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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Therapy Information

Quit Smoking & Keep the Pounds Off

"For Informational Use Only"
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Reasons To Quit Smoking
  • Helpful Guidelines For Quitting Smoking
  • Quitting Smoking & Weight Gain - The Facts
  • Benefits Outweigh The Weight Gain


    This is a short list of reasons why you should quit smoking and to keep in mind when you are going through nicotine withdrawals, jitters, and cravings the first few weeks after quitting.


    Smoking will take five to eight years off your life. Your risk of heart disease is doubled if you smoke. One out of every 5 deaths in the United States is related to smoking, as is almost one out of every four deaths from cancer. That includes cancer of all kinds, not just lung cancer - mouth and throat cancer and cancers of the bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, and uterine cervix. In addition, smoking severely disrupts the body's natural protection, your immune system.


    Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals. Most of these are harmful and can cause other lung diseases in addition to cancer. Smoking also contributes to smoker's cough and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).


    Over time, cigarette smoke, dust particles, and other chemicals can damage or completely destroy the tiny protective hairs (cilia) in the lungs, an important part of the body's immune system. To make up for the missing or damaged cilia, the lungs produce excess mucus. The mucus can clog the airways and cause smoker's cough.


    Chronic bronchitis is one of two major lung diseases that make up COPD. The other is emphysema. Both chronic bronchitis and emphysema are long-term, progressive conditions. Both make it hard to breathe and cause shortness of breath, tiredness, and coughing. Many people experience short-term bronchitis when they have a very bad cold. Other people may have a different cause but experience the same symptoms: severe cough, raspy throat, difficulty breathing, and a need to cough up a great deal of mucus from the lungs. In chronic bronchitis, this condition lasts for months at a time, and each year it lasts longer. Both chronic bronchitis and emphysema are long-term, progressive conditions. Both make it hard to breathe. Chronic bronchitis often develops in people over the age of 40 who are or used to be moderate-to-heavy smokers. The total amount of smoking over a lifetime is measured in "pack-years." (For example, 10 pack-years can mean a pack a day for 10 years, or two packs a day for 5 years, or half a pack a day for 20 years.) Typically, people who develop chronic bronchitis have a smoking history of over 10 pack-years. Chronic bronchitis involves the bronchial tubes: the main airways that branch into the lungs. In chronic bronchitis, they have been constantly irritated by inhaled cigarette smoke, air pollution, or other harmful substances. When the bronchial tubes have been irritated for years, their walls thicken or swell. They produce more mucus, so less air flows through. The mucus is brought up by coughing, every day, for months. The irritated airways become an ideal breeding place for infections that can endanger the lungs.


    Emphysema is one of two major lung diseases that make up COPD. The other is chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is usually diagnosed in smokers or ex-smokers (most often 50 to 75 years of age) with shortness of breath, both at rest and during physical exertion. People with emphysema may cough but their coughing is not usually severe and does not produce much mucus. Breathing, on the other hand, may be difficult. In severe emphysema, even very simple activities can bring on shortness of breath. Like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, in most cases, is believed to be the result of long-term irritation or infection of the bronchial tubes. The inflammation gradually blocks the airways. In emphysema, this blockage traps air in the tiny air sacs found at the end of the bronchial tubes. These air sacs (called alveoli) are where carbon dioxide and other waste gases in the blood are exchanged for oxygen taken in by the lungs from the air. Eventually, the walls of these air sacs stretch out, become stiff instead of elastic, and break down. The lungs themselves become larger and do not exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide as well. In severe emphysema, even very simple activities can bring on shortness of breath. Smoking is the main problem for most patients with emphysema. It must be stopped if the patient is to be helped.


    COPD stands for "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."
    • "Chronic" means long-term.
    • "Obstructive" refers to the fact that it takes longer to exhale the same amount of air as someone with normal lungs.
    • "Pulmonary" indicates that the disease affects the lungs.

    If you have COPD, you are not alone. In fact, 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with it and it is estimated that even more remain undiagnosed. COPD is even more common than asthma. Ten million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and even more remain undiagnosed. The term COPD refers to a disease that generally includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Usually it occurs in people who are heavy smokers and have been smoking for a long time. Most people do not realize they have a problem until they are 40 or older. Then they start noticing that they are short of breath with exertion. They may also have a morning cough that produces sputum (mucus or phlegm). Many people do not find out that they have COPD until they have a serious attack of bronchitis. If you have any of the following symptoms regularly (especially if you are or were a smoker), you may have COPD:
    • A severe cough that persists between colds.
    • Spitting up mucus.
    • Difficulty breathing.
    • Shortness of breath on exertion.

