Why Do You Smoke?

Posted By: QuitSmoking.com Staff | Sep 19 2014

Understanding the reasons why people choose to smoke is one of the best ways to help them quit.  The most common answers for why smoking is taking place are:  1. Smoking gives me more energy.  2. I like to touch and handle cigarettes.  3. Smoking is a pleasure.  4. Smoking helps me relax when I’m tense or upset.  5. I crave cigarettes; smoking is an addiction.  6. Smoking is a habit. 
There are reasons why these are common answers, but there are better alternatives than smoking, we will provide some tips for coping with these things to help you build a successful quit.  1. Smoking Gives Me Energy.  Nicotine is a stimulant, therefore many people smoke in order to wake up, get going, etc.  similar to the way many people drink coffee.  But there are better alternatives than nicotine for a energy boost, here are some simple tips to have more energy:  get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, eat regular and healthy meals, drinks lots of water, and avoid becoming bored. 
2. I Like To Touch and Handle Cigarettes.  There is comfort for many people in repetition and routine, the feel of a cigarette in the hand is like a security blanket.  Finding similarly shaped objects and other activities to utilize these objects may help overcome this obstacle.  Drawing or doodling with a pen instead of reaching for a cigarette, use a straw or imitation cigarette to hold when a craving hits, choose a hobby that keeps your hands busy (like knitting), sucking on hard candies and snacking on healthy foods - like carrot sticks can be helpful, and make sure you are eating regularly - it is easy to confuse being hungry with a cigarette craving.
3. Smoking Is A Pleasure. This may be more difficult to overcome, however, most likely it is your addiction talking here, not your actual thought process.  Think about all the things you hate about smoking: having to go outside in the cold or rain to smoke, the smell of your clothes/car/apartment/hair, how yellow and stained your teeth are, etc.  Then focus on all the good things about not smoking: your food tastes better, your breath smells better, no more holes in your clothing or car seats, etc.  Focusing on the best parts of being quit will help you forget that you ever felt pleasure from smoking.
4. Smoking Helps Me Relax.  We’ve already said that nicotine is a stimulant, so chemically they are not really good for anti-anxiety.  Smoking helps people relax because they are using cigarettes as a crutch and a coping mechanism instead of dealing with whatever stressful event they are experiencing in a more constructive way.  There are many other coping mechanisms that could be used instead: practice using deep breathing, meditation, and exercise are all wonderful coping mechanisms for stress.  Other important ways to reduce feeling stressed or overwhelmed are to be sure to: eat regular meals, get plenty of sleep, and find a happy place - a hot bath, a hammock with a great book, etc to relax and decompress each day. 
5. I Crave Cigarettes, I Am Addicted To Smoking.  Going through nicotine withdrawals is a difficult process, and many people say that quitting smoking is the hardest thing they have ever done, but there are many many people who have successfully done it!  The best part, is once you have quit, you never have to quit again, as long as you never smoke again!  Talking with doctors about what to expect during withdrawals, educating yourself about nicotine addictions, NRTs, and other methods for quitting, and making sure you really want to quit smoking are all great ways to prepare yourself mentally for the task of quitting.  Quitting cold turkey can be scary and intimidating, but it is the quickest way to rid yourself of nicotine and becoming addiction free.
6. Smoking Is A Habit.  If you feel that you do not crave cigarettes, you may already be a step ahead because you don’t get pleasure from smoking any longer.  Try cutting back gradually - smoking less each week over several months until you are not smoking any longer, change your routine - smoking in different places than usual - this may help the habit seem less inviting, wait for a full minute before smoking during a craving and ask yourself if you really want or need that cigarette - you may be surprised to see how often you feel you don’t, and finally set a quit date in the near future and stick to it!

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