John Dicey, is CEO of Allen Carr’s Easyway quit smoking programme and has helped thousands of people across the world to give up the habit.  And as a former 80-a day smoker he knows all too well the challenges they face.

In this latest instalment of his exclusive guide to quitting smoking in lockdown, he shares some of the lessons he learnt during his own quit smoking journey and busts some myths in the process.

The key to happiness
When I smoked the concept of happy non-smokers used to make me raise an eyebrow. Having attempted to quit smoking with every other method known to man, and always found it impossible to last more than a few hours, I was not inclined to believe anyone brave enough to suggest to me that, not only could I stop smoking, but that I could be happy to do so. More than that, it used to annoy me a bit.
I smoked every minute, of every day, from the moment I woke up in the morning to the moment I fell asleep. I also had no idea that the reason I was inclined to stay up so late, often into the small hours of the morning regardless of the long hours I worked, was my apparent need and desire to smoke…I really felt the need to maximise my smoking every single day and every single night.

When you attempt to quit smoking using willpower you think of all the horrible disadvantages of smoking. The fear about our health, the financial cost, our family’s concern for us, the slavery, the stigma, and the constant feeling of tiredness and lethargy. But on the other side of the argument we worry about how on earth we can live without our pleasure, our crutch, the thing that we think defines us – there’s a real fear of how we can cope.
On both sides of that argument there is one thing; pure fear. Fear of what’ll happen if we carry on smoking versus fear of what will happen if we stop, how will we cope? Ironically, both sets of fear are caused by one thing; cigarettes.
That argument never ends and even if the poor smoker succeeds in quitting for a while, they remain obsessed with the loss of their perceived pleasure or crutch.
But if you look at the issue differently, and examine the arguments “for” smoking, and if someone is able to explain in simple terms how we’ve been conned into thinking cigarettes do those things for us but in fact, they don’t…it becomes not only easy to stop – but ridiculously enjoyable.
That is the magic that happened to me over 20 years ago and that is the magic that can happen to you. All you need to do is see smoking for what it really is; something that has fooled you into thinking it gives you pleasure and benefit whereas in fact, it gives you nothing. Except pain.

The appetite myth
Smoking certainly seems to suppress your appetite doesn’t it? But that’s the thing with confidence tricks – they seem to do what they seem to do…but they don’t. I used to be so certain that smoking helped control my appetite, even though I was horribly overweight as a smoker. I’d be part of the way through a tough day at work, I’d feel hungry – but didn’t have time to grab lunch – I’d light a cigarette instead. The hunger seemed to disappear. It never occurred to me that a non-smoker in that exact same situation, feeling hungry but not having time to grab lunch, would ignore their hunger and a few minutes later – the feeling of hunger would be gone. A non-smoker doesn’t give credit to cigarettes, or anything else for that matter when that happens. However, a smoker will be convinced that it was the cigarette that got rid of the feeling of hunger. It’s you who has controlled what you’ve eaten – in spite of smoking, not because of it.

The ‘habit’ of smoking
I always thought of smoking as a habit, although deep down in my heart I knew I was addicted. The fact is – we’d much rather view it as a habit that we find hard to break than as an addiction. One is forgivable vice – the other is an acceptance that we have become enslaved. We hide from the truth.
We think we got into the habit of smoking and then got addicted to nicotine – but it works the other way around. First, we got addicted to nicotine and then we got into the habit of smoking. The addiction came first. The importance of that is knowing you need to tackle the addiction. The habit and the addiction are easy to break…as long as you’re happy to be free.
The habit of smoking might give you that “I want a cigarette” thought as you step off a bus. For someone using willpower to quit – that’s a horrible moment – the feelings of loss and sorrow, the feeling that you’re that pleasure or crutch are increased and become more and more intense. But for someone who’s genuinely happy to be free – it’s a moment of pleasure. They brush away the thought happy that they don’t have to smoke any more. It’s like getting rid of a disease.

Cutting down
I tried cutting down a few times, but it just made cigarettes seem more precious and after each attempt to cut down – I’d go back to smoking even more than before. That’s how I ended up as a chain-smoker. Cutting down tends not to work for that reason – it makes cigarettes more precious rather than less. Those that manage it on a long-term basis tend to binge smoke when circumstances allow them to – when they’re under the influence of alcohol for example. They spend every day trying to limit the amount they smoke. It normally turns out to be pretty miserable.
Deciding to stop smoking is the key to your prison cell
It’s the distractions that prevent us from making a positive decision to quit that cause most harm. We kid ourselves that cutting down will work, in our heart of hearts we know it won’t last. We’re beaten before we even try. Ask yourself a question:
DO YOU WANT TO BE A SMOKER FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE – SMOKING DAY AFTER DAY, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT, NEVER BEING ALLOWED TO STOP?
Your answer to that question will always be “no”. Nothing will ever change your answer to that question.
Now you can either decide to be free from the whole filthy nightmare and spend the rest of your life celebrating your freedom – or you can try a half-hearted attempt to cut down or resist temptation with a feeling of doom and gloom.

Attitude Is Everything – GO FOR IT!
If you want to quit smoking on your own – it’ll be my pleasure to provide you with some further advice and guidance, or answer your questions, over the coming week or so. If you’d like to use Allen Carr’s Easyway I’m delighted to highlight some options for you below (many of which are FREE).
The great thing about Allen Carr’s method is that you carry on smoking until you’re happy to stub out your final cigarette – so there’s no need to panic or worry – take your time and pick your moment – in the meantime, if you intend to use Allen Carr’s Easyway to quit please do carry on smoking (unless you’ve already quit of course), and if you want to quit on your own – start thinking about when. There is no time like the present.

ONLINE>FREE: Live Online Group Seminar: Our Live Online Group Seminars (normal cost £299) are absolutely free for Vitality Health Insurance policyholders. The seminars are live and interactive and led by a Senior Allen Carr’s Easyway Therapist who will guide you through the process and all you need to “attend” is a laptop or tablet.

ONLINE>25% OFF: Live Online Group Seminar: If you’re not fortunate enough to have Vitality Health Insurance then you can enjoy a 25% discount if you attend one of our Live Online Group Seminars (normal price £299 so now £149.50) in April or May (book quick because places are limited). Use code LOCKDOWN when booking & if you complete the programme and don’t quit smoking your fee is refunded in full.

ONLINE>FREE: Quit smoking audiobook: Audible allow new members a free book when they open an account. You’re under no obligation to make any subsequent purchases and they’ll allow you to have a free copy of ‘Allen Carr’s Quit Smoking Boot Camp’ audiobook. It’s delivered direct to your phone. I’d recommend this particular Allen Carr book as it tackles more contemporary issues than the original, ‘Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking’, which is also available for free to new members of Audible.

ONLINE>FULL PRICE: Online Video Programme: Our Online Video Programme is a highly effective 2.5 hour audio-visual programme that costs £149.

ONLINE>FREE via Email: If you just quit smoking, regardless of what method you’re using, and need some support please do get in touch. We’re happy to provide free of charge advice to anyone in need of it regardless of whether they are using Allen Carr’s Easyway method or not. Don’t worry that the link takes you to “Support after using Allen Carr’s Easyway” just make it clear in your correspondence whether you’ve used Allen Carr’s Easyway or not.
You can get more information on all of the above by clicking here

The post Quit smoking for life in lockdown – an insider’s guide appeared first on Action on Smoking and Health.

This content was originally published here.

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