghile essences only disguise the taste of nicotine. Due to the greater amount of smoke generated, even, smoking hookah can be more harmful than smoking ordinary cigarettes.

According to data from the Tobacco Control Division of the National Cancer Institute, a single hookah session causes the user to be exposed to smoke equivalent to more than 100 cigarettes.

So yes, that hookah smoking date with friends is out of the question if you are looking to escape the harmful effects of tobacco.

Living together

Living with smoking is a daily struggle, and quitting smoking is more difficult than it seems. From the moment you decide to seek help, the path will be long and not easy.

So it is important to keep the friends, family and people you love close at hand. Talk to them about your decision to quit, and don’t hesitate to ask for support.

Ask your friends and relatives to avoid smoking near you, or to offer you cigarettes. Create a support network that can be your foundation and help you whenever things get a little bit harder.

Therefore, it is also important to have the help of a psychologist and make an experimental visit to a support group. It is essential to have safe spaces where you can talk about your achievements, desires and difficulties. One day at a time.

And speaking of difficulties, it is important that you know that relapsing or thinking about giving up is absolutely normal. Some days are more difficult than others. Don’t be ashamed of the stumbles.

If you fall today, take a deep breath, keep your goals in mind, get a good night’s sleep and start over tomorrow. Remembering the reasons that made you decide to quit smoking is always a good tactic to keep moving forward in this endeavor.

Some steps you can take to improve your quality of life while fighting smoking are:

Practice physical exercises

Exercising regularly increases your quality of life, a sense of well-being, and relieves cigarette withdrawal symptoms. All of these benefits have the potential to significantly diminish the importance of nicotine in your routine and in your life.

Learn how to manage abstinence

Dealing with the symptoms of the need for nicotine is one of the most difficult steps in the process of quitting. Learning how to get around those times when the urge to light a cigarette becomes unbearable is a good way to stay strong in your purpose.

For this, some tips are:

Keep your hands busy when you feel like smoking

Invest in anti stress toys and keep them in sight. It is worth filling your office desk or home shelves with objects such as spinners , rubber balls to squeeze and the so-called fidget cubes – those miniature plastic cubes with several buttons and levers to be pressed.

Keep your head busy

When abstinence hits hard, look for an activity that distracts you and exercises your brain. It is worth reading a book, doing crosswords, practicing knitting, playing video games, drawing or even unloading your feelings and anxieties on the pages of a notebook or diary. Anything that can take your thoughts away from the cigarette is a good idea.

Keep your mouth busy

Leave some healthy snacks around, like carrots or apples, and take some time to nibble on them whenever you are about to light a cigarette. Just take it easy so as not to discount all the anxiety in your food and turn the solution into a compulsion, especially if you have a history of eating disorders.

Avoid triggers

At least in the first weeks of treatment, it is very important to avoid places, situations and people who arouse your desire to smoke.

You know that bar with a nice smokehouse where you and your friends always get together? Or the party at the house of the colleague who doesn’t take his desire to stop smoking seriously and always offers you a cigarette? Forget it, at least for a while. Thus, you are not at risk of relapse.

Create safe zones indoors

If you live with other smokers, it is very important to have a frank conversation with them about creating some nicotine-free spaces inside your home. Ask them to only smoke in the yard or not to leave lighters, ashtrays and other objects that can serve as a trigger in sight, for example.

The support of the people who live with you daily is essential to give up smoking for good.

Regularly remember the benefits of quitting

Keeping reminding yourself daily of the reasons that made you decide to quit smoking is the best way to get up in the morning.

If you prefer, it is worth pasting post-its with these reminders around the house or fixing them in the fridge, for example. Keep them in a place that you look at every morning or night, before going to bed.

Work with reward systems

This is a good way to stay motivated and control impulsiveness. Create a reward schedule and give yourself a gift whenever you win a goal or objective. Buy that magazine or book you wanted so much when you complete two weeks without smoking. Go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant when you are two months old.

This tactic can be even more fun and effective with the help of a friend, who will help you decide and control those rewards.

Replace cigarettes with other habits

Imagine that you smoke religiously every day after lunch, or while talking on the phone. Think of a scenario where you never had your late afternoon coffee without a cigarette. Never.

Having habits so ingrained in your routine makes it difficult to end your relationship with cigarettes, since your brain is already used to associating these stages of the day with nicotine absorption. So, a good way to “trick” your head is to offer new associations to it.

After lunch, exchange your cigarette for your favorite fruit. While talking on the phone, drink that juice you love. Have your coffee listening to a certain song. These small changes in day-to-day life will not fully solve your problem, but, little by little, will help to diminish the importance of smoking in your life.

Be faithful to the treatment

It will not be easy, but yes, you will constantly think about giving up, or even coming to the conclusion that you are already cured and no longer need to be treated.

Take treatment seriously until the end. The journey of quitting an addiction never ends, but it is a daily exercise. Following all medical recommendations is a great way to facilitate this path, which is already difficult in nature.

