Double Your Chances of Quitting Smoking

Courtesy of the American Cancer Society

 

Among current US smokers, more than 70% say they want to quit, but only 5% to 10% are successful on any given attempt. Quitting smoking can be tough, but we have come up with some ways you can double your chances of being successful. Even better, use more than one of the ideas listed below and boost your odds of quitting smoking for good!

 

Consider Using Medicines to Help You Quit

 

Research has shown using a quitting smoking medication, such as bupropion (Zyban), varenicline (Chantix), or the nicotine patch, gum, nasal spray, inhaler, or lozenge, can double your chances of successfully quitting. Bupropion is a non-nicotine, prescription medicine that helps reduce cravings. Varenicline is a drug that helps lessen nicotine withdrawal symptoms and lowers the pleasurable feelings people get when smoking. Using a nicotine replacement product can address uncomfortable physical withdrawal symptoms, giving you the chance to concentrate on changing the "habit" or routine of smoking. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about setting up a medicine strategy that will work for you. Depending on your smoking habits and previous attempts to quit, your doctor may recommend using one or more of these medicines. It is likely, though, that your doctor will not recommend using buproprion or varenicline with nicotine replacement products. It will depend on your health and the safety of using both at the same time. Chantix, in particular, has not been available long enough for us to know whether it is safe to use NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) with it.

 

Get Self-help Materials to Guide Yourself Through the Quitting Process

 

Materials are available to help you quit smoking, no matter where you are in the process. You can use the materials to learn how to prepare for your quit attempt, develop strategies to help with cravings, and prevent relapse once you have quit. The self-help materials offer proven methods that are easy to follow and can keep your motivation high. The American Cancer Society’s "Break Away From the Pack" series has been shown to double your chances of quitting successfully. This material is available for those who are willing to quit smoking. For more information on "Break Away From the Pack" or other self-help materials from the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345).

 

Find Out About Support Programs Near You

 

The American Cancer Society can tell you about smoking cessation resources in your community. These may include classes, support groups, Internet resources, or medication assistance referrals. It is important to have support from several different sources during your quit attempt, including family, friends, doctors, and stop smoking professionals. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 for more details.

 

Use Telephone Counseling Programs

 

You may be able to use a telephone counseling program, such as the American Cancer Society’s Quitline tobacco cessation program, in your area. You can receive quitting strategies and support over the phone, at times that are convenient for you. Telephone counseling programs have been proven to double your chances of successfully quitting. Your state may sponsor a Quitline program, or you can enroll in the American Cancer Society’s Quitline program clinical trial.

 

Here are some general tips to help you try to quit:

 

Talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about which medicines are right for you.

Write down your reasons for wanting to quit; keep the list with you for extra motivation.

Throw away all of your cigarettes and ashtrays.

Substitute the activities you do with smoking and other

Set a quit date and plan ahead to help deal with cravings.

Tell your family, friends, and coworkers about your plans to quit.

Have alternatives to smoking available, such as peppermints, carrot sticks, or cinnamon sticks.

Stay busy.

Avoid situations that always trigger an urge to smoke.

 

What are the social benefits of quitting smoking?

 

Social benefits of quitting smoking:

 

  • You will feel in control instead of your cigarettes controlling you.
  • You feel an enhanced sense of self-esteem.
  • Your family will be healthier now and in the future.
  • Your healthy appearance will improve.
  • You won't have to leave any non-smoking gatherings just to have a cigarette.
  • Your bank account will improve.
  • Compared to smokers, people who quit smoking are more likely to exercise regularly and exercise will help quitters to stay off cigarettes and avoid or minimize weight gain.

 

Specific benefits to women who quit smoking:

 

  • If women didn't smoke during pregnancy, fetal and infant deaths would be reduced by approximately 10%.
  • Women who quit smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy have the same low risk of having a low birth weight baby as women who have never smoked.
  • Women who quit smoking in the later stages of pregnancy, up to the 30th week of gestation, have infants with higher birth weight compared to women who continue to smoke.
  • 2 years after your last cigarette, your risk of cervical cancer reduces.
  • Non-smokers reach menopause 1 to 2 years later than smokers.

 

Specific benefits to seniors who quit smoking:

 

  • Smoking in later life has also been associated with higher rates of physical disability, poorer self-perceived health status, higher levels of
  • depressive symptoms, and lower levels of physical function, bone mineral density, pulmonary function, and muscle strength.
  • Seniors quitting smoking is an important factor in bringing about improvement in general health and well-being.

 

Life expectancy:

 

  • If you quit before age 35, your life expectancy is the same as non-smokers.
  • If you quit between the age of 35 and 65, add 5 years to your life expectancy as compared to someone who continues to smoke.
  • If you quit between the age of 65 and 74, add 1 year to your life expectancy as compared to someone who continues to smoke.

 

Expert Gives Quitting Smoking Tips

Courtesy Jessica Wagner

 

Question: What do acetic acid, ethyl acetate, ammonia and benzoic acid all have in common? Answer: According to the Wellness Connection at Bowling Green State University, they are just four of the 599 ingredients found in cigarettes.

 

It's not just nicotine.

 

Of those 599 ingredients, studies done by the American Cancer Society prove there are 43 chemicals packed into cigarettes that can cause cancer. With all of this information, many people wonder why smokers everywhere don't drop cigarettes.

 

But there's more to it than just that.

