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Most smokers spend countless hours during
their smoking careers trying to satisfactorily answer this most perplexing question.
Typically, answers they come up with are that they smoke because they are unhappy,
unsatisfied, nervous, bored, anxious, lonely, tired or just frustrated without their
cigarettes. Other reasons often quoted are that cigarettes keep them thin, make them
better able to think, or that they are more sociable while smoking. Some claim that
they smoke to celebrate the joyful times of life. Food, drink, fun and games, and
even sex all seem to lose their appeal without an accompanying cigarette. After
hearing all of these wonderful qualities attributed to cigarette smoking, I find myself
amazed that almost 50,000,000 Americans have successfully given up smoking. What in
the world is wrong with these ex-smokers? I can understand people who never smoked.
They never knew or believed all of these wonderful benefits derived from smoking.
What you never had you'll never miss. But these ex-smokers, having given up
such a marvelous habit with so many benefits, must be crazy.
The fact is ex-smokers are not crazy.
To the contrary, it was their ability to be rational which enabled them to
successfully break free from cigarettes. They had the foresight to put themselves
through the pain and agony encountered during the initial withdrawal from the nicotine
addiction. It is both a powerful physical and psychological addiction which creates
many irrational beliefs as defense mechanisms in order to perpetuate the smoking
behaviour. Most of the reasons mentioned above of why smokers claim they smoke are
such drug induced beliefs.
All ex-smokers should be applauded for
their great accomplishment in overcoming the many obstacles created by their addiction.
Encountering the initial quitting process creates a state of emotional insecurity
and self doubt. Will they ever able to survive in our complicated world without
their cigarettes? Once they become totally free of the grip which cigarettes exert
upon them, they will be able to get a clear perspective of how many misconceptions they
had about the benefits they thought they derived from smoking. Being drug free after
years of enslavement brings a sense of relief and accomplishment that the smoker never
anticipated. To their pleasant surprise, they discover the marvelous fact that there
is life after smoking. It is a healthier, calmer and more pleasant life. They
now have a choice as to whether or not they ever wish to smoke again. If they look
honestly and objectively at the advantages and disadvantages, the logical choice is to
Unfortunately, some don't remember all of
the consequences associated with their old habit, but only recall the infrequent good
times they believe they had with their cigarettes. They think that they could once
again enjoy just a few cigarettes. What must be understood by all ex-smokers is that
they only have two options. They can smoke nothing or they can smoke at their
previous level of consumption. There is no in-between. They are wasting their
time contemplating how nice it would be to be an occasional social smoker. They can
never again have that luxury.
All ex-smokers must consider both
options. Then if they choose to smoke, all they need do is take their first
cigarette and again become trapped in the nicotine addiction. If they choose to
remain free, all they need is to follow the simple practice - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
© Joel Spitzer 1983, 2000