Most of us are hungry for rewards. We want to be patted on the back. A cigarette is a reward that we can give ourselves as often as we wish. When we have done anything well, for instance, we can congratulate ourselves with a cigarette, which certifies, in effect, that we have been “good boys.” We can promise ourselves: “When I have finished this piece of work, when I have written the last page of my report, I’ll deserve a little fun. I’ll have a cigarette.”
The first and last cigarette in the day is especially significant rewards. The first one, smoked right after breakfast, is a sort of anticipated recompense. The smoker has work to do, and he eases himself into the day’s activities as pleasantly as possible. He gives him a little consolation prize in advance, and at the same time manages to postpone the evil hour when he must begin his hard day’s work. The last cigarette of the day is like “closing a door.” It is something quite definite. One smoker explained: “I nearly always smoke a cigarette before going to bed. That finishes the day. I usually turn the light out after I have smoked the last cigarette, and then turn over to sleep.”
Smoking is often merely a conditioned reflex. Certain situations, such as coming out of the subway, beginning and ending work, voluntary and involuntary interruptions of work, feelings of hunger, and many others regulate the timetable of smoking. Often a smoker may not even want a cigarette particularly, but he will see someone else take one and then he feels that he must have one, too.
When too many people are smoking its fun, and a reward in itself, it more often accompanies other pleasures. At meals, a cigarette is somewhat like another course. In general, smoking introduces a holiday spirit into everyday living. It rounds out other forms of enjoyment and makes them one hundred per cent satisfactory.
None of us are against being rewarded; we actually thrive from it. Rewarding ones self is a means of keeping motivated, working harder, and getting the job done. Over time when a person smokes they start to view certain cigarettes as a reward. When we have done everything well we can congratulate ourselves by smoking a cigarette. When we finally meet that deadline there is nothing more immediately rewarding than taking a break and having a smoke.
According to “The Psychology of Everyday Living” by Ernest Dichter: The first and last cigarette in the day are especially significant rewards. The first one of the day is sort of an anticipated reward. The smoker has work to do, and he eases himself into the day’s activities as pleasantly as possible. He gives himself a little consolation prize in advance, and at the same time manages to postpone the evil hour when he must begin his hard day’s work. The last cigarette of the day is like a “closing the door.”
I think we all open and close the day this way. We don’t think of it as feeding our addiction before getting on with the day or coming to the end of the day but we think of it as a reward, a habitual reward that we can do throughout the day.
Because of the health effects of smoking this should no longer be viewed as a reward but a death sentence. The longer we smoke the more damage we do to our bodies and the more severe the psychological effects of smoking. There is quit smoking help available and if you are struggling with quitting you need to look over your options and find the one that will work best for you.