I would argue that the average smoker is aware of how bad smoking is for their health. You do not have to search very hard to find statistics to back up this information. Smokers know that it's bad for them, but they choose to do it anyway. How come?
From early on in life we are told by our teachers, the DARE program, sometimes even our own parents, that smoking is bad for us. We are shown videos and taught special songs about how we won't do drugs and how we won't cop an attitude. We are even taught how to say no if someone offers us a cigarette. Yet some of us still decide to go ahead and smoke anyway.
Based on my own life experience, I can say with a degree of certainty that the majority of people who start smoking do not do so hoping to get hooked. They usually do it for one of two reasons: Their friends are doing it and they want to fit in, or because of their inherent desire to rebel.
It all happens so fast. One minute you are innocently enjoying a drag outside with your friends, talking about life ambitions and sharing dreams. The next minute you find yourself broke and pathetically sifting through ash trays praying to God you can find a butt with enough tobacco in it to get you through til' the next day.
And that is exactly why the tobacco companies work so hard and spend so much money every year on advertising and marketing to young adults: They want to make sure you take those first few puffs and get you hooked before you are old enough to comprehend just how badly cigarettes are going to screw your life up.
So what can we do about it?
As I said before, we already know from an early age that smoking is bad for our health. So if they know that it is bad for them and they decide to smoke anyway, that says to me that they must not care about themselves. So in my opinion, the only way to remedy the situation is to help them figure out what they do care about. After that, they can simply use that information to help themselves see how choosing not to smoke will not only benefit them, but will subsequently help them get more of what they do care about.
For example, let's say this particular smoker is motivated by money. A great way to encourage them to either quit or never begin smoking, would be to show them on paper exactly just how much money they would potentially lose by making the choice to smoke.
Based on an average cost of around $6.00 per pack/per day:
- Every month you would lose $180.
- Every year you would lose $2,190.
- Every five years you would lose $10,950!
If you break that down and explain how much money they might lose by smoking, that information all by itself might be enough to persuade them to shift their attention into putting their hard earned money into a savings account instead of burning it all away.
Below is an example of what could happen to your money if you invested it in a growth stock mutual fund that yielded an average of 12% interest every year for five years. (Age 18 to 23)
Yearly Investment Interest Earned Ending Balance
$2,190 $262.80 $2452.80
$2,190 + $2452.80 (prior) = $4642.80 $557.14 $5199.94
$2,190 + 5199.94 = $7389.94 $886.79 $8276.73
$2,190 + $8276.73 = $10466.73 $1256.00 $11722.73
$2,190 + $11722.73 =$13912.73 $1669.53 $15581.53
0$ $1869.78 $17451.31
As you can see, if you were to stop investing and allowed it to sit still, your money would continue to accrue interest!
If you left it alone and returned thirty years later at the age of 48 to make a withdrawal, you might be shocked to discover a balance of $264,887.01. If you had kept on going and continued to invest the $2,190 every year for thirty years, you would wind up with a whopping $594,130.81!
When you look at it that way, it just isn't worth it is it? How would you feel if you knew that by the age of forty-eight you could have access to that much money? What other bad habits might be potentially costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars that you could give up each month? Do you think you would feel as compelled to smoke or continue on with other bad habits if you did not have to worry about money?
This is just one example of how simple and fun it can be to dump a bad habit by replacing it with a better one. Let's face it - we all have certain addictions that we have to wrestle with on a daily basis. Maybe it's spending money on stuff we don't really need. Or maybe you've developed a habit of feeling like you aren't good enough.
It doesn't really matter what the habit is, so long as you can recognize the bad habits for what they are and make a conscious effort to replace them with habits that are worthy of your time and energy; then you will be just fine.
By using this method, I went from smoking three packs a day to having the will power to quit completely cold turkey. Once I stopped smoking, I noticed a major increase in my overall health. It was much easier to run, so naturally I took advantage and ran more often. The more I ran, the healthier I became.
So give it a shot; try something different and dare to make a positive change in your life.
You will be amazed with the results!