Want to Quit Smoking? Forces Work Against You...
When you try to quit smoking, you have to deal with many negative forces including your physical and emotional addiction, the tobacco industry, advertisers and publishers who help market cigarettes, and your smoking friends.
It’s possible that you’re smoking because you want to. It’s far more likely that you’re smoking because you have to. Your brain feels threatened with the prospect of losing its drug, so it will give you lots of trouble if you try to stop.
It’s your addicted brain we’re talking about here, and it will come up with all kinds of rationalizations, deceptive thinking, excuses, and self-pity talks. It will feign ignorance and develop a really short memory. It will do everything it can to talk you back into supplying its drug of choice.
Your brain is a powerful instrument, yet nicotine has enslaved it. Nicotine is a very intense drug. In one study by Dr. Jack Henningfield, volunteers were injected with doses of amphetamine, cocaine, and nicotine, and they could not tell the difference between the three.
You may have tried to quit before, maybe even many times before. If you were ever tempted to smoke after quitting, and did so telling yourself “I’ll only have one,” it was very likely you didn’t stop at just one. Just a tiny bit of nicotine whets your appetite and awakens that sleeping monster of craving. It is almost impossible to control the use of this drug by willpower alone.
But this is not about willpower or strength of character. It is about addiction. Addicts have trouble believing they can live without their drug. That’s how addiction works. You smoke because you are a smoker, and you remain a smoker because you can’t stop smoking. This may seem rather simplistic, but the point is that the cycle self-perpetuates. You have to do something pretty aggressive to break it.
Think about all those people in your life who would be extremely grateful and relieved if you never smoked again. Then think about those people who really don’t want to see you stop.
The tobacco industry certainly does not want to see you quit. They like having you as a role model for new smokers. They like the steady reliability of your money.
The advertising industry does not want to see you quit either. They like the tobacco industry’s money - after all, it's a multi-billion dollar market.
The magazine-publishing industry does not want to see you quit. Tobacco advertisers pay big bucks to place ads in their publications. Magazine editors may even hesitate to publish anti-smoking articles because the advertisers might pull their ads from what they believe is a nonsupportive venue.
There are lots of other businesses that would prefer that you remain a smoker. Think about producers of cigarette cases, matches, lighters, ashtrays, breath mints, and smoker’s toothpastes. Some people even view the medical industry as a beneficiary. The list can go on and on.
Your smoking friends probably don't really want to see you quit smoking - if you succeed, then they will feel more pressure to do something about their own addiction.
There is probably a part of you that does not want to see yourself quit. Cigarettes are an old reliable friend, always there during troubled times and helping you celebrate the good times. How will you ever live without them? Of course the real question is what kind of a life are you doomed to live with them?
To help you get on the path to a smoke-free life, see Preparing to Quit Smoking.
Excerpts from Give It Up! Stop Smoking for Life provided with permission from author and publisher.