Cigarette Smoking Is Caused By A Delusion, Redux

Photo: P.13

I leaned back in my chair and breathed a heavy sigh. My patient, Mr. Rodriguez (not his real name), noticed my discomfort. “I know I should quit,” he told me with a guilty shrug of his shoulders.

“Have you ever tried?” I asked.

“Once,” he replied, “but it didn’t stick.”

Mr. Rodriguez had been a pack-a-day smoker for the past 20 years, something he’d only begrudgingly confessed in response to a standard inquiry I make of all my first time patients.  He didn’t see it as a problem himself.  Or at least he hadn’t mentioned it when I’d asked him at the beginning of the visit why he’d come to see me.

“Are you aware of all the ways cigarette smoking is bad for you?” I asked. An alarmingly high proportion of patients know surprisingly little about all the potential consequences of tobacco smoking.  Mr. Rodriguez, however, was able to come up with two of the major ones:  heart attacks and lung cancer. “Why do you keep smoking when you know it causes heart attacks and lung cancer?” I asked him.  He shrugged, obviously embarrassed to be caught in a contradiction. But even as I tried to shame him into wanting to quit by preying on his need to appear consistent, I knew no contradiction actually existed.

THE KEY INGREDIENT TO HAPPINESS

Wisdom, Nichiren Buddhism argues, is the key ingredient to achieving happiness. And wisdom, rather than knowledge, is what my patient, Mr. Rodriguez, seemed so desperately lacking.  He knew intellectually he shouldn’t smoke, but that knowledge hadn’t yet penetrated to become wisdom—to become, in essence, action. Despite his embarrassment, Mr. Rodriguez presented no contradiction because action never arises from knowledge alone.  It arises from knowledge that is believed. How often do we understand with our intellects how we ought to behave but find ourselves unable to do so? Why, for example, do some people know how to set appropriate boundaries with others, but other people can’t bring themselves to say no to anyone? Why do some alcoholics figure out they need to stop drinking and stop, while others state they know they should, but never do?  Why do some people hear advice to quit smoking and quit that very day, while others smoke on even after heart attacks and strokes?

The answer lies not just in what we believe but also in the degree to which we believe it. Deeply held belief—Buddhism (and psychology) would argue—introduces a critical ingredient necessary for change:  motivation. One of my patients tried and failed to quit smoking for several years until his wife casually mentioned one day how much she hated coming home to a smoke-filled house, and he stopped for good the next day. He’d finally discovered the motivation to quit:  a sudden, burgeoning awareness (that is, a deeply felt belief) of the harm his smoking was doing not to himself but to his wife. He was ultimately more capable of believing that his wife’s life was at risk than he was his own. Not surprising when you consider most of us tend to deny the possibility of our own death far more vigorously than we deny the possibility of everyone else’s.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS A DOCTOR’S ADVICE?

“How many of your patients actually quit because you tell them they should?” Mr. Rodriguez wanted to know after I told him my other patient’s story. In fact, one meta-analysis tells us on average only 2 out of every 100 smokers told by their physicians to quit will succeed in establishing long-term abstinence. It’s less clear how many alcoholics or drug addicts who recognize they’re addicted and need to quit actually do. But the principle remains the same:  some people can digest intellectual knowledge and translate it into deep and motivating belief, belief they must change their behavior despite all the obstacles—and some simply can’t. Specifically, with regard to smokers, 98 out of every 100 can’t.

What, then, is the difference between those two smokers who hear their physicians’ warnings about the dangers of smoking and for the first time truly understand it’s time for them to quit and the other 98 who agree they should quit, who may even want to quit, but repeatedly fail in their attempts? Why did the possibility of losing his wife motivate one of my patients but not Mr. Rodriguez? Or asked from a Buddhist perspective, why do some find the wisdom and others do not?

One could argue that Mr. Rodriguez did in fact believe in the dangers of nicotine, both to himself and his wife, but that he was simply too addicted to succeed in quitting. I would argue, however, the problem lay less with the strength of his addiction and more with the weakness of his belief.  If those dangers, which he only weakly believed applied to himself, could have in some way been brought home to him—as Ebeneezer Scrooge’s impending death was brought home to him by the Ghost of Christmas-Yet-To-Come showing him his own tombstone—I’m convinced Mr. Rodriguez would have been able to resist the pleasure smoking provided and managed the pain of withdrawal abstention would have produced. Nichiren Buddhism argues that the true reason for the emergence in the human mind of new and powerfully motivating belief is unknowable and therefore unpredictable, which is why I teach residents and students to ignore the odds and counsel all of their smoking patients to quit each and every time they see them. Despite our preconceived expectations that most of our patients won’t be able to listen, clearly we have no way of predicting which 2 out of every 100 will.

HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

I would argue, therefore, there are two possible approaches to the practice of medicine and that the second of the two is better. The first involves diligently providing appropriate advice about smoking cessation, abstention from alcohol for those who abuse it, or pharmacological management of depression and anxiety (to name only a few of the common ailments that affect my patient population).

The second approach, however, involves becoming interested in the beliefs patients hold that keep them trapped in harmful behavior patterns. It involves embracing a view of the human mind that recognizes all behavior arises out of belief and that if we could only help patients find their way to wisdom, their lives might then become governed by actions that lead to happiness and joy rather than pain and suffering. This, then, is how I view the proper role of a physician:  not just as an advocate for patients’ health but for their happiness as well.  While I certainly don’t believe I have all the wisdom my patients would ever need to solve every problem they face, I am equally certain they do themselves.

My ultimate aim, then, and, it turns out, the most enjoyable part of my day, involves encouraging patients to challenge their deeply held beliefs that, in my view, obstruct their ability to change maladaptive behaviors. Though I often fail, I am never able to predict with whom I will succeed, so I approach every patient as a mystery to be solved, always full of hope. And as he left my office that morning no more determined to become a non-smoker than when he’d first entered, I wondered: what do you need to hear, Mr. Rodriguez? What experience will cause some critical piece of wisdom to penetrate into your heart and somehow motivate you to save your own life?

Next Week: The Reason To Avoid Slander

26 comments to Cigarette Smoking Is Caused By A Delusion, Redux

  • veggivet

    I am a veterinarian, and I will often ask clients if there are any smokers in the house. I have had many return and inform me that they or someone else in the house quit smoking after being informed that exposure to secondhand smoke can negatively impact their pets’ health.

  • Kathy

    I used to be a heavy smoker. I never suffered under the delusion that smoking was not dangerous. I knew it would eventually ruin my health and kill me as I’d seen older friends and family members succumb to illnesses resulting from smoking. It isn’t that I didn’t believe it would harm me, it was that I believed I was incapable of quitting. Quitting seemed impossible and a painful, smoking-related death very possible. Even as I watched my dad grow ill from COPD, I smoked even more because watching him showed me my future and it terrified me. When I was frightened, I smoked, when I was stressed, I smoked…so my fear of dying from COPD or other smoking-related illnesses spurred me to smoke more! Whenever my doc pointed out the awful illnesses that might eventually beset me, I grew nervous and embarrassed, so when I left his office I immediately lit up.

    The key for me was the belief that it was possible for me to quit…that I was no different than anyone else and could quit. I had to believe that it would not be the hardest thing in the world. Once I believed in my ability and that it would not be that difficult, I was able to conquer my addiction. Admittedly, a medication which was new to the market a few years ago helped me; I bought into the belief that the med would make it easy for me to quit and that helped enormously. I hated being a smoker and I’m so relieved that I quit when I did.

  • helen

    My reaction to this is that it is nice that you actually talk to your patients. My doc has a questionaire that patients fill out before being seen. He says very little during the visit and after he sends a form letter with info that he thinks is important. The letter he sends does invite the patient to phone if there are questions but honestly the bother of making the phone call puts me off.

  • Ah yes there was the “funny” story in a vet journal about 20 years ago of the man who wouldn’t quit smoking even when his wife had lung cancer. But when informed his dog had it he quit immediately. Funny only in the strangeness of the human mind. You of course are familiar with that.

  • Jane

    If protecting the health of spouse, children and pets won’t motivate, how about educating your male patients about the link between smoking and ED?

  • Jael

    I’m not sure I agree. Or, perhaps I should say that I think “wisdom” is not the problem in all cases. I am overweight. I know (knowledge) how to eat in order to be healthy and lose weight. I am physically not in great shape. I know that I need to exercise more often and somewhat more strenuously in order to improve my physical health.
    For me, however, I think the problem is that I am ambivalent about living. What kind of wisdom would I need to attain in order to change that ambivalence? I’m aware that my behavior, my habits, contribute to that ambivalence (depression), but what wisdom is out there that will persuade me that it would be a good thing to live longer?
    My mother is in a nursing home with dementia. My dad lives with me and has Parkinson’s. Why should I change, to live to an age where I’d be living like that?

