Okay smokers, you’ve heard the speech before and I’m sure you don’t want to read more about how cigarettes are bad for you. By now, you already know that smoking kills, causes high-risk diseases and gives you bad breath. Bearing all that in mind, I’ll save you from the health lecture and move on to tips on how to effectively quit. I am also aware that you’ve probably heard quitting tips as well, but if you’re still a pack-a-day smoker it’s obviously not working so let’s try some unconventional methods, shall we?
Option 1: Find another ‘Addiction’
Right now you have a physical and/or psychological dependence on smoking. You need a ‘distraction’ or another dependency. Yes, I know this is not a rational tip, but hey! I’m no doctor. You’ve tried everything else so what have you got to lose….except your bad habit? When you feel like having a smoke, have a chocolate instead. If you’re worried about calories or diabetes then have a cup of tea or decaf coffee. If you replace your bad craving with a ‘good’ craving, psychologically speaking you are replacing an undesirable habit with something desirable. Isn’t it better to trick yourself into becoming dependant on a harmless addiction that can be weaned off later if necessary instead of staying dependant on one that can potentially kill you?
Option 2: Create a ‘Punishment’
I urge you to try this method if you work best with discipline rather than distraction. There are many ways of punishing or penalizing yourself every time you put butt to mouth.
1. Every time you have a smoke, charge yourself $10 or any reasonable amount, which you must make the commitment to donate to a heart disease or lung cancer organization. At least you’ll be contributing to a good cause; one that you can potentially benefit from!
2. Try something aversive whenever you want a smoke. For example, if you despise ginger, have a piece of ginger before and/or after your smoke as a punishment.
3. You can also try watching videos or TV show you wouldn’t normally watch – like what smoking can do to your lungs or Gilmore Girls – as a penalty after every smoke.
Over time you will condition yourself to associate the negative experience with the urge to smoke and this can help potentially quit altogether. It’s easier not to fail when you don’t want to disappoint yourself and face the repercussions.
Option 3: ‘Gamble’ on Yourself
Put your money where your mouth or smoke is! Alcoholics Anonymous has sponsors, ‘Biggest Losers’ has prizes so smokers should have support and incentives too! Make a competition out of it with your other smoker friends. Chances are this will motivate you more to cut down completely with the extra advantage of having others struggling along with you. Additionally, this builds an indirect support system of friends. You may not feel so hopeless when you know someone else is fighting the very same battle as you. Typically, when you bet on yourself, you should be making what we gamblers call a ‘sure bet.’ You are in control of your cards and you do not have to ‘chase’ a better hand. If the pot is large and you’ve invested a lot you’ll be even more determined. When you win you will breathe easier – literally!
These are your winning strategies for butting out: addiction, punishment and gambling, but if your mom asks, it’s ‘distraction, discipline, support.’ For those smokers out there who are still not planning to quit, just remember that smoking not only puts you and your loved ones at risk, but most people find it a turn off – including other smokers! Also, imagine how much money you can save if you kick your habit. If you smoke 2 packs a week at $13.50/pack you’ll be spending $1512/year on slowly poisoning yourself – and that’s a conservative estimate. Many smoke as many as two packs a day. Imagine what you can do with that much extra money: go on a cruise, buy that new Macbook Air you’ve always wanted or try out those new restaurants you’ve been meaning to.
Sadly, if you want to go the conventional medical way of quitting smoking, i.e. Nicoderm, Nicorette etc., it’s not any cheaper. And on top of the entire stigma attached to smoking, smokers are definitely not selfless. Second hand smoke harms those around you more than it does you! Life is too valuable to smoke it up and on that note I’ll keep my ‘butt’ out if you will!
Written by: Anonymous