The answer to this question is different for everyone. More importantly, the question should be broken down into several different questions.
Why did you start smoking? Why do you continue to smoke? What makes you crave a cigarette? When do you smoke most often? When do you smoke least often? How much do you smoke in a day?
The list goes on and on.
What am I trying to get at? My point is that if you want to stop smoking cigarettes, you need to understand why you smoke in the first place and what you need to do to manage your triggers while you attempt to quit.
I’m not going to cover the reasons why people start smoking. Most people begin smoking in their early to late teens and become addicted before they are even out of college. It’s usually related to peer pressure; when I say peer pressure, I don’t mean that friends pushed you into smoking. I just mean that all of your friends were hiding out smoking after school, and so you did it too.
There are other reasons people start smoking, too, of course. But this has been my experience.
The question is: Why do some people stop after that childish “I want to be cool like everyone else” moment and others continue smoking well into adulthood and have trouble quitting?
Addiction is one reason. However, the reason you continue smoking may run deeper than that.
For some, smoking creates focus. Some people with ADD/ADHD reported that when they smoked, they had no symptoms. When they quit, they could no longer focus or relax and were then diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.
For others, smoking wakes you up. Much like a strong cup of coffee, a cigarette can give you a jump start when you feel like you can’t go on.
Smoking also calms the nerves and helps to reduce stress. Like any other drug, nicotine affects parts of the brain to make you feel better, relaxed or happier.
It also gives you something to do. When you feel fidgety, nervous or don’t know what to do with your hands, or you’re just bored, smoking is a way to make you feel as if you’re doing something….anything!
It could be that you smoke for any of the above reasons, all of them, or none of them. You could have your own reasons. But, if you expect to stop using any addictive substance, you need to understand what that substance does to you and for you so that you can plan for other ways to manage those situations without smoking. Plan ahead, and you will increase your chances of success.
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