The main argument for quitting smoking is that it's bad for you; indeed, the evidence is well documented. That's perhaps why a lot of people who don't smoke have a hard time understanding why smokers continue to smoke despite the risks -- and certainly plenty of those people used the opportunity of Michael Douglas possibly continuing to smoke despite his cancer to reiterate that smoking is bad for you. Reader Barry Moore, though he's obviously plugging his own business and is somewhat excessively fond of quotation marks, offers a slightly more nuanced take.
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Hi Jeff - I too agree the "moral majority" should "butt out", but as a Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Hypnotherapist who has helped many people quit smoking, I'd like to point out the one sentence in your article that "hits the nail right on the head" -- "no matter how many reasons I may have to quit, I'm just not going to do it until my desire to quit overcomes my dread of quitting." The key is DREAD of quitting... I think that for most smokers it isn't so much that they enjoy it, but that they fear quitting.
Unfortunately the "addiction" is much less chemical that the media would lead us to believe. If it was really about "nicotine" the "nicotine replacement therapies" wouldn't leave people so badly still wanting to smoke. From what I've observed with my clients, it's more about the habit and the "emotional" connections that they have associated with smoking.
Ask most smokers to really pay attention to how it feels as they smoke for about a week, and they will realize they really don't like it, but rather that they are hooked to it. That hook is the unconscious associations that they have associated with smoking which is why hypnosis (when done correctly) can be so effective in helping people quit.
While I'm not one for running someone else's life, I will say that the "stigma" attached to smoking is likely saving a lot of lives. "I feel like an outcast" is the #2 reason (right behind I'm experiencing some heath problem) that people come to see me to quit smoking. It's ironic because many of those same people became smokers to be accepted by a peer group in school.
Barry Moore, MNLP, CH Smoking Cessation Specialist