Every smoker is different because every nicotine addiction is different. The smoking addiction is a lot like a fingerprint, although there are many similarities, no two people share the exact same one. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise anybody to find out that when selecting the right [stop smoking aid], the smoker must take many factors into account. Lets first look at what makes the addiction different for each smoker.
Everyone is wired differently. With the exception of identical twins, our DNA is different from everyone else in the world. Researchers continue to uncover how important DNA is to addiction. Our individual genome influences our physical and our behavioral addiction. Chemically, some may be more susceptible to the power of nicotine while others are more predisposed to the behavioral trappings of addiction. This genetic imprint doesn’t mean that people can’t quit smoking. However, it does provide insight into why some have more difficulty quitting than others.
Putting genetics aside for a moment, it is important to realize how important the environment is in shaping the smoking habit. Through a process known as classic conditioning, smokers develop behavioral cues that often trigger the smoking response. This is probably the most underappreciated aspect of smoking or nicotine addiction. How many times have you heard smokers say they have a cigarette with their morning coffee? Sure, we hear it all the time, but why? Well, the coffee has been paired with the smoking behavior for so long that now, it serves as the trigger for smoking. We all remember Pavlov’s dogs right? The dogs were conditioned to salivate when the dinner bell rang. But they only responded that way after the bell became paired with the delivery of food. Another common trigger is drinking alcohol. I remember talking to a good friend who used to say his drinking elbow was connected to his smoking elbow. Sure enough, the only time he would smoke, was when he had an adult beverage on Friday and Saturday night. Many smokers try to quit without ever understanding how these triggers influence their smoking behavior.
Another aspect smokers need to understand is how their habits help promote their smoking behavior. For instance, we are all creatures of habit. Our daily routine just doesn’t change much throughout the week, which I guess is why it’s called a daily routine. Many smokers find themselves caught in the rut of smoking. They have parts of their day carved out for the simple practice of smoking. Breaks from school or work are taken to go smoke. Lighters and cigarette packs are strategically left in areas where the smoker knows they’ll be. Plans are made with the idea of squeezing the act of smoking into them, like finding a restaurant to eat at on a week night that allows smoking. So this is yet another behavioral element which needs to be understood before a smoker can find success at quitting. Daily routines must change. There must be an infusion of novelty into their life. Many describe smoking cessation as life changing, but in reality, they don’t want to actually change their life. But it is absolutely necessary. New routines must be created and new habits must be formed if anyone hopes to have long lasting success.
Many smokers began smoking casually. In other words, it wasn’t a hard habit to start. Oh sure, they may have coughed and choked a bit to start with, but it is an easy habit to master after only a couple of cigarettes. It’s not like learning how to fly a helicopter. However, many make the mistake in thinking they can quit just as easily as they started. Nothing could be further from the truth. Addiction is never easy to stop. The addiction found in nicotine has been compared to cocaine and opium. When trying to quit, the smoker must take it seriously and treat it like a true addiction. Smoking cessation counselors will often tell their patients to treat the nicotine addiction like an alcoholic treats theirs. For the rest of your life, you have to understand that you are addicted to nicotine and you could fall off the wagon at any moment. I’ve heard many people say they quit smoking for three years and then started back to smoking again after just one cigarette. So don’t ever get comfortable with the idea that you’ve kicked the habit completely. Prepare yourself to think that you could one day relapse. Those who underestimate the power of addiction, usually stay addicted.
How does someone quit smoking? What are the best [stop smoking aids]? That all depends on what kind of addiciton you have. If you’re the kind of person who only smokes a couple of cigarettes socially during the week, then you could probably quit cold turkey or with a nicotine replacement product like gum. However, if you’re a 2 pack a day smoker who struggles with depression, you’ll probably need something more than will power or nicotine replacement therapy.
So, find yourself some stop smoking help. Get the information you need and stop smoking. You’ll be glad to get your life back.
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