When is the right time to decide to stop smoking?
Almost every day of the week, there is some kind of story in the media giving conflicting information to smokers about the risks and effects of smoking. Sometimes the sheer amount and variety of information can be overwhelming and is usually so confusing that it leaves smokers wondering what to believe and what not to believe. A perfect example of this kind of information was the recent story that was all over the TV, radio and newspapers. It related to a study which came to the following headline conclusion.
“Women, who stop smoking before their 30their birthday, almost completely remove the risk of premature death from tobacco related diseases”.
On the face of it, this finding could give the impression of being all good news. Of course it is good to hear that should a woman who already smokes manage to quit before her 30th birthday, she will almost completely remove any risk of dying from smoking related diseases. It also good to hear that women who smoke and don’t manage to stop until they turn 40, will only suffer a reduction in the length of their life of just one year. Once however you look at the study findings through a slightly different lens, then you see why it may not necessarily give out the right signals to smokers.
In our opinion there is a real risk that this finding could be taken out of context and give the totally wrong idea to young girls or women under 30 who currently smoke and to those young girls and women under 30 who currently don’t smoke. Take a young woman smoker in her late teens or early twenties who reads this article, might it make her think “OK I’m smoker and I know it’s bad for me and unhealthy but so long as I stop before I turn 30 everything will be OK”?
Alternatively, take a young woman who doesn’t smoke and had always considered it to be too dangerous to even try. Again we feel there is a risk that some women would look at such a finding and see as it in some way dumbing down the harm that smoking can do in the early years of being a smoker and may lessen the fear factor of starting in the first place.
As anyone who smokes will know, smoking really doesn’t work that way. How many of us thought when we had that first fly cigarette with our friends behind the bike shed that decades later we would be in the situation where we need to be smoking 20+ cigarettes a day? How many of us started off our smoking careers with the thought “These things taste so disgusting that there is no way I will ever become hooked on them”. We all started off like that and we were all under the impression that just as we “chose” to start smoking, then at any point in the future we can “choose” to stop. Again we all know from bitter experience that smoking doesn’t work that way.
Surely the message which must get through to young women and men is that there is no safe period of smoking – it’s all bad from the word go!
In our combined 14 years as Allen Carr therapists, we have yet to meet a smoker who doesn’t regret starting smoking. No matter what our reasons for deciding to try the first cigarette, if we look back to that day, we will remember that we never actually made a conscious decision to become a smoker for life.
If stopping smoking is still at the back of your mind as something to do at some point in the future then great, that is a positive step towards that goal. If you would like to have a free chat with one of our therapists to find out more about how easy achieving that goal can really be, click here and complete the form and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Alternatively call the office on 0131 449 7858 and we will get back to you.
Jim McCreadie & Paul Melvin – Therapists
Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking (Scotland)