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"Why can't I quit smoking?"

by John R. Polito, founder of WhyQuit and author of "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home"

Krystle has tried to quit smoking and thinks she can't."I want to quit smoking." "I've tried nearly everything." "Why can't I quit?"

If this sounds like you, you're just one step from success but it's a step most smokers miss, a missed realization that contributes to their downfall. It's that knowledge and understanding truly is a quitting method, the empowering self-admission that very few smokers have any insight into nicotine dependency and even less into arresting it.

For example, the "Law of Addiction" is the most important quitting lesson of all. Just one puff of nicotine will result in up to 50% of nicotinic-type brain acetylcholine receptors being occupied by nicotine, creating a powerful dopamine explosion that the mind's pay attention pathways will, in the short term, make nearly impossible to forget. When quitting the quitter isn't battling an entire pack or even a whole cigarette but just that one powerful puff of nicotine that will destroy their hard work and all but guarantee relapse.

Although critical, it's just one lesson among many. How long does it take to reach peak withdrawal, why can getting there feel like an emotional train wreck, how does nicotine feed smokers stored fats and sugars with each puff, what happens if they try skipping meals once nicotine feedings end, and how does nicotine interact with stress, caffeine or alcohol?

Imagine trying to quit smoking without knowing the ABCs of quitting smoking. As silly as that may sound, it is far more common than you think.

Think about it, what learning takes place by slapping on a nicotine patch, chewing nicotine gum, swallowing a pill or being hypnotized? None, absolutely none. The smoker knows no more about their chemical dependency after relapse than before.

Why fight in darkness and fear when you can turn on the lights?

Nicotine addiction feeding cycleNicotine dependency is about the mind's "aaah" wanting relif and anxiety punishment pathways being fooled into believing that that next nicotine fix is every bit as real and important as eating. Like trying to go without food, a region of the brain known as the insulapunishes the smoker with urges, craves and anxieties when they go too long without introducing a new supply of nicotine into the bloodstream. As with eating, the brain's dopamine pathways provide them with an "aaah" wanting relief sensation following nicotine replenishment.

Welcome inside the nicotine addict's mind, a place where an endless cycle of chemical beatings and relief from them left us totally yet falsely convinced that nicotine defined who we were, gave us our edge, helped us cope and that life without it would be horrible. Our dependency quickly destroyed all pre-addiction memory of the beauty of going days, weeks and months without once wanting for nicotine. Blinded by anxiety beatings, we could no longer see the beauty beyond.

Those selling quit smoking products actually play and prey upon the nicotine addict's wanting and fears. Their marketing is designed to try and get smokers to believe two falsehoods. They need for you to believe that quitting cold turkey is nearly impossible, to fear your natural quitting instincts. They also want them to believe that most who buy and use their products succeed. Both representations are false.

Far from quitting cold turkey being nearly impossible, as suggested by a July 2013 Gallup Poll, more smokers quit smoking cold turkey each year than by all other methods combined. It found that only a tiny fraction of successful ex-smokers used approved quitting products, just 8 percent. But don't believe this Gallup Poll or the U.S. Surgeon General. Instead, take your own poll.

What GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson do not want known is how utterly horrible their quitting products work in real-world use -- outside of clinical trials.

Research by GlaxoSmithKline consultants published in 2003 found that only 7% of real-world nicotine patch and gum users were still not smoking at 6 months, a 93% failure rate. Pfizer research suggests that Chantix and Champix will likely produce real-world failure rates frighteningly close to those of the nicotine patch and gum.

Instead of being afraid of your natural instincts why not educate them? Why allow anxieties born of needless fears to eat away at your dreams, desires and resolve? Your natural instincts know that knowledge and understanding can destroy fear, but are you listening? Allow them to explore WhyQuit, the Internet's oldest and most popular nicotine dependency recovery education forum. More than 200 free video lessons, two free quitting books (Never Take Another Puff and Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home), and two support groups (Turkeyville on Facebook and Freedom at Yuku), the site is staffed entirely by volunteers and actually declines donations.

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Learn More About Smart Turkey Quitting

  • WhyQuit.com's coffin bannerWhyQuit.com - WhyQuit is the Internet's oldest forum devoted to the art, science and psychology of cold turkey quitting, the stop smoking method used by the vast majority of all successful long-term ex-smokers. Left to right, WhyQuit is organized under three headings: (1) Motivation, (2) Education and (3) Support.
  • "Never Take Another Puff" - Imagine a free 149 page stop smoking ebook that's registered more than 4 million downloads and was written by a man who has devoted 40 years, full-time to helping smokers quit. Never Take Another Puff (NTAP) was authored by Joel Spitzer, the Internet's leading authority on how to stop smoking cold turkey. It is an insightful collection of almost 100 articles on every cessation topic imaginable.
  • "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" - Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit's 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine (FFN) is a free nicotine dependency recovery book that documents the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful cessation. Visit Turkeyville, Facebook's most popular quit smoking support group!Whether hooked on cigarettes, e-cigarettes (e-cigs), bidis, kreteks, a pipe, hookah or cigars, on dip, chew, snuff or snus, or on the nicotine gum, lozenge, spray, inhaler or patch, FFN provides a comprehensive yet easy to follow road-map to freedom from nicotine.
  • Turkeyville - Visit Turkeyville, Facebook's most popular quit smoking support group. The group's primary focus is the first few days and helping new quitters get started. Yes you can!
  • Joel's Library - Joel's Library is home to Joel Spitzer's "Daily Quitting Lesson Guide." The Guide walks new quitters through the first two weeks of smoking cessation, recommending daily videos to watch and articles to read. Joel's Library is also home to more than 100 original short stop smoking articles, to his free ebook Never Take Another Puff, and to his collection of more than 200 video stop smoking lessons.
  • Nicotine Addiction 101 - WhyQuit's guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
  • Freedom's small link banner Freedom - Looking for a deadly serious and highly focused education oriented support group? Home to Joel Spitzer, Freedom is the Internet's only 100% nicotine-free peer messageboard support forum. Explore Freedom's hundreds of thousands of archived member posts on how to quit smoking.
  • Nicotine Cessation Topic Index - An alphabetical subject matter index to hundreds of nicotine cessation support group discussions, article and videos.
  • 40 Quitting Tips - Key cold turkey nicotine cessation tips on how to stop smoking, vaping, chewing or sucking nicotine into your body and bloodstream.

Knowledge is a Quitting Method!

Written March 23, 2008 and page last updated December 27, 2013 by John R. Polito