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Smoking is my Choice

You often hear smokers say “Smoking is my choice” or “I like to smoke” and even “It’s my right, and it’s nobody’s business but mine.”

Really?

That’s debatable.

The concept of choice when it comes to nicotine addiction is completely false.

The tobacco companies gleefully spread the idea so smokers will forget they’ve fallen into the trap set by the companies themselves! This greatly reduces the risk that their faithful customers will decide to rebel and try to get rid of their addiction. This concept of choice works because it strokes the ego: it’s hard on our pride to see that we’ve been fooled and that, in fact, we really can’t stop using a product that’s killing us bit by bit ...

Most current adult smokers (almost 80%) in Quebec started to smoke before they were 18.

How old were you when you started smoking? What were the real reasons you started?

  • Curiosity created by seeing your parents and friends smoke, and from all those seductive images associated with smoking.
  • The idea that smoking meant being grown up, being an adult.
  • The need to be accepted or the fear of being rejected when other teenagers offered you a cigarette.

That’s what it comes down to: to try it is to adopt it! Nicotine gets you hooked very quickly (see the mental roadblock, I Panic at the Idea of Quitting Smoking). By the time you find out, it’s already too late... That’s when the idea that it’s our own choice seems reassuring...

Why do you still smoke? Probably because you need it to relax, socialize with friends, start your day, deal with frustration, overcome disappointment, after a meal, before going to bed, etc.

So you really think you smoke for pleasure, because you enjoy it? Of course! But you no longer really have the choice of enjoying it or not, do you? That’s the impact the drug is having on you.

The tobacco companies have enslaved over a billion people all over the world. That adds up to billions of dollars of profit, a big part of which is reinvested to perpetuate the deception.

The concepts of addiction and habit are particularly powerful when it comes to the use of tobacco.

French fries, lobster, and spaghetti – they don’t create dependency. You don’t get panicky if you have to go for a few minutes without being able to eat those foods whenever the urge to have some strikes you. When it comes to tobacco, though, it’s a different ball game... Tobacco traps you; when you’re not using it, you experience withdrawal and are overcome by an irresistible need to smoke.

Do you remember that the rewarding sensation you get from a cigarette can be obtained in other ways?

Wouldn’t you prefer to enjoy yourself without feeling controlled by tobacco?

Of course, we always prefer having the choice to say No, be it to something we like or something we don’t. That’s the notion of freedom. That’s what it means to have a choice.

Now, think about cigarettes… Unless you’re an occasional smoker, that is, someone who might still be able to choose, would you really be able not to have one after a meal tomorrow, or during the next few days?

If your answer is “yes”, do it, then come back and tell us about it...

If your answer is “yes”, but I don’t want to because I like to smoke, think about this :

  • Why is it that you’re able to do without or turn down chocolate or steak, but not a cigarette?

Does this mean that you’re incapable of saying “no” to cigarettes?

If you can’t turn down something you like, you’re addicted to it; in other words, you’re its slave.

What it comes down to is this: You don’t have a choice to enjoy a cigarette or not. You have to smoke it. It controls you.

So there’s no link between the concept of choice, freedom, independence, and cigarettes. It’s actually the other way around!

To learn more, check out the mental roadblock, I Panic at the Idea of Quitting Smoking.

So smoking is a right?

  • Breathing oxygen is essential to life; it’s a right. Smoking isn’t; it’s a privilege.
  • The majority of people in Quebec, over 80%, don’t smoke. They shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of smokers’ actions, such as inhaling the damaging products found in second-hand smoke.
  • This is why various initiatives have been launched in Quebec both to motivate and support smokers to free themselves from their tobacco addiction and to restrict and eliminate situations where second-hand smoke becomes a problem for non-smokers.

I need help

You would like to have support from smoking cessation professionals to help you quit smoking, but you don’t know which service to turn to? Learn more about the I QUIT NOW services and their free personalized support via online help, by phone, in person or by text message.

HELP ONLINE

You want to quit smoking at you own pace and keep track of your progress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Sign up to the I QUIT NOW online help for free and discover our everyday life tips and experiential exercises to help let the cravings pass.

HELP BY PHONE

1-866-527-7383

Want to speak with a specialist to help you quit smoking?

Call the I QUIT NOW helpline. It’s free!
Monday to Thursday: 8 A.M. to 9 P.M.
Friday: 8 A.M. to 8 P.M.

*** For Quebec residents only ***

HELP IN PERSON

QUIT SMOKING CENTRES

WARNING: As a result of the unusual circumstances related to COVID-19, the Quit Smoking Centres in your area could be closed.

To find out the current situation in your area, please contact directly the Quit Smoking Centre nearest you.

HELP BY TEXT MESSAGE

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Want to receive tips and advices on quitting smoking by text message?

Sign up for free!

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*** For Quebec residents only ***