  • Sorry Alex I don’t completely agree with you on this. I’m an ex-smoker. I quit almost 20 years ago; it took 7 or 8 tries. I also battle with eating too much, especially sweets! I don’t think it’s a question of knowledge or even wisdom. It’s more about willpower for me: instant gratification over long term benefits. Stopping smoking HURTS, it hurts so much. It easier to stop eating. It probably doesn’t hurt as much as lung cancer, but it hurts here and now, and lung cancer? Well there is no guarantee either way. Addiction is very tricky, and if you’ve never been addicted its very hard to imagine the internal battles of the addicted person. Maybe you have something in your life where you have no control over yourself? You can extrapolate that difficulty to understand addiction. What would have helped me to stop smoking is just someone really caring that I stop, in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. So your advice to advice the patient to stop is perfect, but I think it helps because you are showing concern, compassion and sympathy and not because you are imparting wisdom.

    Niki: I didn’t mean to imply kicking an addiction is easy, but rather that without a powerful and motivating belief that you need to kick it (wisdom), kicking it is nearly impossible for the very reasons you cite. And I don’t think by giving a patient advice to quit smoking that I’m imparting wisdom. My hope is that such advice helps point the way to a patient finding the wisdom herself.

    Alex

  • Maybe meeting someone with COPD?

  • Anna

    What does this say about our attitude to climate change? What will it take for us to act on the imminent threat rising temperatures pose to the Earth’s ecosystems, animals and the human race? The World Bank says the very real possibility of a four-degree rise in global temperatures this century would have devastating consequences… http://bit.ly/Wo1TGW

  • David Hare

    Hi Alex
    being both a Buddhist and someone who has battled with a smoking habit, I found this post very interesting. You absolutely hit the nail on the head when you say: “The problem lay less with the strength of his addiction and more with the weakness of his belief.” This is great in terms of stressing personal accountability rather than blaming “addictive chemicals” for a smoking habit. One of the fundamental illusions that drive people (including some Buddhists) to smoke is, I think, the belief that their life is not precious. When you deeply & truly come to believe that your life IS the treasure tower described in the Lotus Sutra, it becomes impossible to smoke, it is incongruent with the image you have of yourself. As always, depth of belief is a daily struggle when we chant between fundamental darkness and Buddhahood or the inner “angel and devil” as I sometimes say to the clients I coach.

    My experience with clients on this topic is that the decision to quit smoking is never logical, it is always emotional. So it is a lack of deep desire as well as a lack of strong belief that stops progress. Logically we know that tobacco causes heart disease and lung cancer. Logically, we know it is stupid to smoke. But we are emotional beings. Our right brains not our left brains make the final decision when we are toying with whether to smoke or not (or eat another doughnut or whatever…)

    Action is driven by emotion—”energy in motion”—and therefore anyone wanting to take action and be smoke-free must be emotionally excited by the benefits it will bring to them—health, body shape, better sex life, better tasting food or whatever it is that they personally and individually value most. And of course Values are emotional as well, not logical.

    When you are excited enough about achieving such goals, you won’t even notice cigarettes on sale in a kiosk, let alone buy them, because your reticular activating system will filter them out as being irrelevant to your life goals.

    All best,
    David

  • gloria rivera

    David Hare makes the point that emotion and not logic is the reason that one stops smoking—I’m not sure that is totally accurate—I was a chain smoker for 40 years. About a dozen years ago I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “For a woman in her 60’s, you’re very healthy…Probably live a long time…Why not do it without dragging an oxygen tank around?”

    I threw a full pack of cigarettes in the trash and haven’t missed them since!

    Gloria

  • christian

    Alex,

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I know through my work to create and build self-awareness that it is my beliefs that cause misery for me. Many choices I have made in my life gone awry and have caused me to blame myself, even when I had a hard time intellectually (with knowledge) figuring out exactly what I did wrong. But when I examined my beliefs, expectations and assumptions I found my beliefs and expectations caused my troubles, not the outcomes.

    There is simple, profound wisdom in examining our beliefs as you have just written. Just as I would say to Jael in the comments above, it is worthwhile for one to examine one’s beliefs when things go wrong. It appears Jael believes his life will be miserable when he gets to his father’s age, and that the only logical interpretation of his ambivalence about living is due to the same expected outcome. But what if Jael examines what his beliefs are regarding his future? Better physical health also would impact his emotional health, I suspect and allow him to re-examine the core of his ambivalence.

