Smoking is said to be a harder addiction to kick than heroin, yet many people kick the cancer sticks every year. Many more fail. Here’s a look at a few common stop smoking methods that not only don’t work, but they may even make your addiction worse.
1. Cold turkey. The problem with simply deciding that you’re not going to start smoking that next cigarette is that it cultivates a sense of being denied something good. Your mind has spent a lot of time convincing itself that it derives pleasure from cigarettes or whatever form of tobacco you use, and stopping cold turkey is telling yourself, “this is something I enjoy, but I’m going to stop doing it.” You’ll want to smoke more and more, and no matter how long you go without smoking, you’ll still have the psychological addiction. If and when you do begin smoking again, your addiction is likely to be even worse than before.
2. Hypnosis. Many smokers try to use hypnosis to convince themselves that they get nothing out of smoking. This can be effective, but the problem is that hypnosis is only as good as the hypnotist, not all smokers respond to hypnotherapy, and it’s expensive. Only go to a hypnotherapist if they’ve been recommended to you by another smoker, and check to make sure that any therapist you’re considering actually has experience helping smokers–party-trick hypnotists won’t do the job.
3. The patch/gum/other nicotine replacement therapy. Again, this type of therapy merely ingrains the belief that you need smoking to be happy. The nicotine is still being fed into your system, and when it’s stopped, it remains as strong as ever. Weaning works with infants, but not with smokers. The smoking habit is more of a psychological addiction than anything else, and nicotine replacement therapies just encourage that addiction. Besides, consider the problem from the perspective of one of the companies that makes nicotine gum or patches: what incentive do they have to cure your smoking habit? They’ve got a much bigger incentive to get you hooked on their own products.
4. Other replacements. Some smokers think that they need to replace their cigarettes not with nicotine-containing devices, but with carrot sticks, gum, and other “soft” replacements. Again, this makes smoking seem more attractive to the smoker’s mind, not less attractive. The physical habits of reaching for and smoking a cigarette are easy to break, but the mental addiction isn’t, and the carrot sticks and gum simply serve to remind smokers of what they think they’re missing.
Were you a smoker? How did you quit? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.