It is very, very hard to simply quit smoking. This is because the smoker has built a Psychological Smoking Mechanism from an early age and reinforces it with every cigarette. You see, it takes great WILL POWER to smoke each cigarette. The WILL POWER is generated by this mechanism which is maintained by beliefs.
They consist of Why I Started Smoking and Why I Continue to Smoke beliefs. Both of these categories of beliefs support each other and need to be explored extensively.Why I Started Smoking
It is necessary to go back to the beginning and examine the reasons a smoker started. However, for most people this has been in excess of 20 years and long since forgotten. I was being interviewed by a radio host the other day who had, with great difficulty, become an ex-smoker after two years of struggle. I asked him why he had started smoking and because it had been so long ago, he couldn't remember much about it. This is common for smokers. So, it is necessary to use special psychological techniques to bring these memories back and neutralize them. With each belief examined and eliminated as a support to the WILL POWER to smoke, the mechanism becomes weaker.
The Mind of the Child
The average age when a smoker begins is around 15. Some start even earlier. As adults, we tend to forget how we viewed the world at this time of our lives. It made sense to us then but wouldn't to our adult mind today.
As teenagers, everything is a new and intense experience. We are susceptible to advertising messages. Because of this, advertising today is regulated to avoid unduly influencing children however it wasn't always so. For many decades, the tobacco companies carried out a very effective advertising campaign that influenced young people to smoke. When smokers are working with The Unlearn Smoking Success System (TM), they usually find that advertising played some role in their reason to start smoking.
Advertising to Influence Young People Started in the 1880's
When I was a kid, baseball cards were really popular. They came in bubble gum packs and sold a lot of bubble gum. Football cards were eventually added so they become sports cards. I can remember my friends and me buying new packs and trading to get the cards we were missing in our collection. But baseball cards didn't start with bubble gum!
In the 1880s and through the early 1900s, baseball cards came in cigarette packs! All the star players, kids favorites had a card. This made cigarettes attractive to young people. To get more cards, you had to buy more cigarettes. And you certainly didn't want to waste the purchase so the cigarettes got used.
Wide scale Promotion of Cigarettes
When World War 1 came along, the tobacco companies gave "free" cigarettes to the soldiers. After the war, hundreds of thousands of new smokers, heroes, returned to America and the youth of the nation had a new role model for smoking.
Around the time of World War 1 ending, the new medium of radio came on the scene and the first major advertisers were the tobacco companies. When you added this with all the newly minted smokers from the war, cigarette use skyrocketed!
Young people have always admired celebrities whether it was sports or entertainment. The tobacco companies were quick to jump on the celebrity endorsement bandwagon.
Young people started smoking particular brands because their favorite sports figure or movie star pitched them. Cigarette consumption kept going up and up.
Humphrey Bogart made a cigarette dangling from his lips a cultural icon.
When television made it's appearance in 1946, again the tobacco companies were the prime source of advertising and funding for programs. People today would be either shocked or amused with the TV commercials for cigarettes that appeared throughout the 1940s-1960s. Cigarette consumption was at it's peak in 1964 at 44% of the population when the Surgeon General issued the first warning about the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
It got to that level from advertising. Jingles, slogans, celebrity endorsements, and other means convinced young people to smoke.
Almost half the citizens of the United States were smokers! Obviously the advertising worked. Even women were specifically targeted by having their "own" cigarette. That worked too. When I was growing up, many of the women smokers I saw were smoking "women's" cigarettes.
To stop the unfair influence of young people to smoke via advertising, eventually cigarette advertising was banned in broadcast media in the early 1970s. But then it just switched to more billboards, signs, posters, full page magazine ads etc. It didn't go away and continued to influence young people with it's message.
When people examine Why They Started Smoking with special psychological techniques, they are usually surprised to find out just how influenced they were by cigarette advertisements. But that's what they were designed to do and why cigarette advertisements in broadcast media were eventually banned.
Exploring the reasons why you started smoking and removing them is the first step to eliminating cigarettes from your life permanently and easily. By removing the Psychological Smoking Mechanism, you will again become a nonsmoker.
In future articles I will discuss other reasons people started smoking that keep them smoking, making it hard to quit.
© Copyright 2009, R. Michael Stone