substance abuse Essay

Submitted By cricket1977
Words: 877
Pages: 4

Smoking is a biological addiction, with nicotine as addictive as cocaine and heroin. However, there is more to being hooked on cigarettes than the physical addiction to nicotine. When people want to quit, they also have a psychological habit to break. Social learning theory describes how we learn by example from others. We are strongly influenced by our parents, and other people we look up to, such as peers, actors and pop stars. This can lead us to emulate their behavior and try smoking. There is an almost immediate effect on our brains with those first cigarettes, so we keep smoking to get this reward. Later we learn to associate smoking with other activities such as drinking coffee, going to the bar, etc. We can become conditioned so just the thought of the activity triggers the need for a cigarette, just like Pavlov's dogs learned to drool at the sound of a bell. These psychological associations remain when smokers try to quit. Finally, you learn to keep smoking, because if you try to quit you are punished by withdrawal symptoms - irritability, snappiness, lack of concentration. Having a cigarette gets rid of these symptoms, negatively reinforcing the desire to carry on smoking. Such conditioning keeps you hooked on smoking because the reward when you smoke is instant, whereas it takes years before you become aware of the damage in terms of your health. Similarly, when you try to quit, the 'punishment' of withdrawal symptoms comes quickly, whereas the benefits of better health take longer to realize.

Although smokers sometimes claim they are more productive than nonsmokers because smoking allows them time to reflect on their work goals, smokers overall are less productive. A 2007 Tobacco Journal study by Peter Lundborg of University of Amsterdam found that smokers took 11 more sick days than nonsmokers did -- eight days when you factor in variables like a smoker's tendency to take more risks and have poorer health. There are other indirect effects on productivity, such as an increased rate of early retirement in smokers. Allowing smoking in the workplace also forces nonsmokers to inhale toxic chemicals from cigarettes. Secondhand smoke increases the cost to insure nonsmokers, because it is a verified source of lung cancer for nonsmokers, according to the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. Smoking costs employers $97 billion a year in lost productivity and secondhand smoke an additional $10 billion, according to the CDC. The average health insurance policy for smokers costs businesses an additional $300 per year in premiums in constant 1983 dollars. The typical employer incurs an extra $45 a year in injury and compensation costs per smoker. Smokers also do about $10 in damage per smoker per year in fire damage, according to Action on Smoking and Health. Some employers, such as Whirlpool and PepsiCo, charge workers several hundred extra dollars in insurance premiums because of their high-risk to the company.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) is an excellent resource for providing consultation and guidance for your supervisors and managers as well as professional assistance for your employees. EAP offers free, confidential assistance to stop tobacco use. Services include free face-to-face sessions for assessment, intervention and referral to community resources. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet more than 46 million Americans still smoke. However, more than half of these smokers have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year. Quitting smoking is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Educating yourself, making a plan, using online resources, enlisting the help of family and friends, and talking to your…