Want to stop smoking? Buy Ciggarettes!

For some people it is easy to stop smoking, it is just a decision they make from one day to the next. For others, it amounts to a daily battle of will power…in that case, it is a mano a mano between you and you! Over the years, I have heard many stories as to how people quit, and it is interesting to know that each person has their own little strategy of going about it. Some throw all their cigarettes away and vow never to touch them again, some make more ritualistic burnings of the sticks, others buy a full pack and leave it sitting on the kitchen counter. Apparently, the third one is the best way to go…
Temptation leads to Moderation

Seeing pictures of food on television makes me hungry – and I am not alone in that department. Just invite a couple of friends over to watch “Supersize Me” and notice how many of them will want a Hamburger or Big Mac after, or even during the movie. Advertiser are well aware of this and thus spare nothing to make all the food on TV look scrumptious. This also holds true for smoking: watch a movie where the main hero smokes, and you’d be surprised as to how much more people smoke.

So, the old dictum of “monkey see, monkey do” quite neatly explains what is happening there. Yet, if seeing pictures of things on the box makes me want to consume them, then how on earth would having the temptation right in front of me help me quit?? Why would having a box of cigarettes at home help someone to quit?

The answer lies in new research, published in the Journal of Consumer Research. There researchers showed that the actual physical presence of a temptation actually increases moderation in consumption, whereas just looking at pictures, increases temptation. Of course, the journal is mainly concerned with the implications of this for consumption and sales, but if you look at the underlying pattern, we can see something very familiar:

When I was a kid, Christmas was awesome. The snow, the smell of cinnamon, the tree,….i loved it. And it was not only that day, even better were all the days leading up to it. Anticipation seemed the best part. Sure Christmas Day was nice, but there were at least 24 days of knowing that this one day would come…

Do the things we see and subsequently fantasize about bring us more enjoyment than what we have? Is the grass really always greener on the other side?

Well, I don’t know the answer to that, all that I know is that when people ask me to quit smoking, i tell them to buy cigarettes and keep them in the house or on them. That way, they could smoke if they wanted to, but they really don’t want to because they can. Ahhh, and I also tell them to buy Gummybears DVDs and watch them instead of Fight Club or other movies…that way there is no other side that is greener!!

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One thought on “Want to stop smoking? Buy Ciggarettes!

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