Dying to Quit: Why We Smoke and How We Stop

Janet Brigham, Author, Janet Brigham, Author, A Joseph Henry Press Book, Author Joseph Henry Press $29.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-309-06409-5
Although seemingly writing for clinicians, Brigham, a research psychologist with a California think tank, has much to tell general readers about smoking. Is it an addiction or a habit? Studies are inconclusive, we learn here. But much is known, such as the connection between mood and tobacco use: nicotine, a mild euphoriant, provides ""quick relief"" to anxiety. With some 16 million smokers trying to quit every year, just 1.2 million succeed, according to studies quoted in this well-documented book. Brigham notes factors involved in avoiding relapse, such as a support network, low stress and a stable life. She explains that although the experience of withdrawal differs from individual to individual, among the constants is weight gain, an average 8-10 pounds but up to 30 pounds for some. The book also reviews the medical hazards of smoking, among them circulatory, coronary and lung diseases, and cancer of the esophagus. Brigham's material is all the more terrifying for its calm delivery. And only after motivating readers with so much alarming information does she discuss quitting techniques, noting that cessation usually requires many attempts and is more successfully accomplished with aids like nicotine replacements (patch or gum) or counseling lasting eight or more weeks. 20,000 first printing. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/18/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
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