ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Break the Smoking Habit and Deal With the Void

Updated on March 7, 2018

Difficulties in Giving Up

Although it is well known that smoking is harmful, anti- social and expensive, most smokers within their lifetime will try to quit and fail.

For some quitting becomes a war of many years, for others the decision to quit “some day” tends to remain the best option. Most of us need more than one attempt in order to succeed. So the question remains: Why is giving up smoking so difficult?


Addiction in its simplest explanatory form means “something we need and can not be without” this can be a substance, such as smoking or drinking or it can take the form of behaviours, such as gambling or nail biting.

Regardless of the addiction, it is filling a void within a person. When considering smoking, we need to look at addiction not just as the physical, but the psychological.

So an important step in making sure you quit for good, is to think carefully what got you smoking in the first pace? This may have been an adolescent experimental stage, feeling inadequate, wanting to prove something to someone, wanting to be like someone, self- hate and many others.

The reason why going back to the beginning is important is because it allows you to ask the question: does this reason still ring true for me? If it does and you still feel inadequate, self hating or insecure than miraculously smoking becomes a secondary side effect of these feelings.

These need to be dealt with if success is to be had. At the same time the attention from the battle to stop smoking is directed else where, making quitting easier. If the original reason does not ring true any longer, understanding the addiction gives the tools to make quitting easier and more enjoyable. You realise that this is something no longer needed to fill the void. In affect, this “tool has been made redundant”.

Dealing with the Void

More often than not however, smoking in some way will be our dulling of emotions. This is why smokers light up when under stress. A non-smoker would feel stressed and would need to deal with those feelings accordingly. A smoker will light up and try to block the feelings. The cigarette provides temporary resolve of the feelings in question, by providing a mild feeling of relaxation. This is also why the most difficult cigarettes to give up are not the “happy, social ones,” but the ones we smoke when under stress.

This is not to say that it is easy to refrain at social situations. On some psychological level when we quit, at first we associate social occasions with smoking. However mostly this is because we see “every one else smoking” and momentarily want to be like them. Despite having consciously decided that we do not want to be like them!

All in all, it seems quite insane. Going back to the void however, a good way to consider our feelings when giving up smoking is to pay attention to what is coming up emotionally. Yes, you might be feeling angrier than ever before, but what is the feeling behind the anger? Through approaching stopping smoking in this way, it takes secondary place in our struggle to resolve aspects about how we are living and what we are feeling.

If we address these issues, the dangers of a re-lapse subside significantly. In addition, we not only give up smoking, but we give up negative ideas or perceptions that got us smoking in the first place!

When uncovering “the void” it might be helpful to seek the help of a therapist, life coach or counsellor, who can help with dealing with your feelings. Often these may stem from way back, and you may have relied on smoking for far too many years to be able to cope with your feelings without it. Hypnosis can be a big help in dealing with any deep rooted feelings that smoking may have been covering up.

Remember to give your self a break; this is a big shift in your life, feeling down is natural. Make sure you have support from friends and family and remember to breathe!

Replacement Therapy

If you find the physical symptoms too much to deal with, there is help at hand in the form of nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy works for many people, in its many shapes and forms. We can choose from patches, gum, inhalers, tablets and most recently electronic cigarettes.

All of the above work on the basis of weaning your body of nicotine gradually, so that the withdrawal symptoms are easier to cope with. The idea also works on the basis that, during your time on nicotine replacement therapy, you will get used to not doing the physical act of smoking.

If gradual quitting sounds good for you, have a look at some of these different methods. You doctor or pharmacist should be able to discuss the options further.

However, don’t forget to deal with the void! Nicotine replacement therapy facilitates a smoother experience, but if you deal with the reasons of why you smoke and why you want to quit, you chances of remaining a non-smoker are a lot stronger!

Think of these carefully and allow them to surface through your experience. Have your objective clear in your mind. Remember to deal with the void!

How you decide to stop is up to you. However, replacement does not need to include the drug you are aiming to wean yourself of. It is indeed possible to replace nicotine with something healthy.

This can be anything; exercise, knitting, walking the dog, cleaning. My personal favourite is carrot sticks with humus. This is an option that fulfils the “oral gratification” and gives me some time off from the empty feeling in my belly, or “the void”.It is low in fat, tasty and very good for you! In fact carrots are rich in vitamin B, which many smokers and recovering smokers lack in.

Although this way can be more challenging for the first 2 weeks, it assures the nicotine has left the body, and leaves you to deal with the psychological aspects of smoking. You are free to address the void, without worrying about nicotine.

My Quitting Experience

Quitting smoking is a big challenge. It is a legal substance, and to some extent is still socially accepted (by smokers of course). Having been one of them until 9 days ago, I still feel like a “recovering smoker”. Not a smoker, not really a non smoker.

For me, dealing with the void with the help of a therapist and eating many a carrot stick is the best tool. I have also been doing a lot more exercise. I am definitely missing smoking less each day; in fact I don't really miss it.

I am still dealing with the void. Meaning that yes, I do get angry, feel down and have ups and downs. But I promise it is getting easier every day! Understanding consciously why you used to smoke and why it no longer benefits your life, will bring forward a new understanding. Take each day as it comes, give your- self a pat on the back for deciding on life and remember to give your self a break during those tough moments!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 

      8 years ago from USA

      I like that you addressed dealing with the void. I think this advice could apply to weight loss as well. Thanks for your insightfull hub.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It's interesting that you brought up the idea of focusing on the causes of why we begin to smoke and push smoking itself into the secondary factor. I've smoked for five years and have tried to quit a few times. I think the point you make it essential.

    • paul_gibsons profile image


      9 years ago from Gibsons, BC, Canada

      I know the feeling... :) actually a friend of mine, age 70-odd, was advised by his doctor to give up smoking. "Don't worry about the damage" he said, "that is already done. But it makes dying a so much more pleasant experience.." He quit...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)