Still Can’t Quit Smoking? Maybe It’s Your Method
It’s 2017 and for those who may be kicking themselves this new year, still wondering why they can’t quit smoking, this post is for you.
Let’s face the facts. Everybody, and I mean everybody, knows that smoking will kill you eventually. At least your chances of dying from a smoking-related illness is about 50/50. And that’s just statistics. That doesn’t take into account the undeniable fact that you would live longer and healthier if you didn’t smoke, even if you don’t actually die directly from COPD or lung cancer.
So why do you still smoke? In spite of our ability to rationalize why we smoke, the act itself certainly isn’t rational. It’s toxic, expensive, smelly, makes your teeth and fingertips brown, and keeps you in it’s clutches like a hostage. Yet, while we all have the capacity to be rational, our natural tendencies suggest we are anything but.
Some people say they smoke for the satisfaction of it. It gives pleasure, relieves stress and helps with concentration. But does it do any of those things? The science says otherwise.
Let’s go through these justifications point by pint-sized point and analyze each.
Smoking is a stress reliever
FALSE: Smoking only relieves the stress that is caused by not having a cigarette. It is a sad and vicious illusion that makes the smoker think that the dopamine released from smoking is actually helping them cope with stress. In fact, they could have been much less stressed and better able to cope if they didn’t smoke in the first place.
I get pleasure from smoking
FALSE: Nobody gets pleasure out of smoking. They are satisfying a physiological need created by the nicotine and chemicals in the cigarette. See point above.
Smoking helps me concentrate
FALSE: You could concentrate better if you didn’t need to go out every hour to have a smoke.
I can’t quit. It would be too difficult
ABSOLUTELY FALSE: not true, but we’ll get back to that one.
I’d quit, but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself when I go out.
FALSE: Who do you think enjoys themselves more: someone at the bar, socializing and enjoying their night how they want to – or – the person at the bar who is continuously being dragged outside for 10 minutes no matter what the weather to engage in activity that if wasn’t managed could ruin the whole night? Who is “free” in this scenario? The smoker is in fact, a prisoner to the cigarette. When the nicotine levels are depleted, that’s the brains cue to say, “Right, stop what you’re doing! Get up now, take yourself outside and handle this. Only then can you come back and enjoy yourself for another 20-30 minutes”.
Smoking is a great way to socialize with other people
HALF TRUE: Smoking is a great way to meet other smokers. Golf is a great way to meet other golfers. Origami enthusiast clubs are a great way to meet other origami enthusiasts. What’s your point? If socializing is your only reason to smoke then maybe finding new interests with other groups of people is a better option.
Smoking makes eating more enjoyable
FALSE: Smoking ruins the taste of food as it dulls the tastebuds.
Smoking is great after sex.
HALF TRUE: Yes, if you are already a smoker. But this is only because you crave a cigarette after any kind of exertion. And if you are going to smoke after sex, you should hope your partner is also a smoker. Otherwise they could argue smoking actually ruins sex.
Smoking is better than crack
TRUE. At least you’re not smoking crack (slow clap).
What’s the best quitting smoking method?
Now that we’ve eviscerated those false assumptions about why people rationalize smoking, what are the best ways to quit? While different ways have different results for different people, statistics show there are some that have better results than others.
Here are just a few of the most common:
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Success rate: 4-5%
If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking using the patch or Nicorette, then you’ve tried NRT. The point of these methods is to allow the smoker to gradually reduce the amount of nicotine being circulated in your blood. Ideally, by the end of the “treatment” you will no longer need the therapy.
Pros: For every piece of gum you use or patch you put on, that means fewer cigarettes smoked. That by itself is a good thing. No tar, no added carcinogens, no smoke. Just nicotine, which on its own, is not harmful.
Cons: Keeping the nicotine flowing through your system essentially keeps you addicted, prolonging the withdrawal period. It’s important to remember that a cigarette has the effect it does, not only because of the nicotine, but also because of all the other chemicals in the cigarette that are specifically designed to increase the potency and release time of the drug. The patch and gum don’t have these extra chemicals, meaning the hit is not nearly as effective. If the goal is to be free of nicotine addiction, then keeping it the system while gradually cutting back can really only be described as a kind of torture.
