Mark Twain once said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times”. Many people have tried to quit smoking countless times, but are drawn back to the smoky allure of a cigarette. Most smokers are aware of the health implications that are associated with smoking cigarettes yet continue to come back to it like a bad relationship that they know is bad for them. If you are a smoker then kicking the habit to the curb like the bad relationship that it is could be the best thing you could do for your health.
Why is quitting smoking so hard? The main culprit behind the addictive qualities of smoking is nicotine. While there are thousands of chemicals in tobacco nicotine is the one chemical that produces all the good feelings that keep drawing people back for another cigarette. In addition to the chemical addiction smoking tobacco is a psychological habit as well. Smoking cigarettes is a daily ritual. You may take your smoking break at the same time every day during work. You may have a cigarette every time you’re out with your friends at the bar. You might smoke every time you get stressed. The nicotine from cigarette smoke gives you a temporary addictive, pleasurable high that becomes associated with those activities. Eliminating the regular fix of nicotine that you have become physically and emotionally dependent on will result in physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings. To successfully quit smoking you’ll need to address both the habit of smoking and the addiction by changing your behavior and the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
A two pronged attack is going to be needed if you’re going to successfully quit smoking. You’re going to need deal with the nicotine addiction and the psychological habit of smoking. The reason many people often fail in quitting smoking is that they try to go cold turkey. Weaning yourself off of cigarettes is the best approach. Start by setting small goals. Set the goal that you’re going to be smoking a pack a less a week. Gradually decrease the amounts of cigarettes until it’s zero. Once you’ve stopped smoking you’re going to want to use smoking substitutes like nicotine patches or nicotine gum to get your fix until you’re completely free of nicotine addiction. In order to address the habit of smoking you’re going to need to change your behavior. This may mean changing your behavior that has become associated with smoking such as going to the bars, break time at work, or stressful situations. If you smoke when you go to the bar then you should try going to a non-smoking bar. If you smoke during your work break then maybe you should take a coffee break instead. If you smoke to deal with stress then try alternative solutions such as exercising or breathing exercises.
Quitting smoking can be a difficult thing to do, but countless numbers of people accomplish it every year. Maybe Mark Twain’s quote should’ve gone something like this. Quitting smoking is difficult. Hopefully you’ll only have to do it once.