1) Smoking is a stimulant NOT a relaxant
2) Components of tobacco smoke cause disease and death
3) I am in control
4) I am NOT weak
5) Smoking is a thing of the past
This should be your mantra. You should repeat these Rules many times throughout the day. If I were to meet you on the street and asked you about the “Rules,” you should be able to recite them as if you were telling me your phone number. If you want to add your most important personal reason(s) for quitting smoking, please do so.
YOUR SMOKING STORY
What is your story / personal experience of how you started smoking?
Do you remember your first cigarette? Was it pleasant? Who were you with? Do you even still know them? Did you feel pressured? Did you want that first cigarette? Did you like that first cigarette? Did you think in your wildest dreams smoking would become a habit? Did you tell yourself “There is no way this will become a habit for me, they are too disgusting?”
When did you transition from a “starter” to a casual smoker?
To a regular smoker?
To a dependent / habitual smoker?
PERSONAL MOTIVATIONAL LISTS FOR SUCCESS
Why did you start smoking?
It looked cool – James Dean, the Marlboro Man. By the way, two of the most famous Marlboro Men, Wayne McLaren and David McLean, died of lung cancer.
My family smoked The most common first cigarette is from a brother / sister or friend.
My friends smoked /
Peer pressure, to fit in.
It was the “social” thing to do at the time.
Low self-esteem at the time.
My partner did it so I started
I wanted to feel “grown up.”
It was thought to relieve stress
Curiosity – “I just wanted to try it.”
Ego – “Even if I experiment, or start smoking outright, there is no way cigarettes are strong enough to make it a habit of mine.”
Attitude / Rebellion /Control / Act of Defiance
Advertising – smoking is/was thought of as elegant, rugged, sexy.
Why do you continue to smoke?
This is a very tricky list. It forces you to look into yourself and, in the words of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “Face the peril.” Why do you smoke? It isn’t as easy as one might think. The reasons you started smoking might be quite different than why you smoke now.
Smoking helps me look mature / older.
Smoking makes me look more confident and in control
Smoking is an ice-breaker and helps me meet new people
Smoking helps me cope with my problems
Smoking makes me feel good
Smoking helps me lose weight. FACT – you will feel better and have more energy when you quit smoking. That extra energy can be channeled into a new workout routine…
Smoking helps me relax. FACT – smoking is a stimulant. It is felt the reason most people feel it “relaxes” is because A) you have been influenced by advertising, TV, movies and the media, and B) every time you finish a cigarette starts the beginning of the withdrawal process, the relaxation is simply calming the withdrawals.
Smoking helps me think
Smoking gives me something to do with my hands and mouth
Smoking is fun
Smoking is a reward
Smoking helps me pass time
Smoking is something I can do with my friends
Smoking gives me something to do when I’m alone
It’s such a major part of my life, I don’t even realize I’m lighting up half the time.
I like to watch the smoke
I have many memories associated with smoking
I am addicted to smoking
It is so readily available it makes it more difficult to quit
Someone close to me also smokes which makes it more difficult to quit.
Smoking DENIAL and RATIONALIZATION list. There is a certain component of denial to putting off smoking cessation. How many of these apply to you? How have you been fooling yourself concerning smoking? The following are very common, and some might even seem comical, but they are the reality of the habitual smoker.
“I do not have a problem, I can quit anytime. It’s not a habit for me.”
“I am in control, not the cigarettes.”
“I only smoke when… (insert denial/rationalization thought here). It’s not a habit for me.”
“I only smoke a few times per week. I don’t smoke that much.” — Any habit that continues to compound on itself can lead towards poor health; even a few cigarettes per week can make you dependent on nicotine in a few months, and your cravings for cigarettes will only increase. Smoking a few times per week does have one benefit; you have more days to commit to better health so you can get rid of your smoking sessions completely.
“The dangers of smoking won’t happen to me.”
