You walk into a convenience store and see an ad for cigarettes on sale. In text that is as large as or larger than the ad copy, you see the phrase, Warning: This Product Can Cause Mouth Cancer.? You’ve heard all the stories, seen the photos of cancerous lungs, heard pleas from your friends, and told yourself a hundred times or more that this pack is your last.
Guiltily, you buy a pack, anyway.
It’s a common story. Quitting smoking is extremely difficult, both because of the physiological dependence on nicotine, and the psychological effects of years of clever advertising that glorifies cigarettes.
So how do you quit? A Google search will yield over 36 million results, in two-tenths of a second or less. That’s a lot of advice to sift through. Remember that there isn’t one answer that works for everyone. What you can do is read on, and use this article as a starting point for your journey.
Step One: Figuring Out Why You Smoke
Addictive personality. Oral fixation. Nicotine dependency. Those are just a few of dozens of reasons cited by smokers, especially those who profess a desire to quit. Here are the most common reasons. Figure out which one sounds like you, and you may be able to make progress:
- Peer pressure.
- Risk-taking behavior as an outlet.
- Parents who smoke, passing on the habit.
- Misinformation (succumbing to pro-cigarette advertisements)
- Addictive personality or genetic predisposition.
- Stress relief.
- Response to characters in media (i.e., a beloved main character in a film or television show who is a chain smoker)
Knowing where in that spectrum you fit can help you.
Step Two: Seeking Alternatives
Cold turkey rarely works. That’s because smokers report feeling a need to do something to fill the void left by a lack of cigarettes. Products have been on the market for years that attempt to fulfill exactly that need. Here are some of the most successful alternatives to smoking cigarettes:
- Nicotine gum or patches.
- Regular gum chewing to ease the oral fixation? many smokers report having.
- Smokeless tobacco products such as snuff, chewing tobacco, lozenges, strips, or tablets.
- Hookah or water-pipes which use herbs, rather than carcinogenic tobacco.
- , which do not burn the tobacco or herb, but heat it purely instead.
It is possible that one of these safer alternatives may be preferable to cigarettes, and could take the place of harmful smoking in your life. Remember to research your alternatives carefully, and ask your doctor to help you make the right choice. Some of the alternatives proposed are safer than others, while some are nearly as harmful (to you) as cigarettes, without being harmful to others around you.
Step Three: Don’t Look Back
Like going to the gym or holding to a New Year’s Resolution, this is, in the end, a matter of willpower. Look to your loved ones, friends, or other support groups if you worry that you cannot keep from lighting up. There are manyto those who wish to stop smoking.
- License: Creative Commons
Mike is a former smoker who wrote this piece to help others quit the habit of smoking.