Why do you smoke?

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

Perhaps you smoke because you enjoy handling a cigarette. You enjoy the ritual of lighting up. You like to gesture with a cigarette in hand when you talk, taking a drag when you pause. You may fiddle with the cigarette or the ashtray, or watch the smoke as you exhale. If so, you enjoy handling a cigarette.

Maybe you smoke because it gives you more energy. This is true if you look forward to the slight “lift” smoking gives you, or if smoking keeps you going when you feel worn out. Just as caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, nicotine gives you a boost in much the same way.

Do you smoke for pleasurable relaxation? You like the taste of a cigarette. You like to sit down at the end of a project to take a break and enjoy a smoke–perhaps with a cup of coffee or other drink. If you associate smoking with all of the good times in your life, you are consistently reinforcing the smoking habit as well. It is no wonder that it is very difficult to quit.

Maybe you smoke to reduce tension. You light up when you’re angry or upset, or waiting for an important phone call. You smoke to get through the bad times. Cigarettes have been your crutch, smoking helps you feel better.

Most likely, a lot of your smoking is out of habit. Sometimes you light a cigarette when you already have one burning. You light up automatically whenever you read the newspaper, answer the phone, drink coffee, or start the car. This type of smoker no longer gets much satisfaction from cigarettes. has become second nature to you. You may not miss this habit very much once you are able to quit.

Another major reason for smoking may be physical addiction to the nicotine. is the addictive chemical found in tobacco plants. Once your body becomes accustomed to nicotine, it may demand it ten to 60 times a day. Are you able to sit through a movie without going out for a cigarette? Do you wake up in the middle of the night and smoke? Do you reach for a cigarette first thing in the morning? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be physically addicted to nicotine.

Once you know why you smoke, you can take steps to help cut down cigarettes or stop smoking for good. If you enjoy handling a cigarette, you could handle something else instead: write a letter, play cards, do needlework, or find a hobby to keep you occupied.

If you smoke for pleasurable relaxation, start enjoying the pleasures of being without cigarettes. Notice how good foods taste and smell. Pay closer attention to the health benefits of quitting. Remind yourself of how good it feels to be in control of cigarette cravings for the first time in your adult life.

If you smoke out of habit, you can cut down a great deal by becoming more aware of smoking. Put your cigarettes where you can’t get to them easily. Only buy them one pack at a time. Only use one ashtray and one pack of matches. Dispose of other smoking materials. Delay five minutes before giving into a craving. The urge may go away whether you smoke the cigarette or not. Only smoke in one area of your house. These suggestions will help you slow down your habit, so you can ask yourself if you really want to smoke each cigarette. Surprisingly often, the answer is “no”.

If you smoke to relax or when you feel tense or upset, try a few deep-breathing exercises to calm down. Avoid stressful situations that may tempt you to smoke. Take care of yourself. Don’t find yourself too angry, hungry or tired. Take time each day for you, try some deep breathing exercises, take a brisk walk, or enjoy some quiet time.

If you smoke because you need more energy, make sure that you get plenty of rest. Start or continue a regular exercise routine. It feels good and ultimately gives you more energy. Drink lots of fluid, except those that contain caffeine or alcohol. Fluids help flush the nicotine out of your system.

Part of you smoking habit may be because you are addicted to nicotine. When you quit, you may go through a withdrawal period that could include headaches, anxiety, or problems concentrating. Discuss the possibility of nicotine replacement therapy with your physician. Remember, side affects only last a few weeks. Hang in there!

In any case, knowing why you smoke is a big step toward quitting. You may feel that your reasons for smoking are not worth the risks of doing something so unpleasant and harmful to yourself. You may find that you can substitute other things for most of your reasons for smoking. And when you know why you smoke, you’ll be able to make a clear, determined choice to cut down or quit.

Tags: Smoking cessation, Cigar, nicotine replacement therapy, Health effects of tobacco, Cigarette, Electronic cigarette

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