How People Begin to Smoke

There are 3 main concepts pertaining to how people begin to smoke. People weren’t born with the desire to smoke it is a learned behavior therefore it can be unlearned.

The first concept is modeling; modeling is when a person learns something by watching others. Usually when related to smoking it is a parent, family member or peer. Many smokers start in their teenage years after watching friends or a family member use cigarettes.

Operant conditioning is another concept related to why people smoke. Operant conditioning is a form of learning where a person modifies their behavior by associating the behavior with a stimulus. In relation to smoking this could be the rush a person feels when they feel the effects of nicotine. By finding the exposure to nicotine pleasurable the act of smoking is reinforced. Smoking may also be used to change the way a person feels, thinks and behaves. They may perceive themselves to be cool, be more energetic and more confident. There are perceived positive consequences…

Finally, there is classical conditioning which Pavlov demonstrated many years ago. Over time, repeated pairings of one stimulus with another could cause a consistent response. As a person continues to smoke they will begin to relate feelings, thoughts, times, things, people and places with smoking. Eventually, exposure to those cues alone is sufficient to produce cravings and urges that trigger a person to smoke. Becomes a reflex to certain conditions…

When you stop smoking it is important to understand why you smoke. Were you doing it to feel cool? Because it made you feel good? Were you smoking to manage daily life? Addressing these types of questions can help you stop smoking and remain smoke free. Getting to the root of the problem; low self-esteem, poor coping skills, addiction, etc will greatly increase your success!

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