Smoking: Why It’s Difficult to Quit


Smoking Why it’s Difficult to Quit“Why, oh why is it incredibly hard to quit smoking?” I’ve heard people say that countless times. So, why can’t smokers turn it off like a light switch? In a nutshell, the nicotine in cigarettes is what makes them so addictive. But it’s more than that. The addiction is both physical and psychological. You have to really believe that you can quit. And you have to do it for all the right reasons and not because someone else is forcing you. Do it for yourself.

Smokers have tried quitting so many times. However, nicotine raises the levels of dopamine in the parts of the brain that produce feelings of pleasure and reward. When your body gets used to this artificial way to feel pleasure, you will find it difficult to give up smoking. Basically, the nicotine makes smokers feel that smoking relieves their stress and melts their worries, anxieties, and depressions away.

Look, if you really want to quit smoking, stay away from “triggers.” People, routines, or familiar places can be triggers and they can switch on your urge to smoke. So, hang out more with people who don’t smoke, and go to places where smoking is not allowed. If you usually smoke during your break at work, do something else. Just keep yourself busy.

Remember that it’s “Mind over matter.” If you want to stop, do so. Don’t trade away one addiction for another. Due to the unpleasantness of the withdrawal symptoms, many people who try to quit smoking end up replacing cigarettes with some other type of addiction. It could be nicotine gum, nicotine patch, nicotine pastilles/lozenges, nicotine inhaler, or nasal spray. Remember, willpower is all you need. Do not start a vicious cycle of dependency.

Of course, each person experiences withdrawal from nicotine addiction a little differently. So, maybe some will find quitting near impossible. But remember that it is for your own good that you quit as soon as you can. Ask for help from your friends and family. If all else fails, seek professional help.

If someone asks if you smoke, say that you don’t. Don’t say you used to. Just say, “No, I don’t smoke.” This can help condition your brain into thinking that way too.


Here’s an infographic on why you should stop smoking




3 responses to “Smoking: Why It’s Difficult to Quit

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by Rosalie H. Contino, PhD