The Difficulty in Quitting Smoking
Smoking is terrible. Statistically speaking, smoking is the most dangerous thing that we can choose to do with our own health. Yet so many people still smoke. The author will confess that he too is a smoker, but as a smoker, I feel shame about it under certain circumstances. It is a personal choice in my life, yet there is nothing but social pressure to conform and quit. Smokers make up 23% of the Canadian population, most likely more as a smokers was defined as someone who smokes pack a day (Statistics Canada, 2000). There must be more smokers out there that feel this malaise with me. Along with this distress, goes the equally stressing issues of our own desires (in a great many circumstances) to smoke, to quit and the difficulties involved. All of these stresses tend to make smokers want to quit, while at the same time lighting a cigarette.
Being a smoker doesn't only bring with it today the plain and chemical health risks but also psychological risks. This constant flux between the satisfying and gratifying act of smoking and the now all too obvious risks to ones health can create a great deal of cognitive dissonance. What happened though, when a smoker turns to psychology for help, or what of the smoker reading anything from the "objective" world of psychology regarding smoking. In the majority of the "means of quitting" type articles I have read, there seem to be a tone, something about the way it is presented that can be both supportive and derisive at the same time. In these articles, the main interest lie in the right place, but peripheral to this supportive message, there is often negative messages about health and social risks. Depending on where in the articles these message appear, they have more or less effect on the reader. Some of the simplest psychological precepts, like primacy and latency can give the reader a greater or lesser sense of self worth. This, among other things to be examined in greater depth later, can detract from motivation to quit or even further set a smoker in their ways.
A great factor in motivation to quit smoking comes from what smoking does to one's health. Drastic and terrible things like innumerable forms of cancer, heart deasese, stroke. These health risks go beyond what the average person is comfortable with, and from here, there stem problems with helping people quit. The following in an excerpt from one of many websites offering help for smokers.
Nicotine and other tobacco toxins cause free radical damage to cells and destroy vitamins and minerals thereby weakening the immune system. Besides nicotine, cigarette smoke contains tar, arsenic, cyanide, DDT, ammonia, carbon monoxide and over 4,700 chemical components including approximately 500 known toxins which include cardiac poisons, cancer causing agents and industrial solvents. Nicotine is one of the most powerful poisons known to mankind. It is widely used as an insecticide.