The thing about kicking nicotine addiction is that it can be very difficult or supremely easy.
It depends on how much we know our enemy. The more we know who we are dealing with, the easier our attempt.
In this post, I am going to debunk four commons myths we often associate with cigarettes so you can have a better understanding of who and what we are dealing with.
Sit back… it is going to be a fun and interesting showdown.
The Elephant in the Circus
I am sure you have heard of the story.
A gigantic elephant being held by a tiny little pole with a small rope. The truth is this elephant could have easily broken free from a potential lifetime of slavery with a mere push.
Sadly, it didn’t.
Why didn’t the elephant break free?
Well, the rope was tied to the elephant since it was very young. Of course, it didn’t like being tied up so naturally, it tried to escape.
But try as it might, the pole and rope didn’t snap because the elephant wasn’t strong enough then.
Unfortunately, the elephant gave up trying after a little while.
I Was Like This Circus Elephant
Being a smoker for 17 long years, I had attempted cold-turkey more times than I could count.
Needless to say, I experimented with different smoke cessation methods that include:
- Chanting cheesy and weird affirmation that gives me goosebumps every time I practice it,
- Was counseled by a dickhead who hasn’t smoked a cigarette in his life,
- Being sold expensive nicotine replacement therapies that cost several times more than a pack of cigarettes, etc.
Regrettably, these methods didn’t work for me.
Just like the young elephant, I gave up trying after a while…
I thought I was doomed to be a smoker for the rest of my life.
The Purpose of Debunking
Perhaps you are thinking of giving up just like I wanted to.
Honestly, I can’t blame you because I was there…
But the fact you are reading this means there is hope.
My hope with this post is to give you the ah-ha moment that it did for me.
I smoked my last cigarette on 12 May 2019 and it was the easiest and most straightforward quit attempt I ever had.
No sticking of patches, no expensive therapies, no chanting of cheesy affirmations… just a pure and solid understanding of our enemy.
And it works!
Today, I want to seize the opportunity to debunk four common myths we often relate to smoking so you can see the truth as it is and stop believing in the lies our enemy wants us to have.
The moment you understand these truths is when you mature from a young elephant to an adult elephant.
With that, you can break smoking addiction just as easy as an adult elephant breaks the tiny pole… if you choose to.
Understanding these facts could remove all the undue stresses you associated with quitting thus making your next quit attempt a tad easier than before…
As it did for me.
Ready? Here we go…
Myth #1: Smoking Relieves Boredom
Using boredom as an excuse is like saying tobacco contained active ingredients that have a biological cure for boredom.
This is absolutely not true because:
Firstly, cigarettes do not contain any ingredient that has a medical cure for boredom.
On the contrary, they contain a lot of hazardous compounds and additives. (see infographic below)
Secondly, boredom isn’t a medical condition; it’s just a feeling or a state of mind.
Lastly, if we smoke to relieve boredom then why do we also smoke when we are not bored?
The truth is smoking does not relieve boredom. Not even in the slightest.
In contrast, I have the opinion that smokers have more boredom in their lives.
There are so many harmful chemical compounds in a cigarette that wrecks our nervous systems and vital organs that cause us to gradually be more lethargic and tired.
You can translate that to also being less active and more boring over time.
I am sure we have met exceptionally outgoing and/or active smokers…
But know this, they would do infinitely better – emotionally, mentally and physically – when they decide to stay smoke-free.
If you think these smokers are great now then just imagine their lives without cigarettes.
They will thrive not only further but more crucially… they will thrive for a greater lifespan without all the premature-death-worries and constant distraction from nicotine withdrawal.
Don’t take my word for it…
Just look at the statistic below on how many premature deaths smoking has caused in our society and you tell me whether this is true or not.
Myth #2: Smoking Relieves Stress
This is probably the biggest lie that keeps us lighting up cigarette after cigarette.
Smoking is the main cause of stress; it does not relieve it.
Many smokers associate smoking with stress relief because it relieves nicotine withdrawal.
In this case, we often mistook nicotine withdrawal as stress relief.
Allow me to explain…
Imagine going to a fancy restaurant with your friends and you haven’t smoke in two hours. The moment you step out of the restaurant you light a cigarette and you immediately feel a little ‘better.’
This ‘betterment’ is what many smokers perceive as ‘stress relief.’
Though they feel a little ‘better’ this isn’t a real relief.
Firstly, your non-smoking friends do not need to go through nicotine withdrawal (aka stress), therefore, they do not need to smoke to relief it.
Secondly, this stress is caused by your previous cigarette (aka nicotine withdrawal). And this entire chain started with that very first cigarette you smoked ages ago.
See the link?
Nicotine withdrawal is the ‘stress’ that smokers often refer to; not the real stresses of life
If you didn’t smoke that first cigarette then you would NOT experience nicotine withdrawal at all… hence you would not have to perpetually light up again and again to ‘relieve stress.’
If you look at it this way, smoking to relieve stress is obviously a fallacy. This is NOT a real relief.
cigarettes were the main culprit of inviting more stress into our lives in the first place!