    When something undesirable happens to me, I have a choice in how I respond. This response is based on my beliefs. If my beliefs are faulty and therefore do not serve me, aren’t I better off to examine and change my beliefs than continue to be miserable?

    I have come to believe that wisdom is a journey, not a destination, and that it takes constant practice. I still get tripped up. Often I find I still “know” things but lack the wisdom to understand things. I make mistakes. Occasionally, I gain perspective that gives me a little peace when I feel I have changed deeply held beliefs and gained new understanding.

    My therapist has taught me that so many beliefs are like well-traveled and rutted roads that we drive down automatically. The key is having enough self-awareness to put on the brakes and find a new, hopefully smoother road. And then a new habit of thinking and a set of beliefs can be born.

    Thank you for your post and reminding me that holding onto long-held but detrimental beliefs is the opposite of wisdom.

  • Ellen

    I agree that this is a matter of belief. Cognitive dissonance and denial are nearly impossible to overcome.

  • louise

    I was a two pack a day, plus, smoker of low tar, low nicotine cigarettes for over 38 years. (Otherwise, I took decent care of my health). I seriously tried to quit less than five times during my thirties, but then my smoking parents became ill. My father developed lung cancer and died three years later. Meanwhile, my diabetic mother had a fatal heart attack about a year after my father was diagnosed.

    Throughout this stressful period, I continued to smoke and even picked up a few extra self medicating habits. I dropped these health destroying habits after my father’s death in 1991, as I came to realize that I did not have the right to kill myself and leave my young adult children parentless and grieving (like I was feeling).

    Fast forward fifteen years later and I am still smoking, but had had become a gym enthusiast. In 2006, I was diagnosed with lower intestinal cancer, early Stage 2. The prognosis was excellent, but the chemo-radiation treatment, the Nigro Protocol, was notoriously brutal. My saintly oncologist said he wouldn’t ask me to quit smoking during this stressful time, but asked me to cut down. I limited myself to a few puffs a few times a day.

    Several days after I completed the first round of chemo (5 days, 24/7), I was preparing for the next week of radiation and getting my car gassed up. I had the epiphany. I was eating an ice cream bar and had enough money for a pack of cigarettes or another ice cream bar (I had funny food cravings during treatment). The ice cream bar was soo tasty…so I decided to forgo the cigs and purchase another ice cream bar. The afflicted addict in me screamed “how are you going to cope tomorrow when you drink your morning tea?” A soothing voice replied that I’d deal with tomorrow morning, when tomorrow morning arrives.

    I have not smoked since. I did not have any withdrawal symptoms—ever. I remain cancer free. I am eternally grateful to powers greater than myself, whatever those powers may be.

    I have taken up yoga, am almost a vegetarian and practice Buddhism as best I can.

    Namaste:)

    Louise: Congratulations on all counts!

    Alex

  • Nomi

    This quite resonates with me, with regard to diet/exercise. I know my daily habits are unhealthy, but have been unable/unwilling to reform them for any length of time. Will have to meditate on this post.

  • Gene

    I quit smoking in 1976 after 22 years as a pack-a-day smoker. I knew and believed what I read about the dangers of smoking and decided that 22 years was too long to be indulging in such an unhealthful habit. It wasn’t that I no longer enjoyed smoking; in fact, I had no strong desire to quit. I just thought it was a good time to stop. At that time a smoking cessation program called Smokenders was available to help. It was not inexpensive, but it was fairly successful. It worked for me and subsequently for my sister. Since that day in 1976 I’ve never again smoked, although in rare moments such as after a particularly satisfying dinner, I might have the sensation that something is missing and I realize that that something is the cigarette I used to have. But the sensation is fleeting and easily ignored at this point.

  • Ken

    I think it is important to focus quitting smoking for other reasons than health. I do not believe in telling people that if you smoke you WILL get this or that. This can create the disease in and of itself. I think it is best to focus on the annoyances of smoking. Smelling bad. Cost. Inconvenience. Etc….this is definitely not fool proof but we all know the evils of smoking. Focusing on the negative can cause the negative to become even stronger. Focus on how much more money, how breathing will be better, more time in the day and hopefully smelling nicer. Also believe that if everyone was told that apples caused cancer for years and years until it was common belief…well, apples would do just that.

