My mom smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for almost 30 years. Then one day she quit – cold turkey – and never had a single symptom of withdrawal. No cravings, no anxiety, irritability or depression. No weight gain, headaches, insomnia – nothing.
After struggling to breathe all weekend with a cold, she decided on Monday, “That’s it. I’m quitting now.” When amazed people would ask how she did it, she’d always respond, “I just decided.”
Her story is uncommon but not unique. My dad’s more common smoking saga involved a struggle with cravings that lasted several years before he could kick the habit.
So, what was the difference? Why was she able to quit quickly, without withdrawal, while he wasn’t? Could it have been that her decision – that firm, mental resolve – actually affected her physical responses?
And why is this such an important health question? Continue reading