A Society of Weak-Willed Softies

11 10 2007

That is what we’ve become. Why is it people “need help” to quit smoking? I am sorry, but I smoke, and I smoke because I want to. Unlike some people I’m not a feeble-minded idiot who lacks the willpower to stop. I’m getting sick to death of hearing NHS (National Health Service to those who do not know) broadcasts about the many and varied ways they can help you stop smoking.

How about the very simple step of just…not buying cigarettes? Follow that up with the equally simple “Don’t smoke” and you are sorted. It really is not that difficult. I’ve given up in the past (particularly when I’ve had a cold and didn’t want to make my immune system any weaker).

I went back to smoking because I enjoyed it, not out of addiction. I don’t deny that cigarettes are addictive, mind you, only that they are sufficiently addictive that willpower alone is not enough to stop smoking. You wonder how smokers “trying” to quit would cope if they were addicted to Heroin.



8 responses

12 10 2007

It must be nice…being able to just quit whenever you want. That puts you in the rare population of those who aren’t physically addicted to the nicotine in the cigarettes, even though you smoke. My wife was the same way, she just quit and that was that. For the majority of us that are actually addicted to nicotine, it’s not so easy, trust me. And it has nothing to do with willpower – anyone that knows me would tell you that I have very strong willpower. I’ve faced many things in my life that were unpleasant without giving up. I’ve given up on things that I found pleasant that were not healthy for me in my past. None of those where like giving up cigarettes. Just because you don’t have an issue with it doesn’t mean it’s not sufficiently addictive to necessitate aids for quiting for those that actually are addicted.

12 10 2007
Mr President

Admittedly I don’t tend to get physically addicted to anything (I used to binge-drink but I’m not addicted to alcohol, it was psychological) but can nicotine really be that addictive?

Maybe I wouldn’t know, since I was labouring under the impression that all smokers, by virtue of smoking, must be somewhat addicted to nicotine. I always attributed being able to quit to just being a strong-willed person.

12 10 2007

I wish I had some scientific studies to present, but it’s an area where more research should be conducted. I’ve known lots of smokers and ex-smokers in my life, many of them friends and family, so I have a good idea of their personal strength of will. Some that I would describe as fairly weak willed have been able to quit without too much effort and some that I would characterize as rather strong willed have had many issues – requiring one or more types of quiting aids to finally kick the habit. Willpower is definitely a factor. You will never quit unless you are determined to do so, but I believe the individual’s level of addictiveness to the substance also plays a strong roll. I think that if we were able to determine exactly what causes some people to be able to stop without much effort, like you or my wife, while others seem to labor to get any results, a truly effective aid for quiting might be developed. Of course, the most effective method is to never start in the first place, something I wish I had done all those years ago.

12 10 2007
Jayne d'Arcy

Yes, it can be that addicting. My dad, one of the strongest willed people I ever knew absolutely could not quit smoking. Hypnotism, pills and even stupid things that you stuck into the cigarette to make it taste terrible didn’t work. At age 50, when he had lost nearly 70% lung capacity, his dad (big health nut, never smoked or drank) made my dad sit outside, in the cold if he had to smoke. Dad smoked right through a bout of pneumonia. My dad was an addictive personality. I don’t think you are, Mr. President, if you can swear off the smoking and the drinking so easily.

12 10 2007
Mr President

That’s a good point, Zybron, if they could do studies into why some people can quit easily and why others struggle they could probably figure out a very effective method of quitting.

Of course nobody wants that, not the pharmaceutical companies who like being able to swap your addiction to cigarettes to an addiction to patches or gum, nor the tobacco companies who want to keep you addicted so you keep smoking. That’s why it’s never been developed.

What I would say is that what truly annoys me about those broadcasts is they cover things like “therapy” to help people quit. Whilst I understand things like patches or gum I don’t see why there need to be so many methods. Jayne mentioned a couple of far-fetched methods that just make my mind boggle. Do they really work? They just seem to be pandering…

I ultimately don’t know why we need those broadcasts. That’s really where my gripe lies, the broadcasts, rather than the smokers who are struggling to quit. They annoy me when I’m just wanting to listen to the radio or watch some TV in peace. Of course I’m easily annoyed…

Jayne: I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I suppose I’m not addictive personality although I can definitely say swearing off the drink was not an easy path. Even now, although I’m now practising what they call “controlled drinking”, there are times when I get bad news or something, feel miserable and get sorely tempted to just drown my sorrows. It takes every ounce of willpower not to do so. So I know it’s hard, trust me.

12 10 2007

Honestly I don’t think it has to do with will. I think it depends on your level of dependency physical and mental. I haven’t had a cigarette since Monday morning and it’s getting harder and not easier to stop thinking about them or reach for the pack and light up. Sometimes I just want to scream. šŸ˜‰ A lot of it is, for me, is habit. Light up after I eat, light up on the phone, light up while I’m reading, light up when I see someone else light up. Yeah if Anthony Bourdain would quit lighting up on his show, I wouldn’t want a cigarette so badly right now. šŸ˜‰

12 10 2007
Mr President

Ahh, yes, my smoking is definitely a habitual thing.

12 10 2007

There’s something we can definitely agree upon, Mr. President, that there are way too many quit smoking ads being promoted. I am sick of seeing Truth commercials. The first one or two were interesting and somewhat thought provoking. At this point, I see a Truth advertisement and I just groan. Do they really think they are accomplishing anything at this point except blowing money away on useless commercials?

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