What is an effective method of quitting smoking? 

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

       Quitting smoking is always a matter of autosuggestion, of deliberately changing your mind. Everyone knows this. You don’t quit smoking by flushing your cigarettes down the toilet. It’s too easy to get more (although they’re becoming awfully expensive, aren’t they?). You have to quit smoking in your mind before you can quit fishing those coffin nails out of the pack and lighting up. But if you keep telling yourself, “I’m going to quit. Oh, yes, I’m going to quit,” your unconscious mind gets the message that this is something that is going to happen at some unspecified time in the future.
          On the other hand--and this is the most important thing I learned--if you tell yourself, and keep telling yourself, “I am a non-smoker,” your unconscious mind will gradually make this statement become a fact.
          I found that it didn’t matter if I continued to smoke cigarettes even while I was repeating to myself, “I am a non-smoker.” Eventually it became true. I don’t remember how long it took, but it wasn’t very long. I was a non-smoker and I didn’t crave a cigarette. You can do the same thing, and you can start now.
          The other thing I discovered that helped me become a non-smoker, and remain one, was getting rid of the lingering smell of tobacco in my home and in all my clothing. A smoker doesn’t realize how powerful the smell of tobacco really is until he or she gives up smoking for good. It is the tempting scent of tobacco in our furniture, our drapes, our carpeting, our clothing, and even in our hair, on our teeth, and on our skin, that makes it harder to quit and easier to relapse.
          Getting rid of your cigarettes and matches isn’t enough. You need to dump everything washable into the machine and send everything else to the cleaners. You need to air out your rooms, have the carpets and drapes cleaned, even the sofa and chairs. You need to spray scented polish all over your wooden furniture as well as your shelves and cabinets.
          Then you need to take a bath, scrub your fingernails, and especially brush your teeth a half-dozen times a day for the next week or two. Brushing your teeth when you crave a cigarette is a good way to get through those periods of nicotine craving. This cleansing ritual will not only get rid of that cloying smell of tobacco with its specter of disease and death, but it will help reassure your unconscious mind that you mean business.
          I know how hard it is to quit. I started smoking when I was twelve and didn’t finally give up until my late forties. By then I was smoking three packs of unfiltered Camels a day. But I would surely be dead by now if I hadn’t quit.       
          It is nearly impossible to break a bad habit unless you give it top priority--and nothing deserves top priority more than saving your life by quitting smoking. It isn’t easy to quit. It isn’t even easy to want to quit. But you can jump over both of these hurdles and become a non-smoker right now if you stop telling yourself, “I’m going to quit someday,” and start telling yourself, “I am a non-smoker.”
          The time to start is now.

                The flighty purpose never is o'ertook
                Unless the deed go with it.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One effective method of quitting smoking is hypnosis.

Any method of quitting smoking may possibly not work.  It just depends on the person.  Approximately three out of four people can be hypnotized, but just the ability to be susceptible to hypnosis does not guarantee success in quitting smoking.

Study results have been mixed. In 2001, a study published in the Journal of Dental Education concluded that it "seems justified to classify it as a "possibly [effective]" treatment for smoking cessation." (webmd)

Hypnosis can plant suggestions in your mind that can reduce or eliminate the urge to smoke.  For example, your brain can be tricked into thinking that it needs nicotine, so it can also be tricked into thinking that it does not. 

Whether or not smokers can quite using hypnosis really depends on the smoker.  Some smokers need to try other methods, such as gum or patches.  As Webmd notes smokers “often require several different strategies along the way (webmd).”  Each person needs to find the combination that works for him or her.

The good news is that it is possible to quit smoking.

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