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Why is it hard to quit smoking?

Updated on January 6, 2018

As human beings we have the ability to take a complex pattern of behavior, learn it consciously and allow that learned ability to drop from our conscious mind and become an automatic unconscious function. The most obvious example is the ability to drive. At one time, when we first sat behind the wheel of a car, trying to remember all the things needed, to drive safely, seemed overwhelming i.e. steering, changing gear, braking, looking in the mirror etc. After a few months we achieve our license, and then that day arrives when we pull up outside our house having driven 10 miles without any recollection of the road works we passed, the bridge we went under. We have been on auto pilot.

That ability to learn something as complex as driving and then allow it to drop from our conscious mind and become an automatic function is a fantastic ability. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of these unconscious programs that we have, right down to walking, talking, reading, writing, all these things at one point in our life were difficult to do, but now we can do them without thinking. This is a fantastic ability that enables us to function at the level we do, as human beings.

Where it works against us is when we learn a habit. When you lit your first cigarette and took a big lung full of smoke you didn't say "that's so relaxing", "so enjoyable", no it made you cough, made you dizzy, made you feel sick. But as a teenager for what ever the reason, because you wanted to be like your friends or because it made you look cool in front of the opposite sex, what ever the reason at that age it appeared to be a good enough reason to persevere with the disgusting taste, the sore throat and headache. Over the next few months you would have had to learn to smoke. In the period between that first cigarette that made you feel sick and the one that you took out the pack and smoked without thinking, the same process has taken place that occurs with every thing we learn to do. So for you to quit smoking would be as difficult as forgetting how to drive or read or write. If I were to say to you look at the words on this page and not read them or understand what they mean, you could not do it, the words would have meaning even if you didn't want to read them, because reading is no longer something that you do consciously, it is something that has become an automatic function, as has your smoking. It's as if we create a part of us that does a job for us, so that we can get on with the interesting things in life. To have to remember to have a cigarette 20 times a day for years on end would be such a task, so we we just hand the job over to that part that smokes. Once that part has been created it only exists for one purpose and that is to remind you x amount of times per day to have a cigarette. It loves its job and it likes to be busy. Now you can say I would love to quit smoking but it is as if there is a part of me that continues to smoke against my will. And you would be right.

Why quit smoking?

As a Male smoker you are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer. Smoking tobacco is the predominant cause of lung cancer with approximately 90% of lung cancer deaths in Western populations attributable to cigarette usage.

If you smoke you are;

  • 20 times more likely to suffer a stroke
  • 10 times more likely to suffer from thrombosis.

In cigarette smoke there are 3000 chemicals. These include nicotine, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrocyanide, that's just 4 of the 3000 and they are all nasty. 25 are carcinogenic (will cause cancer), 30 more act as an agent on those 25 to make them even more deadly.

HYDROCYANIDE: Deadly poison 1 gram would kill a full grown elephant instantly.

FORMALDEHYDE : used to embalm bodies and in making synthetic resins.

CARBON MONOXIDE: carbon monoxide gas clings to blood cells 100 times more efficiently than oxygen. For your brain to get the oxygen that it needs to function properly the heart has to work a lot harder. In your teens and twenties because your young and strong you will hardly notice it, but as you get into your thirties and forties you will already be suffering some problems in circulation and breathing.

Remember these are just 3 of the 3000 deadly chemicals in cigarette smoke.


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