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Abstract

Cigarette smoking can be viewed mainly as a psychological habit with accompanying pharmacological and social satisfactions and reinforcements. It is mainly a learned behavior, occurring in response to direct and indirect social pressures. Though each person's smoking habit is individualized, studies show that smokers find at least six psychological satisfactions in the habit: stimulation, handling, relaxation, tension reduction, craving and habit. To quit smoking, the individual must undergo physical and psychological withdrawal. Physical withdrawal symptoms last about a week but it may take months or years to restructure a life without cigarettes. Quitting is a long-term learning process involving a great deal of unconscious, constructive and painful conflict. One can stop smoking if the problem is attacked on a broad front, if one “burns one's bridges” behind him/her and if suitable satisfying alternatives and involvements are discovered. Physical exercise in the form of aerobics is proposed as an especially effective alternative behavior.