About

the best time to stop smoking

The one word answer: tomorrow! But isn't that what you said yesterday? And the day before?

The reason that 'tomorrow' is the smoker's favourite answer is because it means we don't have to do it today. We know we should quit smoking in the long-term, but that's the long-term and we'll think about that later. For now, we want to smoke and the immediate fear of feeling deprived trumps the longer-term fear of being killed by smoking.

We 'want' to smoke because, even though we know it kills one out of every two smokers, we think it helps us relax or cope with stress or that it keeps us thin. On top of these beliefs that smoking is somehow pleasurable or beneficial, we believe that quitting smoking is extremely difficult and unpleasant. Nicotine withdrawal is said to be brutal; "harder to quit than heroin" we're told. We believe that even if we make it, we will never be truly happy as non-smokers and that we will go through the rest of lives feeling deprived.

With beliefs like this is it surprising that the best day to quit is always 'tomorrow'?

The key to finding it easy to stop smoking is to change the way you see smoking and quitting. Allen Carr's method teaches smokers to shift their perspective. As soon as I began to see the cigarette not as the solution, but as the problem; when I realized that there was nothing to 'give up'; when I understood that as a smoker I experienced nicotine withdrawal for hours at a time when I was asleep and that it was so mild that it didn't even wake me up; when I realized that it was smokers, not non-smokers, who were deprived - of their health, their money, their energy, their self-respect and their freedom - then I realized it could be easy to quit and do you know what? It was.