Yes, nicotine addiction is partly physical. But the mental aspect of quitting cannot be stressed enough.
A new study found that texting encouraging messages helps people quit smoking. The study, published in British medical journal The Lancet, tracked 5,800 smokers who tried to quit.
For one group, the researchers simply sent text messages thanking participants for partaking in the study. For another group, they sent out encouraging messages.
The following are some of the encouraging text messages sent:
- think you'll put on weight when you quit? We're here to help - We'll TXT weight control and exercise tips, recipes and motivation tips
- TODAY is the start of being QUIT forever, you do it
- This is it! - QUIT DAY, throw away all your fags [cigarettes in British English]
Moreover, the group that received encouraging text messages could text the program in crucial moments.
When they're battling with a bout of physical craving, they can text crave and receive something like this: Cravings last less than 5 minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a drink slowly until the craving is over.
If they lapse (i.e. cave in and take a smoke) they can text lapse and receive something like this: Don't feel bad or guilty if you've slipped. You've achieved a lot by stopping for a while. Slip-ups can be a normal part of the quitting process. Keep going, you can do it!
The result is that the quit rate for the group that received the encouraging texts (10.7 percent) was twice the quit rate of those who received none (4.9 percent).
The earliest and arguably most successful advocate of a mental approach to quitting smoking is the late Allen Carr in his classic book The Easy Way To Stop Smoking. His clinics claim a 95 percent quit rate (based on the money back guarantee).
Carr's core message is that smokers don't want to quit largely because they're afraid to give up what they think is a genuine pleasure. Meanwhile, the truth is that nicotine withdrawal makes the body anxious all the time and smoking only relieves that anxiety.
He compared the feeling of smoking to the relief a person experiences when he removes a pair of tight boots he's been wearing all whole day.
Carr believes once the smoker understands smoking in this proper light, he would naturally quit.