Smoking nowadays is becoming increasingly frowned upon. This is probably most recognised by the Governments actions in banning smoking from public places and places of work. Of course for those people who have been smoking most of their lives, giving up is a lot easier said than done. Now is a great time to stop!

The main issue with giving up smoking, is the person really needs to want to do it. It really does come down to will power and a desire to give up the dreaded death sticks. This can come about through different means. For example, on medical grounds there is actually a reason to give up. If the person has a desire to improve their general health they have a reason to stop. It can also come down to getting rid of the odour that follows smokers around, the bad breath and the cling to aroma of the smoke on their clothes. For social people, this is actually a very good reason to give up, of course it works the other way when they have lots of friends who smoke and it is part of the cultural scene.

The vast majority of people who try to quite and do not, usually do not because they actually enjoy smoking. For some people this would be hard to understand, but it is no different to having a social drink in the pub. Both are harmful to health, but ultimately the social setting and the effects of the various drugs (nicotine and alcohol) are ultimately pleasing to the person concerned.

The advice I am going to give is from personal experience. It worked for me, and I totally understand that it may not work for others. This was not a fad and I did not seek out professional advice or use any commercial products.

A bit of background about my history. When I was coming close to ending school (I must have been either 17 or 18- a bit lat e to start smoking I guess) I picked up one of the horrid things and decided I like it. This was largely due to Peer pressure and the silver screen (I know it may be a bit cliché, but it is absolutely true!) as I wanted a voice like Jack Nicholson's… A bit of a poor excuse, and may not have even been true- but that is the reason I decided to start to smoke.

I can actually remember my very first cigarette… I was on a school trip about 6 moths before I started to smoke regularly. I went down to a theatre in London called the Round House to watch a play called 'Oh what a lovely war!'- Which was about the First World War (highly recommend it!) After the show, we went outside to start our journey home, when a friend of mine lit up. I happened to say that he was quite lucky to be smoking, as it warmed him up (it was quite a chilly evening). He looked at me like I was mad, so offered his cigarette to me where I had my very first drag, and to my surprise, I felt no warmer.

Fast forward 3 years, and I was a chain smoker. I had started using roll ups as they were cheaper-although this was way before they became a fashion item, so it meant that I could smoke more. One evening, I was out at a club (when you could still smoke inside) and I had a piece of chewing gum all night. Anyway, I went through an entire packet of roll ups, and spat the chewing gum out. It was jet black which I would like to say was a wake up call, but alas, it was not meant to be… although I still look back and think what an idiot I was for not giving up then and there!

So fast forward a few more years, and I had finished university and had been in a couple of jobs, when I decided I needed to make the jump to 'not smoking', which really is the couple of steps I needed to make to stop smoking.

Since I have stopped smoking, I have fallen twice- both when I was drunk, and the last one was still over 2 and a half years ago! I do however smoke a cigar once every 6 months or so. That is actually my only vice (thank you Abba) and I do not inhale (thank you Bill Clinton!)

The most important thing when it comes to stopping smoking is your attitude. I mentioned very early on that it was will power, and part of this will power is your attitude to stopping smoking. The attitude you should have is NOT 'I will never smoke again' or 'I must resist the urge at all costs', or 'I must quit'. These are all very negative statements. The brain processes information in a positive way- ie if I say, DO NOT think of a black cat, you automatically think of a black cat. So when you say 'I must not smoke', you are actually telling yourself you MUST smoke. This is why I found that technique very difficult to stick with. Will power against natural instincts – there will only be one winner!

Instead, I thought to myself that I was going to avoid smoking today. When I go out I would turn down every cigarette. When I go out, I will by chewing gum instead of cigarettes… Just for one day/night.

I was never going to Give up smoking. I was not going to quit. I was just going to be a non smoker for the day/night.

That was the breakthrough I had. For that one day, I was a non smoker. The next night I may have a few, but the following night I would have none… my confidence grew that I could be a non smoker so I stopped over time.

They say that the chances of you stopping smoking for good dramatically increases if you go without for 7 days straight. Once you get to this, It is much easier to carry on your good form. If you do go out and have a couple, it is no big deal. After all, you have not failed, because you were never trying to quit. This is a great mindset, as you take the pressure off yourself immensely.

Try it and see if it works for you. I know a couple of other people who have stopped smoking through this same non pressure method, and they have all said that it was very easy.

Addiction is a horrible thing, and if you apply yourself you can rid yourself of it. Stopping smoking is one of the most beneficial things that you can do, everything becomes better once you stop. Your health becomes much better, you smell better, and the only thing you miss, is the dent in your wallet. If you put all the money into a savings jar of what you would spend on cigarettes, you could have a very nice nest egg very quickly!

Good luck with it, and let me know how you are doing with it. If you really want to quit, don't quit. Just avoid them, or turn them down because you don't feel like one. Be prepared to say no to people. It is not a massive thing to say no. It is very very easy (much easier than yes…. It has less letters in it!)