If you have used the internet to research and find quit smoking products, you will probably have stumbled upon a few quit smoking support forums. These are forums that centre around helping people quit smoking by offering advice, encouragement and support to people coming off tobacco. But I want to play devil’s advocate here an ask if they are any use.
When you are looking to quit smoking, you may well be overwhelmed by the range of information and products available to help you quit. You may also be surprised at the number of quit smoking support forums out there too and the advice offered by members in them. Remember, anecdotally, anyone who has quit smoking will promote the method that worked for them just as I recommend the hugely successful cognitive behavioural therapy approach.
I am a firm believer that all chemically aided (nicotine replacement therapy, chantix, zyban etc.) or alternative interventions (hypnosis, acupuncture, laser treatment, herbal remedies) for smoking cessation are unnecessary. Why is this? Because I believe every one is capable of logical thought and with a good teacher, you can learn anything. It was by understanding the enemy (nicotine by the way) and learning how to overcome its attacks, that I trounced smoking.
Quit smoking support forums may help you to learn how to overcome your enemy but by their very nature, they are disorganised and cluttered with a combination of useful advice and social commentary. The social stuff just gets in the way of your real focus – unless of course you just want somewhere to hang out online! If you want to learn about something, a concentrated information source is better than a rambling forum!
I believe that when you quit smoking you are best doing it once you have learned how to do it. To give you an analogy, I wouldn’t try replacing the brake pipes on my car unless I had gotten a manual to show me how to do it. Some people would but guess who runs the higher risk of brake fluid all over their driveway and brake failure round the corner? Not me!
So what has learning how to quit smoking got to do with quit smoking support forums? Well, if you have already learned how to quit smoking there will be a few things evident to you and you wont need any support.
Firstly, you will not be in any doubt about your decision to quit smoking. You will be 100% comfortable that you made the right choice. If you don’t know how to quit smoking, you may miss this vital step. It’s a bit like choosing toothpaste. Choosing toothpaste is such an innocuous decision that you never give it a second though. You just decide which sort you want (probably smokers toothpaste!) grab the toothpaste and move on. You don’t dwell on whether that was the right decision. Quitting smoking should be like this too.
Secondly, if you have learned how to quit smoking you will have already studied your enemy. It is a well studied enemy too and there is very little that is unknown about it. Your enemy is nicotine. Its attack principles are the same every time it attacks and it never changes its tactics. The same triggers are always there and your responses are what have made you smoke for so long. Because it is a thoughtless enemy, with only one type of attack for each individual occasion, it is easy to overcome – once you have learned how!
I am always amazed at the frequency of posts in quit smoking support forums where people cry out for help on the forum that they are suffering an unbeatable craving. If you know your enemy, you can unravel its attacks with ease and celebrate every victory.
Quit smoking support forums are useful to research how to quit smoking but they keep the would be quitter in a state of suspense about quitting smoking. Quit smoking forums are littered with postings celebrating how long it is since someone quit.
When you decide to quit, that’s it, it is over and done with. Pointing out how long it is since you quit with every post (as many forum members do) just emphasises as misconception that you have abstained from smoking. You haven’t abstained from smoking, you have just rejoined normal life like the other 79% of the US population who don’t smoke and aren’t addicted to nicotine.
As long as you make quitting smoking a big deal, it will come with big problems. Don’t go twittering on about ‘your quit’ on quit smoking support forums – you are only dragging out your emotional relationship with the problem of nicotine addiction. You are going to quit smoking – big deal, do it and move on!
Finally, I have written this briefly to highlight some differences of opinion in quitting smoking. There are many out there in the smoking cessation community who will be mortified to see me question the support and motives of quit smoking support forums. But I am suggesting here that by their very nature of offering extended support, they are turning quitting smoking into a bigger deal than it really is. The motives are undoubtedly honourable, after all, these forums aren’t sponsored by tobacco companies! But by blowing up the difficulty and struggle, they are self fulfilling.