Smoking: addiction or habit?

With more than 4,500 chemicals entering the body in a single puff, it would seem logical to assume that there must be a physical addiction.

by Nina Laveson — 

Many believe smoking is an addiction, and therefore is hard to quit without suffering terrible cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Part of the belief that stopping smoking will be difficult comes from the notion that nicotine withdrawal is always going to be difficult.

But is this really the case? Here are a few points to consider.

  • Women who discover they are pregnant quite often stop smoking spontaneously. They suffer no nicotine withdrawal symptoms and generally quit without even trying.
  • People addicted to drugs such as heroin have to satisfy their addiction 24 hours a day. Smokers who believe they are addicted to nicotine seem only to experience this addiction during the day.
  • The majority of airlines have non-smoking policies. Some of the long-haul flights might last for 12 to 14 hours. It would be impossible to maintain if smoking tobacco were a 100 percent physical addiction, would it not? The vast majority of smokers find coping with a long-haul flight no problem at all.

If you were to ask most people which is more difficult to break, a habit or an addiction, the majority would say an addiction is far harder to stop. By calling your powerful urges an addiction, you can limit your power. You are essentially saying that you can’t stop because you are addicted, or you are not in control.

Many people perceive that they have little or no control over their addictions. This is a big part of the stopping smoking issue. If you view smoking as an addiction, then you have now made the job to quit much harder in your mind. That is why working with the subconscious can be a great aid to help people quit smoking.

With more than 4,500 chemicals entering the body in a single puff, it would seem logical to assume that there must be a physical addiction. Yet when waking up in the morning after sleeping for six to eight hours a night, the vast majority of smokers do not light up first thing. If people smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, wouldn’t it make sense that nicotine replacement therapy would be 100 percent effective? In fact, it’s only successful for about one in 10 people.

So can smoking really be a physical addiction? How you answer that question might be just enough to help you quit smoking for good. Most people can often quit easily with the help of a trained professional who is skilled at renegotiating with the subconscious mind.


Nina Laveson is a licensed massage therapist and owner of A Touch of Warmth in south Scottsdale, Ariz. She offers KISS Stop Smoking Programs, as well as massage therapy. 602-505-7673, or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 4, August/September 2008.

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