All those anti-smoking campaigns seem to be working since the prevalence of smoking has been declining for a while now. But, the actual number of smokers is not declining whatsoever. On the opposite, people seem to be smoking less, but the number of smokers continues to increase.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, smoking prevalence decreased by 25% for men and 42% for women by 2012. However, the actual number of smokers increased by 41% in the period between 1980 and 2012.
Smoking is a terrible habit indeed, and everyone will tell you the same. Even those who once got rid of this scourge succumb to the temptation and return to smoking again. Because of this, many smokers wonder if it is possible to quick smoking forever and not return to it a short while afterward.
Those anti-smoking campaigns won’t really help you quit. All the scary pictures on the packs and lessons can do is inform people of the harm cigarettes can do to their bodies and health. If you want to quit smoking, you need to do it with your personal will and intent.
The first thing you need to do to stop smoking is to decide to stop smoking. People who keep persuading you to quit smoking cannot convince you unless you want it to, and attempting to do so for the exhortations of others will probably not be long-lasting or successful. I have found that the most important factor in quitting this habit is your will. If those ugly pictures on the billboards and the cigarette packs haven’t convinced you yet, get more informed about the harms of smoking.
Secondly, you need to start talking to people who managed to do this. Reading and listening to such stories will give you an idea as to what expects you and help you create a plan. When you calculate how much this terrible habit costs you in a year, you will surely be more inclined to stop smoking. Cigarettes get more and more expensive almost every year. When you find a reason why you need to quit smoking, you can start working on the strategy. Whether it is to preserve your health and avoid problems like heart attacks or to save some money, every reason is a reason good enough. Being certain that you want to quit will give you the motivation you need and you can start throwing away the cigarettes.
Of course, if you are smoking for a long time or smoke too many cigarettes a day, you shouldn’t quit right away. Quitting over a certain period of time is much easier for your body and your mind, especially if you are smoking when you are bored or stressed. A single cigarette with the morning cup of coffee does not mean that you are not quitting. Just calculate the steps and set a deadline. Reduce the number of cigarettes you are smoking throughout this period.
Assign the last day and the last cigarette. This is the day when you will stop being a smoker, but until that day, you will be working toward it. Some people say that quitting with someone else is much easier because you and the other person can motivate each other and not let ourselves slip. When that day comes, smoke the last cigarette. Make sure this cigarette is the very last you will ever smoke.
This all sounds so simple, but it is not. Smoking is much more of a psychological than a physical addiction, making it harder to get rid of. In order to quit smoking, you don’t only have to decide and buy nicotine patches. You need to find out what makes you smoke and do things to distract you from it. Even when you quit smoking, your job does not end here. For a very long time, you will have moments when you will feel the urge to smoke ‘just one cigarette’. If you allow yourself to do this, you will become a smoker again. Avoid things that make you want to smoke and if you cannot, find a hobby or make a habit that will distract you from these things when the time comes. When you feel like you really need a smoke, go running, go to a concert, ride your bike, take a walk with your dog, or do anything else that will keep you distracted. You may think that one more cigarette is all that you need, but this will rapidly turn into a renewed smoking habit.
A physical, healthy routine can go a long way. If you start exercising regularly, you will literally turn the pages in your life. Not only will this distract you from smoking, but it will also come with a variety of health benefits and may just be what keeps you healthy after all those years of smoking. Don’t let your willpower be tested. It is easier to say ‘I will quit’ than actually quit, but once you do it, be strong enough not to get back to it. A bit of faith in yourself and some good distraction tricks is what keeps non-smokers from going back to this terrible habit.
Smoking is an unhealthy behavior that accounts for almost 40% of all deaths in the US. It is also very expensive and very dangerous to your health, so quitting smoking is simply the natural and logical thing to do. It isn’t easy, but many have done it. If they can, you can do it too.
 A.H. Mokdad, J.S. Marks, J.S. Stroup, J.L. GeberdingActual causes of death on the United States, 2000 JAMA, 291 (2004), pp. 1238-1245