Simple Smoking Cessation

If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, how many lungfuls of poisonous tobacco fumes will you take in a day, a month, or a year? Assuming one cigarette is consumed in ten puffs, the numbers are 200, 6000, and 73000, respectively.

This dreadful situation raises the question: what can be done to help smokers cease and desist from such abnormal and potentially harmful behaviour?

One way, as reported in The Sun (3 October 2022), is presented by the well-known e-cigarette enthusiast, Louise Ross (pictured), who has set out ‘Six tips to stop smoking and stick to it’.

Obviously, if don’t stick to it you’ll still be smoking, but is all that you need merely tips?

Buddy up
Here are the tips, with my comments:

1. List your reasons. Write down why you want to quit…keep going back to your list to keep yourself focused and your motivation high

This seems to be aimed at smokers with bad memories as well as low motivation: if you write down all your reasons for not poisoning yourself, you’ll be less likely to forget them and, therefore, will have higher motivation to quit. But smokers don’t smoke because of ignorance of why they shouldn’t. They know full well that smoking could kill them, so what higher motivation could they have? Even so, how can they stop smoking? And do they even want to stop smoking?

In any case, the reasons for wanting to quit are obvious: smoking stinks, is injurious to health and a waste of money, it’s inconvenient since so many public places are non-smoking, it sets a bad example to children, etc.

2. Visit the Better Health website for NHS support and resources, including…how vaping can help you quit…find out about nicotine patches, chewing gums, and even nasal sprays

Recommending nicotine products including vaping is discouraging, misleading, and illogical. If you want to quit smoking you presumably wish to be rid of nicotine in any shape or form, so what’s the good of continuing to put this poison into your body in a different way, likely for years or even the rest of your life?

3. Tell your friends and family you’re quitting so they…can support you, or…buddy up with a friend or family member who smokes…to help each other every step of the way

What are your friends and family supposed to say? ‘Hang in there, stay strong, you can do it!’ What if you don’t have a smoking friend or family member? And if you ‘buddy up’ with someone for every step of the way, how many steps are there? It sounds like a long difficult process, and rubbing it in isn’t exactly helpful.

4. Change your routine. Craving a cigarette usually lasts less than ten minutes so distract yourself – take a walk, listen to a podcast or do a hobby

What routine is she referring to? And if every time you experience craving, whatever that means, you distract yourself, you’re going to end up in a pretty distracted state.

5. Count the savings. On average smokers spend £38 a week on tobacco

Patronising. Smokers already know how much they’re spending, that is, wasting, on tobacco each week and don’t need to be reminded. Smokers don’t smoke because they don’t realise how much they’re money throwing away, but if they want to feel more guilty than they probably already do, they can easily work out that £38 a week comes to £1976 a year.

6. The Stoptober Facebook community is a great space to talk to fellow smokers going through Stoptober, where you can share your struggles and motivate each other to keep going

Share your struggles? How encouraging! The main message of Stoptober is that ‘If you make it to twenty-eight days smoke-free you are five times more likely to quit for good.’ Five times more likely than what? I have discussed this dubious claim in relation to an earlier version of Stoptober. In any case, online stop smoking groups often seem to end up with members supporting each other in their failure to quit.

Summarising all this, it seems that whenever you have the urge to smoke, say twenty times a day, you refer to your list of reasons why you shouldn’t. And after visiting the NHS website you get loaded up with support and resources including nicotine patches, gum, and even nasal sprays, or perhaps e-cigarettes. Your friends and family, being informed that you’re in in the process of quitting – not that you have quit – will also support, or rather, pester, you not to smoke. And assuming you do have a smoking friend or family member, you can buddy up with him or her which means asking a smoker to support you not to smoke! And on every step of the way of the struggle to become a non-smoker, what will you be doing? Smoking!

A better way
Rather than attempting to quit smoking through tips, techniques, nicotine products, imposing on your friends and family, etc., all of which require willpower in addition, in my experience of having helped hundreds of smokers to quit without difficulty, there is a better way. And that is through understanding.

This is the core of the Symonds Method. It helps you to demonstrate to yourself why you really smoke as opposed to why you think you smoke, why quitting seems so hard, and to change your attitude so that you won’t want to smoke anymore. It’s interactive and individualised, has nothing to do with hypnosis, and is not a lecture.

Many of my smoker patients after successfully quitting say to me, ‘Why didn’t I see it like that before?!’

The Symonds Method can help you become a non-smoker again without a struggle.

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Gabriel Symonds

Dr Gabriel Symonds is a British doctor living in Japan who is interested in helping smokers quit. He has developed a unique simple method without nicotine, drugs, hypnosis or gimmicks that he has used successfully with hundreds of smokers. Further information can be found at www.nicotinemonkey.com

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