Yes, I am addicted to smoking. I’m talking about cigarettes, not the other kind. It’s an awful affliction and so hard to get rid of! I’ve tried a couple of things: gradually decreasing my cigarette intake – didn’t work. Quitting cold turkey – didn’t work. Nicotine patches – didn’t work. Bupropion – didn’t work. Listen to well-intended advice and persuasions of friends – didn’t work.
I also read Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking a couple of years ago. That actually did work and I was able to stay away from the cancer sticks for a year. I picked it back up again. Not because of a stressful occurrence, but because I was out with friends who were smoking and I suddenly joined them without thinking about it.
Every pack I buy I tell myself, this is the last one. But after I smoke my so-called last cigarette, the next thing I do is walk to the corner store and buy another pack. I shut out all reasoning of why I should not buy that next pack. I just do it. I wish they put a ban on selling cigarettes. But that’s really not the solution either, because it puts responsibility for your own health outside of yourself.
Fortunately, one is not allowed to smoke in public places, restaurants, bars, parks, etc. This is great because other people won’t be bothered so much and at the same time it has the beneficial advantage that smokers are not smoking while in those places. Perhaps I should spend more time in bars!
The smoking ban was also implemented in The Netherlands, but met with a lot of protest. Some even tried to establish smoking as a form of religion. Smoking would be allowed in case a business would institute as a church under that religion. That one failed, however in certain bars, smoking after hours is allowed. Also, in Dutch coffee shops (you know what I mean, the ones where they don’t sell coffee), smoking joints was still allowed as long as they did not contain any tobacco.
People smoke for different reasons. I smoke as an excuse to take a break from whatever I am doing. It might be after I completed a task at work, or when I am bored with a conversation in bar (“Very interesting! I’m going for a cigarette break and I’ll be right back!”), or after a meal, or just because I think I need a break. You see, smokers will come up with any excuse to light one up.
When I was young, smoking was considered cool. I was actually talking to my cousin, Boris, about that today (also from The Netherlands and currently living and working in the UK). He is a total non-smoker, but shared with me that he used to be jealous of smokers when he was a kid. They were all so connected and seemed to enjoy each other’s company when hanging out in the kitchen or on the balcony at parties or other gatherings.
He felt excluded and wanted to belong, but he never picked up smoking. Even now, when he sees a group of smokers, his youth trauma returns and he longs to join. I salute him from fighting that urge and follow his own direction!
Smoking is not so cool anymore — it’s sooner pretty sad. Just look at those awful ads on TV on how you will end up as a smoker if you don’t quit now. These ads will probably help prevent someone to start smoking, but they do not help someone to quit smoking. Actually it has the reverse effect. Let me elaborate.
Smoking gives you the illusion that it raises your energy level and reduces your stress level. That is true for a short moment, but then your energy level drops to a level lower than it was before your cigarette (and similarly your stress level rises to a level that is slightly higher). Consequently you will need another cigarette to get you back to that energy/ stress level. The following charts illustrate this.
And this is the secret of smoking. Once you realize this, you will also see how the doom ads have a reverse effect. Smokers experience stress when they see this ad, so what do they do? They pick up a cigarette to get rid of that feeling of stress!
So what to do then? Well, the answer is easy. Just stop bitching about it and f*cking quit. The side effects from giving up smoking are not so severe for most people. You might get a bit moody, but that will pass. You will have cravings and a desire to eat more, but you can simply replace that with drinking lots of water (which is healthy by the way).
Anyways, there is no real reason to keep smoking. If only I was so disciplined.