Chapter Six:

The 3 Lies about

Why People Smoke and Why People Can’t Quit


Lie #8

Cigarette-substitute products (such as nicotine gum and patches)

can replace your desire to smoke.

Lie #9

People smoke because the nicotine relaxes them

and calms them down.

Lie #10

The actual cigarette (the smoke, nicotine, or the tar) is what

is calming, relaxing and psychologically satisfying.

Why do people smoke?

I want to explain to you how people get psychologically addicted to smoking. Smokers get certain feelings from the behavior, and as they do it over and over again, eventually it becomes automatic. Most people, when they smoke, it relaxed them. As we discussed earlier, smoking usually relaxes you and gives you a feeling of well being. What does nicotine do? What does it do to the blood pressure? It raises the blood pressure. And the heart rate? It raises the heart rate. That’s what nervousness is…that doesn’t sound very relaxing to me. That’s why when many people use nicotine gum it makes them nauseous, sick at their stomach, or jittery. That’s what nicotine does. When you smoke it’s in slightly smaller doses so you probably don’t notice that effect very strongly. So the behavior of smoking generally gives you pleasure, and when you need it, especially in times of stress, it relaxes you. The truth is that smoking is relaxing. But what specifically about smoking is it that is relaxing?

Is it the nicotine that causes you to relax?

Based on what you now know about nicotine, is it the nicotine that’s causing you to relax? Of course not. We’ve already been through that. The nicotine is not doing anything to help you relax. But when you’re upset it calms you down, when you’re coping with a problem it helps you to get your mind off what’s bothering you. Once again, based on what you now know about nicotine, is it the nicotine that is giving you these feelings of pleasure and relaxation? Yes or no? It can’t be. Nicotine cannot do that.

Is it the smoke that causes you to relax?

When you stick your head over a fireplace does that cause you to relax? No? So there is nothing inherently relaxing or pleasurable about smoke. So it’s not the nicotine and it’s not the smoke that’s giving you these good feelings.

Is it the fumes and gases that cause you to relax?

Is it the toxic fumes and gases released from the burning pollutants that causes you to relax when you really need that cigarette when you’re stressed? Is that what causes you to relax? No?

Is it the cancer-causing tar that relaxes you? The burning paper?

Is it the cancer causing tar that turns you on? Is it the paper? This is interesting. Have you considered that it’s not the actual, physical properties of the cigarette that relaxes you, calms you down, and gives you pleasure?

Then what is it?

Instead, could it be something else? There are things about this behavior (smoking) that allows you to generate these feelings. This is why I included the NLP Behavior model in the beginning of this book. You are about to learn what actually allows you access to these feelings in your body and in you mind when you smoke. But according to what we just discussed, it’s not the nicotine. Based on what you now know about nicotine, it’s not the smoke, it’s not the burning paper, not the gases, not the tar. Do you wonder what it is? Wouldn’t be great it we could figure out what it is that causes these feelings and then figure out a different way to get them? It would have been nice if the nicotine gum could have done the trick, but it doesn’t, because nicotine isn’t the bottom – line reason people do this behavior. Fortunately neuro-science can explain what it is. It’s a combination of things. It’s not a real complicated process. But if you aren’t aware of what these things are you would have never thought about them before. Following is a description of the neurological factors that effect our moods.

Pattern Interrupts

First of all, have you ever been around someone who was real hysterical or upset? And in an effort to calm them down someone else asked then to change their breathing pattern. "Take a deep breath, calm down…take another deep breath, and begin to relax". I’m sure you have noticed in this situation, the person who was upset takes a deep breath and takes another deep breath, and then what happens? The person calms down, don’t they. There’s a reason for that. What did they do? What they did is changed their breathing pattern. Why did that calm them down? There’s a biological reason.

Have you ever had someone present you with a really big problem or disappointment? Did you notice what you did with your breathing when that "stress" hit you? Chances are you took a deep breath or you sighed deeply. Unconsciously and naturally, we all do this. You may not even be aware that you do that. If you’re real depressed your brain will also cause your body to do this – it’s called a "sigh". The reason that this happens is that there is an automatic responses in your body. There are a number of automatic response that this happens is that there is an automatic responses in your body. An automatic response is when you go to the doctor’s office and he taps you on the knee and there is an automatic reflex – a keen-jerk response – an automatic response is something you are born with. Neurologically speaking, there is something called a pattern interrupt which interrupts the thought pattern in your brain at that moment. If you remember the NLP Model in chapter one, a pattern interrupt interrupts your Internal Representation, or what you’re thinking about – and of course this changes your state or your mood. A change in the breathing pattern is a pattern interrupt. So when you change your breathing pattern it changes your thought pattern.

