We all know smoking is nothing but knowingly inhaling poison. Yet, people pick up the habit willingly. Is it peer pressure? The supposed ‘feel-good’ effects of cigarette smoking? Or the hype associated with it? The reasons vary from person to person. However, if you want to quit smoking, it is essential not only to understand why you started in the first place but also why you have chosen to continue with the self-destructive pattern?
Most smokers tend to identify with one or more of the following reasons. If you are planning to quit, perhaps reading the list below will help you accept your reasons for smoking and separate facts from myths.
This is the most common reason cited by habitual smokers. The perception of smoking being associated with de-stressing, however, has actually got more to do with common beliefs about cigarette smoking than real scientific facts. The fact that people usually smoke in groups has also helped in giving the act of smoking the sheen of stress-relief.
Habitual smokers do get some relief from smoking but that’s because their bodies get so used to nicotine that when they smoke they actually alleviate their withdrawal symptoms- anxiety and nervousness.
For pain relief
A lot of people who suffer from chronic pain tend to pick up the habit. Nicotine apparently does offer some pain relief. According to a report published in Health Day News*, researchers at the Duke university found that nicotine helps in post surgery pain relief.
The problem, however, is that not only is the pain relief temporary but also the amount of nicotine and other poisonous substances that smokers inhale makes pain management more difficult in the long run. For one, it lowers ones immunity thus prolonging the process of healing and consequently pain. Second, smokers suffer from more anxiety than non-smokers; this reduces their threshold to pain.
For its feel good effects
Again whatever little feel good effects that smoking offers are temporary, they last only as long as nicotine remains in the smokers’ system. This actually creates a vicious cycle of anxiety and relief. People light up to get relief from their anxiety, however, as soon as the nicotine levels in their system drop, they light up again to stay in the confines of their illusory comfort.
To feel energized
Now that really is an oxymoron! What cigarette smoking really does is that it reduces your physical stamina and drains your energy out! For those few minutes while you are blowing rings of smoke, you might feel lightheaded, but that’s because of lack of oxygen in your body. In reality the so called ‘feel good’ effects of smoking are harmful and temporary.
To feel more confident
This is the reason why most young people take up smoking. It starts in social situations and gradually becomes a habit. When you are feeling awkward and nervous, the first reaction generally is, I don’t know what do with my hands? Smoking seems to provide a ‘great’ solution. Because of how it is perceived, a lot of people (especially teenagers) associate smoking with looking cool and mature. So, a cigarette in their hands seems to be an easy way out of looking and feeling awkward at least temporarily.
In the long run however, smoking only ends up denting a person’s confidence levels. After all bad breath, premature wrinkles, dull grey skin and stained hands and teeth, don’t really do much for one’s confidence, do they? Add to that poor health and low physical stamina and you have got the perfect recipe for low self-esteem!
Because everyone else is doing it
This kind of peer-pressure generally pushes people in professional environments to take up cigarette smoking. It is not uncommon to see groups of smokers huddled together in the smoking rooms or terraces of offices. Smoking in such cases becomes an easy way to gain acceptance and network with ones colleagues and seniors. But the question really is, at what cost?
If you can identify with any of these reasons, congratulations, you have at least taken the first step towards quitting! Understanding and accepting why you smoke, instead of blocking out the reasons because they make you feel uncomfortable, can help you figure out the issues that you need to work on in order to give up smoking for good.