Stop smoking fattening?

Yes, but the situation is a temporary and negligible condition. In general, due to metabolic changes, patients who stop smoking put on 2 to 4 kg in the first 6 months without smoking. This margin may vary in patients with eating or anxiety disorders.

However, the condition tends to normalize after that first semester, when the body is used to being without nicotine.

Benefits of quitting smoking

The biggest benefit of quitting smoking is reducing the risk of developing a range of serious illnesses, which can have fatal consequences. After all, smoking one to 10 cigarettes a day increases the risk of dying before the age of 60 by 87%, according to the United States Cancer Institute (NCI).

According to a survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency linked to the United States government, the benefits of quitting tobacco can already be felt about 20 minutes after the last cigarette, according to the time intervals described below:

  • After 20 minutes, blood pressure and pulse return to normal;
  • After 2 hours, there is no more nicotine circulating in the blood;
  • After 8 hours, the oxygen level in the blood returns to normal;
  • After 12 to 24 hours, the lungs are already working better;
  • After 2 days, the smell already perceives the smells better and the palate already tastes the food better;
  • After 3 weeks, breathing becomes easier and circulation improves;
  • After 1 year, the risk of death from myocardial infarction is halved;
  • After 10 years, the risk of suffering a heart attack will be the same as that of people who have never smoked.

In addition, quitting smoking causes significant improvements in the smoker’s quality of life, such as:

Improvement in respiratory capacity

In a period that can vary from 6 to 9 months, according to the age and time that the ex-smoker spent in contact with nicotine, the respiratory capacity should improve around 10%.

This change reduces coughing episodes and facilitates much more difficult tasks, such as exercising, walking fast, running or climbing stairs, for example.

Improved daily mood

With the strengthening of the immune system and the improvement of blood circulation, the ex-smoker is much more willing to daily activities. Getting out of bed, working, studying and maintaining concentration is much easier.

Improved sense of smell and taste

The sense of smell begins to improve about 48 hours after the last cigarette, making the person able to feel the smells better. As a gift, the taste also improves, so that eating becomes much more pleasurable.

Increased fertility

Men who give up smoking start to generate more powerful sperm, while women who stop smoking start to produce more eggs.

Improved sexual performance

Sex life improves considerably after the last drag, for both men and women. They have better and longer-lasting erections, while they experience more powerful orgasms.

Healthier skin

The skin of people who do not smoke receives more oxygen and absorbs nutrients better. Thus, non-smokers or ex-smokers have healthier skins.

Most beautiful teeth

Smears on smokers’ teeth are caused by tar and, a few weeks after the contact with the substance is stopped, they disappear completely. The breath also improves considerably in a few days.

Longer life

Research shows that people who quit smoking before the age of 30 earn, on average, 10 years more to live than they would have if they had not stopped smoking. Those who quit addiction at 60 add 3 years to their life expectancy.


In addition to the health benefits, quitting smoking is also good for the pocket. It is estimated that a smoker spends about R $ 150.00 per month on cigarettes.

When you quit your addiction, in one year, you will have saved R $ 1,650.00 that you would have wasted on cigarettes. This is the money you could use to invest in airline tickets to a country in Latin America, or to get that driver’s license that you’ve postponed for years.

How to prevent smoking?

The only way to prevent smoking is not to take the first drag. Everyone who smokes, at any frequency, is subject to developing a dependency relationship with nicotine.

Unlike the case of alcohol intake, there is no safe margin for breathing in cigarette smoke . There is no such thing as “socially smoking” that does not cause major damage to health.

If you want to prevent your children from creating a smoking habit, education and dialogue are the best ways out. Some actions for this can be:

  • Do not smoke. It seems simple and obvious, but the example is very important, especially for children and pre-teens;
  • Talk to your children. Maintaining a close relationship, especially with teenagers, can make all the difference. Have a frank conversation about the harms of cigarette use. Put yourself in their shoes – if you were the teenager with curiosity and a desire to smoke, what arguments would be able to make you ponder the idea?

How to prevent secondhand smoke

If you smoke, it is important to take responsibility for the people around you. Secondhand smoke also kills and causes serious illness. Smoking is your exclusive choice, and other individuals around you should be respected if they do not want to or can come into contact with cigarettes.

Therefore, it is essential to respect the lives of your family members and people who live with you by choosing the right time and place to smoke.

Avoid smoking inside the house or in the car, especially if you share these spaces with children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with breathing problems. If possible, smoke in open rooms – such as gardens, balconies, balconies and windows, for example – or set aside a specific part of the house for this.

Smoking is a serious disease and needs proper treatment. Quitting smoking can be tricky, but know that you are not alone.

If you have any questions about smoking, or want to share your story with us, write through the comments field of this post. We will respond as soon as possible.

It is also worth sharing this text with family and friends who smoke or want to quit. It is only through information that the ills of nicotine are combated.