My clients give me many reasons they smoke.  There are some common reasons that smokers use to explain why they smoke and what they get out of smoking.  All of these must be addressed to be a successful, healthy nonsmoker.

         "I use cigarettes for relaxation." Or, "Anytime I'm stressed I need a cigarette."  In actuality, cigarettes stress your body.  Among the 200 plus known poisons in cigarettes are benzene (a cancer-causing flammable liquid) formaldelyde (a disinfectant and preservative), carbon monoxide (a poisonous oxygen blocker) and hydrogen cyanide (a poisonous rat killer).  I guarantee whenever you smoke a cigarette, it actually stresses your body because you are ingesting poison.  In addition, nicotine is a stimulant which causes the release of adrenaline, "the fight or flight" hormone which can leave you feeling stressed rather than relaxed.  Relaxation and stress relief are triggered when you take the break at work, sit outside on your deck, get away from the aggravations and the deeper breathing when you inhale that slows down your blood pressure and heart rate.  So take your break and do some deep breathing -- without a cigarette.

         "I'll gain weight if I quit."  People don't gain weight because they quit smoking.  They gain weight because they eat more and substitute eating for smoking.  When you become a nonsmoker, stay away from foods high in fat and sugar, avoid nervous snacking and get more exercise."

         "I know a smoker who lived to be 95 and never had a smoking related health problem."  That's great for that person.  Just know that person is the exception rather than the rule.  Diane Stover, chief of pulmonary medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York once commented that eighty percent of the diseases she treats are related to smoking.  You don't have to believe the constant studies reported in the media, just go to any hospital and talk to the patients.  You are unlikely to be the exception.

         "I've tried to quit before.  I've never been able to quit."  Know that each person has their own path to being a nonsmoker.  Some people may try to quit more than one time.  Just know that each try increases the chance that you will succeed.  If you have tried patches and pills, hypnotherapy is another way to become a nonsmoker permanently.