Escaping the Smoking Trap – For Non-Smokers, Heavy Smokers & Everyone in Between

Whether you have never smoked in your life, you are a heavy smoker, or you are somewhere in between, I recommend you read this. Specifically, these of us who never smoke got lucky, and everyone else unlucky, as simple as that. The lucky people were lucky enough to avoid the smoking trap, while unlucky ones to fall for it. As such, it is useful for everyone to know how to either escape this trap or to make sure that we will never fall for it, or any similar ones for other products such as drugs.

It all starts with one cigarette [1]. We all start smoking for stupid reasons, but nobody really has to. Most of the time, we are persuaded to try a cigarette by someone else who already smokes, and we do it to satisfy our sense of curiosity or because we are socially pressured into doing it.

But it takes only one cigarette to get hooked. Part of the reason for that is because cigarettes taste bad and we can’t imagine that we would ever want to continue smoking something that we don’t like. But this is a sinister trap as it is precisely the reason why we don’t expect cigarettes to make an effect on us, all along we get hooked.

This is only to say that no one really likes the taste of smoking, but everyone who smokes thinks that there must be something to smoking, as everyone who smokes can’t be wrong. In fact, the only real reason we smoke is because of the drug addiction, which comes in the form of nicotine addiction. We often just don’t call nicotine as a drug, and consequently, we don’t understand drug addictions.

Smokers don’t decide to be addicted, but especially with the first cigarette, they think they can logic their way out of smoking.  And because they find cigarettes distasteful people thing that they can stop any time.
But nicotine, the primary component of cigarettes, is the fastest addictive drug known to humankind. Soon after that first cigarette nicotine rapidly starts to leave our body and we begin to suffer withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms are so mild that we don’t realize we have them, but for some reason, we want another cigarette and another.

Soon, nicotine immunity grows, and we start smoking more regularly, eventually leading to chain smoking. The process of getting hooked is so gradual we don’t attribute it to a previous cigarette. We may believe that we can quit anytime, but we already fell for this trap, and if we really could stop smoking any time we would already have stopped long time ago.

Of course, we can quit smoking for a couple of hours or days. In fact, every time we put out a cigarette we quit smoking. Still, eventually nicotine will make us feel like we are missing something, it will give us that empty feeling of void inside of us, it will make us feel nervous, insecure, agitated, lacking confidence, and irritable. In turn, a new cigarette will relax us and feel up that void and give us our confidence back, just to take it away again immediately after smoking to even greater degree.

You see, smoking is an addiction and it is a trap. It is designed to keep us smoking for life. It makes us feel like we are missing something and that we get some sort of reward when we smoke. But that something that we receive from a cigarette is exactly what cigarettes takes away from us. And it only gets worst with every consecutive cigarette. We get absolutely nothing, except an illusion of trying to recover that state of peace, tranquility, and confidence that we lost because we are smoking.

And while in the begging smoking the whole act may look very innocent, gradually it can grow into a big problem. This is like in dieting. We don’t get a pot-belly from one night to another. If we did we would scream in terror wondering what kind of terrible disease we caught the previous day. But when the change is gradual we don’t notice the difference. And same happens with smoking whereas our addiction grows over time and eventually in accumulates into a big loss of health, money, energy, peace of mind, confidence, courage, self-respect, happiness, and freedom.

Indeed, we all know these awful ads that tell us how smoking is destroying our life. Unfortunately, these ads don’t work. There are volumes of data on why smoking is bad for us, such as that we spend 50.000 pounds in a lifetime on cigarettes an average if we smoke 20 cigarettes per day, that smokers are expected to live on average 13.5 years less that non-smokers [2], not to mention other health issues like loss of energy, cancer, and various respiratory problems.

I could put more grim statistics about smoking here, but, honestly, smokers don’t read these statistics, only the non-smokers do. In fact, most smokers faced with information about the harm of smoking just want to smoke more.

And this is where marketing comes in. It is often responsible for keeping us on smoking, sometimes even more so than nicotine addiction itself, as it makes us believe that there are benefits to smoking, such as that it is a good, fun, and social activity while making us forget about all the harm it does. No wonder that even after the signing of Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) in 1998 when major smoking companies agreed to pay a $206 billion dollars for harm caused by tobacco and resulting health-care costs [3], there are still over 1 billion people smoking cigarettes on our planet today [4].

So what is the solution? One solution, which does not work, is to try different nicotine substitutes, such as gums, patches, nasal sprays, and inhalators. These products don’t work because they still give us nicotine, which was the reason we started to smoke in the first place. Another solution is to cut down on smoking using the willpower method. As such, we try to go without smoking for as long as possible. But for most of us, it does not work. This is because we feel like we are making some sort of sacrifice that causes us suffering, which is why eventually we go back to smoking. But there is nothing to give up. All advantages that we think smoking gives us, it takes away tenfold over time.

But here is good news. Nicotine will leave our bodies completely over a period of three weeks, returning it to a pre-smoking state. But first, before quitting, we must realize that by stopping we are not giving up anything and that there are no advantages of smoking. If there is a single reason why we may still want to smoke, however small it is, it may be enough to make us smoking again. As such, there are no benefits or rewards that come from smoking. Smoking does not give us anything, but it takes everything away from us. When we have that clear in our mind, we don’t need any willpower, and we are ready to quit.

Few things to keep in mind. As mentioned before, it will take three weeks for all nicotine, and therefore we may feel somewhat uncomfortable during this time. During this time we should stay strong, and we should never doubt our decision to quit. There is no such thing as “Just one cigarette”, as it is exactly how we started to smoke in a first place. Stopping smoking is easy. We just stop, as no one is forcing us to keep on smoking except ourselves. We won’t suddenly feel like a non-smoker, as non-smokers don’t feel any different from smokers.

And there is no better day to quit than today. Indeed, we may think that today it is complicated, and we have too many issues in our life, but the same will be tomorrow and the day after. As such, it is always easier to do everything tomorrow, but then we will never start. And while this information should be enough to help us quit smoking, we can always refer to Allan Curr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking [1] if we have any doubts in our resolution to quit smoking.


Source
1. Allen Carr (2011). “Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking”.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2002). “Annual smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and economic costs–United States, 1995-1999”. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 51 (14): 300–3.
3. National Association of Attorneys General (1998). “Master Settlement Agreement”.
4. World Health Organization (2017). “Factsheet”. Uploaded on May 2017. Available on http://www.who.int.

Article by Roman Russo

Author, Marketing Expert, & Happiness Coach. Just finished writing my first book called - HOW TO ACT NORMAL. It is about how Marketing changes our lives for better and for the worst, and what to do when it is for the worst. Indeed, we see so much marketing every day, but seldom stop to think what is an accumulative effect of all these ads and that what we really buy is Happiness. But happiness is possible without all these products we buy. The only thing we need it to change the way we think!

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