The Connection Between Emotions and Consumption: Why Aren't You Quitting Smoking?

We often blog about different ways that quitting smoking can improve your lifestyle. We offer advice about how to replace some feelings derived from the smoking action with other healthier habits (i.e. yoga, meditation, exercise, social activities, recreation, and travel). If you've read these lifestyle pieces in the past, you've always gotten that sense that you would like to do better for yourself. Do we understand why quitting smoking is so difficult? Of course, we do! We also know that, given an unlimited supply of willpower, you would do whatever it takes to quit smoking at this very moment. However, you are a creature motivated by competing thoughts and emotions, and, at any point in time, your state of being will change. You're affected by both internal emotions and environmental factors. You're all about finding your "self," which includes balancing these internal and external influences. For example, you could be watching a show and suddenly indulge the idea of eating a bag of chips. It might have been because there was a Lays commercial on TV. It might have been because a new romantic interest canceled your plans for tonight. We usually make better decisions when we feel a high level of control over a given situation.  

The Background

At first, the subject of emotions is confusing. We make consumer decisions, such as buying a pack of cigarettes, based on emotions. For example, you might think that buying cigarettes now instead of tomorrow when you're at the store will help you relax. You have that trigger thought, and you cannot ignore it. It goes something like this: "I will step outside and light up, and then I will feel better." All of those negative thoughts, such as the date who canceled on you, that were stressing you out will presumably disappear (at least for a few minutes). You come back inside, ten minutes go by, and the same negative thoughts return. Don't give into thoughts like this: "If I have one cigarette, I can cope with my problems. I can get through the day." We remind you that learning to handle common triggers makes quitting smoking seem more possible. More on that later.

The Function of Emotions

We found an interesting perspective on emotions related to consumer decision-making. In their integrative model, Achar, So, Agrawal, and Duhachek explain that people may respond to emotional content within advertising. For example, you might be affected by a speaker using a voice enhancement device on why you should quit smoking. She has a tracheotomy because she fought lung cancer after smoking for many years. People may also experience emotions that are unrelated to marketing content, such as those caused by their personality or by a past event, and then make a different kind of purchasing decision. That being said, the same advertisement featuring the lung cancer survivor without a real voice might affect you one day and might not affect you the next day. It could depend on your present emotional state.  

The Future is Here

We know that quitting smoking saves lives. At the very least, smoking cessation reduces your risks of having a heart attack or a stroke. Your lungs begin to clear. Within a year, your lungs can look totally different, obviously containing less tar. Achar et al also explained this important phenomenon: "Emotions associated with future-focused appraisals (e.g., hope) increase consumers’ self-control and lead them to make healthier choices relative to emotions associated with present-focused or past-focused appraisals (e.g., pride)." 

If you need some inspiration to make healthier choices, you can download the 'Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide' below. It includes 5 nutrition ideas and 10 healthy foods to eat when your craving sugary foods. 

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