    The health care provider's overall goal in treating COPD is to relieve symptoms with the fewest side effects possible. There are new treatment options available. The single most important step you can take to keep your lungs healthy is to stop smoking. If you are under 40 years of age, with mild COPD, your lungs will probably return to normal after you stop smoking. Even if you are older, stopping smoking can keep your lungs working better for longer - and may prolong your life. COPD can vary from day to day and from season to season. Infections, pollution, and other factors may make your symptoms more severe for certain periods. Health care providers call these periods of increased severity "exacerbations." COPD does not go away, but it can be treated. And the sooner you get treatment, the better. To learn more about COPD, talk to your health care provider. There are medications, breathing techniques, and lifestyle changes that can help you breathe easier.


    The most serious lung disease of all is lung cancer, which is caused primarily by smoking. Cancer cells grow rapidly and end up blocking the bronchi (the main airways in the lungs). If unchecked, these cells invade the lung tissue itself and can spread to the rest of the body. Cancer cells can travel to other vital organs, where new cancers begin.


    Smoking can also cause the following diseases and conditions:
    • Heart disease.
    • Atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries).
    • Reduced lung capacity and stamina.
    • Ulcers.
    • Gum disease.
    • Osteoporosis.
    • Cataracts.
    • Loss of taste.
    • Loss of smell.


    Women who smoke are likely to have a harder time getting pregnant. When smoking is combined with oral contraceptives, a woman may have:
    • Menopause one to two years earlier than normal.
    • Higher risk of stroke.
    • When pregnant, women you smoke are at greater risk for.
    • Smaller, less healthy babies.
    • Stillbirth or infant death.


    You are hurting others when you smoke. It is not news that smoking bothers the people around you. But now there's proof that it is harmful to their health. Second-hand smoke contains the same cancer-causing material as the smoke you breathe in. That helps explain why non-smoking spouses of smokers are 30 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than those who live where nobody smokes. Studies also show that children of smoking parents are more likely to develop colds, flu, and ear infections than children of non-smokers. And do not forget that if you smoke, your children are much more likely to start smoking.


    Smoking is ugly! Smokers are more likely to develop wrinkles early. Smoke stains the teeth and fingers. Smoking contributes to gum disease and tooth loss. It causes bad breath and an unpleasant smell on clothing and hair.


    If you quit, you Will save a bundle. A pack a day costs about $3,600 a year or more, depending on where you live and the amount of state taxes added to your cigarettes. Medical bills, medications, and sick days can add up. What's more, many insurance companies offer discounts to non-smokers.


    It is becoming a bother to be a smoker! More and more public space is off-limits to smokers. Forty-nine states do not allow smoking in public places. All domestic airline flights prohibit smoking. This trend is sure to continue as smoking becomes less and less acceptable to society. It has become harder for renters who smoke to find living quarters. More and more landlords will not rent to smokers because of property damage caused by the smoke and nicotine saturating the walls, fixtures and drapes of an apartment and fire hazards often associated with smokers.


    When you quit smoking for good, you dramatically reduce your risk of death from lung cancer and heart disease. The sooner you stop smoking, the longer your lungs will stay young. If you stop smoking, your lungs will probably age at the same rate as a non-smoker's, even if they are already damaged. This means that even if you smoke now, quitting can help you avoid becoming disabled or dying at an earlier age.


    You have finally decided to cut yourself loose from your nicotine addiction, but the thought of gaining unsightly pounds is keeping you from beginning your non-smoking life. You have heard horror story after horror story of people ballooning up when they quit by becoming eating machines who shove anything and everything within eye sight into their mouths. While some former smokers may go this route, not all do. There are plenty of successful quitters who maintain their current weight and some who even lose weight. You do not need to go on a drastic diet. Small cutbacks and/or more exercise should keep your weight in check.

    Though most people do gain some weight when they quit smoking, the average is only about 5 pounds. Only 3.5 percent gain more than 20 pounds. Here are some hints to help keep your weight down after quitting.

    There is no magic formula for keeping the pounds off when you quit smoking. But through a combination of exercise, sensible eating and, most importantly, a positive attitude, you can successfully quit smoking and not so much as gain an ounce. Follow these tips and guidelines and enjoy the smoke-free, yet still slender, new you.
    • Consult your health care provider or midwife, if you are pregnant. Tell her you are quitting smoking and want to begin an exercise program. She will help you create a safe fitness program that factors in any special health concerns you may have.

    • Engage in aerobic activity (exercise that gets your heart beating faster) three to five times per week. (If you are pregnant, be sure to consult with your midwife before beginning aerobic sessions.)

    • Begin with 15 minute aerobic sessions and gradually work your way up to 30 minute sessions. When you are comfortable with five sessions of 30 minutes per week, increase two of the sessions to 45 minutes.

    • Vary your aerobic activity. Rather than pounding away on the step climber five days a week, ride the stationary bike one day, hit the treadmill the next and try the cross-country ski machine the next.

