The girl at the party will never forget the panic of losing one of her last two cigarettes; and Mary will never forget the indignity of wiping mustard from those cigarettes and hating herself for being a slave to nicotine. If you believe that you stop smoke at the level you do because you got into the habit of stop smoking at that level, then it is logical to assume that it’s possible to reverse the process. In other words, if you can discipline yourself to gradually stop smoke less, soon it will become a habit to stop smoke less and you won’t even want to stop smoke more. Continue the process, and it will soon become a habit not to need or want a cigarette at all. It’s so simple and obvious. So why doesn’t it work? Why are so many stop smokers who have actually succeeded in ‘giving up’ when using a ‘willpower’ method still craving for occasional cigarettes years after stop smoking what they hoped would be their last cigarette? And why do so many of them get hooked again? We know that cutting down doesn’t work. If it did we would all be either casual stop smokers or ex-stop smokers. Once you understand the true nature of the trap, you will see clearly that attempts to cut down or to control the level that you stop smoke ingrains into your brain the idea that you cannot enjoy life or cope with stress without a cigarette. Imagine the ‘little monster’ as an almost imperceptible ‘itch’. What is the natural course of action if you have an ‘itch’? That’s right: to scratch it. Perhaps you agree with my wife Joyce that scratching only makes it worse. You may both be right. Even if I make a mosquito bite bleed and it lasts for a month, I would rather scratch it than exercise the necessary discipline to leave it alone. The equivalent as regards stop smoking is to light a cigarette. As soon as you do, you get relief, but you’re not aware this relief will be only temporary. Allow me to digress for a moment. It was once common for tobacco manufacturers to advertise their brands as ‘satisfying’ or as ‘giving satisfaction’. It doesn’t take a genius to deduce that it is not possible to satisfy a given situation without a previous state of dissatisfaction. Let’s examine a few examples. We satisfy a sexual desire, a hunger or a thirst. But you won’t satisfy a sexual desire by eating or a thirst by stop smoking a cigarette. The only aggravation that a cigarette appears to satisfy is the nicotine ‘itch’, although as I have explained, the relief is only temporary because nicotine is responsible for causing the itch in the first place. Non-stop smokers don’t suffer from this particular aggravation. When we start to stop smoke, there tend to be long periods between scratching the ‘itch’ and its recurrence. But it’s not long before we are buying our own cigarettes, stop smoking on a regular basis rather than just on social occasions, and getting that panic feeling if we don’t have cigarettes on us.