 

Because of nicotine, the addictive ingredient found in cigarettes, quitting smoking can be as difficult as kicking hard drugs. Although the withdrawal symptoms of these hard drugs are much worse, some chemical dependency counselors believe the addiction to cigarettes is more powerful than cocaine or heroin.

 

Carrie Belair is one of those counselors. Certified through the state of Ohio as a chemical dependency counselor, she is among the other chemical dependency counselors who believe cigarette addiction is greater than addiction to hard drugs.

 

"I have seen people with my own two eyes put down crack pipes, put down hypodermic needles for heroin, but they will not let you take away their cigarettes," said Belair, who works in the Wellness Connection in the Student Health Center. "It is an addiction that is very much underestimated."

 

And according to the ACS, although smoking related diseases caused by cigarettes account for 419,000 deaths a year, it is still legal and on the market. Many wonder why.

 

Among those are members of groups like truth.com or stand.org who strongly advocate the cessation of cigarette smoking. These groups usually target younger people--mostly teenagers--and give scenarios as to how cigarette smoking can be deadly.

 

Belair, also an advocate for smoking cessation, believes these programs help children and teenagers put down cigarettes and pick up healthier lifestyles. She talked about how these programs defer youths from smoking cigarettes and keep them away, usually for good.

 

"If we can delay the onset of youths of any substance to later in life, there's a greater chance that they're never going to pick it up," Belair said. "I'm 35 years old. Chances are today that I'm not going to pick up a cigarette after being a non-smoker for 35 years. And a lot of studies have shown that this is effective."

 

Along with preventing young people from starting smoking, quitting smoking at a young age as well can bring drastic improvements in a smoker's health.

 

Within the course of 15 years, a smoker's health can return almost back to normal. The sense of taste and smell are among the first to come back, Blair said.

 

The Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation breaks down the benefits of quitting at a young age in the span of a year.

 

TUPCF shows that within 24 hours, the blood pressure, pulse rate and chance of a heart attack all decrease. Carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream return to normal. Within a year, the likelihood of a heart attack is cut in half, and in 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that a non-smoker.

 

Although these health benefits prove to be promising, it sometimes takes smokers two or three attempts to quit before they finally do. Oftentimes, cravings get in the way so much that it makes those trying to quit feel hopeless. This is when Belair calls upon the "4 Ds."

 

These exercises allow for smokers to diverge their attention away from their cravings and onto healthier ways to surpass their urge to have a cigarette.

 

Smokers are first advised to take a deep breath, the first of the 4 Ds. Next, they should drink plenty of water throughout the day. This replenishes their bodies and allows for cravings to pass. If cravings become too powerful, Belair suggests smokers do something else like exercise.

 

The fourth attempt should be to delay reaching for a cigarette. Belair advises that the urge to smoke will pass.

 

"If you know that every night after you eat dinner, you smoke, pick up a hobby, especially something with your hands," Belair said.

 

"If you know that every time you walk from Olscamp to Founders you light a cigarette, do something else."

 

Junkie Thinking - Excuses to Smoke"

JUNKIE THINKING: "One Puff won't hurt"

RESPONSE: "One puff will always hurt me, and it always will because I'm not a social smoker. One puff and I'll be smoking compulsively again."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I only want one."

RESPONSE: "I have never wanted only one. In fact, I want 20-30 a day every day. I want them all."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I'll just be a social smoker."

RESPONSE: "I'm a chronic, compulsive smoker, and once I smoke one I'll quickly be thinking about the next one. Social smokers can take it or leave it. That's not me."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I'm doing so well, one won't hurt me now."

RESPONSE: "The only reason I'm doing so well is because I haven't taken the first one. Yet once I do, I won't be doing well anymore. I'll be smoking again."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I'll just stop again."

RESPONSE: "Sounds easy, but who am I trying to kid? Look how long it too me to stop this time. And once I start, how long will it take before I get sick enough to face withdrawal again? In fact, when I'm back in the grip of compulsion, what guarantee do I have that I'll ever be able to stop again?"

JUNKIE THINKING: "If I slip, I'll keep trying."

RESPONSE: "If I think I can get away with one little "slip" now I'll think I can get away with another little "slip" later on."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I need one to get me through this withdrawal."

RESPONSE: "Smoking will not get me through the discomfort of not smoking. I will only get me back to smoking. One puff stops the process of withdrawal and I'll have to go through it all over again."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I miss smoking right now."

RESPONSE: "Of course I miss something I've been doing every day for most of my life. Bud do I miss the chest pain right now? Do I miss the worry, the embarrassment? I'd rather be an ex-smoker with an occasional desire to smoke, than a smoker with a constant desire to stop doing it."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I really need to smoke now, I'm so upset."

RESPONSE: "Smoking is not going to fix anything. I'll still be upset, I'll just be an upset smoker. I never have to have a cigarette. Smoking is not a need; it's a want. Once the crisis is over, I'll be relieved and grateful I'm still not smoking."

JUNKIE THINKING: "I don't care."

RESPONSE: "What is it exactly that I think that I don't care about? Can I truthfully say I don't care about chest pain? I don't care about gagging in the morning? I don't care about lung cancer? No, I care about these things very much. That's why I stopped smoking in the first place."

JUNKIE THINKING: "What difference does it make, anyway?"

RESPONSE: "It makes a difference in the way I breathe, the way my heart beats, the way I feel about myself. It makes a tremendous difference in every aspect of my physical and emotional health."

 

Quitting Smoking Tips From CDC

1. Don't smoke any number or any kind of cigarette. Smoking even a few cigarettes a day can hurt your health. If you try to smoke fewer cigarettes, but do not stop completely, soon you'll be smoking the same amount again.

