When it comes to the war on smoking, there are no people who can tell you better how hard it is to quit than smokers themselves. Especially the smokers that have tried over and over again to quit smoking, only to find that once that initial willpower and excitement wears off, and they are perhaps faced with a social situation where they use smoking as a crutch, or situations that produce a lot of anxiety, then they completely revert to their old ways.
I know myself, since I’m a former smoker, how it took me several times to quit smoking, and even then I’d still be totally tempted to go back to the habit every time a situation presented itself that I felt I couldn’t go without those precious, seemingly calming cigarettes in.
A side point here is that cigarette smoking does not ease anxiety, in fact, there are many studies that show that while smoking a cig may help you at that moment to feel calmer, the chemicals in cigarettes actually help to perpetuate depression and anxiety, producing a perpetual cycles of ups and downs, which is why cigarettes are so darned addictive.
The new studies on wearing the quit smoking patch, the nicotine patch, is that if you wear it for six months or longer, which is actually way beyond manufacturer recommendations on the label, you have a greater chances of quitting the habit for good. However, even with the extended success of those that wear the patch for a longer period of time, the statistics are still pretty dismal for permanent smoking cessation – it’s somewhere around 1 in 7 people that quit permanently.
Most others go through relapses or continue to struggle with quitting for years, smoking on and off, or never entirely quitting, maybe just cutting back, for years to come. Sad statistic but true, showing once again how powerfully addictive cigarettes can be. Not only physically but psychologically.
It was also demonstrated in these studies that those that quit pretty much cold turkey, or dramatically restricted their cigarette smoking down to nothing or only one every few weeks had a much higher likelihood of long term smoking cessation success as well, suggesting that an all or nothing mentality may be better adopted in the quest to quit.
Furthermore, those who were on the patch for an extended period of time were more likely to get right back on the wagon if they had a temporary relapse back into their old habit. They were much more likely to view it as a long term goal and keep up with the pace of quitting when the went backwards and had a few drags or even a whole cigarette or two, another good reason to stay on it for longer. For an alternative to the nicotine patch, see our review on an herbal smoking cessation patch that has worked very well for many long time smokers to help them kick the habit and get healthy again.