The 4 Words That Were Lost In the Battle With Big Tobacco: Quitting Smoking Is Easy

quitting is easy 1

How many times have we seen those Ad Council anti-smoking commercials talk about how lethal smoking can be?   Yet in the very same ad, they talk about the nearly unbreakable addictive properties of nicotine –is this a positive message that aspiring non-smokers should be hearing?  While studies have ‘proven’ that nicotine is addictive, the public has been conditioned to believe that quitting is almost impossible.

The fight against tobacco companies has largely been successful since the 1960’s; however some casualties have come in the form of our presuppositions concerning smoking addiction.  The problem lies in the fact that the true strength of nicotine addiction has been overblown, leading many to come to the conclusion:

I can’t quit, because it’s just too difficult.”

Of course, this message can lead to positive effects when posed to non-smokers –but to people who would like to stop smoking; it places an impenetrable wall between them and their desire to quit.

 

Tobacco: Burned

It was roughly a half-century ago when Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry unleashed the very beginnings of the anti-smoking movement.  Tobacco companies were rattled to the core when he said,

The strongest relationship between cigarette smoking and health is in the field of lung cancer. There is a very strong relationship, and probably a causal relationship, between heart disease and cigarette smoking.”

It was at that point when the fight began.  And because tobacco companies were in a sticky situation, they had to figure out a way to fight back.

dark alley

In 1971, smoking cessation groups and government organizations were no longer able to broadcast anti-smoking ads over the airwaves, due to a short supply in funding.  According to an article from Temple University News, an interesting study from Jennifer Ibrahim, Ph.D. concluded how tobacco companies were doing everything in their power to gum the gears in keeping anti-smoking ads from the public ears:

·      ”De-funding media campaigns through efforts such as claims of a fiscal crisis;

·      Weakening the message or limiting the audience of a campaign;

·      And, claiming that tobacco control efforts duplicate the tobacco industry’s own youth smoking prevention programs.”

It was at this point when something drastic had to be done.

 

Desperate Measures

It wasn’t long after anti-smoking ads left the airwaves, when smoking rates began to rise again.  However, study after study had linked smoking to lung cancer, making it clear that smoking was not only dangerous, but it was lethal.

Over the course of decades through court cases and legislation, tobacco companies have largely been stripped of their abilities to advertise. ‘Sin taxes’ on tobacco products have been established, and big tobacco has been forced to fund cancer research and even anti-smoking ads.  According to CBSNews.com, this has been one of the most prevalent reasons why these ad campaigns are still on the air:

The tobacco companies also pay for anti-smoking campaigns. Philip Morris USA, for example, has spent more than $600 million on youth smoking prevention efforts since 1998, including grants to schools and other groups that focus on youth development, said company spokeswoman Jennifer Golisch.”

However, while it offers a certain measure of public gratification to see tobacco companies funding pushes against their own products –this poses two problems:

·      First, tobacco companies will only pay so much in the long haul, since the legal battle has basically been ongoing since the 1960’s.

·      Second, because tobacco companies fund their own anti-smoking commercials, they may not necessarily be concerned about the effectiveness of those ads.

Simply put, if tobacco companies are capable of the unethical tactics discussed above by Ibrahim, then why should we consider it below them to create anti-smoking ads that have the reverse effect?

In fact, YahooNews.com published an article in 2013, featuring a study that showed how some anti-smoking ads have actually triggered the desire to smoke, rather than dissuaded the act.  One of the reasons is that the ads themselves showed images that displayed smoking “cues”, which trigger the need for some to light up.

Combine that with this issue with the message that “…the cigarette is dangerous, addictive, and deadly,” [emphasis added] which the National Library of Medicine says has been the focus on anti-smoking ads from the very beginning… and we might have a new problem.

This brings our initial question full-circle:  should smoking cessation ads and government organizations really be telling smokers that nicotine is unbreakably addictive?  The understanding is that this might have placed a wall between the smoker –and the will to quit.  If it’s next-to-impossible, then why try?

 

The Truth

According to QuitRunChill.org, the withdrawal symptoms of quitting actually do not last long:

It usually takes 2-4 weeks for nicotine withdrawal symptoms to disappear completely, but it can take longer.”

For most smokers, the light at the end of the tunnel will appear roughly 3-7 days after the last cigarette, because the physical nicotine withdrawal does not take long to run its course. Contrary to popular belief, recent studies are finding that nicotine itself is not as physiologically addictive as we once thought.

In fact, Dr. Reuven Dar, of the Tel Aviv University Department of Psychology, conducted research regarding the balance between the physical-mental symptoms associated with quitting.  Featured in ScienceDaily.com, Reuven published interesting, albeit controversial findings:

…That the intensity of cravings for cigarettes had more to do with the psychosocial element of smoking than with the physiological effects of nicotine as an addictive chemical.”

 

Findings like this are popping up on a regular basis, saying that smoking is less of a physical addiction and more of a mental habit.  For instance, many are reasoning that if nicotine was truly an addictive substance, like many street drugs, then why haven’t we seen reports of people overdosing on nicotine gum and patches?  This is one reason to suggest that it’s not the nicotine that is addictive –it’s the psychosocial habit, which has people continuing to purchase cigarettes.

However, if tobacco companies were able to make the world believe that smoking is more addictive than it actually is, then perhaps many feel as though quitting would be impossible.  In which case, Big Tobacco wins.  We lose.

But, then again …we don’t have to.

 

Success

If these recent studies are true, then perhaps this is one reason why nicotine patches, gum, and other products simply have a dismal success rate.  Breaking the smoking habit comes down to a commitment towards a mental choice, instead of attempting to ‘trick’ your body into thinking that it’s smoking.

Essentially, your body will be quite normal within just a couple weeks, with the very worst parts over within a couple days after quitting.  The problem stems from our desire to smoke.

If anything, success can be experienced through addressing the psychological, mental, and even spiritual aspect of breaking a bad habit –making options like counseling and hypnotherapy.  Of course, this also makes sense why Reuters reported that success rates with hypnosis were between 20% and 45%, whereas nicotine cessation products only see about 9%. Our own testing indicated a success rate of 85% with The Kerry Gaynor Method.

tunnel 5

 

Conclusion

Tobacco companies don’t want you to stop smoking –but in their fight against anti-smoking groups and the Surgeon General, they have been forced to fund campaigns against their own products.  Of course, they want you to think that breaking their little habit is impossible.  If you believe it is, then you’ve made it true in your own mind.

However, we are now learning that smoking cessation has far fewer physical symptoms than we had supposed, because nicotine is far less addicting than we’ve been told.  This is why we need to take a mental-spiritual approach to smoking cessation, rather than depending on methods that will only save 1 out of 10 smokers from the habit.

That ‘locked’ door to your cessation success can in fact be opened, because you have been the key all along.

Andrew Shack

The original member of the team along with Kerry, Andrew Shack dedicates everything to saving lives day by day. A former Executive Vice President of Capitol Records, Andrew was referred to Kerry from a friend with a healthy dose of business-like skepticism. His exact response when he learned about The Method was, "You're joking right?". His results were no joke. His transformation from 2 packs a day to no cravings set into motion the next 3 years of developing a system to bring The Method to a larger audience. Years later, he still hasn't picked up another cigarette.

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