Ceasing to Smoke Cigarettes, One Method Uses AttentionEdit
Given that cigarettes contain addictive substances.
Given that the use of addictive substances over time leads to a state of addiction in the user.
Therefore: smokers become addicted to the substances in cigarettes.
Given that withdrawal from the use of addictive substances can cause serious health problems.
Therefore: withdrawal from these substances should be done in a managed, gradual way over time.
Given that ceasing to use addictive substances is a difficult process, usually based on a definite effort of will.
Therefore: many individuals who wish to cease using addictive substances fail to do so through
not beginning the process of withdrawal
dropping out of the process before completing it
after the process is completed, falling back into the habit of using the addictive substances due to urges to do so, based on both internal and environmental cues.
Therefore: what is needed is a way to cease using the addictive substances in cigarettes which
· recognizes that smoking cigarettes is a problem of addiction
· offers managed, gradual withdrawal from the addictive substances
· does not rely on a battle of will between the addicted smoker and the urge to smoke.
Such a method exists and has been put to a practical test with a successful outcome.
About this Method
The first step of this method is to give focused attention to something that is obvious to every long-term smoker: the urge to smoke is not constant. The urge rises and falls over time and in response to circumstances.
Example. The urge to smoke grows as the time since smoking the last cigarette increases.
Example. The urge to smoke increases as a response to stress.
The next step is to observe that the urge to smoke is also not constant during the smoking of a single cigarette. It is divided into four different phases.
1. The urge to smoke is greatest just before lighting up a fresh cigarette (“I need this cigarette.”).
2. For the first several puffs on a new cigarette, there is usually a strong sensation of relief and pleasure. (“This feels really good ... I feel so much better now.”)
3. Over time, the feelings of pleasure and relief wane. The smoker gives less attention to the fact that they are smoking (or no attention at all if they are involved in some other activity, such as working, reading, or watching television).
4. Finally, the cigarette may be smoked to the end in a kind of mechanical process entirely outside of the smoker's attention or real interest.
Given that the urge to smoke accurately represents the body’s craving for the addictive substances in cigarettes.
Therefore: withdrawal from these substances can be managed and adjusted by observing the body’s urge to smoke.
Given that it can be difficult to muster and/or maintain a level of willpower sufficient to resist the urge to smoke.
Therefore: it is practical to deal with this urge when it is less strong rather than when at its most powerful.
Because of both of the above:
· The best time to deal with the urge to smoke is not when the smoker feels the strong urge to start a new cigarette.
· The best time to deal with the urge to smoke is during the third or fourth phase of consuming a cigarette that is already being smoked.
This is because during the last two stages of smoking a cigarette:
The urge to continue smoking mechanically, outside of one’s attention, is low or even non-existent.
The body has already received the dosage of the addictive substances it felt it needed to reduce the craving and is now receiving more of the addictive substances, just out of the lifeless, mechanical habit of finishing a cigarette.
This method works by using attention to know when the craving has ceased, not willpower to resist the craving.
What to Do
1. When the smoker wishes to, and it is appropriate and safe to do so, the smoker lights up a new cigarette.
No willpower is expended to avoid starting the new cigarette.
2. While smoking the cigarette, the smoker makes the effort of attention to notice how much they are craving/enjoying the cigarette on an on-going basis, puff-by-puff, draw-by-draw.
There is no effort to not take the next puff.
3. A time usually comes when the smoker observes that smoking the cigarette is no longer particularly pleasurable and is no longer reducing a craving.
At this time, the smoker asks themself how they would feel if they stopped smoking that cigarette at that moment and put it out (knowing that they can light up a new cigarette when they wish to).
If there is any craving left or if it would require any willpower to stop smoking that particular cigarette at that moment, the person continues to smoke. And they continue to give relaxed attention to the level of craving/enjoyment they are experiencing.
4. Typically there will come a time in the smoking of a cigarette where the smoker feels no craving remaining and no particular enjoyment of the cigarette.
If it would take no effort of will to stop smoking that cigarette at that moment, the smoker puts it out, knowing they can light up a new cigarette when they wish to.
If the smoker feels the least stress or anxiety about putting the cigarette out, they are not ready to do so, and continue to smoke it. This keeps the smoker from building up a habit of struggling against the craving to smoke.
Benefits of putting out a cigarette at that moment
No willpower is used. No battle with the craving to be won or lost, now or later.
No consumption of the harmful substances in the unsmoked part of the cigarette.
Begins a gradual reduction of the level of addictive substances in the person’s system.
If the smoker makes the effort of attention to know what the level of craving is, they “succeed”.
Results of following this method
During a typical day the number of times the smoker starts a new cigarette remains about the same.
Even so, the smoker takes in less of the addictive substances found in cigarettes, because they do not fully smoke each cigarette they start.
This begins a gradual detoxification of the smoker’s system from the addictive substances in the cigarettes.
As the gradual detoxification goes on, the body’s urge to smoke also begins to decrease.
The smoker notices that their urge to smoke and pleasure in smoking a particular cigarette decrease earlier during the smoking of a single cigarette. So they comfortably feel able to cease smoking that particular cigarette sooner with no effort of will.
Over time the addiction, craving and habit relating to smoking are gradually diminished.
The detoxification process is completed and the person no longer has an addicted craving to smoke.
This is a simple process to describe and possible and practical to do.
Observe the craving but don’t fight it.
Use attention but not self-judgment.
Never use willpower.
Your constructive comments and feedback would be much appreciated.