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  • Mr Panagiotis Karagiannis

Positive Smoking?NOT...

Starting my life as being very pro antismoking and then smoking around 40 cigarettes daily I always wanted to find effective ways to combat this nasty habit. I always thought that I enjoyed this behaviour, but truth be told it constricted me a lot. I could not travel for many hours as I would start sweating inside airplanes and airports, when I was not able to get my nicotine fix I could not concentrate on anything else and there were countless times where I would be on a date with my fiancée that I would need to go outside in rainy and cold London to enjoy a cigarette. Despite this a conflict took place inside me as I thought that this nasty habit would take away years of my life and as I said earlier it trapped me, but I felt powerless to do anything about it. I was always afraid that I was not going to be able to enjoy life without having a puff. Being a trainee counselling psychologist having finished the clinical part of my doctoral degree and having practical experience of two years in addictions you can understand that I felt almost like an imposter suggesting to people to quit gambling while being heavily hooked on smoking myself. Having tried everything from books and smoking cessation aids I constantly failed to quit. Nowadays I see more and more people adopting this habit but also, I see more and more people being addicted to something ranging from gaming to relationships.

But I found a way out. Having successfully quit I can feel stronger than ever and the proud feeling about myself that I am currently enjoying is extraordinary. I would love to share this with others and thankfully being an MBACP registered counsellor nowadays I can. What worked for me was nothing else than one of the most powerful interventions for smoking out there, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Combine this with some Positive Psychology elements I had all the necessary knowledge I needed to try it and successfully manage to enjoy my first months having achieved abstinence.

Since here in Change to Be we are all about promoting positive change in peoples’ lives let’s review some of the ways that CBT and Positive Psychology could help you achieve the same:

1. Psychoeducation

CBT will equip you with all the necessary knowledge that you need to achieve this change in your life. You will learn everything you need for nicotine addiction to specially tailored problem-solving techniques, such as stress management and not having access to tobacco. You will also learn all about the myths that surround weight gain and smoking.

2. Identify your cues

You will identify all the cues necessary for success. You will learn to distinguish the cues that lead you to think about smoking and lead you to light up a cigarette and all the motivational cues that will lead you to get one step away from this habit. Both are needed for a successful outcome and be in control of yourself.

3. Combat your fears and alter your thinking patterns

Quitting smoking can be a fearful experience and the brain will play tricks with us in an attempt to keep getting the nicotine dosage that it needs. Here you will be able to acknowledge the positive personal characteristics that you have that you could use to aid yourself in this journey.


Concluding I don’t want to say the cliché that it is just a choice. Unfortunately, it is hard to quit smoking and nicotine addiction is one of the hardest to overcome but with the proper guidance and techniques you will be able to do so easily and effectively. Here at Change to Be LTD our mission is about making positive change in people’s lives and we have many more techniques and tools that could help your journey in smoking cessation. We value your comments and feedback and make sure to give us a hint about what you would like to read in our next article.

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