Nicotine dependence is one of the largest but also most overlooked addictions worldwide.
In many parts of the world, smoking is not only legal but also largely socially acceptable – if not encouraged.
One thing is sure – it always takes its toll.
Yet this type of addiction persists even among people who wish to quit.
If you are one of them or know someone who is, this article will undoubtedly point you in the right direction.
We will discuss the psychology behind smoking addiction and give you guidance on how to overcome it.
So, let’s begin.
Why is smoking addictive?
When it comes to cigarette addiction, nicotine is the main culprit.
Similar to many recreational drugs, this psychoactive substance induces psychological and physical dependence.
When consumed, it urges your body to release well-known neurotransmitters and hormones such as adrenaline and dopamine.
Dopamine is known as a ‘feel-good’ substance (stimulates your pleasure center) while adrenaline gives you an instant energy boost through increased heart rate and blood pressure.
So what’s the catch?
Your body already naturally produces both substances under normal circumstances.
When you cause this kind of reaction artificially with the help of nicotine, you train your body to behave in a certain way.
The rush you feel is only momentary, though, as the effects rapidly wear off and you end up wanting to consume more and more over time. Your body will consequently adapt, requiring larger doses to produce the same effects.
This vicious circle applies to almost every addiction known to man.
Additionally, you begin associating smoking with fun and relaxation, which deepens your addiction.
This brings us to our next point: why do individuals smoke and continue to smoke despite having the desire to stop?
Ask yourself – Why do you smoke?
As mentioned earlier, nicotine is the primary factor contributing to the bodily symptoms of cigarette addiction.
Despite this, there are a number of other factors that contribute to the problem.
Asking a straightforward question like “Why do you smoke?” is one of the methods to assess them quickly.
So, why do people smoke?
The question posed actually hits on two significant issues: why do people continue to smoke and how did they first develop the habit?
Most people begin to smoke through parental influence (observing), rebellion against authority, peer pressure, or the simple need to try something new.
Addiction persists as a coping mechanism in response to trauma, depressive states, and everyday stress.
Many people don’t think of smoking as a problem; rather, it is an essential part of their lives, particularly when they are unwinding, going out, or having breaks at work.
In reality, this sort of behavior is a way to avoid dealing with feelings and issues in a constructive manner, which is not only ineffective but also counterproductive.
As is the case with all forms of addiction, relativizing and denying the problem with tobacco abuse is a very common occurrence.
When any harmful effects of smoking are mentioned, some individuals may even feel personally attacked.
But in the long term, there are far too many negative effects to be carelessly disregarded. The four most frequent adverse consequences are listed below. They also serve as the main arguments in favor of quitting smoking.
Why you should quit smoking – 4 main reasons
- Health – Smoking addiction poses numerous health dangers – from diabetes to all kinds of lung problems. One of them is lung cancer, which is primarily brought on by smoking. In fact, one-quarter of all cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco addiction. Long-term smoking has also been linked to illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to recent studies. All of this adds up to a number of roughly 10 years, which represents the typical difference in life expectancy between smokers and non-smokers.
- Hygiene and appearance – This sort of issue primarily affects the dental area – your mouth. Although the symptoms can differ based on the type and method of tobacco use, they are most often related to bad breath and various changes in the teeth (discoloration, decay). Smoking has an aging effect as well, which is first seen in the skin’s increased wrinkles, particularly around the face.
- Finances – There are two main types of costs associated with smoking. The cost of the actual cigars (and other tobacco products) is the initial and most apparent expenditure. On an annual and even monthly basis, the amount of money spent by regular smokers can reach unbelievable levels. But this is only the beginning. The expense of the aforementioned smoking-related health problems is something that most people hardly ever think about. This could put a significant dent in your budget, depending on your health insurance coverage. Even if you live in a place with universal healthcare, indirect expenses cannot be disregarded.
- Your smoking affects others, even more than you think – Secondhand smoking is as hazardous as firsthand one. Many restaurants, bars, and public places in the West have stringent policies against smoking. But even when surrounded by non-smokers, nothing prevents individuals from smoking inside the boundaries of their own homes. People with chronic issues, pregnant women, the elderly, children, and even pets are the main victims of second-hand smoke. They too can experience the same health issues as people who smoke willingly. There is also a psychological component to this. If you suffer harm as a result of smoking, it will also affect your loved ones and have a disastrous impact on their lives.
As the number of tobacco users drops, there will undoubtedly be a societal stigma attached to smoking. Although this is an important consideration, it should be the last on your list of reasons to quit.
Will your life be empty without cigarettes?
Breaking any routine can leave a person feeling hollow. Even if a bad habit is involved.
That fits perfectly within the bounds of typical human psychology.
Essentially, it all comes down to reprogramming your brain so that you can learn to live and function normally without relying on cigarettes as a coping mechanism.
The sensation of emptiness results from abandoning an activity that used to provide comfort and stability in times of need. Accepting this concept may not provide immediate relief, but knowing how your brain works will undoubtedly make you stronger in the long run.
You will almost definitely experience other withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult to stick to your decision to quit smoking. But nobody said it’s going to be easy – It’s a difficult route, but it’s one worth pursuing.
You will undoubtedly experience a sense of emptiness, but keep two things in mind. It will not last forever, and you are not alone in feeling this way. Millions of individuals face the same difficulties every day.
How long will it last?
It all depends on how much effort you put in and how far you are willing to go to achieve your objective.
There is no magic wand to end your addiction – it takes time and effort, but it pays off!
Smoking cessation is a difficult and challenging process.
Breaking the bonds of addiction requires time and effort, but it’s a worthwhile investment in a better future self.
Although this procedure differs from person to person, there are some universal steps that can be beneficial to anyone.
- Understand your motivation to quit – Make sure your mind is in the right spot. This entails a great deal of self-analysis and reflection. Your rational mind must be powerful enough to overcome all negative feelings.
- Make a plan – Set a date for your cessation process to begin. Going cold turkey is rarely a viable option, so consider progressively reducing your tobacco consumption until you are confident that you can go all the way.
- Manage your triggers – You will have to avoid circumstances that trigger your bad habits as much as possible for a period of time. The number of triggers can be overwhelming for the majority of long-term smokers. A smart strategy is to make a list of the most important ones based on your experience and develop a strategy for each of them. The goal is to find a suitable non-destructive alternative to smoking. For example, if you are dealing with difficult feelings, the best way to avoid cigarettes is to identify the source of your distress and work through it in a healthy manner (therapy, exercise, friend support, and enjoyable activities).
- Find a way to cope with withdrawal symptoms and cravings – Withdrawal symptoms typically last a few weeks and often include nervousness, frustration, sleeplessness, and anxiety. The important point here is to recognize your situation and allow yourself time to heal naturally. Cravings are a normal reaction of your body, but you should resist them and find an alternative way to feel better.
- Get support – Whether it’s your family, friends, or a professional, going through cessation with emotional support is always easier. Learning about similar experiences and meeting individuals who have already overcome addiction is extremely beneficial.
Meet Rad – He overcame his smoking addiction, and so can You
Rad is the author of the Li.O.N.S. Smoking Cessation Method and the corresponding MasterClass.
For years, he, like many of us, battled with tobacco addiction.
Smoking was an unavoidable part of his daily life and an escape mechanism in professional and private settings – until he became resolved to end his addiction once and for all.
He not only overcame his addiction, but he also chose to devote his life to assisting others in achieving the same goal.
If you need help with ending your smoking addiction, please contact coach Rad via email or press the button below to book a call. The introductory consultation is completely free – no false promises and no obligations.