“I’ve had relatives who smoked and lived to very old ages. The hazards of smoking are overrated.” –Please remember these are exceptions. The fact remains approximately 50% of all regular cigarette smokers will ultimately be killed as a result of this habit. This does not include the impact of smoking on other forms of disease. Even if that relative lived to be very old, were they in good health? Did they have heart disease, diabetes, stroke or impotence? They did have damage to their lungs and other tissues and organs.
“It’s not as bad as other ‘drugs.’” — This is a common excuse of many people who are seeking a ‘substance fix,’ but it doesn’t offer much when nicotine is controlling your life. Becoming dependent on cigarettes to feel good puts you at risk for a variety of illnesses and disease, and doesn’t necessarily make you better off than another drug habit. The key is getting out of being dependent on any substance or drug in order to “feel better.”
“I only smoke organic/natural cigarettes.” — Natural and organic cigarettes are just as potent, if not more, than the average brand. Don’t fall for the misconception of ‘natural’ being a friendly word; it is commonly used as a marketing tactic, and these cigarettes still lead to many health problems with long-term use.
“I just visited my doctor, had a chest X-ray and he said everything is fine.” – This is a common misconception. It is human nature to sometimes hold on to false hope. The problem is an X-ray is only a screening tool. This means a positive finding will prompt other tests. Another problem is if you do see something on X-ray, it is too late. The lungs have a remarkable reserve. A person will usually go in to see the doctor after 50% of their lung capacity is gone. This is too late. The horse is out of the barn, too late to shut the gate. No one knows which cigarette is going to be the one to cause lung cancer or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). The key is to stop NOW. Smoking is playing Russian Roulette with 50% of the chambers loaded. 50% of individuals who continue to smoke will die because of a smoking-related disease process. Sure, a person here and there might get away with the game, but chances are the gun will go off eventually.
“I am not at increased risk of health problems. I won’t get cancer or COPD.”
“You have to die of something.”
“All those reports of lung cancer and COPD are from pollution in the air and exhaust from vehicles, not from smoking.”
“I’ll quit tomorrow, I promise…”
“I don’t have a family history of lung cancer, therefore I won’t get it.”
Reasons YOU want to quit
It’s not “fun” anymore. I no longer enjoy smoking.
I want to prevent / reduce the amount of wrinkles, especially my “smile lines.”
I want fresh breath.
I want this annoying cough to go away.
I would like to breath deeper and without the wheeze I get every once in a while.
It’s getting too restrictive to smoke. I can’t smoke in public like I used to.
I want more time with friends and loved ones. All too often I have to remove myself from situations to go outside to smoke.
I’m a closet smoker and I won’t have to hide my smoking habit anymore.
I’ve had a person I care about have health concerns or die from smoking
I’m starting to show signs of complications from smoking i.e. cough (with or without phlegm), hoarseness, shortness of breath, difficulty “catching your breath,” wheezing, coughing up blood, chest pain, frequent colds and upper respiratory illness, difficulty or pain on swallowing, change in exercise capacity, unexplained weight loss, persistent abdominal pain, headaches. I want them to end.
I want to be free from nicotine’s urges and cravings.
I want to be a good role model for my children.
I want to live longer.
I want to have more energy.
I want to reduce my risk of lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, stroke, and lots of other diseases.
I don’t want to be concerned what people think about me since I’m a “Smoker.”
I want to sleep better.
I want to improve my sense of taste and smell.
I want to be able to walk farther and breathe more easily I’m tired of my house, car, clothes, and working environment smelling of smoke. I don’t want my children, family, or friends to walk in these footsteps.
I’m tired of covering up the fact I smoke with mints and perfume.
My fingers are actually yellow.
I want the feeling of accomplishment that goes along with quitting smoking.
What were the roadblocks to your starting your smoking cessation plan before?
Fear of failure.
Fear of serious illness.
There’s always tomorrow…
Feeling of being powerless to quit.
Denial of what cigarettes can to do you.
Denial the health concerns of cigarettes will happen to you.
What caused relapse in your prior smoking cessation attempts?
Had “one too many” at a party.
Angry at someone.
An anxiety, depression, panic situation(s).