Quitting Smoking: What Exactly Do You Mean By “Quit?”

Things we can be sure of:

  • A lot of people have quit smoking.
  • Public acceptance of non-smoking laws indicate that the United States wants a smoke-free environment.
  • There is a general acknowledgmen that smoking is bad for you.
  • Different types of assistance help different types of people to quit.
  • For those who have trouble quitting smoking, it takes more than one attempt.
  • Different types of addiction require different types of therapy.
  • Some people need more help than others.
  • There is a lot to know about changing smoking habits.

What do you mean by quit?

The website for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an arm of the US Department of Health and Human Services, states that in 2015, 68% of smokers have indicated that they want to quit completely. Also, since 2002, there are more former smokers in the United States than there are current smokers.

Be aware that quitting smoking is a difficult thing to measure. Only the smoker (or ex-smoker) knows for sure since self-indicators are usually used to compile results.

According to various reports on Anti-smoking websites, sponsored by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free America, a program that reports a success rate of 50% is probably talking about the number of people who quit during the duration of the program, which can be as little as three days or as long as six months (or more), depending on the organization that is offering the therapy. If you go back after the end of a year, that success rate has typically dropped to 7.5%. The website also states that people who have had no assistance from a program have a year-end success rate of 5%.

However, just to confuse you, the CDC&P website, also cited above, says that most people who have quit smoking have had no assistance from programs, drugs, or assisted regimens.

Are these claims mutually reconcilable?

Without going into too much detail regarding statistical disclaimers, this large government CDC&P database has access to millions of people who have smoked. We would have to know the specific questions asked, and who answered them to be certain, but it is safe to assume that people who tried smoking and didn’t like it probably quit after a few weeks, or maybe a few days or hours. Such a group would not usually need assistance to quit.

The CDC&P did not examine the history of every smoker who claimed that he or she has “quit with no assistance,” nor has the CDC&P examined the nicotine content of every respondent’s bloodstream.

Conversely, there are no records kept by the FSA of how many people who did not quit during the specific “program,” be it three days or six months, quit later based on the concepts learned there.

Just to speculate regarding possibilities, it is possible for an initial quit rate to be 50% after three months, 8% after one year, and 20% after five years (during that five years, there may have been twenty-three additional attempts, with or without assistance, which is either acknowledged or not.)

And after twenty-three tries at quitting smoking, are you even conscious of what did or did not have a measurable effect on your eventual success?

68% of smokers have indicated that they want to quit completely. That probably means that they don’t want to think about it, crave it, get mad about it, or resent the lack of smoking.

If quitting on your own has produced positive results but for a limited time, then, by all means, get some knowledge, and get on the road to a smoke-free life. Quitting smoking is not necessarily a linear, measurable phenomena. There could be one gem of information or one stop-smoking aid or procedure that could turn the corner for you.

Contact us for a discussion of your goals.