Why do people smoke? Let’s be clear. The smoking has many components and that is why many smokers find it difficult to QUIT. The common causes are: Nicotine dependence. Nicotine is an addictive toxic stimulant.
The dependence is psychological (predominantly) and in part less physical. Oral gratification, which has been present since childhood, accompanies us throughout our lives, even if it tends to diminish with age.
Smoking gives oral gratification and can partially replace the one given with FOOD. Gestures, keeping your arm, hand and mouth occupied together, that’s why do people smoke. Gestures are accentuated when cigarettes are made on their own with loose tobacco, maps, filters, etc. In this case, preparing a cigarette is a real ritual.
A component of fire, the control of which has always played a fundamental role throughout the evolution of the human being. Fire is an ancestral element and therefore, fascinating. The cigarette is lit with a lighter or match and remains lit until the end.
The smoker, to lighting the cigarette, makes sure that it does not go out, pulling before that happens. So, why do people smoke? Smoking can be a way to break the ice or get together with other smokers.
Psychological component: Smoking is understood as an action of emancipation and courage. We know that smoking hurts, and those who smoke (especially if very young) do so to show the group and others that they are not afraid.
Why do people smoke and why is difficult to quit
There is also another cause why do people smoke. The most important of all and less taken into consideration, it is related to the fact that cigarettes amplify the perception of breath. When you smoke, you feel better the air (smoke) coming in and out of your lungs.
Smoking even allowed us to make the breath “visible” in the form of smoke and to play with the breath. Smoking amplifies the sensation of breathing, which is the most important activity of our life (we can survive a few weeks without eating, a few days without drinking, but only a few minutes without breathing).
Smoking resembles an exercise for the lungs, a breathing exercise. When we smoke the cigarette, we are almost forced to take a deep breath to breathe in the smoke. This gives us the impression of fully breathing and makes us feel more alive, but at a very high cost: our health.
Why would we need a breathing exercise?
Often we do not breathe well because our breathing is blocked. Can be blocked by emotional factors (ANXIETY, nervousness, fears…), or by the fact that we live in a place where the air is polluted (city). Perceiving the breath well, is the solution to quitting smoking. The solution to quitting smoking is therefore not using a nicotine supplement.
The solution is to learn to perceive our breath better, without help of any kind. Fortunately, the methods for learning to do this are different and can be adopted at any age and physical condition. Just climb the stairs to the office or home to feel your breath (for example).
Your breath will be wheezing, yes, but that’s our breath. Disciplines such as YOGA, use the breath as a constituent element of their practice. For example, in Meditation the breath is used to channel attention, while in Yoga the breath is used to move, direct and channel the energy.
Other practices such as MARTIAL ARTS (from Kung Fu to Judo) pay particular attention to the breath as a fundamental element of the practice itself. Simple breathing exercises, derived from the disciplines just mentioned, without any particular physical preparation.
Those who practice sport even at an amateur level know and use Diaphragmatic Breathing to regulate breathing, recover strength and concentration. Even practicing sport therefore puts us back in touch with our breath.
Simple exercises to feel your breath
Here some simple exercises that you can start doing now to feel your breath without needing to smoke:
Standing or sitting, bring attention to your breath. You can focus on the air that comes in and out of your nostrils or on the breathing movements of your chest. Note how with inhalation the chest expands and rises and how with exhalation it deflates and falls.
As you take the stairs, note how the breathing cycle deepens. As soon as you finish the stairs it seems to be at its maximum. Note how slowly, after a while you’ve finished the stairs, it tends to regularize. Notice the difference between wheezing and normal breathing.
See the difference between how you breathe by the sea or in the countryside and how you breathe when you get back to the city. Pay attention to how you breathe when you are in the city centre and when you are in the suburbs. Do you find any differences? Does the air you breathe seem different, and if so, does it affect your breathing?
Try to feel the difference between daytime breathing and when you’re in bed, before you FALL ASLEEP or just wake up. Also try to notice if there are differences between the breathing you use when you’re at work and when you finish. Smoking doesn’t help you adjust your breathing or unblock it, it just makes you want to smoke more.
You don’t need cigarettes or any other help to become aware of your breathing and to breathe correctly. Quitting smoking unlocks your breathing and improves your health in many ways.