Even If You Want To Quit, Smoking Is Tough To Kick

Dec 6, 2017

New research from Georgia State University finds the majority of smokers are looking to quit cigarettes. That’s especially difficult in a world that glorifies smoking through media, advertising, and regulatory language. The new study recommends we change the way regulators talk about smoking, and give less emphasis to the pleasurable aspects of the habit. We talk about this with Terry Pechacek, Professor of Health Management & Policy at Georgia State University. Carla Berg, a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University, also joins us.

GPB's Ryan McFadin just quit smoking after ten years. He’s over a month in. Here’s what the experience has been like for him:

"I stopped smoking on November 3rd so whatever that's like over a month from now. So I'm not sure exactly how many days, but it's been at least 30. So, it's been a while right. And that's like I quit cold turkey right. So Literally just woke up. I remember the last time I smoked was on Friday night. I was like Man this is going to be the last time and I sat there and I savored it, right, on the back porch and I was like I'm going to enjoy this because this is going to be the last one ever hopefully. It's funny because I feel like you listen all these people and they have like these really big you know grand stories of like this is why I quit or blah blah blah they have like these revelations and for me I just think I just kind of decided I didn't want to do it anymore, right. I talk about how I don't really have like you know anything but I will say that one of the things that made me really think about quitting was that I was sitting there for Thanksgiving and my mom made this pie right so she baked this pumpkin pie. You know everyone was and there tasted evening and talking about how good it was. And then I sat there and I was eating and I was like man I can't taste any at all right. I literally might as well be eating like applesauce because it tasted like nothing to me. That was a big moment where I was like this can't be good for me. Obviously all the smoking is dulling my taste."

"So like the first few days after I quit it's like the cliche where everyone talks about how difficult it was and I mean it was difficult. And I feel like obviously you have like the physical cravings but you get over it man. You just decide that this is what you want to do and you push through it despite you know actually wanting it and then you know after like two weeks or so I think it went away it was a good solid couple of weeks of really you know wanting it. And now it's just a passing thing. The older you get the cliches you start thinking more about your future. So being a heavy smoker for four years is not a big deal but being a heavy smoker for 15 is, right, so I've been smoking for almost ten years now. Give or take. So that does add up and I think that is a factor, right. Maybe it is subconscious. I just feel like man I need to stop now before it becomes a problem."