Do you remember deciding to try your first cigarette?
Maybe you do.
However, I bet you don’t remember deciding that you will never be able to enjoy a meal without smoking again. Or that you will not be able to handle stress without a cigarette again. I bet that you don’t remember making the decision that you will need to permanently have cigarettes in your presence.
You already know the severe health risks of smoking—The WHO thinks that cigarettes kill 50% of smokers—so instead we can focus on what you will gain by quitting.
Here are the lifestyle benefits according to ex-smokers:
- Breathing will be easier (You can run up the stairs again!)
- Healthier skin, hair, nails, and eyes
- A better sex life
- Food will smell and taste better
- A sense of freedom and achievement
But quitting is tough and uncomfortable.
It sure is. Yet, some countries have more ex-smokers than current smokers. If you change your mind, you can change your life. So let’s change your mind?
- Why Do We Smoke?
- Why Aren’t Cigarettes Illegal?
- How to Quit Smoking: Cheat Sheet
- Are E-Cigarettes Safe?
- How to Save A Billion Lives
Why Do We Smoke?
Smoking killed 100 million people in the 20th century. It was an absolute tragedy.
It’s difficult to blame those smokers since at the time we didn’t understand the terrible nature of tobacco. You may be wondering how smoking still exists today.
Here are the facts.
NO, today’s smokers are not weak-willed. Neither are they irrational nor stupid. People smoke for one reason only: nicotine is addictive. In a true sense, smoking is not a habit at all. It is drug addiction.
YES, stress makes people smoke more and, yes, the modern world is a very stressful place. But we have better ways of dealing with stress.
FINALLY, your brain can adapt to changes very effectively. (The human brain has survived in the forests of our early ancestors, and, today, it thrives in the digital age.) So, even though it’s tough to beat an addiction, you can do it.
Why Aren’t Cigarettes Illegal?
I know what you’re thinking.
If cigarettes are that bad for me, then why are they still being sold?
Well, tobacco companies are not going to stop selling them. It doesn’t matter how many of us die. The reason for this is fairly straightforward—it’s a trillion-dollar business.
Why doesn’t the Government just ban them?
Cigarettes are highly taxed which means that a large portion of the money you spend on them becomes revenue for the Government. It’s among the most stable forms of revenue for governments worldwide.
So, we are left with the only legal product that will kill you when used exactly as the manufacturer intends. Other highly addictive substances—like heroin and cocaine—are banned but cigarettes continue to be projected as a matter of personal choice.
How to Quit Smoking: Cheat Sheet
There are several methods for quitting cigarettes, and most of them are designed by scientists.
We will, however, use the method created by Allen Carr (a former chain smoker) which has helped millions of ex-smokers.
Step 1. Let Go of Fear
Understand that only fear is stopping you from quitting. Your mind is probably thinking:
- How long will the craving last?
- Will I ever be happy again?
- How will I cope with stress in the future?
- Will I ever enjoy a party again?
Let go of fear. Nothing bad is happening here. You are about to achieve what every smoker on the planet dreams of—FREEDOM.
Step 2. Think Deeply About 2 Questions
Ask yourself honestly:
- How do cigarettes help me?
- Do I actually enjoy smoking?
(Hint: Cigarettes don’t help you in any way, and you don’t enjoy smoking.)
People smoke for 1 reason only—nicotine is addictive. You need to accept that you don’t choose to smoke, instead, you are addicted to smoking.
You may argue that smoking makes you less anxious. In fact, both the pre-cigarette anxiousness and the post-cigarette relaxation are due to nicotine addiction.
An addict can never be truly relaxed. And overall you are more anxious than you would have been as a non-smoker.
Step 3. Beware of Cutting Down
Many smokers try to gradually reduce their habit. (“I will have only 10 cigarettes a day this month.”)
This will certainly fail—you are trying to resist cigarettes while keeping your addiction alive.
The craving will be unbearable, and you will keep dreaming of your next cigarette. You’ll be upset all day.
Step 4. Have a Final Cigarette
Pick a day in the near future when you will quit. Keep smoking normally until then.
On your chosen day, have your last cigarette consciously and ask yourself where the enjoyment is. As you put it out, say to yourself, “Isn’t it great! I’m free!”
There is no need to feel like you’re being forced to climb Mount Everest. Start this new, positive chapter of your life with excitement!
Step 5. Be Cool About Pangs
The withdrawal pangs from nicotine are minor. There is no physical pain.
If you used to smoke at a particular time (post-lunch for example), don’t think “I can’t have a cigarette.”
Instead, think to yourself, “Isn’t it wonderful? I can enjoy this moment without a cigarette.”
The withdrawal pangs will disappear after 3 weeks.
Step 6. Don’t Avoid Smokers
Go out and enjoy social occasions.
And don’t envy smokers. Realize that most smokers want to quit and are probably envying you.
If someone offers you a cigarette, you don’t have to explain your life story. Just say, “No thanks—I don’t smoke.”
- After your final cigarette, throw away all your cigarettes. You’re a non-smoker now.
- There is no such thing as, “Just one cigarette.” It will start the cycle of addiction again.
- Stay away from nicotine substitutes such as patches, gums, sprays, and inhalers. They will only increase the period of withdrawal pangs.
Are E-Cigarettes Safe?
E-cigarettes have exploded in popularity all over the globe. Teens love it and call it “vaping”.
I bet you didn’t know: the nicotine in cigarettes gets smokers addicted, but it’s the tar that gives them cancer. That’s why e-cigarettes seem like the magical solution—they give you nicotine without the tar.
“Are e-cigarettes safe?” They are not safe however they are safer than traditional cigarettes.
Still, it’s a new technology that no one really understands. Opinions are sharply divided—some want to ban them while others insist it saved their lives. Scientists, meanwhile, are asking for more research.
If you’ve tried and failed to quit smoking, you can keep an eye out for the unfolding story of e-cigarettes. For now, it’s best to wait and watch.
How to Save A Billion Lives
In the 21st century, 1 billion people will die from smoking. Each with a name and a story of a first cigarette.
Luckily the century has just begun. We can have a world where we smile a bit more. A world with a little less lung cancer and fewer cigarettes.
How to save a billion lives? We start one life at a time.
Now that you know how to quit smoking, I’d be happy to hear your cigarette-story. Let me know in the comments below.