Friday, June 5, 2009

Stopping smoking- Made simple

Smoking rates have declined over the last 30 years in many countries particularly the USA and Australia. Most of this has been from people just quitting or going “cold turkey” as it is called. Cigarette consumption does vary considerably around the world (link 1).

More recently there have been pharmaceuticals developed to help people quit smoking. There are two main types. Patches and chewing gums, which provide a small dose of nicotine to ease the cravings and tablets which alter the desire for cigarettes.

The tablets of which there are two have been developed from a line of antidepressants. Whilst helping some people they are like all medications, not without their side effects. The FDA is investigating problems with one of these (see link 2 ) with reports of blackouts and other problems

The key point is that people have been ceasing smoking long before the development of drugs, which have “medicalized” smoking. This recent article (see link) confirms that those who quit by themselves have double the success rate of those who seek “help.” The promotion of the need for help to stop smoking may lead people to doubt that they can do it themselves.

As Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t you will be right.” Therefore the most important aspect of stopping smoking (or any health change) is the belief that you can do it. The idea that it can only happen with drugs or even other support is disempowering.

This does not mean that some support particularly from family and friends is not helpful. It does mean that the only person who can stop you smoking is you. People often feel or are made to feel disempowered by the term “addict”. This implies that the cigarette (or other drug) is somehow more powerful than you. This is, sadly, a view pushed by public health authorities. Believe that and it will be so. Choose to believe that you are in command and you are.


Elle McPherson was quoted in Tattler as not smoking, drinking or taking any type of drug (including aspirin) yet used to smoke 20/day and enjoy a drink. When asked how she coped at parties she said it was easy-“If I’m not comfortable in a situation I just leave”.


The lesson in this for all of us is that we have choices. It is up to us as to what choices we make. If you want to quit smoking (or any other habit) you must first change your attitude and mindset. The rest will flow from that.

1 http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13766483&fsrc=nwl

2 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31109990/?ocid=twitter

4 comments:

  1. I read your post for tips of stopping smoking and I like this tips, Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a refreshing article.

    I started smoking at 17. By 21, I hated it, and knew I had to stop. I gave my cigarettes, lighters, and other paraphernalia away one day and didn't look back.

    At a stress-ful point 5 years later, I started again. I became addicted for 1.5 years, before using the Nicotine gum on a step-down basis.

    I'll have 3 years smoke-free this Thanksgiving! Now, if stressed, I still will reach for a piece of sugarless gum. What an improvement. :)

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