Friday, August 22, 2008
Using Cigars to Quit Smoking Cigarettes
Jim quit smoking cigarettes almost two years ago but he has started smoking mini-cigars that are the shape of a cigarette. Many men switch to cigars thinking that this is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes because "you don't inhale" with cigars. Research has shown that when a cigarette smoker switches to cigars, that they do inhale, it is an automatic response, plus cigars, depending on the size, can have more nicotine than a cigarette, which can making smoking it even worse than sticking with a cigarette.
But it is not a matter whether it is safer or not. The issue is that the need for nicotine or addiction to nicotine is still there. A smoker always gets something from the cigarette that they are not getting somewhere else. The trick is to figure out what it is that the smoker really needs and it's not the cigarette, it is what the cigarette represents.
When a smoker quits, they go through different phases. The first phase is the physical addiction which is very intense for a week and then tapers lasting about 3 to 4 weeks. the next phase is dealing with habit cigarettes which takes a month to reverse a habit. The next phase deals with strong emotions and stress which can last a lifetime. By talking to a smoker and asking what is the longest period of time they have quit smoking for and what happened that caused them to pick up that first cigarette after quitting, I can determine what issues this smoker needs to deal with. If a smoker can't quit for more than a couple of days, then I know they are probably highly physically addicted and their issue is to deal with this. For someone like Jim, mostly likely his return to smoking cigars is to deal with underlying stress or strong emotions.
Finding out what the underlying issues are, and developing a strategy for dealing with the issue is the key for long term success.