|by Marlene M.
The biggest mistake smokers/tobacco chewers make when trying to quit is giving up. Did
you start smoking or chewing tobacco in only one attempt? Very few people succeed at
complicated tasks the very first time. The same is true of people trying to stop using
tobacco. The bottom line is KEEP TRYING.
Jumping in without a plan. Giving up cigarettes on a whim is a recipe for almost
certain failure. Explore all of the quitting techniques available to you and then devise a
There are several options - self-help groups, relaxation exercises, aversion technique,
hypnotism, nicotine gum or patches, etc. Ask successful quitters about what worked for
them. Ask your doctor, too.
Ignoring your uniqueness. Do you smoke for self-indulgence?
As a social prop? To reduce stress? To control weight? Once you understand what causes you
to light up, you can begin to explore other, less destructive ways to satisfy your needs.
Quitting in secret. Smokers trying to quit often keep their intentions to themselves - -
just when they need allies most. Better: Don't worry about public failure or ridicule. Ask
family, friends, co-workers for support. Explain that you may be irritable for a while.
Ask for patience, and no teasing.
Going it alone. Find out about smoking-cessation programs and support groups in your area.
Contact the American Cancer Society (800-227-2345) and the American Lung Association
(800-586-4872). These organizations can also provide general advice and written materials
Believing you can have "just
one." The only way to quit is to give up completely. For smokers, like alcoholics, a
seemingly minor slip is inevitably followed by a relapse. During the first days and weeks
after you quit, the urge to smoke may prove overwhelming at parties or with certain
friends. If so, avoid them until your resolve not to smoke is stronger.
Switching to low-tar cigarettes. Those who try this usually end up smoking more cigarettes
or inhaling more deeply -- so they continue to soak up the same levels of tar and
Dr. Maheu is the Director of the Nicotine Recovery Institute in San Diego, CA. Her
Nicotine Freedom Kit for tobacco smokers and chewers is available through The Bookshelf
Copyright A9 1995 by Self-Help Psychology Magazine.
All rights reserved.