Change your thought, change your mood

So if you’re thinking about a problem, and you’re upset and you have this particular mental focus (your problem), then this internal representation in your mind is causing you to feel upset and you’re getting all the related feelings of being stressed or feeling sad or feeling angry because of what is going on inside your head. When you change your breathing it interrupts that pattern just long enough to take your mind off of it a little bit. It tends to make you feel better – it tends to relax you. A good example of pattern interrupt that everyone can relate to is: Remember a time that you were really engrossed into a conversation and as you’re talking it seems really important and significant and you have all these feelings about what you’re saying and someone taps you on the shoulder, interrupts you and asks you a question. You answer the person and then turn back to the original person you were talking to and then draw a total blank. Not only for just a moment did you forget what you were talking about, but also what was gone were all the feelings or intensity of what you were saying….for a moment your mind was a total blank slate. That is a pattern interrupt. They interrupted your thought pattern. When you interrupt your thought pattern it also interrupts the emotions that are linked to that thought (or internal representation). Anything that you’re thinking about gives you certain emotions or "state".

Now, when someone changes their breathing pattern in any way, focuses on their breathing, slows their breathing down, does anything that changes their breathing pattern, it changes their thought pattern. It also lowers your heart rate, blood pressure, slows your brain wave frequency, causes adrenaline to stop pumping and even stimulates the release of endorphins (natural muscle relaxants and pain killers). What does all these things mean? It means it relaxes you. It always does, every time. Smokers do a combination of things, not just breathing. Let’s analyze it.

Those situations that cause you to really need a cigarette

The times that you smoked when you were in a good mood, with your cup of coffee in the morning, or after dinner, or while having a pleasant good conversation do not cause you to be psychologically addicted (or need) cigarettes. During these times, smoking has simply been a behavior that has given you pleasure – like your favorite television program, your favorite food, your favorite chair, or your favorite coffee mug. In these times smoking has given you pleasure. Let me ask you a very important question: Is that the only way in your whole life that you can get pleasure? Yes or no? So you can get pleasure in other ways. Good. If as an intelligent mature adult human being, if you could really say conclusively that the only way you can get pleasure in your life is by smoking tobacco, then you should enter into therapy. For most people, they can get pleasure other ways.

These times that you smoked to get pleasure are not the times that have caused you to become psychologically addicted or rely on smoking. After dinner you could do something else that would give your pleasure. So you don’t really rely on the cigarette. It’s just a habit. It’s like your favorite side of the bed that you sleep on, your favorite coffee mug, your favorite chair. These are things that give you pleasure that you do repeatedly and you are conditioned to it and it feels comfortable. If you were to change that, it would take a few days to get used to `oh I don’t have my favorite chair anymore’, etc. You just get used to it, you’re not addicted. But there are other times that you did rely on smoking: when you were upset, stressed, sad, these times? You had your friend there – the cigarette. These times are the times that got you hooked. During these times, it seemed like there wasn’t any alternative way to deal with those feelings. You needed a cigarette and that was that. Each time that you tried to stop, it is likely that it was a situation like this that got you started again.

What really happens that relaxes you in those tough times

Now these times don’t happen all the time, often you just smoke out of habit, it has become a part of your daily ritual and a part of your identity. But’s let’s analyze what happens in these situations where you really need a cigarette because it these situations that can be difficult to deal with when you quit smoking if you didn’t know what was really happening. Once you understand this, then I will give you ways to get what you want without having to rely on the cigarette . Remember a situation that causes you to need a cigarette and follow along and notice what happens. So the first thing that happens is there is some external event, I’ll call it stress, which could be anything. You know what it usually is for you. So ___________ happens. Then what do you do? You say, "l need a cigarette." Then, you change your mental focus off the problem and begin to find your cigarettes….going through the same little ritual that you do each time you take out a cigarette, find an ashtray, find your lighter, light the cigarette, etc. Notice that you open your cigarettes the same way, usually the same pack (soft or box), usually the same brand of cigarettes, etc. This is all part of the conditioning. You may even leave the room to have your cigarette. So next, you get out your cigarettes….stop now and notice what you’re focusing your attention on. Your focusing on something that gives you pleasure and something that usually relaxes you, calms you down, and helps you feel better. Notice: YOU’RE NOT FOCUSING ON THE FACE OF THE PERSON WHO IS UPSETTING YOU! And your not focusing on whatever reminds you of your problem that originally put you into this state you’re trying to get out of. Do you think that helps! Of course, for a moment, you’re focusing on something pleasurable and have your mind (your mental focus) off the problem.