    • When weather permits, get your aerobic activity outside. Go for a brisk walk, rollerblade, or take your bike for a spin.

    • Add weight-training to your fitness program. Do exercises for each of the major muscle groups, which include the back, shoulders, arms, legs, glutes and abdomen.

    • If you belong to a gym, request a walk through of all the fitness equipment and ask how to use any machines that are unfamiliar to you. If you do not belong to a gym, invest in a good fitness book and some free weights and turn your home into your own personal gym.

    • Take the stairs rather than the elevator, park your car far from the building entrance, walk rather than drive and use your lunch hour to go for an invigorating walk.

    • Quitting cigarettes improves both your health and your appetite. As long as you satisfy your appetite with healthy, low-calorie foods, you should not have trouble with your weight. But if you do have trouble, try exercising more often or for longer.

    • After you quit, you may be able to taste things more fully than you could when you were smoking. Your taste and smelling abilities return. Simple foods, even bread, can taste better. It is fine to spoil yourself a bit with these simple pleasures, as long as you go easy for a while on the richer dishes.

    • Cut your fat intake. Forego the cheesecake, sour cream and half-n-half. Replace high-fat food items with fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains. Withdrawal jitters should last only a couple of days. But if they continue, do not give in to high-calorie foods or go back to cigarettes. Instead, sip water throughout the day, and eat a lot of raw vegetables.

    • Watch for hidden fats, like salad dressings made with oil. Make your own homemade dressings with low-fat yogurt bases and flavored vinegars.

    • MoonDragon's Nutrition Recipes - Homemade Yogurt

    • Get protein from low-fat items like beans, fish and poultry. Decrease your overall consumption of high-fat meats.

    • Brown bag your lunch. Even seemingly healthy salad bar items are laden with high-fat mayonnaise and oils. Pack sandwiches made with low-fat meats or bring in last night's leftovers. Fruit or raw vegetables make great low-fat snacks.

    • Drink eight glasses of water every day. Make no exception.

    • Baby carrots are great "quitting smoking" devices and a healthy treat as well. Nibble on one whenever you want a cigarette. When you decide to quit, have plenty of low calorie snack foods on hand. Unbuttered popcorn is another good choice for snacking.

    • Keep a pack of sugarless gum with you at all times. The same goes for sugarless breath mints and sugarless hard candy. Chewing will give your mouth something to do other than drag on a cigarette.

    • Brush your teeth often. People tend to eat less when they have a clean mouth.

    • Tell yourself every day that you are a non-smoker who is getting stronger and fitter each day. Believe it.

    • Work on developing stress-relieving techniques and practice relaxation. De-stressing your life will go a long way towards breaking the smoking habit. Many of us smoke because of stress and boredom. Keep things mellow but interesting and it helps to squish the urge to light up a smoke.

    • Reward yourself for each week that you do not smoke and stick with your fitness and eating plan. Make the treats non-food oriented; instead of taking yourself for a great dinner, go for a relaxing massage. By not smoking, it will save you considerable dollars that you can put toward fun healthy activities. Buy something for yourself with the money you saved by not smoking. Do something you always wanted to do, like taking a dance class or tennis lessons.

    • If you feel your willpower caving in, satisfy your sweet tooth over your nicotine-deprived body. Even just one drag could have you hooked again. Food cravings are a typical but brief stage of nicotine withdrawal. If you develop a taste for sweet things, satisfy it with fresh fruit. An orange or tangerine may do the trick. Or try a different taste. Eat something sour. These foods can often satisfy the craving for something sweet.

    smoking kills

    For graphic lung pictures of smokers and non-smokers, visit this website:

    Quit Smoking Pictures by

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    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Quitting Smoking & Weight Gain: Helpful Hints
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Quitting Smoking & Weight Gain: The Facts
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Smoking Cessation & Weight Gain - Benefits Outweigh Drawbacks
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Smoking Overview & Recommendations
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Pregnancy & Smoking


    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Relaxation
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Stress Links
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Guided Imagery & Visualization
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Meditation
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Hypnotherapy
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Living Longer
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Acupressure
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Acupuncture


    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Asthma
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Asthma - Nutritional & Herbal Recommendations
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Bronchitis
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Cancer
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: cardio Problems
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Cardiovascular Disease
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Emphysema
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Heart Attack
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hypertension
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pneumonia
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Teratogens
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Depression
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Obesity Overview
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Obesity - Herbal Suggestions For Weight Loss
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Obesity - Holistic & Dietary Information
    MoonDragon's Womens Health Information: Stress


    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index: Recommendations, Food Guide, Diets & Menus
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Weight Loss Diet & Menu Suggestions
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Weight Control Diet & Menu Suggestions


    MoonDragon's Womens Health Index

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    Health & Wellness Index


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    Healing Baths For Colds
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    Using Essential Oils


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  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute?
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage
  • MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1
  • MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index

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