  • To Jael,

    Reading your response made me want to reach out to you. The very best thing to change your mood and feelings of self worth is to exercise. The thing is you have to start where you are. If your really out of shape, just start walking. Make a promise to yourself to walk 30 minutes a day for a month, no matter what. At the end of the month re-evaluate. Its not about losing weight, its about boosting your energy and making you feel good. I read somewhere it takes 30 days for your cells to increase their microcondria (what makes energy) so don’t push yourself at the beginning, but do get out there every day. I’m a runner and I think I’d be an insane depressed overweight mess without my running. Good luck, take care of yourself!

  • Jael

    Niki, while I appreciate your desire to reach out to me, my point was that one has to want to live for this to make a difference. I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, plus I’m watching my parents’ health fail even though they worked hard to be healthy. It’s a slow, downhill trip, with my mom and dad both wishing they would die while on antidepressants.

    I’m not on the road to deliberate suicide, but there is a part of me that is not sure I want to prolong my life. That is my question for the doctor. Is it wisdom I need?

    Jael: It is indeed wisdom you need: a new way of looking at your current circumstances that points the way to hope, to a solution that you can enact (even though it may be a solution you don’t want to enact). When one is depressed, no problem seems solvable, but that’s often (though not always) the depression itself talking. I don’t mean to be self-serving here, but I wrote my book to answer questions like the one you posed here. You might want to take a look at it. There aren’t easy answers to your predicament, but there are answers. Good luck!

    Alex

  • Tara

    Hi Alex—just received my book and have been reading it all weekend. So much good information and inspiration! Thank you for writing it, I know it is going to help me on the road to conquering my anxiety and depression. Do you think I should try medication as well, or just tough it out with the book and some meditation and exercise? I can’t decide which way to go.

    Tara: I’m so glad you’re finding my book helpful, but not knowing you, I couldn’t possibly give you good advice about whether to take medication. Please discuss that with your doctor.

    Alex

  • Mike

    Alex

    Thank you for the very interesting article. I was a cigarette smoker for approximately 19 years. I lost count of the number of times I attempted to quit. In my past life I was an emergency room RN. I can’t tell you how many times I had persons come in to the ED with COPD, pneumonia and diagnosed lung cancer. No matter what walked into the ED, I continued to smoke. Eventually the straw that broke the camel’s back was my third time with pneumonia. Interesting thing about this time was due to the location of the infection in my lung, I was placed in isolation with rule-out tuberculosis. Fortunately the tuberculosis was negative. Interesting thing about being put in isolation where everyone, including relatives, has to put on a mask and gown, one does a large amount of deep thinking. Due to my four-day stay in isolation (and the experience of inhaling cigarette smoke and feeling the fire in my lungs along with uncontrollable coughing with pneumonia in the past) I stopped smoking. I would not say it was easy, but 22 years later I am convinced the powers that be gave me encouragement (along with my family) to quit smoking.

    I’ve heard many people say that you can’t make someone quit smoking (or other harmful habits). It takes a person with a deep decision to quit.

  • Mariana

    I am really interested about this article, but will read it later… That is, in a sense, the internal justification that goes on in an addicts mind. I know that reading about cigarette smoking will bring more awareness as to why I should quit (I did already for a couple of years but have recently and compulsively lighted up again). However, I have other “more important” things on my mind and cigarettes serve as a crutch. I blame others for dumping their heavy on me and that is another justification. I am too weak to quit right now and am ok with the risks of smoking cigarettes is the suicidal truth…

    Mariana: The post isn’t really (or, I should say, only) about cigarette smoking. It’s about what causes the dichotomy between what we know we should do and our actual behavior.

    Alex

  • Mariana

    Alex, I often find wisdom in knowledge, which is why I read about that which interests me. However, I think the first and foremost truth one has to deal with before any behavior can be altered is accepting what motivated that behavior in the first place to the degree that it became a habit (or addiction) and then finding a way to unlearn this habit or replace it with another more healthy habit…the truth for many is that we don’t care about our lives. For instance, after I wrote to you, I was confronted with the words “suicidal truth” and the feeling of impulsiveness that drove me to write it. I became aware of my current state and even though at that moment I didn’t care about myself and I even had this urge to perpetuate my suffering. I have done some work on myself that would allow me to start to change this thought into wanting to care about what happens to my body. So, the energy changes from blind impulsiveness to awareness to something I can choose to shape. And I want to want to choose life. I want to want to choose good health and fresh air. By the way, I read a book that argues from a psychological stance, that all addictions originate from a common need. In other words, all addictions are in essence the same thing. So a persona that smokes cigarettes to the point that it becomes a problem might probably have other addictions. If what I’m writing is too vague, I apologize. Thank you for this blog, though.