Now you’ve gone through this whole process, do you notice that sometimes in one of these situations that upset you, even before you light the cigarette, you’ve already begun to calm down a little bit or relax? 90% of the people in my seminars notice that…before you ever take the first puff you’ve already started relaxing and/or getting the pleasure you will get with your little "smoke break". What is that? Did the nicotine miraculously jump from your hand into your body and give you these good feelings before you ever took a puff? Of course not. This is the conditioning that you’ve set up in you’re brain.

Then, during these kinds of times, what do you do next? You take a nice big drag off the cigarette, breathing calmly, deliberately, and focusing on your breathing and that cigarette, exhaling all the way, watching the smoke (your breath) curl up into the air. Now do you just change your breathing pattern once and take only ONE breath? Oh, you mean you take one relaxing breath like that after another and another! And what if you’re still upset after you finish the first cigarette (the first set of breath pattern interrupts) what do you do? You light another one and keep smoking, keep breathing, focusing on those breaths. Wow! And it’s a wonder why people wonder why smoking helps them cope with situations such as these!

Any human that does this with their breathing will biologically cause themselves to relax immediately and feel calmer, more at ease. When you combine this biological pattern interrupt, with the conditioning of the same flavor of the smoke, the slight sensation of the familiar nicotine (your body notices it but your mind cannot recognize the drug), combined with the ritual, and all the other factors that make this situations so much like all the other times that you used cigarettes in the same situation, it creates a very powerful conditioned/response behavior that can be very psychologically addicting if the person doesn’t know any other ways to get this result, or thinks that it is the cigarette or the nicotine doing it – that really traps them if they believe it is the nicotine or tobacco – then they’re really stuck! (The tobacco companies love it!)

Marlboro Man – your unconscious mind’s best friend

What has occurred neurologically is your unconscious mind noticed that this behavior (smoking) helped you to relax, get your mind off your problem, calm down and essential control your mood during the times you really needed it the most. Then it linked these very powerful emotions to "Marlboro Man" (or however you associate your cigarettes). Now, would your unconscious mind want to give up the ability to be able to cope in situations such as these? Of course not…not until it understands that it can get all the same benefits (feelings, pleasure, etc) that it used to try to get from smoking in a new way… by being a non-smoker, and it will be even better.

Is smoking the only way?

As an intelligent, mature, adult human being, is smoking the absolute only way that, when you are presented with a problem and get upset, that you can calm down and relax? Yes or No. The question is not is it what seems like the most convenient way at the time – lung cancer is not very convenient. And smoking is only a convenient way to deal with your moods if you have some – its not convenient if you have to put your street clothes back on late at night and drive to the store and buy some!

So the question is:

Is smoking the only way that you can calm down and relax when you get upset? Yes or No.

Is smoking the only way that when your angry, you can get control of your emotions?

Is smoking the only way that when you have a depressing problem that you can get your mind off the depression and feel better?

Is smoking the only way that if someone is irritating you, that you can put yourself into a better mood?

And is smoking the only way that you get pleasure (we’ve been through this).

Then is there any benefits you get from smoking that you cannot get in some other way as non-smoker? Then is there any reason to continue to smoke? Do non-smokers deal with stress, sadness, problems, and the need to be happier by getting some pleasure? Of course. The difference between smokers and non-smokers is: Non-smokers have choice about how they deal with their moods (states) and smokers do not have choice – they have turned themselves into robots.

If your unconscious mind knew a new way…

If your unconscious mind knew a new way to get these feelings (states) that you need, you can still relax, you can still get calm, you can still get pleasure (in new ways), even in a tragedy you can still cope…and with this new way you can still get all the same benefits but more benefits – even more pleasure, more self-respect, more health, more energy, breathing easier, and all around deal with your moods even easier…which way would your unconscious mind choose? The old way or the new way?


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