Success rate: 5%
Cold Turkey means to quit smoking on will power alone. It means setting a date, psyching yourself up for the big day and by the sheer power of your iron will, you stick to it, battling against those horrible pangs of intense craving. You battle the sweaty nights, you tell yourself motivating quotes every day, call family members to support you through this difficult time and finally, after enough excruciating time has passed, that craving is beaten to a bloody pulp and you bask in the glory of your victory.
Of course, this was an exaggeration. But the point is, the idea of quitting cold turkey has a tendency of conjuring up images of the withdrawal scene in the movie Trainspotting – a movie about a heroin addiction.
Pros: Surely the process is so horrible it should increase your chances of never wanting to go through it again.
Cons: Turning nicotine into this formidable giant makes the whole process psychologically hard. Using will power implies that quitting smoking should necessarily be a very hard thing to do. And if you fail, would you give up trying to quit smoking in the future? It’s likely.
Quit Smoking Medications
Success rate: 7%
Two common medication alternatives to quit smoking are Chantix® and Zyban®. Without going too deep into the details, essentially these medications help you stop by a) reducing cravings for nicotine making it easier to get through withdrawal and b) helps block the effects of nicotine should you start smoking again. Both medications are availaible by prescription only, so like they say on the commercials, talk to your doctor to see if these are right for you.
Pros: More cost-effective than smoking and has had more overall successful results than the first two options.
Cons: Won’t completely remove the urge to smoke, so without a desire and a plan to manage cravings and withdrawal, quitting can still prove difficult.
Success rate: 30%
It’s debatable whether vaping should be considered a smoking cessation method as it’s not advertised as such. Vaping, as it is called these days, refers to using devices that “burn” nicotine into a semi-harmless (how harmless is not yet totally known) vapour that you inhale in the same way you smoke a cigarette.
Pros: No matter what the science says, it is a much healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. And it’s cheaper.
Cons: The verdict is still out on the long-term effects of these devices. And the fact that it is still providing nicotine to the body opens the door for smoking relapses. Like the patch and gum, it’s really just substituting one addiction for another, albeit a healthier one.
So looking at the three most common types of quitting cessation methods, it’s no wonder quitting is proving so difficult. If the goal is to be free of nicotine addiction then the best option is to get the medication. But even that only shows to be effective for 7% of people taking it. So what is a person to do?
There is another way to quit, which has had amazing effects worldwide and is a method you won’t really hear about from the pharmacy of doctors office. It’s known as Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Quit Smoking. This is the method that the author used to great effect. It’s a method unlike any other. We’ll briefly touch on it here.
Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Quit Smoking:
Who is Allen Carr?
Allen Carr is the founder of the Easy Way To Quit Smoking program. Allen was a chain smoker smoking up to 100 cigarettes a day before finding a way to quit that did not involve will power, replacement devices, or medication.
So what is Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Quit Smoking? Believe it or not, that’s not only the title. With Allen Carr’s world-renown method of quitting smoking, it is actually, what it claims to be: easy.
How could this be possible? Isn’t smoking one of the hardest addictions to break?
The Easy Way to Quit Smoking will take you through a trip. It takes you through the process of making you understand how your own mind is the reason you can’t quit smoking. It also reveals the thinking process that makes you believe it to be so hard, when in fact, it is really dead-easy. It teaches you the tricks to “re-program” your brain so that by the end of the book, you will not be able to smoke another cigarette. It does not require will power. It does not require you to give anything up. It does not require medication or nicotine replacements.
For fear of being sued for copyright infringement, we can’t break down the method step by step. I will say that it is a method that is not only easy, but enjoyable. Go out and get the book and see for yourself. If you don’t have time for reading, then get the audiobook (that was the method the author used).
Note: MediScript has no affiliation to Allen Carr’s organization and does not profit in any way from promoting this method.