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Wellness

How To Stop Smoking Before It Kills You

Even if you smoke, you can stop later. But if you smoke first, and wait till you feel the effects of your addiction, you give it the upper hand. This is why “quit before it kills you” is a well-known health claim in tobacco countries.

The problem with a quit-before-it-kills mentality, in my view, is that it is less efficient than using the correct quit-after-it-kills mindset. So if you are using a quit-before-it-kills mentality, it is likely that some level of nicotine will stay in your system and you will not get the lasting benefits that you want from an effective quit. In other words – you might be doing something wrong. You could also be trying to get someone else to do the work for you by being self-motivated, and quitting for selfish reasons. In both cases, you are not quitting because it is true, but because you are using the wrong approach. I don’t really like the term “quit-before-it-kills you”. “Quitting before it kills you” is one of the most common reasons people quit, and I think that it is an inaccurate (and often misused) term. It sounds like people need to stop when they are already addicted and feeling ill. That’s true, but it’s not the case, and it’s usually not the case after a couple of months of continuous abstinence.

The correct answer for how to stop smoking (or drink), and keep you alive to fight another day, is to use a quit-after-it-kills mentality.

In contrast, the correct answer is to use the quit-before-it- Kills you approach. In other words – quit after you feel all the nicotine in your system is gone. Don’t try to “beat” your addiction, or “hold off” as long as you can. Rather, be very efficient in getting withdrawal symptoms under control.

Don’t start with just one cigarette or beer – if you get addicted to one you might get addicted to the next. Instead, you can quit when the first one is gone as well. Start with a drink, start drinking water, and add a couple of beers, and gradually go through the transition. It might take some time for a first transition to last, but you can learn how to transition more easily in that way – not trying to use your body for something other than getting the nicotine you needed so you can feel alive and energized.

You know what? There are people out there who have problems with abstinence – who do actually struggle and suffer and might even relapse. But the quit-after-it-kills mentality is far more efficient and effective in dealing with that problem than the quit-before-it-kills mentality.

So you might be a “quit-first” guy, or a “quit-after” guy. If that’s the case, or if the addiction to the addiction is so strong that it will not be easily dealt with with willpower alone, then stick with the quit-before-it-kills approach. If you have a strong belief in the value of one less cigarette than you would otherwise have, then stick with that. If you think “I’m not ready to give up smoking”, or “I am not ready for the taste of nicotine”, then you should stick with that as well.

But if the addiction is just too strong to fight, or one cigarette is not an option – stick with the quit-before-it-kills approach. Use willpower with a plan to start. But start as soon as you can, before you even notice that you are getting to a stage where you can only use the willpower to quit. And stay there until your addiction completely falls away. And stay there until you are ready for real life, not just to use the “quit first” approach.

If you’ve tried this approach and have made it through the withdrawal without a relapse, then good for you. But you will be happier if you stick with that quitting technique until you feel you need it. It will give you more time to work out the problems that kept you out for long periods during the early stage of recovery. It will give you more time to make the transition from the quitting habit to life again.