Why It Is So Difficult to Quit Smoking


Most smokers have tried to quit in the past. And most have attempted to quit more than once! Whether they go “Cold Turkey”, use nicotine patches, gums, e-cigarettes or even with prescription drugs, it seems that, within a few days, weeks, or months, they are right back to their old habit, just as strong as ever! Why do you suppose that is the case?

Smoking is a very complex habit. Actually more than a simple “habit”, smoking involves many physical, chemical, psychological, sociological issues that are all intertwined. Whereas, everybody seems to be focused on the addiction to nicotine, smoking goes far deeper than that. Because of the huge profits generated by the pharmaceutical industry as they produce drugs, patches and other alternative ways of introducing nicotine into the human body, they are able to do the most advertising and make the most noise.

Of course, doctors can treat the chemical issues with drugs and patches, but they seldom go much deeper than that as those psychological and sociological issues are out of their realm of education or clinical experience. On the other hand, psychologists can deal with the psychological and sociological issues, but are handcuffed when it comes to treating the chemical or physical issues. The poor smoker seems to be left in the middle!

Therefore, most efforts to help smokers quit tend to overlook, or just give lip service to, the most difficult part of quitting smoking! Any smoker can quickly attest to the craving they have for a cigarette immediately after a meal or with a caffeine beverage. Likewise, a smoker’s life is full of other linkages and connections to cigarettes. They “have to” smoke while driving a car, or watching TV, or talking on the phone. When they are in an emotional state, whether a crisis, a disagreement, pain, or even a celebration, smokers have come to depend on the “comfort” provided by their trusty cigarette!


All of these factors must be dealt with in order for a smoker to quit smoking for good. “For Good” includes not ever thinking about or wanting another cigarette! Whenever a smoker quits simply by “Cold Turkey”, NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapies, such as patches, gums or e cigarettes), or drugs, and fails to address these other, “softer” issues, they remain vulnerable to future smoking relapse as they encounter one or more of these emotional “traps”, as they surely will. Even if they are able to withstand and overcome the cravings and temptation, they remain controlled, to some degree, by their old smoking habit!

Any real, comprehensive solution to help a smoker overcome his or her smoking habit must include all of the issues that comprise the problem. Quitting Smoking is a learning process! Just as a smoker initially learned how to smoke, now they must “learn How to Quit”! Breaking an established habit that crosses so many disciplines is not easy, but it also need not be difficult.