Like most people, you probably started as a teenager. Curious, wanting to fit in and look hip, you smoked at parties and when out with friends. No big deal. Just a few cigarettes per week. How could that hurt? Of course, a few smokes per week bummed off friends became a few smokes a day from your own packs. Now, years later, you’ve got a pack-a-day habit. You want to quit, but frankly, you don’t know if you have it in you. You’ve tried several times over the years with little success. Maybe, like many others before you, you’ve given up hope that you’ll ever free yourself from Big Tobacco’s death-grip.
Daunting as kicking cigarettes for good might seem, we know it’s possible, and we also know education can play a key role. The more you know about what prevents you from giving up the habit, the better you will be able to work your way around those barriers to freedom and better health. And guess what, we’re here to help in that. So read on to better understand why it’s so hard to quit smoking.
Nicotine addiction. If you smoke every day, you will harbor a physical addiction. How severe that addiction is depends on how much nicotine you put into your body each day. If you go cold turkey, you will inevitably experience physical effects. This can include anxiety, heart palpitations, foggy mind, headaches, and of course, a persistent craving for nicotine. These symptoms will pass and your body will return to a homeostasis that requires no nicotine to function, and this takes place with remarkable speed. If you can make it a week without smoking (and we know you can), you can make it through the physical addiction. But if you are struggling with the physical addiction, you might try something like NJOY and their various e-cigarette options. With e-smoking, it is much easier to control exactly how much nicotine you ingest and to gradually wean down at your own pace. E-cigarettes also carry none of the health risks that cigarettes do.
Stress reliever. Nicotine is a fast acting drug that immediately produces short-lived stress relief and mood improvement. To sustain these effects, one must smoke another cigarette and another after that. It’s something of a truism that you can’t break bad habits, you can only replace them with better ones. That is especially true with smoking. Even if you free your body of its physical addiction to nicotine, you will continue to desire cigarettes for stress relief and mood improvement unless you develop other means. For instance, practicing meditation and mindfulness every day will relieve stress and improve your mood, and it will do so without the use of a drug. Whatever helps you manage the stress in your life, it should be a healthier alternative than smoking. If you simply put junk food in the place of cigarettes, you have done yourself no favors and will remain a prisoner to something outside yourself.
Treating yourself. For most smokers, having a cigarette is a way of treating themselves. It’s that little reward, that small burst of pleasure that punctuates every hour of their day. But consider this: how can cancer, emphysema, yellow teeth, and stinky clothes be rewards? And consider this as well: what’s going on that you feel you need a treat every hour of your life? Let’s be honest, isn’t that the attitude of a child, always needing pleasure to make it through the day? Here’s the truth: addictions generally draw their strength from emotional roots. The pleasure they give us and the significant mental energy we devote to them keep our minds off the unpleasant realities in our own hearts. Instead of finding healing for our emotional pains, we use easy bandages like cigarettes. Only, those bandages kill us over the long haul, and we live out our lives without ever addressing the heavy burdens we carry in our hearts. But if you’re serious about quitting smoking, we suggest you gird yourself up to face your own baggage. Start going for a morning run or join a gym to get those endorphins pumping. Sure, it will be extremely difficult, but once you work through it, you’ll experience a joy and a freedom you never knew existed. And without that baggage always weighing you down, you’ll have nothing you need to medicate with cigarettes or any other addiction.
So, there you have it: three of the biggest hurdles every smoker has to get over if her or she wants to quit and quit for good. Don’t expect it to be easy, but really, who ever said a free and healthy life would be easy? Put in the time and effort required to take care of yourself and your body, and you will free yourself of this addiction that has taken so many lives over the years. That, or your life will become just one more notch in Big Tobacco’s belt. No one can choose but you.