This Article is About
giving up smoking
cigarette consumption
stop smoking programs
smoking cessation
cold turkey
commercial interest
Who Said Giving Up Smoking Was Easy
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Smoking Success Rates With And Without Aids

There is an array of stop smoking programs and aids available for the smoker who is seriously contemplating a smoke free life. There is no doubt that many of these systems when applied, singularly or in combination, increase a person's chance of becoming long term smoke free. However, quit rates, even with aids, are not particularly spectacular. And remember, the quit smoking rate using 'cold Turkey' alone is usually no more than 5% of the original smokers, after a 6 month period. Most quit programs; even those officially endorsed or recognised by professional medical bodies, usually increase rates no more than 3 fold, or around 15% of users. Be aware, some companies claim highly spectacular and dubious quit rates for their product or cease smoking programs. It is wise to be wary of claims where there is a commercial interest involved. In these circumstances it is useful to quiz the company on how they measure success. They may not be using benchmarks that would meet the same standards rigorously applied by medical bodies. For instance, what is meant by success? Should we be including individuals who simply cut down their cigarette consumption? Perhaps the measure of success is monitored for a relatively brief period. Has the company been involved in a proper clinical study looking into the success of their product or program, and has it been published in a peer reviewed scientific journal? If the last criterion has not been met, then the company is relying on anecdotal evidence, at best; evidence not worth the paper it is not written on. Personal testament and endorsement should not be used as critical evidence- it is non-scientific, easily skewed and easily fabricated.

Consult Your Health Professional About Smoking Cessation

It probably does little harm to discuss your intention to quit smoking with your own doctor. Even if they don't have the necessary expertise or resources to help, they will be able to refer you to a health professional or organisation that can. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Giving up smoking is rarely easy, although you will be always able to find people who will say that they found quitting easy. But for us mortals, quitting smoking is extremely hard and may be the hardest thing you will ever do.

A Positive Attitude And Will Power Is Essential

When starting a quit program a positive mind set is essential. Imagine yourself as smoke free and work diligently toward that end. One common mistake that people make is that they think a structured quit program, or system, or aid, removes the need for will power. This is generally not the case. Will power is still required as is the powerful desire not to smoke. Combined programs which tackle the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of the habit are probably going to produce the best results. The smoking habit is complex, and for many so ingrained in their lives, that when relinquished it feels like a form of bereavement.

Try, Try, And Try Again....

And finally, if you don't manage to quit the first time, then try again. Most successful quitters do so after several failed attempts; don't despair. Try and critically examine what went wrong. Did you find that you relapsed in a social context, or when associating with other smokers? Were there specific triggers involved? Certain situations, or activities, may need to be avoided, or behaviours modified. For instance, many find that they associate smoking with activities, like drinking, or when dealing with difficult situations. Changing your life may seem extreme but will pay dividends if it ultimately results in you becoming a non-smoker. And of course, the changes will be only temporary; eventually your old pattern of life, without cigarettes can be resumed.


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