As part of the Smokenders programme new members make a list of their reasons to stop smoking. These list are private and confidential and often deeply personal. However, these reasons are frequently shared and discussed in group session.
Below are some of the most prevalent reasons that our members mention as to why they want to kick the habit:
1. I no longer want to be an addict
Many of our members started smoking in their early teens and by the time they join a Smokenders programme they have been smoking for 20, 30 years (or even longer). They are so tired of being addicted but also exhausted from trying to stop. Some have promised themselves every day for years that today is the day and they will stop smoking; only to fail again and again. Leading to a feeling of complete helplessness in the clutches of a very strong addiction.
2. I want to be healthier
Almost everyone that joins the Smokenders programme suffer from some physical malady due to smoking, be that itchy (dry) eyes or cold hand to more serious ailments such as difficulty breathing or a constant post-nasal drip. There are many ways that years of smoking and abuse of our bodies will manifest itself eventually.
Typically we only become aware of the first signs of bigger problems in our early thirties. Unfortunately by then we are so addicted that it is very difficult to stop.
3. I don’t want to smell like a smoker anymore
Smokers smell bad. We smell of old cigarette smoke and ash. Our fingers smell of tar and nicotine and many of us have suffered the embarrassment of sharing a confined space (elevators or cars) with non-smokers; the disgusted expressions on their faces tell volumes.
But not only do we smell, everywhere we smoke smells bad. Our homes and cars often smell of cigarette smoke.
P.S. Once you stop smoking you will no longer have the taste of cigarettes in your mouth. Something we are so used to we no longer notice it. Try and remember what cigarettes tasted like when you started smoking. They still taste the same, we just don’t notice it anymore.
4. I want to discover myself as a non-smoking adult
So many of us have simply never been a non-smoking adult; we started in our teens and are still smokers. We simply have no idea whom a non-smoking me will be. How will I handle certain situation without a cigarette? How will people treat me different if I’m a non-smoker? What will it be like to not to be addicted?
But all of us were non-smokers at some point of our lives; for most of us this was a long time ago but it was there nonetheless. We got up every morning and didn’t need to smoke. We could have a cool drink or a meal without a cigarette. We had stress and got angry and was disappointed and dealt with all of these emotions without reaching for a cigarette. Finding that person again is truly a wonderful journey.
5. I want to live longer
On average non-smokers live 10 year longer than smokers according to studies, conducted by Jha and by Thun published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013. A good summary of the studies can be read here.
While we sometimes laugh in the face of death most of us do not want to die prematurely and certainly not from a dread disease like cancer, emphesema, or heart failure.
P.S. One of the benefits of stopping is that we feels so much younger. As a gross generalisation we feel 10 years younger when we stop smoking. Calculate your life expectancy here.
6. I’m doing it for my children
As smokers many of us feel or belief that our children don’t deserve a smoking parent. We are bombarded with media articles telling us that children of smokers have higher incidents of asthma, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
We all want to give the best for our children and a smoking parent is not included.
7. I want to look better
Smoking leads to wrinkles. Smokers tend to develop more lines on their face at an earlier age than non-smokers. This often makes smokers look older than they really are.
8. We want to have children
Fertility is reduced in smokers (both male and female). Causing difficulty when trying to fall pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy can also cause numerous problems for mother and child both.
Menopause. On average, women who smoke have a menopause nearly two years earlier than non-smokers.
9. I want to be able to kiss my wife and children
The old saying “kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray” is still true and more and more this is becoming a problem for smokers; as smoking becomes less socially acceptable, non-smoking spouses and children are becoming very intolerant towards their smoking spouses and parents.
We often have parents in the class with tears in their eyes telling us that their children simply won’t hug or kiss them anymore because they “smell”. Spouses are banned from the house and must stand outside and to smoke.
10. I want to stop burning good money
At the time of writing the cost of a packet of cigarettes was around R40 i.e. a 20-a-day-smoker will spend R1 200 per month on cigarettes.
P.S. Take a R50 note. Light it. Let it burn. What a crazy thing to do? And yet it is healthier than smoking.
Many of the smokers that join us have many more reasons to stop smoking and other have only one or two. Regardless, as long as your desire to stop smoking is true you can certainly stop smoking.
While the list above is not exhaustive and is not intended to be a master list of reasons to stop smoking, it does provide a general indication of what motivates smokers to take action and break free from a common frustration with their habit.
The only reasons you haven’t stopped smoking is because you don’t know how.
We can teach you how.