Illusion Three: You Enjoy Smoking

Published: 27th April 2011
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Oh, the self-kidding. This illusion really amuses me, yet thousands of smokers profess the pleasure they get from cigarettes. I remember Barbara coming to see me and relating: 'You have been highly recommended and I know lot's of smokers you have helped to cease smoking. But I'm different. I enjoy smoking.'

Barbara was a typical 20 a day smoker and I wanted her to understand what she had just said. So I asked Barbara to forget about smoking for a moment. Then I posed a question: ' What do you enjoy doing in life?' I told her to take a little time to think of something she truly enjoyed. She replied: 'I like eating out.' So what was it about eating out that she liked so much?

Barbara gave me quite a collection of plus points: 'I like the company. I enjoy not having to prepare the food. I enjoy having somebody else do the cooking. I enjoy the different tastes. I enjoy the smell. I enjoy the taste. I enjoy not having to clean up.'

As she went through all these wonderful experiences her whole physiology altered. Her body literally sat up and a big smile spread across her face. 'Excellent,' I said. 'And what do you enjoy about smoking?'

This blunt question was a conversation - stopper. She just gazed at me blankly. 'I don't know,' she said. 'I just enjoy it.' I persisted: 'OK,' I said, but when you told me you loved eating out and I asked you why, you reeled off a long list and told me in detail why you enjoyed eating out. Now I'm asking you what you like about smoking and you look lost for words.' I then landed her with this one: 'Could it be that you don't actually enjoy smoking, but because you do it 20 times a day you kid yourself into thinking you do actually love it? It would be mad to do something 20 times a day that you don't even enjoy.' I was not pulling any punches.

The reality is that the only enjoyment or pleasure is the restoration of the drug levels that were pumped in by the previous cigarette.

There are thousands of Barbara's and Bob's out there who really are hiding behind the thought that they enjoy smoking, actually like it. Just another illusion a smoker has.


Doug Grahame. I tried to stop smoking cigars for over 30 years, using pills, potions, patches, hypnosis even acupuncture. Success only came when I understood the illusions that kept me from quitting.

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