It’s a common sight to see a painter, writer, or musician lighting up a cigarette, especially in movies and photographs. In popular media, these characters are often shown as dark, depressed and prone to smoking, drinking, and substance abuse.
But, is this an accurate representation? Does everyone, including the artists, believe that smoking and other addictions are essential to being creative?
While you may feel that temporary ‘high’ from smoking cigarettes can help you to concentrate better, there’s proof that smoking and creativity aren’t related at all.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how creatives don’t need to smoke or have an addiction to create their magnum opus.
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How Nicotine ‘Inspires’ Artists
For decades, many popular artists have had an image that’s inseparable from cigarettes. When asked, many would claim that cigarettes helped them focus.
They would mention how in writing a song or creating ideas for a new novel, lighting up a cigarette helps relax them to a point they enter a specific mindset that helps them become creative.
But, it’s possible that the struggle they often feel when concentrating on their art – such as when holding a pen or playing an instrument – is actually just their craving for nicotine.
By lighting a cigarette, they get a feeling of pleasure having accomplished something, associating the relief from nicotine consumption as part of their ‘eureka’ moment.
With this problematic correlation, it is clear that cigarette smoking isn’t the catalyst for inspiration, concentration, or anything at all. Instead, it’s the struggle of nicotine withdrawal and cravings they endure, a poor inspiration for doing anything creative and feeling good about the result.
Addiction, Oral Fixation, and Creativity
Nicotine is the reason why many smokers keep on smoking despite how fatal it is to their health. For creative people who keep on smoking, their addiction and view of cigarettes as a catalyst and tool make it even more difficult to start quitting.
Studies have shown that creativity stems from tactile interactions – or, more simply, by interacting with objects and items around us.
Oral fixation, taking a hit from a cigarette, and the hand-to-mouth gesture of smokers are a few examples of tactile interactions that get associated with the writing or drawing done during the creative process.
Healthy Ways to Be Creative Without Cigarettes
Artists sometimes refuse to recognise that cigarette smoking is mostly a force of habit and not the muse of their artworks. But, if they’ve been off-track in producing something meaningful for quite a while, suggesting quitting as a possible way to find new inspiration may persuade them to go on a smoking cessation journey.
Engage in Physical Activity
Exercise is probably the last thing in a creative person’s mind, but it’s probably an activity that helps them become much better at gaining new ideas.
With many legendary artists having suffered untreated depression or another mental issue, exercising the body can better a troubled and distracted mind, especially one addicted to nicotine.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Purposeful mindfulness and meditation can help an artist cope with nicotine withdrawal on their smoking cessation journey while finding new connections within the glimmers of their imagination.
These two activities encourage them to enter a flow state, absorbed in various trains of thought, where they can make farfetched yet appealing correlations between different topics to formulate new ideas.
Connect With Nature
Many masterpieces by world-renowned painters and authors came from their passion to explore and gain new experiences, which is why connecting with nature is a great way to focus the mind and cope with smoking.
Seeing the beauty of the world, smelling the fresh air, and appreciating what nature has to offer refreshes your brain and can inspire creative people with new ideas.
Embrace Diverse Experiences
Artists might not always be team players, but interacting with a great diversity of people with different experiences and personalities often yields outstanding results.
We can frame it another way – a painter or writer with tons of diverse experiences has plenty of material and ideas to create something much more meaningful than before.
Cultivate a Supportive Network
Speaking of diversity, artists can be persuaded by other creative people they admire that nicotine is unnecessary.
Having a network of highly productive creative people who do not smoke can persuade an artist to stop smoking, embrace new experiences, and create their life’s work.
Having Difficulty Quitting? It’s Easy to Get Help
If you or an artistic friend are motivated to quit smoking for good and become much more productive in your artistic work, you can count on GPs and various tools to help you quit within days and earn your first-year milestone of quitting smoking.
A GP is like a creative mentor – they can guide your thoughts and show you the best strokes or phrases to best express yourself.
They’ve helped many ex-smokers get through the bumpy road of the first few days of quitting and can create a customised smoking cessation plan to help you stop smoking for good and provide the tools essential to help you quit.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Products
By working with a GP, your NRT tools are much more effective. As GPs know your smoking profile (or the number of ciggies you light up daily), they can give you the right NRT dose so you can deal with strong cravings and withdrawals during the first few weeks of quitting.
Nicotine Vaping Products (NVPs)
In addition to NRT products, GPs are authorised to prescribe NVPs from pharmacies as a second-line solution. These prescription products are made with stringent ingredient, equipment, and facility standards – the same standards used for producing your other trusted medicines.
Unlike the illicit and potentially dangerous vapes sold in tobacconists and corner stores, NVP products sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking.
NVPs might be a second-line treatment, but they’re much more effective than NRT products. The latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
Artistic expression and nicotine addiction are two different things. It is by breaking their addiction to nicotine that makes a creative person much more productive and closer to making their magnum opus. Quitting also gives them a better quality of life and confidence in their talent.
We know you’re reading this because you think quitting cigarettes makes you less talented. That’s not true.
Your true talent lies in your dedication to the craft and your ability to get through any struggle – such as quitting smoking. Right now, you’re in the best place to get started on your journey.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.