Smoking "low-tar, low-nicotine" cigarettes usually does little good, either. Because nicotine is so addictive, if you switch to lower-nicotine brands you'll likely just puff harder, longer, and more often on each cigarette. The only safe choice is to quit completely.

2. Write down why you want to quit. Do you want to feel in control of you life?

o       To have better health?

o       To set a good example for your children?

o       To protect your family from breathing other people's smoke?

Really wanting to quit smoking is very important to how much success you will have in quitting. Smokers who live after a heart attack are the most likely to quit for good-they're very motivated. Find a reason for quitting before you have no choice.

3. Know that it will take effort to quit smoking. Nicotine is habit forming. Half of the battle in quitting is knowing you need to quit. There are many ways smokers quit, including using nicotine replacement products (gum and patches), but there is no easy way. Nearly all smokers have some feelings of nicotine withdrawal when they try to quit. Give yourself a month to get over these feelings. Take quitting one day at a time, even one minute at a time-whatever you need to succeed.

4. Half of all adult smokers have quit, so you can- too. That's the good news. There are millions of people alive today who have learned to face life without a cigarette. For staying healthy, quitting smoking is the best step you can take.

5. Get help if you need it. Many groups offer written materials, programs, and advice to help smokers quit for good. Your doctor or dentist is also a good source of help and support.

Countdown to quitting smoking...

What you do in the weeks and days preceding your official quit date is critical to your success. Use some of these strategies to increase the likelihood of sticking to your plan:

        Change your routine

        Begin exercising or start a new activity

        Make healthy food choices

        Reduce or avoid alcohol

        Identify strategies for lowering your stress

        Build a survival kit (sugarless gum/candy, supporters' phone numbers, healthy snacks, relaxing music, etc.)

        Make tobacco use inconvenient

        Clean your ashtray after each use

        Keep track of tobacco use

        Decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke each day as you move closer to your quit date

        Wait 5 minutes before lighting up

        Switch to a brand you find distasteful

        Read about quitting

        Talk with friends and family members who have successfully quit

        Sit in the nonsmoking section of restaurants

        Avoid situations you link with tobacco use

        Discuss quitting aids such as nicotine replacement with your doctor

        Postpone lighting your first cigarette of the day by 1 hour.

 

 

Expert offers tips to quit smoking...

As local residents welcome the new year, many are hoping to say goodbye to a habit they've spent years trying to give up.

About 440,000 deaths in the
United States are attributed to smoking each year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many people choose New Year's to begin trying to kick the habit.

Laurie Groskopf started smoking when she was 15 years old. After smoking for 20 years, she gave up cigarettes and chose to help others end their dependence on nicotine.

"It's still the best thing I ever did for myself," she said.

More than 18 years later, she is the northern outreach specialist in Rhinelander for the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.

As a longtime smoker, Groskopf had to work to quit - and she knows what works.

For those trying to quit smoking in 2005, Groskopf recommends using a combination of counseling and over-the-counter or prescription medications instead of trying to quit cold turkey.

Using medication and counseling makes smokers two to three times more likely to quit than simply trying to stop on your own, she said.

That message is getting through, according to local pharmacists.


As he sees sales of Slim Fast and other diet drinks for people seeking to lose weight pick up in the first week of January, pharmacist William Weiler of Sniteman Pharmacy in Neillsville said sales of anti-smoking products also increase.

"Everybody is trying to quit smoking or lose weight," he said.

The anti-smoking devices seem to work, and the nicotine patches, which gradually lower a person's intake of the drug, seem to be the most popular option Weiler said.

"Of course you still need to have the desire to quit," he said.

Everybody has a different reason to quit smoking, Groskopf said, which can include health problems, the health of loved ones affected by second-hand smoke, the cost of cigarettes or anger from substance dependence.

"For a lot of people, it's that feeling that nicotine and cigarettes have control of their lives," she said.

In her days as a smoker, Groskopf remembers worrying about having enough cigarettes for the next day and venturing out on cold nights to buy another pack at the convenience store.


"It takes more than just willpower to quit," she said. "It takes a plan of action."
The formula for success for Groskopf included avoiding alcohol, eating sensibly, getting enough sleep and exercising more.

Most smokers make three to five failed attempts or more before they quit forever, Groskopf said.

Though people get discouraged when their attempts fail, Groskopf recommends they evaluate what went wrong and make an informed plan to quit again. Every attempt to quit - even if it's for just 24 hours - should be congratulated, Groskopf said.

"Just because they tried to quit, it's a success," she said.

Courtesy of Andrew Dowd, Central Wisconsin Sunday

Reasons people quit smoking...

        It makes me uncomfortable to know that I am hooked on nicotine.

        I dislike the way my hair, hands, teeth, clothes, and home look and smell like those of a smoker. I probably spend more time and money cleaning them than a nonsmoker does.

        I am concerned about how my smoking habit affects the health of my family and friends.

        My opportunities for employment may be limited because I smoke.

        I worry that smoking may shorten my life.

        I am embarrassed by the way other people look at me when I light a cigarette in a public place.

        I could afford to buy more of the things I want if I didn't spend so much money on cigarettes.

        I am (or would like to become) pregnant, but I'm worried about how my smoking habit might affect my baby.

        I think others have a lower opinion of me because I smoke.

        I wish I had more control over my smoking habit.

        I worry about becoming a burden to my family if I get sick due to smoking.

