5 Bizarre Ways to Quit Smoking

Over the last two decades smoking has become an increasingly taboo habit all over the Western world. Whereas in the early nineties smoking had lost its Madison Avenue fabricated ‘glamour’, it has slowly been cornered by health activists and deemed one of the single most harmful habits that people indulge in.

Quitting smoking is really ‘big’ right now and there are dozens of programs and incentives to do it. However, most rarely work. Quitting ‘cold turkey’ seems to be effective for people with unique willpower (or casual smokers) but is sustainable in only about 5% of cases.  Nicotine Replacement Therapy works in about a quarter of cases while Electronic Cigarette consumer comments seem to point out that vaporizers and e-cigs are even more effective. Still, with all these alternatives more than half of smokers go back to tobacco. But as cigarettes are demonstrably bad some people have gone to extreme lengths to quit smoking. Here are some downright bizarre methods that people have used to quit smoking.

Hypnosis is one of the recognized therapeutic tools used to treat addictions in general and particularly popular with smokers as it is non-intrusive and relatively easy to maintain, should it work. While the medical establishment still doesn’t have a lot to say about hypnosis and its presumed benefits thousand of former smokers swear by it, claiming they could have never stopped smoking without it.

Bribe Yourself
If you really can’t do something that must be done out of sheer willpower you’ll likely try to bribe yourself into doing it. How many times have you promised yourself a cold beer after a hard day’s work? Well, nowadays you can really bribe yourself into quitting smoking. Office quit-a-thons are all the new rage nowadays. With a quit-a-thon, smokers in the office put the amount of money that they would spend every day in a pot and the last non-smoker standing wins it. Plus, if you’re young and European, the Quit and Win foundation is organizing national non-smoker darws of up to $10000.

Threaten Yourself
If bribes don’t work you can always try threatening yourself into quitting. This can range from posting an embarrassing picture on-line that will get uploaded to Facebook if you don’t quit in time to actual physical beatings from a ‘beating buddy’. Fear and pain are excellent motivators so you’ll be actively trying to quit. This approach isn’t a game but instead grounded in actual science. Studies have shown that people who try to quit smoking out of fear (for instance after receiving bad health news) are three times more likely to quit than others

Disgust Yourself
The anti-smoking lobby is already hard at work trying to disgust you with the images printed on packs in some countries. Now you can do it yourself. Some former smokers advise eating cigarette butts to give up cigarettes forever. While this isn’t healthy and probably isn’t too tasty either, a few mouthfuls will probably help you quit, or at least throw up. If you really want to traumatize yourself try chewing some off the sidewalk. Yuck!

Replace your Addiction
This might not seem weird at first but wait till you see what people have replaced smoking with. Sure, e-cigarettes, nicotine gum and running work. But people have decided to replace their cigarettes with cups of ultra strong coffee, breath mints, marshmallows and whipped cream and other similar surrogates as well. George Michael famously claims that he managed to quit by tweeting every time he got an urge for cigarettes. And another famous person took the replacement approach as well. Barack Obama promised his wife that he’ll give up smoking if he became president and give up he did. Talk about replacing your addiction!

There are plenty of ways to quit smoking but few of them are as foolproof as some would have you believe. Just remember that smoking is bad for you so you should definitely quit. Whether you do it by vaporizer, willpower or by gobbling up cigarette butts is up to you!

Mara M. Fuchs is a freelance writer currently based in the Netherlands. She has recently given up smoking both for her sake and the sake of her cats.

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