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Quitting – Why do people find it so hard to quit smoking?

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Consider what might interfere with your plans
Quitting is a life-long challenge but there are numerous benefits such as health, (including the health of a smoker’s family), money, appearance and personal satisfaction.  It is important for anyone wishing to quit smoking to create a plan in order to keep busy, for example, more physical exercise is vital (will act as a distraction) take up walking or swimming.  Learn new habits or hobbies.  Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fresh water and fruit juices; have healthy snacks.  General health will steadily begin to get better because general fatigue and headaches are both connected to smoking.

No single method will guarantee success

Sense of smell as well as taste will improve and appetite; however it takes the average person four or five attempts to eventually quit smoking completely.  It is therefore a case of strong willpower and determination – a plan is crucial.   Willpower and self control are two basic traits which are essential for a happy balanced life.


How to avoid weakness and increase willpower

Never start a challenge on an empty stomach (a good breakfast is imperative). When a person’s glucose level is reduced their willpower will weaken. Therefore, to keep it high a person must eat regular snacks that are high in protein (such as nuts) and healthy carbohydrates, such as a sandwich of lean meat or cheese packed between two slices of whole-wheat bread.

Willpower is similar to a person’s level of energy it is a limited reserve that is depleted as the day goes on; nevertheless it can be exercised to make it stronger, like a body muscle and can be improved through both mental and physical training – this is why taking part in some physical exercise is essential in a person’s daily plan to successfully quit smoking.

People trying to stop smoking must bear in mind the “glucose theory” – which states the importance of keeping the body’s glucose level sufficient as research indicates that glucose can increase willpower.  (The glucose resource theory has been cited over 1,000 times in scientific papers.)  Willpower is a skill which can be developed – it is a matter of self-discipline; an individual should focus on small tasks which they can control and their ability to stick to larger tasks will slowly increase. 

Brain knows it is in a situation in which it is time to smoke – ‘need for personalised formula’
When a smoker is trying to stop smoking they will still encounter the normal daily routines which they have associated with smoking and it is the breaking of “habit” which is difficult.  For example, finishing a meal, replace a cigarette, with a mint sweet (or boiled sweet as glucose does reduce cravings for cigarettes) or go for a walk it is a matter of creating a ‘personalised formula’.  Although there are many things to help such as electronic cigarettes, nicotine therapy and professional support – it all boils down to the willpower of the individual.

Advantages of Quitting
In just 20 minutes of quitting a person’s heart rate and blood pressure will drop and after 12 hours the carbon monoxide level in a person’s body will drop to normal, furthermore after 2 to 3 months circulation and lung function improves.  After one year the risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a person continuing to smoke.