I don't know a single smoker who would rather smoke than not smoke. But "wanting to not smoke" is a mile away from "wanting to quit". Why ? Well I think there are two reasons.
First, smokers think quitting is tougher than it really is. They see TV advertising that tells them they need special chemical aids, medical advice and so on. They see movies about people climbing the wall as they give up other drugs like heroin. They talk to people who have tried to quit (usually with no outside help) and failed within days. And of course those people, in order to justify their own failure, tell them how tough it was, how they suffered excruciating withdrawal symptoms, how they put on 10lbs in a week, how they couldn't sleep, and so on and so on.
Despite all this, smokers do get to a stage of understanding what they are doing to their own health, and large numbers of them would be, and are, willing to try to quit. But many don't try, and a huge proportion (90%) of those who do try fail because they don't give themselves a proper chance, they lose self-belief too soon.
Which leads me to my second reason, a reason why some smokers never try, and why many quits fail in the first few weeks.
This is the belief that it is impossible to maintain the self-discipline needed to stay quit for the rest of your life.
Indeed, if the level of mental energy and drive that is needed in the first few weeks of a quit were necessary for as much as 3 months, then people might indeed be better off smoking ! But that is simply not the case.
I quit 15 months ago, and the attention I have to give to my quit right now is less than I give to being careful when I cross the road. It's a no-brainer almost, the fact of not smoking is just a natural and comfortable part of my life. And it's been pretty much at that level for 9 months.
Between 3 and 6 months, I was more aware of the fact that I was still 'quitting', a little fearful of what event might cause me to relapse, and spent a fair bit of my time continuing to learn about smoking and quitting, and staying close to the Freedom Board. But even that period was fairly comfortable.
The first 3 months needed quite an investment of my time in self-education and 'attending' this support group, and quite a lot of mental energy in daily re-committing myself to the fight. For that indeed is what it was --- a fight for my life.
For those of you out there who really want to quit, but believe you can't stay the distance, stop worrying about it. Quitting is not easy; it's not something you just do and get it over quickly, like going to the dentist; it's not something that you just try on a whim. But it's also not as difficult as you think it is, and it is absolutely not a prescription for a future life of self-denial and mental agony.
If only you could see life through my eyes now .....