        Making a list of reasons to quit smoking is a good first step toward getting yourself motivated to quit smoking. Keep your list with you before you quit and for several weeks or months after you quit. Review it whenever you are struggling with the quitting process. Add to your list whenever another reason to quit occurs to you.

Deep Breathing Exercise:

This deep breathing exercise was developed by the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. It's an excellent exercise to use every day:

Deep breathing is a key relaxation skill for new non-smokers. When you smoked, if you inhaled deeply, you probably were breathing in a way which actually promoted relaxation. People who stop smoking often forget to continue such deep breathing and therefore experience increased tension. This exercise will show you how to breathe without cigarettes in a way which slows down the pace of your whole body and therefore promotes general relaxation.

Correct deep breathing should be done with your belly muscles. The idea is to let your stomach go out as far as possible as you inhale. In this way you will fill your lungs more completely. Put a hand on your abdomen and, as you inhale deeply, feel your stomach expand as though it were being filled like a balloon. Now let the air out and feel your stomach return to its normal position. As you do the exercise, pause comfortably at the end of each exhalation until you feel ready to take the next deep breath. You can achieve even greater relaxation if you close your eyes during deep breathing and let your mind focus on a restful scene or a word like calm or anything else which gives you a peaceful feeling.

Keeping your eyes closed, breathe in deeply, let your stomach expand until your lungs are filled. Now pause for a moment and then exhale until you have emptied your lungs. Pause for a moment. Take another deep breath in, filling your lungs from the bottom. Hold a moment...and now let the air flow out, focusing your mind on restful thoughts. Keeping the pace regular, again breathe in deeply...hold a moment...and now let the air out, feeling more and more relaxed. Take another breath in...hold it for a moment...now gently breathe out, letting the tension escape from your body. Once more breathe in...pause a moment...now exhale, feeling deep relaxation.

Courtesy of the Quittsmokingsupport.com

Hypnosis

Hypnosis in private sessions may be beneficial, although there is no strong evidence to confirm claims made in small studies that it is any better than other interventions. Group sessions appear to be worthless. Much depends on the trust a person has in the therapist; the process is effective only if the subject can feel completely at ease in the vulnerable and passive state necessary for hypnotic susceptibility. When the subject is very relaxed, but not asleep, the hypnotherapist will quietly suggest motivations for not smoking. Effective hypnotherapy reinforces a positive self-image while the subject is in deep relaxation; this helps many people avoid the depression that accompanies withdrawal. The session usually takes about an hour and requires one follow-up. The patient is also taught methods of self-hypnosis to use at home.

Hypnosis therapy is designed to help you focus on your smoking patterns and to change your attitudes about smoking in ways that will help you quit. Hypnosis often involves 1 to 4 hour long sessions and may include the development of a personal program tape to use at home after or in between sessions.

While you are hypnotized, the therapist gives you suggestions to help you stop smoking. The procedure may help with relaxation and withdrawal symptoms.

Your chances of quitting after just one hypnosis session are low, but may improve with multiple sessions. However, there is little evidence that the hypnotic state helps people quit above and beyond the suggestions provided by the therapist. In addition, hypnosis can be both expensive and time consuming. If you choose this method, be sure to check the costs, time commitment and your therapist's qualifications.

Gradually Quitting

Ways of Quitting:

Switch Brands

        Switch to a brand you find distasteful.

        Change to a brand that is low in tar and nicotine a couple of weeks before your target date. This will help change your smoking behavior. However, do not smoke more cigarettes, inhale them more often or more deeply, or place your fingertips over the holes in the filters. All of these will increase your nicotine intake, and the idea is to get your body use to functioning without nicotine.

Cut Down the Number of Cigarettes You Smoke

        Smoke only half of each cigarette.

        Each day, postpone the lighting of your first cigarette 1 hour.

        Decide you'll only smoke during odd or even hours of the day.

        Decide beforehand how many cigarettes you'll smoke during the day. For each additional cigarette, give a dollar to your favorite charity.

        Change your eating habits to help you cut down. For example, drink milk, which many people consider incompatible with smoking. End meals or snacks with something that won't lead to a cigarette.

        Reach for a glass of juice instead of a cigarette for a "pick-me-up."

        Remember: Cutting down can help you quit, but it's not a substitute for quitting. If you're down to about 7 cigarettes a day, it's time to set your target quit date and get ready to stick to it.

Don't Smoke "Automatically"

        Smoke only those cigarettes you really want. Catch yourself before you light up a cigarette out of pure habit.

        Don't empty your ashtrays. This will remind you of how many cigarettes you've smoked each day, and the sight and the smell of stale cigarettes butts will be very unpleasant.

        Make yourself aware of each cigarette by using the opposite hand or putting cigarettes in an unfamiliar location or a different pocket to break the automatic reach.

        If you light up many times during the day without even thinking about it, try to look in a mirror each time you put a match to your cigarette–you may decide you don't need it.

Make Smoking Inconvenient

        Stop buying cigarettes by the carton. Wait until one pack is empty before you buy another.

        Stop carrying cigarettes with you at home or at work. Make them difficult to get to.

Make Smoking Unpleasant

        Smoke only under circumstances that aren't especially pleasurable for you. If you like to smoke with others, smoke alone. Turn your chair to an empty corner and focus only on the cigarette you are smoking and all its many negative effects.

        Collect all your cigarette butts in one large glass container as a visual reminder of the filth made by smoking.

