“How to stop smoking? Hey, it’s the easiest thing in the world, I have done it a hundred times”….. So goes the hoary old joke. It brings a smile from some, a frown from the others and hacking cough from the smokers. It is no joke for the smokers, however they may smile at it. At heart every smoker wants to stop. Many of them are knowledgeable enough to know how, but can’t quit the fags because the habit is too deeply ingrained. A) What won’t work? Gradually decreasing it. Buddy, the nicotine won’t let you quit. It is too powerful an adversary and too cunning for you. You will find the gradual decrement plan going fine, until the day you have an excuse to forget it (tension, overwork, circumstances, party etc.). Depending on medicines. Medicines only help to reduce the craving. But seriously, do you smoke only when the urge hits you? Isn’t it true that most of the time you smoke casually, whether there is a physical urge or not? Talking continuously about it. While you may think that it will help to keep the issue the uppermost in your mind, it will most probably lead to you being ridiculed in case you fail to quit. Also, words being cheap, it will begin to sound like empty boast. Nicotine substitutes. These are substitutes. They aren’t really the solution. Sooner or later you will revert to the real nicotine. B) So, What will work? Well, that’s what this article is about 1) Strengthen your resolve First of all, I thank and congratulate you on having come so far with me. It shows that there is hope for you yet . You have already proved that you can take tough talk and are determined to go through with it. That’s the first step. Next, Analyze your smoking pattern, How many in a day? How often? When do you really have the urge (usually on waking up, after meals or generally after consuming anything orally)? When do you smoke maximum (with friends, alone, with drinks, under stress etc) Number three, list down your reasons for a) smoking, and b) wanting to quit. I am a big advocate of putting things down on paper. It shows a commitment. Number four, take someone into confidence. A friend, a family member, a medical worker or, best of all, a sympathetic ex-smoker. These steps are keystones (preparations) for the big event. The only thing is that the “big event” is not a one off. It is a continuous obsession. 2) Back to basics Now let’s revert to the point A) above. I was less than generous when I said definitely that these things won’t work. These things do help, specially reducing consumption. Every cigarette less means approximately 5 minutes more to live. Also, it helps to strengthen your resolve, which is the first step. You see, archaic though it sounds, Will is a sure shot solution. So, unless you strengthen it, you will most likely fail. Why? – Remember that I said ‘Will’ and NOT ‘Will Power’ – They are different, ‘Will Power’ implies a struggle, where as using your ‘Will’, implies that it’s going to be easy. Let me explain: Do you need will power to smoke? NO Do you need will power to eat your favorite Ice-cream? NO Now to do one of the two above activities, is easy because it is your ‘Will’ and NOT ‘Will Power’. The steps in the “won’t work” topic are generally the excuses that frequent relapsers offer. But they are helpful in their own way. What is important is not only the steps leading up to it, but maintaining the tempo once you have reached the crucial stage of ZERO cigarettes a day. 3) Penultimate stage – Quitting it By the time you have worked on stages 1 and 2 above, you would be feeling strong enough to risk quitting it. As the experts suggest, you should decide on a date. NOT like a ‘new year’s resolution’ – More like a new Quit Smoking Revolution! You’re the leader of the campaign and then just go for it!