This might be one the stupidest articles you’ve ever read. My apologies for that. Four months ago, I decided to start smoking. Why? I don’t know. Probably a combination of factors: I was intensively watching Californication in which the main character (Hank Moody) smokes. Although it is sad to admit, it might be that watching him smoke sparked my curiosity about why it is people grab to a cigarette. Also, I have always been wondering whether smoking is primarily a physiological addiction (an addiction of the body) or a psychological one (an addiction of the mind). I could never understand why less than 25% of those who want to quit smoking, actually manage to quit. I always thought: if you want to stop, then you can stop, right? I mean: if you want to stop travelling by car, you can just stop taking the car, right? So given these utterly ‘rational’ considerations, I decided to take up the cigarette, and start my journey of addiction.
Now, four months later, I have decided to stop. My little ‘experiment’ has provided me with the information I was looking for. I experienced what it is that makes you want to light up a cigarette. And, what I can say, it is more of a psychological addiction than a physiological addiction. It is the feeling of allowing yourself a break from what it is that you are doing. Also, the habit of smoking a cigarette every morning during your “morning walk” gives you a clear signal that the day took off; a feeling as if the referee blew his whistle and the match has started.
However, I must admit that there are also physiological factors that make you want to grab a cigarette. In case you drink coffee (which is more likely than that you smoke), you can compare it to that longing for a cup of coffee to give your the energy you need to get through the day. And, as with drinking coffee, the first cigarette/cup of coffee gives the relative biggest ‘boost'; the relative biggest satisfaction in calming down your longing for nicotine/caffeine.
I’m not sure whether I have become truly addicted to cigarettes. I can only tell how I feel, and that’s what I’ve described above. And – since I’ve been drinking (much) coffee for the last couple of years, and I have a hard time not drinking coffee – I think my smoking adventure will have likewise effects. Probably, even though I ‘quitted’, I’ll keep (at least for a while) on having that same longing for cigarettes as I have for coffee. I wonder which impulses will be tougher to handle when quitting smoking; the psychological or the physiological. I am curious, and a little anxious, to find out.
But what do you think?