Courtesy of the National Cancer Institute

 

Nicotine Substitutes: What to Expect

If you're hooked on nicotine or if you've tried quitting before, think about using nicotine replacement therapy. This method gives you a small dose of nicotine to help cut down the urge to use tobacco once you quit. Nicotine gum, lozenges, and "the patch" are sold over the counter at your drug store. Other forms of nicotine replacement, such as nasal sprays and inhalers, need a doctor's prescription. Nicotine replacement therapy costs about the same as a pack of cigarettes per day. You will only have to use replacement therapy for a short period of time.

How Nicotine Replacement Works

Nicotine substitutes treat the very difficult withdrawal symptoms and cravings that 70% to 90% of smokers say is their only reason for not giving up cigarettes. By using a nicotine substitute, a smoker's withdrawal symptoms are reduced.

While a large number of smokers are able to quit smoking without nicotine replacement, most of those who attempt quitting are not successful on the first try. In fact, smokers usually need several attempts before they are able to quit for good.

Lack of success is often related to the onset of withdrawal symptoms. By reducing these symptoms with the use of nicotine replacement therapy, smokers who want to quit have a better chance of being successful.

For smokers, nicotine blood levels will vary, depending on individual smoking patterns such as the time between cigarettes, how deeply the person inhales, the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the brand smoked. Smoking delivers nicotine to the bloodstream very quickly - within a few seconds. Nicotine replacements generally work more slowly, and the amount of nicotine in the bloodstream is less than that from smoking.

Getting the Most from Nicotine Replacement

Nicotine replacement therapy only deals with the physical aspects of addiction. It is not intended to be the only method used to help you quit smoking. It should be combined with other smoking cessation methods that address the psychological component of smoking, such as a stop smoking program. Studies have shown that an approach - pairing nicotine replacement with a program that helps to change behavior - can double your chances of successfully quitting.

The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Clinical Practice Guideline on Smoking Cessation recommends nicotine replacement therapy for all smokers except pregnant women and people with heart or circulatory diseases. If a health care provider suggests nicotine replacement for people in these groups, the benefits of smoking cessation must outweigh the potential health risk.

The most effective time to start nicotine replacement is at the beginning of an attempt to quit. Often smokers first try to quit on their own, then decide to try nicotine replacement. Nicotine replacement therapy should not be used if you plan to continue to smoke or use another tobacco product. The combined dose of nicotine could be dangerous to your health.

Smokers who are pregnant or have heart disease should consult with their doctor before using over the counter nicotine replacement.

Courtesy of the American Cancer Society

"Quitting Smoking" - A Fate Worse Than Death?

People sitting in at smoking clinics are amazed at how resistant smokers are to giving up cigarettes. Even smokers will sit and listen to horror stories of other participants in sheer disbelief. Some smokers have had multiple heart attacks, circulatory conditions resulting in amputations, cancers, emphysema and a host of other disabling and deadly diseases. How in the world could these people have continued smoking after all that? Some of these smokers are fully aware that smoking is crippling and killing them, but continue to smoke anyway. A legitimate question asked by any sane smoker or nonsmoker is, “why?”

The answer to such a complex issue is really quite simple. The smoker often has cigarettes so tied into his lifestyle that he feels when he gives up smoking he will give up all activities associated with cigarettes. Considering these activities include almost everything he does from the time he awakes to the time he goes to sleep, life seems like it will not be worth living as an ex-smoker. The smoker is also afraid he will experience the painful withdrawal symptoms from not smoking as long as he deprives himself of cigarettes. Considering all this, quitting smoking creates a greater fear than dying from smoking.

 

If the smoker were correct in all his assumptions of what life as an ex-smoker were like, then maybe it would not be worth it to quit. But all these assumptions are wrong. There is life after smoking, and withdrawal does not last forever. Trying to convince the smoker of this, though, is quite an uphill battle. These beliefs are deeply ingrained and are conditioned from the false positive effects experienced from cigarettes.

 

The smoker often feels that he needs a cigarette in order to get out of bed in the morning. Typically, when he awakes he feels a slight headache, tired, irritable, depressed and disoriented. He is under the belief that all people awake feeling this way. He is fortunate though, because he has a way to stop these horrible feelings. He smokes a cigarette or two. Then he begins waking up and feels human again. Once he is awake, he feels he needs cigarettes to give him energy to make it through the day. When he is under stress and nervous, the cigarettes calm him down. Giving up this wonder drug seems ludicrous to him.

 

But if he quits smoking he will be pleasantly surprised to find out that he will feel better and be able to cope with life more efficiently than when he was a smoker. When he wakes up in the morning, he will feel tremendously better than when he awoke as a smoker. No longer will he drag out of bed feeling horrible. Now he will wake up feeling well rested and refreshed. In general, he will be calmer than when he smoked. Even when under stress, he normally will not experience the panic reactions he used to feel whenever his nicotine level fell below acceptable levels. The belief that cigarettes were needed for energy is one of the most deceptive of all. Almost any ex-smoker will attest that he has more strength, endurance, and energy than he ever did as a smoker. And the fear of prolonged withdrawal also had no merit, for withdrawal symptoms would peak within three days, and totally subside within two weeks.

 

If any smoker just gives himself the chance to really feel how nice not smoking is, he will no longer have the irrational fears which keeps him maintaining his deadly addiction. He will find life will become simpler, happier, cleaner, and most importantly healthier, than when he was a smoker. His only fear will now be in relapsing to smoking and all he has to do to prevent this is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Preparing Yourself for Quitting Smoking

Many smokers have successfully given up cigarettes by replacing them with new habits, without quitting "cold turkey," planning a special program, or seeking professional help. The following approaches include many of those most popular with ex-smokers.

