A video gamer is using his addiction to a favored game as a major tool in defeating his nicotine addiction. Can other smokers really use video games — and perhaps other recreational addictions — to kick the habit?
DS Fanboy reader Dan was interviewed by the blog about the role of video games in his latest attempt to quit smoking. Ironically, he’s using his addiction to the Game Boy franchise Pokemon to stop once and for all.
How does it work?
I decided that every time that I wanted a cigarette, I would turn on my DS and play some Pokémon. But the thing about going from two packs a day to cold turkey is that at first, you always want a cigarette. So the first three days, I did nothing but play Pokémon non-stop.
The dedicated gamer played the game almost non-stop at first, sleeping late to avoid having to deal with the battle in the morning. It seems the trick worked. The day of the interview — the 17th — is his 40th day without a cigarette. At this point, perhaps it is more about will power than Pokemon for the x-smoker, but it seems a strong addiction to something else can be used to keep a smoker occupied in the first few days of kicking the habit. This begs the question: will any addiction do?
Will a reading addiction work? What about an addiction to sex? Perhaps a gambling addiction? An addiction to the Internet? An addiction to recreational drugs? Can alcoholism produce something good despite its generally negative effect on the human body?
According to Dan, not just any addiction does the trick. He’s also been addicted to World of Warcraft, but the game backfired on him. It stressed Dan out, sending him into a rush of cigarette cravings in the search to “de-stress”. He also gave super Smash Bros. Brawl a shot, but being the hardcore gamer that he is, Dan needed a break from the game every 20 to 30 minutes. This didn’t work because he’d smoke during the break.
In using this method of quitting, it seems the second addiction shouldn’t cause any stress, so addictions to things such as gambling wouldn’t work. The addiction shouldn’t be tiring either, so mind and body intensive activities wouldn’t do it.
Dan says the game kept his mind occupied enough to where he wasn’t thinking about cigarettes, and the game requires his hands but isn’t tiring to the body. It seems the activity needs to keep the smoker in some sort of physical and mental “attention tunnel”, making fun, relaxing, and addicting games like the Pokemon series a perfect end-smoking aid.
Of course, what relaxes one person may stress another, so if you’re going to give this a shot, try to keep it to something that can occupy the whole day but isn’t boring, stressful, and tiring. This is where we’d make a bunch of cheesy suggestions for what quitting smokers should try, but we won’t.