Method of Robert West: The Smokefree Formula

Method of Robert West: The Smokefree Formula

Robert West, a professor of Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at University College London, a consultant of British Ministry of Public Health and a founder of NHS Stop Smoking Services, published the book «The Smokefree Formula» released by publishing house “Sindbad” to No tobacco day. In this book Robert West shares his experience of leaving off smoking with the readers. For that the smokers need to form their own smokefree formula. For 30 years of successful career professor West has helped thousands of people to overcome nicotine addiction and stopped smoking himself.

The book consists of 3 parts:

So, here are the recommendations of Robert West:

Imagine the story of how you gave up smoking.

Once upon the time I was like you. I was a smoker. From my own and professional experience I realize, that quitting smoking is a hard but possible thing. In some degree my story is a typical one.

Smoking was a small part of my life. I just liked smoking peers of mine. The most of us thought, we would smoke a bit and stop until cigarettes did harm to us. Many people think this way, but unfortunately the things usually take another turn.

You need to invent the story of your smoking cessation, which you will be telling to yourself. At difficult moments just remember – you are the one, who will say soon: “Yes, it was difficult, but I have done it”.

To my mind such a story is necessary for everyone, for every attempt of quitting smoking. The words are needed to make sense to what you feel and do. In five years somebody will ask you, whether you smoke or not, and you will answer: “I’ve been smoking before, but now I don’t smoke”. What will be your feelings, when you remember the time of leaving off smoking?

Why is it practically impossible to stop smoking without any method?

The majority of smokers, wishing to give up this habit, have to apply all their efforts in order to stop. The fact is from the first sight rather evident, but not for everybody. Let’s see an example. Several years ago some pharmaceutical company in Central Europe examined a very effective medicine for smoking cessation. The specialists, who were working that time for the company, didn’t though possess the required experience in this sphere. When I saw the results, my tongue failed me: no one of the tested smokers stopped even for a day. They had been offered to take a free medical examination as a part of the whole research, but nothing else had been explained to them. So, how can a pill make them stop smoking? This scheme doesn’t work! The smoker needs his consciousness to overcome nicotine dependence.

And never take the abortive attempt as a failure. Don’t ever give up. Enjoy each non-smoked cigarette. This is the first part of the success: don’t give up!

Choose a special day

Often smokers try to time the smoking cessation to some special date: The New Year, No Tobacco Day, birthday or anniversary. I can’t assert that, but as I see, this may help just because you will keep in mind this special date for a long time. In this case you try to border your life as a smoker from your life as a non-smoker, and it really helps.

I am not sure, if you hold out longer only because you tried to stop smoking in your birthday, but I am sure: birthdays and other special dates make people to be more active and resolute.

People mostly decide to change their way of life in the New Year. There is a tradition – give yourself a promise to start “a new life”. In Great Britain there are near half a million smokers, who promise to quit smoking in the New Year.

In Great Britain in No Tobacco Day about 300 000 people a year decide to give up this bad habit. In 2012 people invented a new action called “Stoptember”. The smokers promise not to smoke for a month and share their plans with associates. Many people quit smoking this way, and that really encourages.

Not a single inhaling from now

If you really want to get rid of nicotine addiction, you need to understand clearly, what you are doing. Let me explain it.

First 4 weeks are the most difficult. This time you feel you need a cigarette badly, and the abstinence symptoms you feel are the strongest. Perhaps you will have to stand them with your teeth clenched. You have to do everything possible not to smoke again. Remember, every time, when you refrain from smoking, your mind learns to live without cigarettes, and finally you free yourself from them. Each inhaling works on the contrary, it throws you back, to the start point.

The next 4 weeks you find it hard to live without cigarettes. You feel depressed, you are irritated and in bad mood. On the other hand you bear the abstinence symptoms much easier these days, and there is a danger to relax and yield to persuasion of your inner voice, assuring you: there will be nothing bad, if you smoke one cigarette, because you have earned it.

The next period you find living without cigarettes much easier. The real danger for you now is not the temptation for smoking or abstinence symptoms, but the need to change your way of life. Sometimes you will be still missing cigarettes, especially when you are nervous or have nothing to do. Communicating with familiar smokers, you may automatically take a cigarette offered by someone. The only thing, which will stop you in this case, is a thought, that you are a non-smoker.

To become an ex-smoker

Imagine, what would be, if you never started smoking? Would you be reaching for a cigarette now? Of cause, you wouldn’t. It is true for the absolute majority of people: a person hardly starts smoking after 25 years old. And how would your life be, if you weren’t a smoker? Would you constantly think of cigarettes? Would you think you enjoy cigarettes but fear to smoke, because it is not healthy? Sure you wouldn’t. And this is what you ought to be guided by.

When you start to take yourself as a non-smoker, you will hardly come back to cigarettes.

Many ex-smokers haven’t quitted smoking completely. They admitted that smoking was connected with pleasant remembrances in their consciousness, and they would have probably returned to cigarettes, but for the health. But there was no question of smoking again: their decision of smoking cessation was favorable. I call it the image of ex-smoker, which differs from the image of non-smoker.

No matter, who you take yourself for – a non-smoker or an ex-smoker, your new image is your armour, protecting you from bad temptations. Just imagine: you are proudly standing in your new shining armour, and bad temptations bounce off without having done any harm to you.

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