Having started smoking as a teenager, Professor Robert West managed to kick the habit while at university, on a girlfriend’s urging.
He has gone on to devote his 30-year career to discovering what works when it comes to giving up smoking.
Dating a smoker advice
West advises how to combine these ingredients into a personalised “formula”. You smoke because the nicotine you have been inhaling for all those years has changed your brain chemistry to create powerful urges to smoke.
The urges come about because every puff on a cigarette sends a rapid nicotine hit to the part of your brain that makes you do things, creating an association between the drug and the action.
These urges are triggered because nicotine has trained the part of your brain that gets you to do things to light up a cigarette whenever you find yourself in a situation where you would normally smoke, be it with drinking alcohol, at a bus stop, after a meal.
Crucially, this helps to answer a conundrum that a lot of smokers have: why do smokers who don’t smoke every day often find it really hard to stop?
Last week at True Love Dates.com, I took a poll called “Are These Dating Deal Breakers” asking singles to respond “yes” or “no” as to whether something was a dating deal breaker.
I had some really important traits on the list, mixed in with a few qualities that some might say aren’t as important in a relationship. Do you think smoking is reflective of deeper issues, or is the smoking in and of itself the deal-breaker (the scent, cost, etc.)?Our five-minute conversations spun topics from Truman Capote to a very small man who lived in our building and owned an enormous Great Dane dog.Did the Great Dane sleep in the bed, we wondered, and the small man sleep on a pad in the kitchen?Heading a team of researchers at University College London, where he is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies at Cancer Research UK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre, he has one aim: to find better ways of helping smokers who want to stop.“There is a lot of stuff out there: Allen Carr, Paul Mc Kenna, numerous websites,” says West.“But what smokers don’t have is the real story of the best ways of stopping, from the billions of pounds worth of research that has actually been done.”Instead of suggesting just one sure-fire way to quit, West discusses the many things that can help someone forgo the fags: electronic cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapy, professional support, and so on.No matter the topic, Phil was funny, smart, well-spoken, and unpretentious.