- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Reducing Smoking is Easier than Giving Up
The International No Smoking Symbol
It is extremely difficult to do away with a habit that has been built over years of practice
It is difficult to give up smoking. However, an effort towards reducing the numbers gradually may be very effective in supporting subsequent giving up. The article below describes an experience of successfully reducing from 30 cigarettes a day to 3-4 per day over a period of around six months.
Some well known facts
As per an estimate by World Health Organisation (WHO), around 1.3 billion people are active smokers worldwide. It is also estimated that this dangerous habit is going to kill 6.5 million people in 2015. In USA alone, over 18 percent of all deaths in a typical year amounting to around 443,000 Americans is because of smoking; of which about 50,000 are passive smokers. The life span of smokers gets reduced by around 15 years on average (Source: http://www.inforesearchlab.com/smokingdeaths.chtml )
How to Give up Smoking?
Of Course, I do not have a quick fix formula
It is beyond any doubt now that smoking is extremely difficult to quit. This dangerous habit has probably two major elements that prevents the smokers from giving up this habit. Firstly, after a period of smoking, it becomes a sort of their biological need to continue. Second, they become psychologically vulnerable to a fear of being laughed at if they fail to quit. In this hub, an attempt is made to address both the issues.
To overcome smoking as need
This is very difficult to achieve. However, one can try with alternatives, other medication that may fulfill the nicotine requirements. This can substantially reduce the number of cigarettes they used to consume. But the best way to reduce smoking is to initially put restrictions on himself regarding when and where to smoke. For example, one may take a resolution that 'I will not smoke in my house'. Here, no one stops you from smoking. But every time you want to smoke you need to go out of your house. In my personal experience, this imposition reduced the number of cigarettes consumed by my husband by around 50 percent during initial days. "At least it prevented me and my kid from becoming a passive smoker".
It is often said that smoking gives some sort of relaxation that is similar to what comes after achieving something. My psychiatrist suggested me to go for a routine walk everyday. I am not very sure about the effect. But it certainly increase my bond with my husband. Its almost three month now. But apart from a couple of instances when we argued with each other on some petty things we had nice conversations on many issues, while we walk together after dinner. During such conversations, I realized that my husband was very fond of guns and shooting. I initiated and encouraged the idea of buying an air gun and build a shooting range inside the house with empty wooden and paper boxes as targets. Soon we developed the habit of shooting and both of us have some fun everyday. This gives us a lot of satisfaction and quite energizing. There can be several ways one can overcome boredom and probably reduce smoking. One of such productive engagements may be gardening. Recently, I have discussed something about growing tomatoes in a balcony by using waste materials. Such things are however very context specific and as and when one looks into the matter one faces and the ambience in which one lives, one will find a lot of helpful ways.
Fear of Failure!
Never pressurize anyone to quit smoking by playing emotional games. This hardly works. As far as smoking is concerned, probably, it is one of the biggest challenge. Most of the people I know smoking are among those who have tried many times to quit and by now are convinced that they can not quit. This psychological bottleneck prevents them from trying further. Make all efforts to reduce the numbers instead. I do not allow my husband to smoke in our residential premises. After trying with all these efforts for several months, I have noticed that we spend more time together than it used to happen earlier. I am happy with it. My husband is happy that he does not have to promise me anything about giving up. I know, he is still continuing, but he has reduced from around 30 cigarettes a day to 3-4 a day only outside the premises we live in. Also, he only smokes clove cigarettes now a days.