Here are the 3 reasons that people fail to quit smoking and how to correct them:
1) Underestimate – the intensity of physical withdrawal and Nicotine cravings
2) Overconfidence – in medical “cures” for smoking (the patch, the gum)
3) Lack of Planning – and becoming overwhelmed with life situations while attempting to deal with withdrawal symptoms
Let’s look at these 3 reasons in greater detail, and outline a strategy for correcting each oversight.
The First Reason Smokers Fail to Quit: A Strong Tendency to Underestimate Withdrawal Symptoms
Why does anyone light up a cigarette? To avoid withdrawal, of course! That’s all smoking really is: a series of “feedings” to keep your physical body topped off with a sufficient level of Nicotine. If the level of the drug drops to low, smokers start to feel uncomfortable. The cure, of course, is to light up another cigarette.
Photos by giuvax
Although smokers regularly have short periods where they must go without smoking, they almost always underestimate the devastating effect that a full week of withdrawals will have on their lives. Even if a smoker does anticipate the full level of discomfort, they rarely do anything to plan ahead in order to compensate for this situation. As any smoker can tell you, life goes on even though they might be trying to quit, and every problem becomes that much more intense due to withdrawal. Life happens. And it continues to happen, even when you quit smoking. Not only do smokers typically underestimate the withdrawal symptoms, they also underestimate the degree to which they rely on cigarettes as a coping mechanism.
It’s not just the rush of nicotine we are addicted to. Smoking is an escape, a way to step outside and take a breather when life gets chaotic. It can also be a precursor to a more intimate social setting–where people can step away from the crowd for a moment and discuss something more serious. All of those coping devices that go along with smoking fly out the window when you’re trying to quit, and people underestimate how important all of those things are.
Overcoming Strategy #1: Plan ahead to maximize your comfort during withdrawal. Schedule vacation time to allow for extra sleep during the first week of quitting.
The Second Reason Smokers Fail to Quit: Overconfidence in the Nicotine Patch and Gum
Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as the Patch and the Gum, sound like a magic bullet. Some smokers imagine that they can avoid the discomfort of withdrawal altogether by medicating themselves with more Nicotine. Statistics are misleading here: in the short term, people wearing the patch or chewing the gum don’t smoke, but they are still experiencing discomfort, and they will tell you that they still crave cigarettes. The statistics get much worse once the patch finally comes off, with success rates being nearly identical to cold turkey quitters. The patch and the gum are not magic bullets, and smokers who think that they are will be in for a rude awakening.
Overcoming Strategy #2: Don’t rely on Nicotine Replacement products to ease you through withdrawal. This is a false hope and you are better off gutting it out through a few days of cold turkey and being done with it. With expert planning you will find cold turkey quitting to be much easier than you imagined. There are also a number of other quit smoking techniques that can help you as well.
The Third Reason Smokers Fail to Quit: They Don’t Plan Ahead
Smokers have a tendency to underestimate withdrawal symptoms, as well as an overconfidence about how easily they can handle their life while quitting. Because of this combination, smokers fail to plan ahead for their quit, because it seems unnecessary. If I had realized how many years it would truly take me quit smoking, and had I known the full cost of smoking over those years, I probably would have checked into rehab just to get off cigarettes! This might seem funny, and we can probably laugh about it, but after you add up the true cost of smoking over several years time, then it certainly rings true. When we honestly assess the true cost of smoking, then no amount of planning seems unreasonable.
Overcoming Strategy #3: Plan ahead. Formulate a master plan that all but ensures your success in quitting. Go overboard. Get extreme. Go to any lengths. Spend any amount of money. Plan to get truly outrageous with quitting smoking and reward yourself in a big way.
You might also go here to learn more about how to help someone to stop smoking.