It really is important to try and understand both the physical and psychological aspects of stopping smoking.
For many years now I have always tried to get the message across that the smoker needs to understand their behaviour first and then work on changing their behaviour - where it needs to be changed. This also includes working on their thought process.
In an ideal world I would ask everyone to set a quit date around 2-3 weeks away and during those first couple of weeks we would work together on behavioural change and understanding everything first. This is why I'm always saying about planning beforehand. However, because everyone tends to want to go it their own way, we will work with every smoker individually, walk with the walkers and run with the runners - so to speak.
Sometimes however, there are smokers who really cannot get through the initial few months, weeks, days or even hours alone and so using certain therapies of their choice will help.
NRT and other therapies, when used correctly can help - they will never 'do' for the smoker what a cigarette will 'do', but will take the edge off. Whilst doing this, the smoker can then concentrate on changing their behaviour. When the time comes, (and the smoker feels more confident) then they can work towards reducing and then stopping using their NRT or other chosen therapy.
If NRT alone worked so fantastic, then the smoker would be able to 'just stick a patch on' and never smoke again. However, each time they wake up, put the kettle on or have something to eat (common triggers) then this is when the cravings etc set in and no matter what therapy they are using, the eyes still see and the mind still recognises these triggers. Working very much in the same way as Pavlos dog experiment.
Evidence shows that if a smoker uses a service such as Quit Support, their local stop smoking service or NRT (or both), then they are more likely to still be stopped at 4 weeks. If they stop for at least 28 days, then they are more likely to stay stopped longer.
However, further evidence shows that a high number of people go back to smoking with 12 months. This is largely due to those people not thinking and planning beforehand and getting 'caught out' just when they thought they were safe.
More time and effort needs to be focused on behavioural change to guarantee a long term smokefree life. There's no reason at all why this can't be you who does this.
Remember: Failing to plan could mean you may be planning to fail... If you are not careful, you could do this without meaning to.