A million people have stopped smoking since the COVID pandemic hit the UK. Another 440.000 tried to quit according to this analysis by ASH and UCL in July this year.
That is a great many people that have stopped and a lot of them have tried.
How do you know when you have succeeded in quitting? How long will you need to not have smoked in order to be able to say that you quit smoking?
When can one truly say that they have stopped smoking for good and can call themselves a non-smoker?
There are so many good reasons to stop smoking:
- All the health reasons
- Smoking is getting more and more expensive
- It is getting banned in more places
- Smoke makes your clothes and hair smell (we only realise how bad it is after we quit)
Even though we know all the reasons to quit and we completely agree with them. It is still incredibly difficult to actually quit.
There are the usual approaches of cutting down the number of cigarettes, or only smoking on the weekends, or on a night out – because we have told ourselves that we can be a casual smoker and quit anytime we like.
We know perfectly well that we are only fooling ourselves for a little while and soon we are back to our usual habit.
The most common reason given for our failed attempt to quit are those pesky cravings.
What are cravings?
a strong feeling of wanting something (Cambridge Dictionary)
Cravings are incredibly common, and we can feel cravings for a variety of things:
As you can see, cravings tend to be for things that are enjoyable, comforting, or energising.
When we crave something, we are generally looking for something to make us feel better.
Craving vs. addiction
For a long time, we have associated the fact that we have cravings as proof that we are addicted.
Being addicted to something means that we can’t stop without physical withdrawal symptoms. We have been led to believe that having a craving for cigarettes is a withdrawal symptom and is therefore proof that smoking is an addiction.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
A craving is not a withdrawal symptom. Not giving in to a craving has no lasting physical effect on your body or on your mind.
As we have seen earlier, we can have cravings for all sorts of things all the time, but that doesn’t mean that we are addicted. It just means that we are looking for a treat to make us feel better.
We always have the choice to follow our cravings or to ignore them.
Smoker vs. non-smoker
The difference between a smoker and a non-smoker is straight forward; one smokes, and the other doesn’t.
At some point in their life, the smoker has been a non-smoker. It might seem like a lifetime ago, but they definitely were once upon a time.
The non-smoker might have had a period in their life that they were a smoker, or they could have been a non-smoker all their life.
The real difference lies in their cravings.
A non-smoker will most certainly experience cravings for variety of things just like a smoker would. However, for a non-smoker, a cigarette will not be part of the options for making them feel better. A cigarette most certainly won’t be viewed as a treat. They will have a list of their own personal cravings to choose from.
A smoker will experience cravings from their own list of personal preferences with the addition of cigarettes. Cigarettes tend to be at the top of that list.
Being a smoker that doesn’t smoke is a very difficult life. As a smoker, the main thing that makes them feel better is a cigarette.
Imagine how stressful it would be if the one thing that makes you feel better is the one thing you could not have?
Wouldn’t life be a whole lot easier as a non-smoker?
Stop smoking now
Let’s get back to the questions we posed earlier:
- How long will you need to not have smoked in order to be able to say that you quit smoking?
- When can one truly say that they have stopped smoking for good and can call themselves a non-smoker?
The answer is simple:
It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since your last cigarette. Identifying as a non-smoker is what matters. The simple act of quitting will follow automatically because a non-smoker has no need to smoke. For a non-smoker, smoking simply isn’t an option.
You will become a non-smoker the moment you believe you are.
Are you ready to become a non-smoker?
As a non-smoker it’s easy to stop smoking.
You can become a non-smoker in a single 2-hour session.
Simply get in touch to book your session now.