  • John Slomski

    Although we usually see ourselves as individuals, sometimes I find it preferable to think of ourselves as a multitude. A multitude of motivational centers, roles, perspectives, even personalities—all inhabiting a single body and competing or cooperating in choosing one’s actions. To be conflicted, or, in this case, unable to stop smoking, points out where two or more of these “centers” make conflicting demands upon us. The “rational” center is only one of several, and there is no reason to think it will dominate. A helpful start, as Socrates said, is to know thyself.

  • Marie

    I printed your last paragraph to reread multiple times. I have a quote on my desk “rational explanations seldom ease feelings…” Many smokers (or people with other types of maladaptive behaviors) know the risks but continue their behavior. It serves a purpose for them. Until someone (doctor or other person) wants to explore the underlying reasons, there is no motivation to change the behavior. It is so easy for doctors to say “quit smoking” and they can then note it in their records. But as I told my pulmonologist, “You haven’t walked in my shoes” and his only response was “No I haven’t.” End of discussion. Challenging a belief system takes willingness on both parties—the counselor, but more importantly the individual. If the person has no desire to change his behavior then he won’t. The reason could be lack of self-worth, no goals, no belief in a future. Unless someone is willing to take the lead role to explore these issues with the reluctant person, no change will come about.

  • John

    I have found a very effective solution to the smoking problem. I spent years and years creating it, and I created it for my mother, who smoked for 53 years and died at the age of 64. She tried to quit for 20 years, and literally the only thing I have found that she didn’t find and try to quit with is a particular book. But she quit using my method, in 8 weeks, without even trying, and remained smoke free for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, I was too late, and she only lived another year, discovering she had lung cancer shortly after she quit.

    My method has a success rate of 96% so far when it is used according to the directions, but no matter what I price it at—from trying to give it away for free to $500 a copy, I cannot get people to use it. It works effortlessly, without withdrawal, weight gain, irritability, frustration, or any of the other things smokers usually experience when they try to quit; they simply gradually lose interest in smoking and eventually stop. Some don’t even realize they’ve stopped for days or a week or more. And by the end of the program, they are simply non-smokers. It works so gently that I have actually had people tell me that they did it themselves, and the program didn’t do it.

    Come to me in tears because you can’t quit, and then quit without trying, but you did it yourself? Hmmm.

    Anyway… my point is, I have concluded that smokers have to be a special brand of both stupid and delusional to smoke. And, it is actually pretty easy to turn a smoker into a nonsmoker permanently without negative effects… but… nobody wants to use it.

    I can say that I have freed only a handful of smokers from their addiction. One was so hellbent on proving that it couldn’t work for her that she succeeded in stopping for several months, and then continued at the end of the program just to be right. She is the only example of someone who technically followed the directions and still smokes. The rest who followed the directions all quit so gently they didn’t realize it for between hours and weeks, and have never gone back.

    All of those who failed to use it according to the directions failed to quit.

    I think wisdom has a lot to do with it, and I believe that smokers have two issues that need to be dealt with. The first is that they are brainwashed to believe that quitting MUST be difficult; and the second is that they have fear of quitting. Some fear the “must be difficult to quit” part, some fear the loss of their coping mechanism for whatever stress, and some have both. My method fixes that for them too.

    But I can’t even give the darned thing away. And the excuses I have seen people come up with for smoking when they are offered an easy way to quit are what brings me to the conclusion that smokers are uniformly possessed of both stupidity and delusion. It is not a matter of what they know and understand logically; it’s what they believe at their irrational emotional levels.

    Sadly, most smokers smoke because they want to have what they believe smoking gives them, more than they care about anything else: their health, their family’s health, etc. Cancer will not stop them, COPD will not, emphysema will not… nothing will, until they are ready to, and they want it more than they fear the loss of that coping mechanism, or the expected suffering of attempting to quit.

    And it’s so bad that when they are offered a way to just open a door and walk through it to freedom… they won’t. No matter what it costs, or how easy it is to use or quit with.

    Stupid and delusional indeed.

    John: If you’re still willing to give your method away for free, I’d love to hear about it here.

    Alex

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