Stopping smoking may be harder than quitting heroin

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

By Candy Lashkari

An addiction is an addiction and it may be tougher to quit smoking cigarettes compared to beating a heroin addiction. An Australian study found that many long term smokers have tried to quit 7.4 times but are still unable to do so. Sydney GP Raymond Seidler actually feels that people do not realize that quitting smoking is just as bad as kicking heroin out of your life.

"What smokers don't realise is that nicotine addiction is as powerful, or even more powerful, than heroin addiction," he said. " The (brain's) receptors for smoking are as strongly attached to nicotine as the heroine receptor is to opiates. That can come as a shock to a lot of people. Quitting is therefore a serious challenge for most." said Dr Seidler.

A recent survey commissioned by Pfizer Australia, a pharmaceutical company, had responses from over 2,000 smokers which revealed that smokers are much more likely to find chores to do rather than approach a health care professional to help them kick the butt. Amongst the respondents 35% would rather clean the house, 27% would rather pay the bills, 22% would rather go to work on the weekend and 18% would rather go to dinner with the in-laws to avoid visiting a health care professional.

"We need to address the issues of why people are reluctant to go to a professional to get help, because we know that GPs and pharmacists have an important role to play in supporting patients who want to quit smoking," said Dr Seidler.

In the survey it was found that 28% were unsure of how the health care professional could help them quit smoking cigarettes. The smokers in New South Wales were the least likely to seek help from experts. 75% of all the respondents had made at least 2 attempts at quitting and been unsuccessful. According to Dr Seidler if more people approached experts they would be able to give up smoking with a greater success rate.

"The benefits to smokers of seeking professional help perhaps need to be more carefully and persuasively explained." said Dr Seidler.

In the survey 27% did not want to spend the money on seeking professional help from the experts while 17% were worried about being judged. 16% were unable to admit that they have tried to quit and failed, while 12% say that they do have the time to seek professional help. Amongst the respondents 6% even said that their own doctors were unaware that they smoked.

Pfizer Australia has set up a display of 219,000 imitation cigarettes in Sydney’s Martin Place on Wednesday to visually demonstrate the number of cigarettes that a 20 a day smoker would get through in a time frame of 30 years. The display is on till April 23.


  1. AnnaLisa AnnaLisa United States says:

    Ibogaine treatment is THE most effective option out there. Quitting heroine or any other opiates is so difficult.

  2. Trebor Trebor United States says:

    This article is b/s.I'm a heroin addict (ain't proud of it) as well as a smoker.Been to detoxes and i've never seen ppl come in to withdrawal from nicotine.Also, I've had a much easier time stoping smoking than quiting at the end of the article they mention how  pharmacist and drug companies have a role in helping us's one big advertisement for them.Nowhere do they mention any alternative methods of quitting smoking or a holistic approach.Two Thumbs  Down !!!

  3. Luke Screwalker Luke Screwalker United States says:

    Opiates by far, smoking is hard to stop no doubt but opiates take it to a new level. You can become seriously depressed stopping opiates, cigs you just fight the cravings. Opiates encompass everything involved with addiction not to mention deathly ill when you stop. No puking,shitting,sweating, insomnia etc. when you stop cigs.

  4. Alex Singletary Alex Singletary United States says:

    tbh cigarettes and heroin withdrawals are way too different to compare, they are both equally hard in their own way. heroin withdrawals are painful both physically and mentally, I know this because I'm currently tapering off of a drug containing buprenorphine and naloxone after being addicted to opiates for 5 years (I'm currently 20 so I was hooked at age 15). This drug helps the physical side, but there is no euphoria so I have to deal with everything I was trying to cover up. for me, nicotine withdrawals only effect me mentally, my anxiety goes through the roof, my insomnia gets worse, and cigarettes are so easily obtainable that it's hard to say no to buying a pack and lighting up. I've been smoking since I was 14 (so 6 years) and I'm still a daily smoker. it may be so hard for me to quit smoking since I'm currently working towards getting off opiates completely, yet either way I look at it, I'm off heroin, but I'm still a smoker. however, I'm planning to stop smoking once I'm off suboxone.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
Exploring the epigenetic impact of smoking across racial and ethnic groups