Why Do People Smoke?

List of the Pros and Cons of Smoking

Pros and Cons
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We all know the reasons to quit smoking —but why might someone start in the first place? Community member Jeff details why he thought he liked smoking and the important reasons he stopped smoking.

7 Reasons I Thought I Liked Smoking

We get hooked on things like smoking because they do seem to fulfill a role in our lives for the positive—that's why it's so hard to quit. Here's what smoking brought me.

Nicotine Addiction

Smoking made the empty, anxious, tense feeling of nicotine withdrawal go away for a short while. I now know that I am and will always be a nicotine addict. I know that the craving to smoke is not coming from the cigarette but from my mind.

No matter what doubts, negative thoughts or excuses enter my brain, I will not accept them. I know that I can never have another cigarette or I will be back exactly where I started, smoking myself to an early grave.

Kinship and Familiarity

I unconsciously thought that cigarettes were my friend. We went through all the bad and good times together. Smoking was always there for me for over 35 years. I now know that cigarettes are not my friend, but instead were slowly poisoning and killing me.

Stress Relief

The time away from work/life that was free from worry, concern, and stresses while I smoked. I unconsciously transferred the pleasurable feelings of peace and relaxation during those breaks to the act of smoking a cigarette. I now know that I can experience this feeling of inner peace by just taking a short break without smoking a cigarette.

Harmful Beliefs

I believed I could never be truly happy as an ex-smoker. I now know that this belief was conditioned in me from a young age through my early experiences with smoking and constant advertising attacks by cigarette companies. I now know I need to question everything I ever thought I understood about smoking. I can be truly happy and healthy as an ex-smoker.


The smell of a good Cuban cigar or the smells as you open a humidor. I have to admit that I still like the smell of cigars. However, I now know I can never smoke them again. I have relapsed twice because I thought I could have just one cigar. I now know I can never ever have another puff off a cigarette or cigar. A puff will lead me back to full-time smoking; there is no in-between.

Fear of Withdrawal

I was afraid of quitting and the terrible feelings of withdrawal from nicotine. I feared I could not handle quitting and the triggers to smoke that I would face. I looked at the act of quitting as the most difficult, tedious and unpleasant thing I would ever do.

While quitting may be difficult, I now know that I need to focus on the positive effects of being an ex-smoker. I know that quitting is a learning experience. I seek and embrace the triggers so that I can conquer them and establish new healthy habits in their place.

Fear of Failing

I was afraid to make the commitment to myself to never have another puff because I feared failure. I have now made a personal commitment to myself to quit smoking for good.

7 Reasons I Hated Smoking

It's important to have your "why" when you quit smoking. I have my myriad reasons why I quit, but here are some of the top ways smoking was affecting my life for the negative.

  • Watching my father unhook his oxygen to go out and have a cigarette
  • I felt like helpless to nicotine addiction.
  • Dental problems, like bad breath, yellow teeth, and bone loss in my mouth
  • That feeling I'd get when I needed another fix
  • How I hated myself for smoking
  • My lungs hurt. This was the final straw for me. I was sitting in bed feeling my lungs ache and thought to myself, What am I doing? Do I really want to end up like my father? I know I can quit. I have made it for more than a year smoke-free on more than one occasion. N.O.P.E.(not one puff ever)!
  • Smoking has never solved any of my problems. The problem was always there after the cigarette was gone.
2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. US National Library of Medicine. MedLinePlus. Quitting Smoking (resource clearinghouse page). Bethesda, Md.: US Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health US National Library of Medicine.

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute. Smokefree.gov. Challenges When Quitting. Handling Stress. Coping With Stress Without Smoking.

By Terry Martin
Terry Martin quit smoking after 26 years and is now an advocate for those seeking freedom from nicotine addiction.