Remember that successful methods are as different as the people who use them. What may seem silly to others may be just what you need to quit - so don't be embarrassed to try something new. These methods can make your own personal efforts a little easier.

Pick the ideas that make sense to you. And then follow through - you'll have a much better chance of success.

PREPARING YOURSELF FOR QUITTING...

Decide positively that you want to quit. Try to avoid negative thoughts about how difficult it might be. List all the reasons you want to quit. Every night before going to bed, repeat one of the reasons 10 times. Develop strong personal reasons in addition to your health and obligations to others. For example, think of all the time you waste taking cigarette breaks, rushing out to buy a pack, hunting for a light, etc. Begin to condition yourself physically: Start a modest exercise program; drink more fluids; get plenty of rest; and avoid fatigue. Set a target date for quitting - perhaps a special day such as your birthday, your anniversary, or the Great American Smokeout. If you smoke heavily at work, quit during your vacation so that you're already committed to quitting when you return. Make the date sacred, and don't let anything change it. This will make it easy for you to keep track of the day you became a non-smoker and to celebrate that date every year.

KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT...

Have realistic expectations - quitting isn't easy, but it's not impossible either. More than 3 million Americans quit every year. Understand that withdrawal symptoms are TEMPORARY. They usually last only 1-2 weeks. Know that most relapses occur in the first week after quitting, when withdrawal symptoms are strongest and your body is still dependent on nicotine. Be aware that this will be your hardest time, and use all your personal resources - willpower, family, friends, and the tips in this booklet - to get you through this critical period successfully. Know that most other relapses occur in the first 3 months after quitting, with situational triggers - such as a particularly stressful event - occur unexpectedly. These are the times when people reach for cigarettes automatically, because they associate smoking with relaxing. This is the kind of situation that's hard to prepare yourself for until it happens, so it's especially important to recognize it if it does happen. Remember that smoking is a habit, but a habit you can break. Realize that most successful ex-smokers quit for good only after several attempts. You may be one of those who can quit your first try. But if you're not, DON'T GIVE UP. Try again.

INVOLVING SOMEONE ELSE...

Bet a friend you can quit on your target date. Put your cigarette money aside for every day, and forfeit it if you smoke. (But if you do smoke, DON'T GIVE UP. Simply strengthen your resolve and try again.) Ask your spouse or a friend to quit with you. Tell your family and friends that you're quitting and when. They can be an important source of support, both before and after you quit.

10 Surefire Tips to Quit Smoking Without Weight Gain

Does quitting smoking seem like such a burden because you're gaining weight? Living a smoke-free life while putting off those pounds is not impossible. I personally quit smoking and gained only 1.2 pounds using the exact techniques I'm about to share with you. So why do you gain weight when you quit smoking?

1.      Nicotine keeps the body weight low so when you quit smoking, your body weight increases to when you didn't smoke.

2.      A need for fewer calories. After you stop smoking, you may use fewer calories than when you were a smoker.

Use these 10 tips to turn the scale in your favor:

1. First off, the majority of smokers gain very little if any weight after quitting smoking! I don't know about you but I'd rather live a smoke-free life and worry about burning the pounds off later.

2. Most people (who do gain weight after quitting smoking) gain only an average of 4.6 lbs.

3. Smoking speeds up the metabolism, so when you quit, you will have a decrease in your metabolic rate by about 200 calories per day. If you change neither your diet nor exercise, you may gain weight (there are 3500 calories in one pound of fat) at the rate of about 1/2 lb per week.

4. To maintain your weight after quitting smoking, decreaseyour caloric intake by about 200 calories per day to maintain your level. Doing this will help balance your caloric intake to the same level when you were smoking

5. One of the best ways to maintain your weight after quitting is increasing physical activity by 200 calories per day. Another technique is to take all the money you've saved from not buying cigarettes and spend that towards your monthly gym bill. Not only will you feel more strongly about not smoking, but you're balancing your caloric intake. If you don't want to spend the money you're saving on cigarettes then take a two-mile walk after work.

6. If you really want to put off those pounds then combine both tips 2 & 3.

7. Find a healthy substitute for the cigarette to hold in your hand, such as cinnamon sticks, celery, or carrot sticks.

8. Get enough sleep. When you feel tired you're more likely to crave cigarettes and food.

9. Try not to do things that tempt you to smoke or eat when you are not hungry.

Simply keep a journal of where and when you feel most tempted to smoke and avoid these situations. Substitute healthy activities for smoking to help you avoid the urge to smoke or eat when you are not hungry.

10. As always smoking is the greatest threat to your life. Gaining only a few pounds is nothing compared to emphysema, lung cancer or anything else you get from years of smoking. Improving your lifestyle as you stop smoking can help you prevent a large weight gain and become a healthy nonsmoker. Take action today by educating yourself on some methods of quitting smoking and achieve that smoke-free life you've always wished for!

Ugly Pounds.- by Shawn Motlani

The Gifts of Water When Quitting Smoking

In the Tackling Tobacco chats and message boards, I often recommend drinking lots of water. As with breathing, water is one of those obvious health enhancers that many people, including health professionals, overlook.

While researching material for this article, I was very surprised to find that only one out of every four health books mentioned water. Water is vital to life, and it is cooling, soothing, refreshing, healing, detoxifying and tasty as well!

