One view on smoking

Why people cannot stop smoking? What’s so hard about it?


A 2012 USA study has now shown that ‘nicotine dependent’ participants, i.e. people addicted to smoking, are vulnerable to feeling a loss of self-control, to having an external locus of control. The study also found that smoking a cigarette had a double effect, improving mood and restoring a more external locus of control (i.e. increased self-control).

This goes some way to explaining why people smoke and why it is so hard to quit the habit. However, quitting the habit might be a little less daunting  if alternative improving-self-control strategies could be taught, especially those that elevate mood. Suggested strategies include physical exercise as this puts the person in control and the endorphins released would boost positive mood.

An internal locus of control is when a person feels in control of herself; she feels she can and do affect their own lives, make their own decisions and so on.

An external locus of control, on the other hand, is a person feels she doesn’t have control over her own life; so that it does not matter what she does or doesn’t do as it won’t affect them because outside forces and people have the power and make the decisions.


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