smoking my time

Smoking Stress and My Time


Smoking is often claimed to be addictive, more addictive than heroin. But a moment's thought will bring up any number of examples of people who have smoked for decades and then gave up overnight. Or of people who can smoke a whole pack at the weekend and never think of a cigarette again during the week. Or who can smoke like chimneys on holiday and then stop completely until the following year. So smoking cannot just be a simple substance addiction.

The reasons why people smoke are as different as the people themselves. One reason that I come across again and again is that smoking is 'my time'.

'My Time' is how smokers describe the period after all the kids have been put to bed, or all the customers have been dealt with. It is a time to withdraw from the demands of others. A time to satisfy yourself, to have a break and chill out with your cigarette. They can put up with anything as long as they know that they can have some time to themselves later. Over many years they have come to associate having personal time with having a smoke. They now think that it is the cigarette that is making them feel better. In fact the cigarette is just incidental, the benefit is coming from the break, not the cigarette.

Smoking and addiction

This type of smoker has very little 'addiction' to tobacco. What they do have is a strong association between smoking and getting away from the incessant demands and responsibilities for others. This type of smoker is actually quite easy to get to stop smoking. Essentially all you have to do is to assure them that they are still entitled to their own quiet time, but to link this to doing something else. The smoking habit will go into extinction quite quickly, since it was never about nicotine in the first place.

David Mason

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