How to Quit Smoking

Monkey with banana

I have just come across a brilliant feature from the Reader’s Digest: The 23 Best Ways to Quit Smoking.

It’s really about hints or tips that might be helpful to would-be quitters. Here are some of them, with my comments:

Set a quit date

I have written a blog about why this is a bad idea:

Write down all your reasons for quitting

Suggested reasons are ‘my daughter, my granddaughter, my husband, my wife, etc.

Although of course one should consider others, there’s no mention of the most important person: yourself. Nor is there any mention that you will feel better and enjoy everything in life more as a non-smoker, because you will no longer be in a drugged state all the time through smoking.

When your quit date arrives, get rid of anything that reminds you of smoking, such as cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays

This is obvious. But it’s the wrong reason. You can’t help being reminded of smoking. This advice implies you should try not to think about smoking—an impossibility. The reason to throw out smoking paraphernalia is because you won’t need them anymore.

Put all the money you’re saving into a large glass jar

Not a bad idea in itself, but you knew anyway how much money you were wasting on smoking, and it didn’t help you to stop before.

Create a smoke-free zone by putting up ‘No Smoking’ signs around you

The reason you smoked before was not because of the absence of No Smoking signs.

Draw a line down the centre of a piece of paper and write all the reasons for smoking on one side and all the reasons for not smoking on the other

Not a bad idea.

Make another list of why quitting won’t be easy

Why do they have to rub it in that quitting will be difficult? It can indeed be easy—if you approach quitting in the right way.

Then it’s suggested that you write an option for overcoming the challenge of each reason on your list of why quitting won’t be easy. For example, if you’ve written ‘Nicotine is an addictive drug’ you might respond with ‘Try a nicotine replacement alternative.’ Not quite sure about the ‘replacement alternative’ but presumably they mean nicotine gum or patches. See my blog:  Then, ‘Smoking helps me deal with stress’ against which you might write ‘Take five-minute walks instead.’ There’s no mention of how smoking itself causes stress, and it’s impossible for smoking to relieve stress from other causes.

Write all your reasons for quitting on an index card

You’re really going to be busy with all this writing!

As you’re getting ready to quit, stop buying cartons of cigarettes. Instead, only buy a pack at a time.

‘Getting ready to quit’ again implies it’s going to be hard. Many smokers spend years getting ready to quit. They will never be ready—that’s why they’re smokers!

Keep a list of when you smoke for a week before quitting. Also note what you’re doing at the time and how bad the craving is…

Who says you will experience ‘craving’ and that there are degrees of how bad this is? With the right attitude based on a proper understanding of why you smoke in the first place, many smokers quit with very little trouble.

Prepare a list of things to do when the craving hits

Note they say ‘when’, not ‘if’. How much more discouragement do they want to dish out? And what to do about it? Here are some of the suggestions offered: take a walk (they’ve already said that), drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child (not very nice for them if you’ve just stopped smoking), throw the ball for the dog (what if you don’t have a dog?) play a game (of what?), wash the car (what if you don’t have a car?), have sex…

Ahem, excuse me. This is getting a little indelicate.

It goes on and on, including repeating the advice that ‘when the craving hits you can whip out the list’. That had me worried for a moment.

Find a healthy snack food you can carry with you

This is how to get fat and miserable as a substitute for smoking. You don’t need a substitute for smoking!

Switch to a cup of herbal tea whenever you usually have a cigarette

If you were a pack-a-day smoker you’re going to be drinking an awful lot of tea. A fortiori if you smoked two packs a day.

Instead of a cigarette break at work, play a game of solitaire on your computer

How about just getting on with your work?

To minimize cravings, change your routine

I shall leave the reader to put his or her own comments.

Make an appointment with an acupuncturist

Again, this emphasises the difficulty of quitting if you have to go to so much trouble.

If you relapse, just start again

This would hardly be surprising with all the discouragement they’ve given you.

Now for the good news. Quitting is easy with the Symonds Method. No nicotine products, drugs, acupuncture, hypnosis, or other gimmicks. All you need is understanding of why you really smoke and the right kind of support.

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Gabriel Symonds

Dr Gabriel Symonds is a British medical doctor living in Japan who has developed a unique interactive stop smoking method. It involves no nicotine, drugs, hypnosis, or gimmicks but consists in helping smokers to demonstrate to themselves why they really smoke and why it seems so hard to stop doing it. Then most people find they can quit straightaway and without a struggle. He has used this approach successfully with hundreds of smokers; it works equally well for vapers. Dr Symonds also writes about transgenderism and other controversial medical matters. See

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