In the first three parts of this article series, we have discussed how the reasons a person started smoking at an early age helped to build the Psychological Smoking Mechanism. This mechanism begins to operate beyond conscious control because the smoker has long since forgotten why they started smoking. The first part of the process to remove smoking is to use special techniques to recall these early reasons. The second part of the process is to examine and remove the reasons a person continues to smoke.
In this article, we will discuss why smokers ignore the serious health consequences of smoking.
What Would You Do?
You’ve been smoking for over 25 years. Your mother has been a smoker for over 40 years. She calls you on the phone one day and says she’s been diagnosed with lung cancer. You watch your mother deteriorate and a few months later, she passes away. As a smoker, what would you do?
If you are like a client of mine, you’d keep right on smoking!
How Could This Be?
If you are part of the 76% of the population who are nonsmokers, you probably think this is outrageous. How could a person see what cigarettes did to their mother and continue to use them?
It’s the same reason that people have a hard time simply quitting cigarettes:
The Psychological Smoking Mechanism
This mechanism is created in most people before the age of 18. The average age is around 15 although some people start smoking even earlier. It is no accident that smoking starts during the time of puberty and the identity crisis. The identity crisis is an unpleasant period of childhood where there is confusion of self. The person is not a child, but not an adult either. They struggle to define themselves.
Due to body and hormonal changes, puberty is an incredibly intense period of a person’s life. Everything is amplified. Emotions are strong and the world view is still that of a child being exaggerated all out of proportion. The child wants to speed up the process to be declared an adult.
Smoking is an attempt to resolve the identity crisis. It is a way to declare, “Hey, I am an adult!” Adults smoke, therefore, I am an adult!
Overcoming this confusion and ambiguity is of critical importance; it is a strong motivator for the young person. It is what gets them to apply the incredible WILL POWER necessary to turn off the normal body, protective reactions to harsh, hot smoke entering their delicate lungs.
The fact that learning to smoke is a hard, unpleasant task makes the young person more strongly defend it. They have numerous reasons why they HAVE to smoke. Any positive feedback they get from their friends adds to the power of the psychological smoking mechanism.
By the time adolescence is over and adulthood is reached, the mechanism is on autopilot. It continues to collect reasons for itself to exist. It operates independently of the conscious self.
The Nature of the Psychological Smoking Mechanism
The psychological smoking mechanism is frozen back in childhood with all the inexperience and shortsightedness of the child. The emotions and world view of the child define the