Does How You Quit Smoking Affect Your Success?

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In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers compared how people quit smoking with the level of success they achieved.

British scientists surveyed more than 1900 current and former smokers regarding their most recent quit attempt. Close to half of them indicated that they had quit on a whim - a spur of the moment decision to stop smoking rather than as a result of any pre-planning.

The authors describe what they call "catastrophic pathways" to smoking cessation that they think may be more successful than formal planning for a quit smoking program. They contend that motivational "tension" to quit, combined with "triggers" within the smoker's environment can lead to a change in mindset that produces spontaneous quit attempts that may ultimately be more successful for the long term.

It should be noted that the authors do not indicate that planning ahead for smoking cessation is counterproductive, but that the motivation that brings lasting success may have more to do with attitude than it does a specific plan.

I agree.

If You Want to Change Your Life, Change Your Mind

While I didn't have a particular plan in place when I finally quit smoking, I had been "preparing" for my quit day for a long, long  time. The hatred for smoking I had developed and my fear of getting a smoking-related illness were daily reminders of my desire to stop smoking for good somehow, someday.

They were, in effect, building blocks for the motivational tension and change in mindset  that brought about the "spur of the moment" quit attempt the authors refer to.

I'd been dragging addiction along wi me for 26 years when I decided I'd had enough. I was tired and angry at the addiction, and at myself.

I was ready to do whatever it took to quit smoking. I was unwilling to let nicotine addiction run the show any longer. And so I quit, more or less, right then and there. On the surface it looked spontaneous, but in reality, my quit program was years in the making.

If one were to interview the people who took part in this survey as to why they quit smoking so abruptly, I imagine many of them would mirror the sentiments I've outlined above. They'd probably say that the desperation and unhappiness they felt because of nicotine addiction had reached a tipping point, and they just were no longer willing to endure it.

That said, don't be lulled into complacency if you haven't hit your own tipping point.  Nicotine sinks its hooks and keeps us stuck for years, if we let it.  Use the tips below to help you create the mindset you need to quit sooner rather than later.  Your precious and irreplaceable health will than you for it.

An Educated Quit is a Successful Quit

As they say, education is empowering.

In order to find permanent freedom from nicotine addiction, it is necessary to change what tobacco means to you. You must change the relationship you have with smoking, and education about nicotine addiction and recovery from it will help you do that. Learn what to expect from nicotine withdrawal. Read everything you can about this addiction - from what it does to our bodies to how we heal once we quit smoking.

Support from Like-Minded People

The value of having others who are going through what you are or have been there and can help you navigate the terrain is priceless. The About Smoking Cessation Support Forum is a vital, caring community of people who will inspire you to make a success of your quit smoking efforts. Stop in and browse the messages being posted.  You'll come away inspired.


Regardless of how you quit smoking, be smart and prepare yourself for permanent success by fortifying your quit program with information and support.  They will help you build a smoke free life that will endure.


British Medical Journal. Catastrophic" pathways to smoking cessation: findings from national survey.

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