The majority of smokers try to quit smoking on their own without any professional support, but most are unable to do so permanently. Therefore, is worth understanding the complexity of addictions and the different ways to quit.
We all know smoking is harmful to health, causes dependence, an unpleasant smell, disturbs the environment, worries the family and costs too much money...
So why do smokers fail to smoke fewer cigarettes, or less frequently, for example, only once a day or once a week? Why is it so difficult for smokers to quit smoking completely?
Many smokers try to quit smoking on their own without professional help or guidance.
In fact, only about 4% of smokers who try to quit without prior preparation and without professional assistance manage to quit and persevere over time. In addition, literature definitely shows that preparation and assistance increase the success rate considerably.
Is willpower enough to quit smoking?
When we hear of a person who smoked for many years and "stopped smoking in an instant" – it is usually a person who has made a number of previous cessation attempts, gone through internal processes and learned from those attempts and experiences - that led him to arrive ready for the final cessation attempt. The former smoker usually sums it up in "I stopped in one moment", "I threw away the cigarettes", but does not bother to share all the processes and attempts that led him to that moment.
Most assume that all they have to do is throw away their cigarettes, hold back and restrain themselves. All it takes is strong willpower and that is it.
That is really inaccurate.
In fact, professional support and proper preparation have been found to significantly increase the success rates in smoking cessation!
What causes smoking addiction?
- Physical addiction to nicotine: Nicotine is an addictive substance found in tobacco. As the body gets used to a regular daily amount of nicotine, smokers feel "nicotine withdrawal symptoms" every one to two hours without smoking. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are mainly manifested in restlessness and nervousness. Cigarette smoking soothes withdrawal symptoms but puts smokers in an endless loop of physical nicotine need. Physical nicotine addiction level varies from person to person, but on average, smokers get used to an amount of nicotine that is provided by about 20 cigarettes a day.
- Behavioral addiction to smoking habits: Every smoker adapts to slightly different smoking habits. Over the years, these habits become automatic and it is very difficult for smokers to avoid smoking in situations where they are used to smoking. For example, if you are used to smoking after a meal, it will be very difficult for you not to smoke after eating, or decide to smoke after eating only on Mondays and Thursdays ... the same goes for all other habits.
- Psychological/Mental dependence on smoking: The most significant smoking habits are those associated with psychological moods. Smokers usually get used to smoking while they experience negative emotions, such as stress and nervousness - but also when experiencing joy or pleasure. Smoking is also often associated with boredom.
Smoking cessation - a response to the various causes of addiction
To quit smoking you need to effectively addresses all the addiction causes:
- Physical addiction to nicotine: There are prescription and over-the-counter medications for smoking cessation (nicotine substitutes). The drugs greatly facilitate the detoxification process, and increase the chances of success. It is advised to get professional help and reliable information, so that you can decide what you should use. It is important to remember that any medical help you decide to use is temporary - you use the medication to stop smoking, and after a few weeks you also stop using the medication.
You can stop smoking even without medical help, but even in this case it is advised to get assistance and check if your physical addiction is significant, and make a decision accordingly.
The good news is that withdrawal symptoms are temporary. When you stop smoking, the body cleanses itself of nicotine, and the former smokers no longer experience restlessness and nervousness. The family doctor should be consulted about the use of medications or nicotine replacement therapy. Participation in a smoking cessation program at the National Call Center 6800 * or at the HMOs gives 85% discount on drugs and nicotine substitutes.
- Behavioral addiction to smoking habits: Smoking habits have not accompanied us all our lives, they were formed at some point in our lives. Habits are formed, but it is important to remember that habits can also be changed and even dismantled.
For example, as mentioned earlier, many smokers feel the need to smoke immediately after a meal. The unique physical sensation at the end of a meal is associated with a need for a cigarette and as soon as the smokers feel full after a meal - the thought of the cigarette and a desire to smoke arise.
It is worth remembering that there were times when you really enjoyed a good meal without a cigarette! Smoking at the end of a meal is a habit that can be created, but can be terminated as well. It is very important to get professional guidance from certified smoking cessation counselors in order to "break down" the smoking habits, and weaken the urge to smoke that accompanies them.
- Psychological/Mental dependence on smoking: Those who smoke in specific situations often become addicted to smoking as it is a way to deal with unpleasant or powerful emotional states (boredom, stress, nervousness, depression and even excitement). A critical part of a professional quitting process is to discuss beneficial and healthy ways to regulate emotions that are difficult to handle without smoking. Often a smoker has to try several options to find the most appropriate way to relax, indulge or deal with boredom.
The good news is that studies show smokers who quit feel more relaxed and satisfied in the long run.
It is important to remember that the conflict that accompanies the smoking cessation process is natural and normal. Most smokers want to quit smoking, but also want to continue smoking. During the professional rehab process, the desire to quit is strengthened and the belief in the chances to succeed is reinforced.
Professional support for smoking cessation - personal counseling compared to group workshops
- Studies indicate that preparation and help from professionals significantly increases the success rate.
- Also, studies have not found a significant difference between the success rates of group smoking cessation workshops and those of individual smoking cessation programs (telephone or face-to-face).
- In group smoking cessation workshops, the process is shared with other group members who are with you in the same situation.
- On the other hand, personal counseling allows for more space to delve into the smoking patterns that are unique to you and a customized plan can be made.
- It is important to choose the answer that suits you personally, according to your personal preferences.
Who to contact?
The Ministry of Health National Quitline Call Center *6800
- You can join a personal counseling program for smoking cessation, accompanied by certified smoking cessation counselors who are leaders in the field. The length of the personal counseling program is about a month and a half, during which you will be accompanied by personal counselors in the process of preparing for smoking cessation and maintaining the smoking cessation for a long time.
- In the cessation programs at the National Center, there is emphasis on providing personalized counseling, with a comprehensive response to all aspects of the cessation process: behavioral, emotional and pharmacological counseling for smokers.
- The purpose is to make the smoking cessation process efficient and safe.
- The call center operates Sunday-Thursdays from 08:00am to 8:00pm. The service is available in the following languages: Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English.
Smoking cessation in HMOs:
- The HMOs offer a variety of smoking cessation programs including group workshops, personal counseling, telephone counseling and even personal guidance from the family doctor.
- All of these programs have been found to be effective in stopping smoking and are offered free of charge to any smoker through the HMO.
*All programs of the Ministry of Health and the HMOs offer participants a discount of about 85% on medications and nicotine replacements
- It is recommended you contact your HMO through the call center or the HMO's website, or directly at the clinic where you are treated and find out about the possible solutions in your area of residence through the HMO.
- Clalit Health Services * 2700
- Maccabi Healthcare Services *3555
- Meuhedet *3833
- Leumit Health Services 1-700-507-507