Human beings are Creatures of habit. A habit is simply an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Most people who smoke tobacco get caught up in the act in their early teen years. The initiation into the habit of smoking is tied to the following factors according to the author of The Focus on the Family Complete Guide to baby and Child Care, Paul C. Reisser which I summarized below
Curiosity –Your child will be aware of smoking well before adolescence from discussion at school, watching TV and movies or direct observation. Children want to get the experience of ‘ how it feels like’ if they smoke. This experiment may progress into addiction depending on their physical response and mindset
Excitement-People seek drug experience to produce thrill that normal consciousness can’t produce
Peer pressure-Peer acceptance is strong at early teen. Children want to ‘belong’. This peer pressure can override or challenge a child who has never thought of smoking or even a child with stable identity and family values that strongly oppose Smoking habit
Rebellion-Involvement in smoking as a show of independence from family values
Escape from life/relief from pain-Smoking becomes a driving force to some people when everyday life seems boring, meaningless, oppressive or painful. It may appear to offer a powerful time-out as an escape from life or relief from pain
Robin Sharma, the author of the book, The monk who sold his Ferrari said ‘if you do anything for 21days in a row, it will be installed as a habit’. Now imagine doing something for 200days in a row, that thing will be profoundly rooted in you and becomes a habit difficult to break
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit clarifies HABIT into three elements:
1. A cue that triggers the habit
2. A routine sequence of habitual actions
3. A reward that you get for the routine
Changing ones habit is not however an easy endeavor, but the good news is that habit is learned and therefore it can be unlearned, it is therefore a good idea to break bad habits and strengthen desirable ones . The above elements will mentally prepare you to truly understand your habit formation.
Below are some of the techniques you can try to help you quit smoking
1. In order to be able to understand your smoking habit, take note of each time you feel like smoking, pay special attention to the various situations under which it occurs and its consequences, then later in the day, sum them up and reflect on them. Do this for some days before attempting to change this behavior. This will give you the accurate assessment of your condition and will help exert more influence over your habit and achieve more success in attaining your goals.
2. In several research studies, says Dr Rathus and Nevid, the act of self- recording alone has led to changes in the rate of occurrence of the problem behavior. When you keep record of your smoking frequency, you end up decreasing your smoking rate.
3. Make up your mind entirely to quit. Get rid of all your cigarettes, cigarette packs, cigarette lighter and all other things which remind you of smoking. If there are object or seats you cannot get rid of, that makes you comfortable to smoke, you can change their positions or rearranged them to make them less comfortable or familiar.
4. Inform your smoking friends, colleague, spouse, cigarettes seller your firm decision to quit. The anticipated loss of face if you return to smoking habit may act as a deterrent not to smoke.
5. As much as possible avoid people who smoke, structure your time to engage in non- smoking activities like reading, taking courses or joining a support group online where former smokers are discussing ways to help you stay out of smoking, watch anti-smoking videos, it will reinforce your resolve to quit. Get your mind and hands busy; According to the habit expert, Charles Duhigg,”A smoker usually can’t quit unless she finds some activity to replace cigarettes when her nicotine craving is triggered” Boredom is many smokers number one reason for smoking. So keep yourself engaged.
6. Put a ‘No smoking’ signs in places around your home or office and learns to be assertive to ask guest to refrain from smoking. Anytime you are offered cigarettes as a gift, learn to refuse offers of cigarette graciously.
7. When you feel the urge to smoke, embark on thought switching strategy. Switch your attention to a pleasant thought or image or activity.
8. Write down statement that will enable you quit and post them in places where you usually smoke. Make them as conspicuous as possible. You could tag it as “Truth about Smoking’’
Here are some Truths about smoking.
-There is no such thing as a ‘safe level’ of smoking.
– The kids might pick up your smoking habit.
-Quitting smoking can let you avoid complications when undergoing surgery
-For everyday that you smoke, your immune system drops.
-Smokers even view non-smokers more positively than their fellow smokers.
-As a non- smoker, other might perceive you as being more sophisticated, self- discipline.
-As a non- smoking female, men perceive you as more likeable, attractive than when you used to smoke.
-Non-smokers are viewed as more desirable to date than smokers.
-Non –smokers are seen as healthier than smokers.
-Non-smokers are seen as more mature than smokers in corporate settings
-Smoking of tobacco causes or aggravates cancer, chronic lung disease, asthma, ulcer , heart attack, stroke and premature death
9. Avoid spending time in parties, clubs, birthdays, drinking joints, and so forth. Exercise is one of the best ways to fight cravings, go for sporting activities; biking, play golf, play ball. According to Wendy wood, a professor at Duke University, environmental cues play a large role in controlling our behavior; Physical locations are some of the most powerful triggers to behaviors.
10. Dr. Janet Maccaro, the author of Natural Health Remedies in her fourteen day plan to quit smoking advice that if you feel the urge to smoke, just chew gum or munch on carrot or fruits to satisfy the feeling of having to have something in your mouth. Drinking plenty of water and eating a lot of fresh fruit to help even out the release of nicotine from the body.
11. Start putting all the money you are saving on cigarettes in a glass jar where you can always see it. It will help quantify the benefits of not smoking in your wallet. This money can be used after a period of time as a reward to celebrate your success. You could buy yourself and people that give you support something good. This action alone will reinforce your resolve to continue living your life as a happy non -Smokers.
12. Intervene in the early teen years if your adolescent is hanging out with the wrong crowd. The wrong individuals can suck life out of them. Your job is to pray for the friends your adolescent will make over the next several years. Make every effort to make friends with your teenager’s friend.
13. Lastly, Jusuf Hariman’s view on gradual withdrawal methods of smoking suggest that each time you find yourself reaching for a cigarette, break it into two and wait for ten seconds before putting it into your mouth. He affirmed that this strategy is ideal for the type of smokers who does not even realize the cigarette in his mouth, in this way, his smoking is no longer an automatic subconscious activity; it has become a consciously deliberated act, which is easier to control.
If you don’t like to stop smoking for the benefit to yourself, then do it for those around you. You are predisposing your friends, family, or co-Workers to respiratory illness or possibly nicotine-related cancer. Babies who breathe smoker’s exhaust are at the risk of respiratory problems, asthma and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID). If smoking were healthy, you will not be seeing the sign ‘No smoking’ everywhere you go. You find the sign in the office, in the bus, at the gas stations, in hospitals and so on.
If you have just accomplished quitting or you are in the process, ask God to continue to give you strength to move forward into your smoke-free environment. Wish you good luck. If you find this content relevant, kindly share, like and make comments. Your contribution will expand our knowledge and those of our readers more
By Olusegun Solaogun
CEO: Firstway Bookshop