We smoke to relieve this supposed non-existence stress and we call it stress relief.
How wrong could we be?
You have to understand that this stress is caused by our previous cigarette and it will be non-existence once we stay smoke-free.The whole business of smoking is like forcing yourself to wear tight shoes just to get the pleasure of taking them off. - Allen Carr Click To Tweet
I know this isn’t easy to digest now. It took me a while to totally grab hold of this.
The truth is smoking relieves nicotine withdrawal but it does not aid in dealing with the real stresses of life.
Smokers Are More Stressful Than Non-smokers
The fact is cigarettes destroy our ability to be calm and relax.
Smoking wreaks our nerves and impairs our vital organs making us more reliant on cigarettes thereby making us more stress when we can’t have them.
We all know of a time when we are out late at night and running low on cigarettes.
By hook or by crook we make absolutely sure that we have enough cigarettes to last us through the night.
We go through all the stresses, troubles and spend a fortune on it and for what?
- Theoretically speaking: To relieve nicotine withdrawal that was caused by the previous cigarette.
- To put it bluntly: For absolutely NOTHING!
See the truth as it is.
This isn’t a real pleasure.
Smoking does not relieve stress; it creates it.
Myth #3: Relaxation
Smoking has nothing to do with relaxation. Conversely, it increases our tension and anxiety.1
Additives found in tobacco cause our heart to work harder instead of calming us down.
This is because nicotine increases our heart rate and blood pressure.
The fact that nicotine is both a sedative and a chemical stimulant often confuse us with relaxation.2
So in order to debunk this myth once and for all, let’s do a simple experiment. Shall we?
If you are still a smoker, do this:
- Measure your pulse rate
- Light up a cigarette
- Take four consecutive drags in quick intervals
- Measure your pulse rate again
Have I gotten your attention now?
If you did the experiment you will see a noticeable increase in your pulse rate.
My question is how can a chemical stimulant that elevates our blood pressure and heart rate be classified as ‘relaxation’?
The fact is that smokers are not relaxed.
Due to the additives found in tobacco, they have forgotten what it feels like to be totally relaxed.
Myth #4: Concentration
The truth is smokers have more distractions than non-smokers because of the constant nagging of nicotine withdrawal.
Non-smokers can focus and concentrate without needing cigarettes whereas smokers have to continuously light up again and again to ‘concentrate.’
When smokers say that cigarettes increase their concentration level what they are really saying is cigarettes relieve their nicotine withdrawal.
And that’s about it.
Smoking DOES NOT cause creative juice to flow.
The additives and chemical compounds contained in tobacco cause ongoing damage to our arteries and veins which make oxygen harder to travel to vital organs especially to our brain.3
Here is what we should do…
Instead of giving cigarettes the credit for everything and the blame for nothing we should start blaming cigarettes for providing the distraction for us to smoke in the first place.
Cigarettes are the creator of voids; they do not fill the voids in our lives.
The Fact is Non-smokers Can Focus and Concentrate better than smokers
I was a smoker once.
Now that I am close to 2 months of being smoke-free (at the time of writing this on 6 July 2019) I can assure you that I can focus and concentrate at a level that I couldn’t have before.
Take this blog as an example.
The fact that I can concentrate and work on Quit With Nerd is a blessing in itself.
I would never have done it if I were still smoking.
The truth is writing is not an easy endeavor – at least for me it isn’t – in order to get any writing done at all, I need to focus at my highest level.
There are bound to be stressful moments and times when I encounter writers/bloggers block.
If I am still a smoker, I would have smoked so frequently that I doubt I would get any real writing done at all.
I can say with absolute certainty that you wouldn’t be reading this now if I were still smoking today.
Summary: Accept The Truth As It Is
The hardest thing for me to accept as a smoker was the fact that I was addicted to nicotine.
I had given myself a lot of reasons to smoke. Even nonsensical ones… but don’t we all?
The reality is that if you have given me a choice to be a non-smoker or a smoker I would pick the former any time without a shadow of a doubt.
Those reasons were only there to justify the need to serve our nicotine addiction.
No matter how ‘hardcore’ a smoker you are now, I believe if given a choice, you too, would choose to be smoke-free.
And I’m here to do everything I can – to the best of my ability – to show you it is not only possible but also extremely easy.
However, the first step to change is to stop living in denial and accept the truth as it is.
I am not asking you to chant weird cheesy affirmations or fantasize make-believe.
All I am asking is for you to face the truth as it is!
The truth: IT is infinitely better to be a non-smoker than it is to be a smoker
No one can argue with that… except yourself.
If you think your life is good with cigarettes just imagine how much more you could achieve without the constant distractions of nicotine withdrawal.
On the other hand, if you aren’t living your dream life now then you can surely look forward to the many benefits that will serve you well in life.
Recovery begins almost immediately after you smoke your last cigarette.
Take a look at this timeline below:
I hope I have given you some insights into the myths and facts of smoking.
If you have learned something, share it with your loved ones.
Quitting can be very difficult or extremely easy
The more we know the truth the easier it is for us to tackle this issue.
Thanks for reading.
I hope I’ve been of service.