STOPPING SMOKING OR SMOKING REDUCTION?

 

This probably isn’t a question you were expecting to read about. It’s not one that smokers generally think about, and neither is it one the National Health Service talks about. So why are we talking about it?

Well, you probably came to our website because you want to stop smoking. But did you? Yes, you say, that’s exactly why I came here. In which case, fine, you will find lots of resources and information here. But’s let us ask you a question. Are you sure you want to stop smoking? 100%? If your answer is yes, this is unlikely to be true, because anyone who is one hundred percent sure they want to stop smoking will already have done so probably. It is far more likely to you are 90% sure, because what is stopping you succeeding is that 10% uncertainty. Of course, it could be more that ten percent, but let’s go with that for our purpose.

There are two types of smoker who suffer from this 10%: the people who fail to stop, and the people who don’t try. You are in either one of these two categories, and because of the difficulty of stopping, which is real, your 10% is enough to scupper you.

There are two reasons why stopping smoking is hard: the addiction to nicotine and the psychological dependence the addiction creates. There are no other reasons. You suffer from one or both of these problems, and because of your 10% they are enough to stop you. You and millions of other smokers.

So let’s talk for now about the ten percent. How can you eliminate it? How can you become 100% sure? Well, that is not easy, so we have another suggestion, which is that if you are asking yourself if you really want to stop smoking you might be asking the wrong question. Up until now you have been given, by your doctor, by the media, perhaps by your family, a simple choice: smoke or don’t smoke. It’s a stark choice, and it’s a big problem. We at National Stop Smoking Centres don’t like this choice, because the answer for most smokers is to say they can’t stop, or they are not sure they want to stop, so there is after all no choice but to carry on smoking.

Now you see why it’s the wrong question, because it traps millions of people in exactly the same place they have been for years. They can’t stop, so they believe they don’t want to stop, so they don’t. They fail when they try, or they don’t even try. You may well recognise this in yourself.

And this is why we look at the problem very differently from you, and from the NHS and almost everyone involved in helping smokers. It’s really very hard to persuade people to stop smoking, and it’s hard to help them, at least it is with the NHS smoking cessation model based on drugs.

Now, we don’t know but let’s say you smoke 15 cigarettes a day, which is typical here in the UK. You have tried to stop and failed, and you may blame this failure on a lack of motivation. Your GP may even have blamed this lack for your failure. Now we mentioned earlier something called psychological dependence. This means that your intellectual brain knows you need to stop smoking, but your emotional brain is afraid to. That’s pretty standard. But what if we could overcome this fear of stopping, by taking stopping out of the equation?

Think about this. You are probably worried about the health cost of smoking, and then the financial cost, and finally the social cost. If you stop smoking, these costs will disappear. But you aren’t stopping, so let’s stop talking about it, let’s stop talking about all or nothing, smoking or not smoking, eliminating all of the problems smoking creates. Let talk instead of REDUCING those problems, say by 90%. That’s right, 90%.

And before we go any further, let’s dispose of a dangerous myth that is probably going to make you reject what we’re saying. This myth is that either you smoke or you don’t, that if you did manage to reduce your smoking it would only go up again. How do we know this is wrong? For the blindingly simple reason that all over the country, right now, there are people who are very light smokers, or even social smokers. Aha, you say, but if I was like them I would soon lose control of my smoking. Really? Why? In what way are you different from a  social smoker? Ah, you say, it’s because I’ve been a heavy smoker. So what? That’s not even logical. You would only say it, firstly, because you are afraid, and secondly because that’s what you’ve been told. But we can promise you you are wrong. In any case, we are going to come to an explanation not only of how you can reduce your smoking but how you can be sure to keep it down, so for now don’t worry.

And this is how it’s done. Addiction Management is exactly what it says; it’s a method for managing your addiction to nicotine. What this means is that instead of smoking because you have to you are free to smoke because you want to. That might sound confusing but think about it. The issue is one of control. Now, you smoke out of control. With AM you smoke in control. You decide when to smoke and when not to. That control is complete, and it will last for as long as you want – the rest of your life if that’s what you want – because it is NOT based on willpower.

To learn about the actual science of Addiction Management, click here.