Making the decision to quit smoking is not an easy task. In fact its one of the toughest decisions a smoker can make. Smokers say over and over about how they should quit smoking, but never fully make the decision. Its not easy letting go of an addiction, and smoking is no different. Other smokers will go so far in their decision to quit smoking that they will purchase nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and/or speak to their doctor about quitting. Then the passion goes out of their decision to become a non-smoker, and months later they are still smokers.
Cigarettes can be especially tough to quit. Not only is there the oral side, same as chewing tobacco, but cigarettes also have the hand to mouth habit. Menthol cigarettes may even be harder to quit, as menthol cigarette smokers do not get the same after taste as traditional cigarette smokers. Menthol cigarettes also do not have the same “ashtray” taste as traditional cigarettes, so the non-smoker spouse of a smoker is less likely to push the decision to quit.
Thinking about quitting smoking and deciding to quit smoking are two very different things. Even if a smoker wants to quit smoking, the smoker still hasn’t decided to quit. The definition of decide (according to Mirriam-Webster) is A: to make a final choice or judgment; B: to select as a course of action. Notice the parts of speech of the words that follow as well, quitting and quit. Quitting is an adjective, quit is a verb. One describes, one implies action. Do not get stuck in the permanent stage of quitting.
So how do smokers get from the thinking about quitting stage to making the decision to quit? By planning, research, and then executing the decision. Simple huh? Often times when a smoker “decides” to quit, the smoker makes a snap decision. For some smokers this works, but for other smokers, all it does is make the smoker’s stress levels soar. If the “I’m just going to do it” technique works for you, great! For all other smokers, keep reading.
For the majority of smokers, quitting smoking is a major lifestyle change. You wouldn’t get married as soon as you met someone, would you? Well, unless you’re a celebrity. The longer a smoker has smoked, the more of a lifestyle change quitting is. Like being a long term bachelor/ette, to run with the marriage analogy. Think of your smoking years as single ones. You’ve met someone (thought about quitting smoking), how does the relationship go? Normally, you’d get to know someone (research), take things to the next level (planning), and then you make the commitment to that person (execution).
Yes, there is a reason why I used that analogy. Smoking is a marriage of sorts. Smokers can’t go anywhere without their cigarettes, cigarettes interrupt the smoker’s day, cigarettes drain the smoker’s wallet, and sometimes it seems as if the smoker is embroiled in a fight that the smoker just can’t win. Marriage is also something that almost everyone goes through.
Smoking isn’t just a habit. A smoker has built their life around cigarettes, believe it or not. Try quitting smoking for a day, and you’ll see what I mean. It can be shocking how much of a smoker’s life is based on smoking. Take the time you would with any other major lifestyle change. Plan out your decision, research, know why you want to quit cigarettes, and then make the decision. Smokers, define yourself as a non-smoker. Buy a warm blanket for your cold feet.