A lot of psychological factors are associated with smoking which makes it difficult to give up the habit. However, with determination, persistent effort and proper support system anything can be made possible, say experts on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day.

Initially, nicotine acts as a stimulant when a person starts smoking. But, for a chronic smoker, the tolerance level shoots up and the brain becomes receptive to more nicotine prompting the person to smoke frequently, Superintendent of Government Hospital for Mental Health N.N. Raju observed.

“A lot of smokers are under the impression that cigarette smoking helps them come out of stress making them feel relaxed and composed. Unless one comes out of this particular perception, it becomes difficult to give up the habit,” he explained and suggested that those who want to give up smoking should try to do it gradually. Cutting down on the quantity of cigarettes per day, setting fixed time, spending time with non-smokers, family and children would help a person give up smoking in the long run. Other alternatives like nicotine patches, chewing gum apart from finding out associated causes help overcome the urge to smoke, explains consultant clinical psychologist Deepa Mohan. “Though people smoke for the sake of pleasure or fascination, some have strong reasons to smoke such as having low self-esteem, lack of confidence, pressure from parents or teachers or peers and other specific excuses. Once the self-analysis is done, things become easy to control the habit,” she suggested and offered tips to help curb tobacco consumption: Set achievable targets such as removing one or two cigarettes from the pack, cutting down the length of the cigarette, do not stock packets at home, buying one at a time, finding support groups who share success stories and their efforts made to kick the habit and seeking professional guidance help one quit the habit for good.