Once the epitome of movie cool, the smoker has now become an outcast in society; a social pariah. At one time anyone lurking in a shadowy doorway, his face lit by the soft glow of smouldering cigarette, conjured up notions of Harry Lime and an exotic world of adventure and espionage. In these health conscious times, someone lurking in a doorway smoking usually just means that he’s nowhere else to go to ‘light up’.
In many countries even the last bastion of the hounded smokers, the bar, has turned its back on them, forcing the smoker to brave all weather conditions to enjoy a nicotine hit in the street, looking for all the world like an itinerant beggar. Smokers have ostensibly taken on the role of an underclass, the modern day social equivalent of India’s untouchables – looked down upon by non-smokers.
And yet millions upon millions of people continue to swim against the tide despite the fact that they know that doing so might ultimately kill them and what’s more kill others.
Justifications for continuing on a self destructive course range from ‘smoking helps me relax’, ‘it helps me concentrate’ and ‘it’s cool’, to the natural human condition of not reacting well to being told to what to do.
Ultimately there’s only one reason why anyone continues to smoke and that’s because it is purely and simply an addiction. And like any addiction that makes giving it up a difficult process… but not an impossible one.
However, before anyone attempts to stop smoking, there is one very important factor which will make all the difference between success and failure. He must genuinely want to stop – doing it for any other reason is a one way street of varying lengths to the next packet of cigarettes.
Why Stop Smoking?
There are any number of reasons to give up the killer weed and the most powerful of these should be that to continue to puff away puts smokers on the fast track to the final destination and a meeting with Dr Death. But everyone knows this, so what’s new?
Maybe a more seductive argument is to for smokers to stop thinking of the cigarette as a companion and think of it as a backstabbing false friend who has wrapped a cast iron chain around them without them even realising it.
Stopping smoking is liberating. Take away the need for a cigarette and there’s no need for the smoker to get jittery on planes and trains or in restaurants and bars, his thoughts consumed with working out when he can get his next hit. Non-smokers can eat, drink and go anywhere. Discovering this is like having scales removed from the eyes
And as for health benefits; 20 minutes after stopping, heart rates and blood pressure drops. In 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the body return to normal. Within 3 months, circulation improves and lungs function more efficiently and after 5 years the risk of a stroke is the same as that of a non-smoker.
Food also tastes far better as well and whilst this might seem like a minor point, it’s all part of the folder filed under ‘a better quality of life’.
How to Stop Smoking
There’s no point in being unrealistic, it isn’t going to be easy, but the good news is that there’s a lot of support out there. Deciding the most appropriate method is important in finding the right road to success.
- Stop Smoking Programmes: Enrol in a local stop smoking programme. Giving up with others can help ease the pain.
- Nicotine Replacement: Using patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers etc helps the body deal with the physical effects of nicotine withdrawal, leaving smokers to concentrate more on the psychological aspect to stopping smoking.
- Hypnosis: Hypnotherapy techniques help addresses psychological barriers to giving up smoking through subconscious positive affirmations and suggestions.
- Acupuncture: Treatment works by stimulating body functions to help ease tobacco withdrawal symptoms.
- Stop Smoking Literature: Books such as Alan Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking can be great support aids in the preparation for becoming a non-smoker.
Finally, here is a sobering fact about smoking to ponder.
Tobacco is the only commercially sold product that, if used as directed, will poison and kill the user.
It’s estimated that around 6 million people die from tobacco related diseases each year – don’t be one of them.