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Joel's animated scrolling gif which states Never Take Another Puff (NTAP) in yellow letters on a black screen.

Quitting for Others

"My husband can't stand it when I smoke - that is why I quit."  "My wife is trying to quit, so I will stop just to support her."  "My kids get sick when I smoke in front of them.  They cough, sneeze, and nag me to death.  I quit for them."  "My doctor told me not to smoke as long as I am his patient, so I quit to get him off my back."  "I quit for my dog.

All these people may have given up smoking, but they have done it for the wrong reason.  While they may have gotten through the initial withdrawal process, if they don't change their primary motivation for abstaining from smoking, they will inevitably relapse.  Contrary to popular belief, the important measure of success in smoking cessation is not getting off of cigarettes, but rather the ability to stay off.

A smoker may quit temporarily for the sake of a significant other, but he will feel as if he is depriving himself of something he truly wants.  This feeling of deprivation will ultimately cause him to return to smoking.  All that has to happen is for the person who he quit for to do something wrong, or just disappoint him.  His response will be, "I deprived myself of my cigarettes for you and look how you pay me back!  I'll show you, I will take a cigarette!"  He will show them nothing.  He is the one who will return to smoking and suffer the consequences. He will either smoke until it kills him or have to quit again.  Neither alternative will be pleasant.

It is imperative for him to come to the realization that the primary benefactor in his giving up smoking is himself.  True, his family and friends will benefit, but he will feel happier, healthier, calmer and in control of his life.  This results in pride and a greatly improved self-esteem.  Instead of feeling deprived of cigarettes, he will feel good about himself and appreciative to have been able to break free from such a dirty, deadly, powerful addiction.

So, always keep in mind that you quit smoking for you.  Even if no one else offers praise or encouragement, pat yourself on the back for taking such good care of yourself.  Realize how good you are to yourself for having broken free from such a destructive addiction.  Be proud and remember - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


© Joel Spitzer 1984

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Page last reformatted on July 30, 2014 by John R. Polito