There are many good reasons to drink water, and many different ways to use water for self-help. Water is a miraculous compound of hydrogen and oxygen molecules that helps to make life possible on this planet. All living things rely on it.

Our bodies are composed of 65 percent to 70 percent water, with women having less water and more fat in their bodies. Every cell and every system in the body is dependent on water for healthy functioning. Without water, we will quickly become dehydrated and die, usually within seven days.

Every day, we can lose four or more pints of water (about two liters) through our breath, saliva, tears, urine, stools and sweat. The fluid that is lost must be replaced. If you exercise, especially if you exercise vigorously, you will need to increase your water intake by up to 50 percent. On average, you should drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. But if you have exercised, cried, sweated or urinated more than usual, you may need to drink more, even up to 16 glasses per day.

Some of the water that we require comes from food. Just as our own cells contain water, so do the cells of the food we eat. Generally any water-based fluid will help to satisfy our water needs, except those beverages that contain caffeine, salt, carbohydrates or sugar. Drinks containing these ingredients may cause you to dehydrate or retain water. Beneficial beverages include water, mineral water, herbal teas, fruit juices or vegetable juices. Try to moderate or avoid soft drinks, coffee, processed fruit or vegetable juices, and alcohol.

Many health educators recommend getting your daily fluid intake between and before meals, and to minimize or avoid beverages during a meal. Often, if you drink beverages during a meal, they allow you to swallow food in larger pieces without thoroughly chewing it. Without drinking a beverage, you will chew your food better, enjoy your meal more, eat more slowly, and even eat less.

Instead, precede your meals -- even breakfast -- with a glass of water. This strategy often will help to reduce hunger and you will eat less. If you must have a beverage during your meal, try to limit it to one-half cup to one cup, and drink in sips and not in gulps!

Think in terms of "preventing thirst," rather than drinking water "in response to thirst." Thirst can be an unreliable signal in the early stages of dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Common signs of dehydration are fatigue, headaches, dryness of the eyes or nasal passages, inability to concentrate, dryness of the mouth, and dizziness. These symptoms, which many people experience daily and may believe are from other causes, may really be the result of lack of water.

When you do not drink enough water, your body tends to hold on to the water that it does have, thus reducing kidney function and the elimination of waste products. When this happens, your liver must flush out the impurities in your body, which hampers its ability to perform one of its main functions -- metabolizing stored fat into usable energy.

Thus, aside from its life-giving properties, water also helps with weight management. When your body burns fat for fuel, some of the fat may be burned incompletely. These partially burned fat byproducts are called "ketones." Your body can use these for fuel, but if there are too many to use, it will dispose of them in your breath or by passing them out in the stool or urine.

The more water you drink, the more urine you make, the more ketones pass out of the urine, and the more weight you can lose. You can maximize your calorie burn by drinking ice water because your body requires more energy (about 200 calories for every gallon of ice water) to warm it to your core body temperature.

Water not only cleanses inside the body, it cleanses the outside of the body and it can be a soothing therapy for the cravings and irritability that often accompany changes in your tobacco habit. Soaking in warm or hot showers and baths, swimming in cool natural springs or hot spas, splashing your face with cool water, and soaking your feet in warm water are all recognized as effective tools for reducing stress and cravings. Water simply has the magical ability to make us feel better, inside and out.

If you are planning to reduce or quit your tobacco use, be sure to include a variety of water strategies in your plans!

Courtesy of QuitSmokingSupport.com

How to Take the Pleasure Out of Smoking

Even if You Enjoy it... And Start Dismantling Your Smoking Habit!

By: Shan S. Motlani

If you’re like most smokers who wonder what they’ll ever do without a cigarette when the urge hits – then here’s something you won’t want to miss!

Couple years back when I first attempted to quit smoking I knew there had to be a way to slowly break the urge for a cigarette. I tried several methods till one technique worked without fail.

It simply involved changing your brand of cigarettes! It might sound simple but there is a heck of a lot more to it! The truth is that you can’t quit all at once (better known as cold turkey) unless you have a mountain load of willpower, you must quit little by little. Remember when you started? You only started off smoking 1 or 2 cigarettes a day then moved on up.

Changing your brand is a VERY powerful method to break the powerful addiction of smoking. Once you start disliking the feel of cigarettes you’ll no longer feel like needing a cigarette. Once all the pleasure, conscious and subconscious are gone – you’ll no longer have any desire to smoke.

So the next time you belly up to the counter start disrupting your habit by buying a brand you don’t like! This will bring your conscious mind something your body has been saying since the day you started smoking. Your mind is saying you really don’t like doing this and want to stop. Won’t it be easier to quit a brand you already hate? Of course a funny thing will start to emerge. You may start enjoying that certain brand. You might even get used to it. Your body will try to convince you to convert.

So the first time you think you’re getting used to that brand choose another one you hate.

Also it might be informative to let you know that you should never purchase a whole carton. Only one pack at a time. Even if you are saving money it is more important to save your life. I encourage you change brands as many times as you have to.

7 Rules of Successful Withdrawal

If you are thinking about quitting smoking, read the following 7 tips carefully to get started. Designed for both heavy and light smokers..

1. Prepare yourself and plan to quit smoking

It is a good idea to stop smoking when there are other changes in your life. Such as moving to a new place, changing jobs, taking on a new hobby, or starting an exercise program. Also write down all the reasons you can think of for quitting and pin it to a wall in your house you can't avoid seeing frequently.

