Smoking: Easy to Start, Difficult to Stop

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Smokers are liable to die young

By Dr. Goke Akinrogunde
No doubt getting off smoking could be challenging but definitely possible. In truth, smoking has no known positive impact to health but on the contrary it has been linked to unlimited possible woes to the health of the smoker and the society at large.

Notwithstanding the statement above, smoking remains one of the commonest habits that people engaged with on universal basis. It has no repulsive boundaries. Smokers are found among all nations, classes, ages, races and creeds. More interesting is that there is also no gender barrier; in some places, it has been noted that smoking is almost of equal prevalence among both female and male sexes.

Smoking cigarette is one habit that is potentially physical/psychological addictive. In other words, an established smoker not only craves for cigarette out of psychological imbalance but because certain physically disturbing body signs and discomfort may also come knocking on the need to get on smoking in order to ‘feel better’.

In the same vein, professional disposition does not seem to serve any meaningful barrier to smoking; smokers cut across all professions; it is plentiful among the unskilled and the skilled workers. O yes, even doctors and other health workers who should expectedly know better are not immune to this potentially health killing habits.

I once recalled on this page my first encounter with a doctor whom from all assessment qualified to be called a chain-smoker, something I won’t forget easily. Then I was barely 10 years, I had gone visiting my mum who was then working at the Lagos Chest Clinic, located along Broad Street on the Lagos Island, when I saw this doctor with tinge of gray hairs dashing out from the consulting room with the cigar between his lips and puffing out smoke from both nostrils and his month. It was an experience that kept me wondering how it really feels like to smoke; I had thought it must have been so pleasant that the doctor could not resist smoking it off on the patients indecorously in the consulting room.

So what make smoking so habitual, so universal and so difficult to stop?
It is relevant here to note that there are many ways on why smoking is so hard to stop especially when one think of it as a daily necessity; in truth, most smokers are quick to say that it really helps a person to ease tensions, helps in cold weather and clears the mind whenever one is stressed out.

In truth, when one is hooked on smoking it becomes a habit very difficult to stop with all the potentials to do harm and no good to one’s health. From the very first time you have it in your hands, drawing in the damaging contents of the cigarette into your body via your lungs and worse still you also affect everyone with what was being exhaled from the smoke.

Similarly, and most important to know, is that smoking cigarette leads to an addition and this has to do with the fact that cigarette contains nicotine which is a very addictive substance. Concretely speaking, addiction here implies that after smoking, one needed to take more of it to get the same effect like before and you are also psychologically and to some extent physically dependent on smoking to feel alright. Equally notable is that the cigarette smoke contains around 4000 chemicals including some of the most toxic compounds known to humanity.

How to stop smoking?
So how does a person actually give up smoking if it is an addiction? On this, there are many ways to achieving it, it is just a matter of why, how, when and where to start.

On the question “Why one must give up smoking?” In reality this may be countered with: “why give up smoking in the first place if one is finding satisfaction from this as noted earlier. Hence to answer this aptly, the concern person must first identify to himself/herself that having to give up smoking is a good thing for him and for everyone that surrounds him/her and indeed the larger society, since passive smoking could be as dangerous as actual smoking. Passive smoking is unavoidable smoking from the atmosphere by those in the vicinity of the real smokers.

There are many ways on how to stop smoking but it is only natural to note that it must come to one first on why quit before one can start working on the how to fully stop. In other words, it flows first from within the concern, there are no secret methods, and it’s just you and your conviction!

“When”? it is important to note that whether one want it to start now, in reality it will not automatically happen. It will have to be seen as a gradual stage; so, teach the mindset first, set it in the mind that one is ready to end the smoking habit, after then one can set the time to stop.

And where does one seek help? Just as I have noted earlier, everything starts from the inner person that is from the concern. I have often argued that to change habit start from the person himself and in most cases also end with him/her. Hence, after understanding why you must stop smoking, how you will stop, when you wish to stop then you can stop smoking from that point as you so wish. For some, they think stopping this habit could be achieved by moving away from their present peer group of smokers but no sooner would they find out that smokers are everywhere and they soon get hooked up again.

However, if getting off smoking on your own is becoming repeatedly unsuccessful in spite of the outlined guide above, then there is be a place for professional psychotherapist intervention and sometimes nicotine-alternative medications are best prescribed. For the best, why not talk to your doctor, who would guide you properly on where to go or what to get.