Hidden Meanings Behind “Why Smoke?” and “Why Quit?”

March 5, 2012 in BottomPage

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By Fred Kelley

High school and college literature classes are preoccupied with
the hidden meaning behind the words on the page. Much of the
students’ time is spent examining what meaning the author was
really intending to convey with the story. In fiction, the story
is never what it seems.

In our own lives, our motivations and reasons for what we do are
not always what they seem. At first glance, why we do things may
seem simple. But upon closer examination, our motivations often
have hidden purposes and agendas, driven by events and feelings
in our lives. Often we are totally unaware of these forces that
shape our daily decisions.

The decision to quit smoking is propelled or impeded by two
basic questions: “why smoke?” and “why quit?” Answer these
questions honestly and you’ll make great progress toward
quitting. Let’s examine each in turn.


Do you smoke today for the same reason you smoked five years
ago, or when you first started smoking? Chances are good that
you started smoking for reasons totally different than why you smoke
now. You started smoking to be cool, or to rebel or to fit in or
just because you were curious. Now you would probably say that
you smoke to relax or to think clearly or because you are
addicted and can’t stop.

Take a long hard look at why you smoke NOW. You probably haven’t
even thought about this. Dig very deep. Think. Examine your
emotions as you imagine yourself craving a cigarette and
lighting up. What “made you do it?”

Smoking is easier than quitting. Staying where we are is much
easier and more comfortable than working on ourselves and moving
to a different place. It’s hard. It hurts. It takes work. It
requires admitting painful things to ourselves.

Quitting smoking means admitting that you have been wrong all
the years that you smoked. Quitting means admitting that you
harmed yourself. Quitting means that you aren’t cool just
because you smoke. Quitting means that your parents were right.
Quitting means that your husband/wife/kids/co-workers/society
was right. Quitting means you wasted THOUSANDS of dollars on
cigarettes and insurance. Quitting means that you’ll have to
learn how to relax naturally. Quitting means losing a “friend.”
Quitting means giving up your security blanket.

These are some of the hidden meanings behind quitting. Many are
painful. They force you to admit you are wrong or are not
superman. Most people hate to admit they have weakness. But
admitting weakness might be called the first step in most any
12-step addiction recovery program.

Examine why you smoke and you may find that you smoke not to get
something, but instead to avoid or flee from something. This
type of fear-motivated action (or inaction) is almost always
detrimental to health and happiness. Begin to focus on desire-
motivated action

This leads us to:


The reasons for quitting are voluminous: save money, improve
your health, cut your risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and
numerous other diseases, smell better, look younger, clean
teeth, nice breath, live longer, etc., etc.

Make sure you know exactly what you want to get out of quitting.
If cutting your risk of lung cancer is hard to visualize, then
focus on something more concrete such as the money you can save.
See the hundreds of dollars you’ll save stacking up in a big
bank vault. See bright clean teeth when you smile. These reasons
for quitting should be YOUR reasons for quitting. They should
pull you to them like a magnet. Find the magnets that motivate
you the most.

One word of warning: Avoid the flipside of the question “why
quit?” The flipside is not the question “why smoke?” Instead, it
is “why NOT quit?” This is a dangerous question because it leads
you down the easy path. Ask yourself “why not quit” and you’ll
likely answer, “because I can’t do it,” or “because withdrawal
makes me crazy,” or “because I can’t relax without it,” or
“because I’m still young,” or “because smoking isn’t that bad
for me,” or “because I can quit anytime I want,” or “because I
only smoke a few,” or “because I failed to quit before.” These
are dead-end answers that will never lead you out of the habit.
They are lazy, defeatist, powerless answers. They are answers
that allow you to put off quitting until the tomorrow that never

To quit, you must take back control of your life from
cigarettes. Take responsibility for your own health and
happiness. It is you who puts the cigarettes in your mouth, and
it is you who can take them out.

Ask yourself “why quit” and “why smoke” so that you can truly
understand why you do what you do. Then begin to pursue the
positive reasons that will help you to quit smoking, ON PURPOSE.

** Article © Copyright Fred Kelley of QuitSmoking.com. Visit the web site at http://www.quitsmoking.com
for great information and products designed to help you
quit smoking.

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