Tobacco is one of the oldest and most abused substances known to human kind. A high revenue generating business that stops the capitalist ego of nations all across the globe from labeling it illegal, while it motivates the social ego to try and help those infected by its addiction.
Every 31st May, the World No Tobacco Day, thousands of advertisements flood the market. From hundreds of them explaining the ill effects of smoking, to those providing "instant" cure to the problem.
If tobacco is a multi-billion dollar industry, the anti-tobacco loby is at least worth few hundred millions..
Well I cannot complaint much, both parties help my cause a lot. As a medical professional who provides services of de-addiction, its good for business to see a lot of people being motivated by such anti-tobacco movements and taking professional help to battle it.
Unfortunately I know that only 1% of the lot succeed in winning the battle over tobacco. The rest just relent to keep trying.
Here are 5 major reasons why most people, even after hundreds of trials cannot stop smoking:
1. Bad advertisement - Most advertisement trying to "Stop smoking" focuses on the future. What might happen inside your body 20years from now? How smoking slowly kills your body?
From my experience in the field of behavior and emotional health, 99% are interested in instant gratification.
The common psychology is that "If today lighting up a cigarrette helps battle stress, hunger, restlessness, depression, loneliness, etc then what's the harm? The ill effects will be taken care of in the future or once situation in life is more stable"
Unfortunately "future" or "stability" never comes, as life always yields a new stress.
2. Withdrawal Effects - If you are habituated to eat at a certain time of the day, those days when you don't get food within that time, you naturally tend to become angry and frustrated. Similarly when the brain is habituated to a certain amount of nicotine during the day, it gets angry and irritable if it's supply is stopped.
Withdrawal effects, caused by stopping nicotine supply to the brain can range from increased appetite to extreme agitation. Since many a times this is never taken care of, the easiest way to avoid them is to start smoking.
Since withdrawal effects might be present up to 2months after leaving the substance, the chances of breaking "non-smoking" vows are higher.
3. Sensory Stimulation - The sight of someone smoking, the smell of a burning cigarrette to the sound of lightening a match stick all stimulate the brain to increase the desire to have a smoke by few hundred times the normal.
Imagine how the sight of a small girl enjoying a cone of chocolate chip vanilla ice-cream instantly triggers a mouth-salivating image in your mind.
How the photo of your favorite dish posted on an unknown blog can trigger an intense desire that isn't satisfied until you finally gorge into the it.
Same is the brain mechanism of smokers.
4. Socializing - Perhaps the biggest achievement of tobacco selling companies is the social integration of smoking.
"smoke breaks" are one of the most important places for informal meetings with juniors and seniors. Two people smoking in a vicinity, automatically get connected by sense of belonging to a larger community. Thousands stories of Instant bonding over a smoke are a proof of its power.
5. Friends - When a person decides to quit smoking, his/her friends might support the decision, but subconsciously might end up being a catalyst in his failure to successfully quit. Smoking in front or inviting for a smoke makes its very difficult to avoid temptation for someone who is trying to quit the habit.
Will Power is a very powerful force...but from the time of Adam controlling it has been the greatest battle man kind has been battling.
Tobacco Addiction can be conquered without medications only if one is ready to fight the emotional, physical and psychological battles it involves...
Thanks for reading
Dr.Hemant Mittal (MBBS,PGDPM, MBPS, MD(mindmantra))
Motivational Speaker - Mind Trainer –
Emotional, Behavioral, Sleep, Memory and Sexual Health Consultant at Mind Mantra.
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