Why Quitting is so Difficult

Why Quitting is so Difficult

Usually, no one wants to think of themselves as a "quitter." But when it comes to smoking, quitting is the best thing you could ever do. Just remember that, like anything worth doing that will bring great change for the better, giving up tobacco is a challenge.

What makes quitting smoking particularly difficult is that the addiction has two sides: the physical and the psychological. The physical symptoms are due to nicotine withdrawal, and can include headaches, irritability, trouble sleeping and other uncomfortable symptoms. Though annoying, these symptoms are only temporary, typically lasting no more than a few days. Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) can also be used to alleviate the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

For most people, the real challenge of quitting has to do with the psychological dependency—the habit of smoking. It is easy for smoking to become linked to all different parts of your daily life, such as waking up in the morning, having a cup of coffee, eating, watching TV and any number of other situations. This is why, even with the use of nicotine replacement therapies to minimize withdrawal symptoms, you can still experience strong urges to smoke. But if you plan for how you’ll handle the psychological challenges of quitting smoking, you improve your chances of being successful.

Challenges of Quitting Smokeless Tobacco

Just like smoking, quitting smokeless tobacco is both a physical and mental process. Usually within a few hours of your last dip or chew, you will begin to experience the symptoms of nicotine withdraw. Nicotine levels in smokeless tobacco are even higher than in cigarettes, which can make the physical addiction even more difficult to break. But remember that the withdrawal symptoms are only temporary and will begin to fade in just a few days.

To quit successfully you will also need to break your psychological dependency on smokeless tobacco. People often enjoy dip or chew at certain times or during certain activities—like while working or after a meal. Know your triggers and be prepared to make major changes in your behavior to deal with the mental and emotional aspects of the habit.

How difficult it is to quit often depends on how addicted you are. To get a sense of how addicted you are to smokeless tobacco, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you still get sick or dizzy when you dip or chew, like when you first started?
  • Do you dip more often and in different settings?
  • Have you switched to stronger products that contain more nicotine?
  • Do you swallow juice from your tobacco on a regular basis?
  • Do you sometimes sleep with dip or chew in your mouth?
  • Do you take your first dip or chew first thing in the morning?
  • Do you find it hard to go more than a few hours without dip or chew?
  • Do you have strong cravings when you go without dip or chew?

Smoking Fact

Smoking low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes appears to have little effect on reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.