2. Plan a time to stop smoking

Many smokers quit smoking gradually with a plan for a quit date. However, most people who successfully quit smoking do so by stopping "cold turkey". We do not insist that a gradual tapering is the best way to stop, but we recommend getting rid of the inhalation craving first by taking a non-cigarette nicotine alternative such as gum—and then cut it. Either way, pick your day to stop smoking and stick to it.

3. Tell your family and friends—tell everybody all the time

It is more difficult to pull out a cigarette (or ask someone for a cigarette) if they know you have quit. In fact, ask everyone you know (smokers and non-smokers) to help you by refusing to give you a cigarette and by perhaps reducing their smoking around you. Remind your friends frequently, particularly at "danger" events: dinners parties, bars and nightclubs. Let everyone around you know all the time. You may bother or bore them, but hey, smoking in their face isn't that great either.

4. Disturb your own routines

Smoking addiction can be linked to certain times and situations such as the first smoke in the morning, drinking coffee or going for a drink. These are called your "smoking triggers". Exchange your smoking triggers with new activities that you don’t associate with smoking. For example, grab a cup of tea every time you normally pull a cigarette out of the back. Chew mints or a lozenges of a flavor you normally don't buy.

5. Exercise intelligently

Exercising dramatically reduces nicotine craving (or at least the perception of craving). If you are not used to exercising, keep it light in the beginning. Too much, too fast and too often is the best way to ruin a longer term exercise plan. Also, exercise contributes to good health, helps to manage your weight, and can also improve the body’s ability to meet the demands and stresses of daily living.

6. Understand the effects

Coughing, sleep disturbance and irritability are some common symptoms. Don’t worry, they’re all perfectly normal and should disappear within a few weeks. Again, communicate with your family and friends and tell them that you may behave a little unusual: easily flair up or ignite a fight with someone. If they know about the mood changes, you can avoid these unpleasant situations.

7. How to handle cravings

Expect to experience serious craving immediately after you quit smoking. The cravings usually come in intervals of 3-5 minutes. When you have a craving for cigarettes, drink lots of water (or tea). Talk to someone, preferably in person. Do something different than when the craving kicked in. Do not eat as a craving deterrent except for juice, fruit and gum.

Source: quitsmokingsupport.com

After You Quit - Making Positive Changes

Below are some of the most common and helpful strategies people use to get through the difficult period of nicotine withdrawal and break the smoking habit. These tips can be helpful regardless of the method you use to quit smoking.

Watch for your smoking triggers. It is wiser to avoid triggers shortly after you have quit smoking than to test your ability to withstand the temptation too soon. If you cannot avoid them completely, be cautious when they are present.

Identify areas and activities where you are least likely to smoke and use them when you have the urge to smoke. Add these alternatives to your smoking journal.

Absorb yourself in a new hobby.

Start some new physical activity. Exercise might help you quit smoking. It doesn't take long after you stop smoking before you will notice that you can breathe more easily when you walk, jog, swim, or ride a bike. For tips on starting an exercise program and eating right, see the topic Fitness.

Manage the stress in your life. It's impossible to completely avoid stress, but you can learn to control it or reduce it. This will help you remain strong when tempted to start smoking again. To learn ways to manage stress, see the topic Stress Management.

Continue to meet or talk weekly, and then monthly, with one of your support people.

Reward yourself at special anniversaries of your quit date, such as 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Figure out how much money you have saved by not smoking and spend that amount, or part of it, on something special for yourself.

Smoking to Relieve Tension

Ask yourself some questions to see if you smoke to relieve tension and stress.

        Does smoking a cigarette automatically come to mind when you are frustrated or angry?

        Does smoking a cigarette calm you when you are upset?

        Do you smoke more cigarettes when you are under stress?

If you tried to quit smoking in the past, did you miss smoking cigarettes the most during times of stress?

The stress relief you get from smoking comes from the act of taking time out to smoke a cigarette and from the chemical actions of nicotine in your brain. If you return to the scene of the stressful event after you finish your cigarette, it doesn't take long before the tension comes back and you need another cigarette.

Smoking doesn't really make stress and tension go away. The only way to truly control the stress in your life is to identify what causes stress for you and learn how to change the way you react to stressful events and situations.

 

Reduce Smoking - Tips to Cutting Back

Reduced smoking is a conscious change in the amount and the way you smoke. It prepares you to quit smoking at a later date, even if the quit date doesn't come for a long time. Reduced smoking has some limitations, and it should not be a goal itself because it does not prevent the health risks of smoking.

People who smoke only a few cigarettes have more health problems than people who do not smoke.

People who cut back on the number of cigarettes they smoke tend to change their puffing patterns so they get more nicotine out of each cigarette. This process is called nicotine compensation.

Maintaining a reduced rate of smoking over time is difficult. The rate of failure is very high. In the long run, it may be easier just to quit smoking.

Methods to reduce smoking include the following:

        Reduce the number of cigarettes smoked by one-half to two-thirds.

        Switch to a brand of cigarettes containing 50% less tar and/or nicotine than your present brand contains. This technique is sometimes called "brand fading."

        Switch to a brand of cigarettes you find distasteful.

        Reduce the amount of each cigarette smoked by one-half to two-thirds.

        Postpone your usual first cigarette of the day for 1 hour.

        Smoke only during odd hours or smoke only during even hours.

Limit your smoking to certain places (outside, not at work, not in the car).

 When will the cravings end?

That depends on which "cravings" you're referring to. Nicotine leaves the body, on the average, in 3-7 days (you can speed up that process by drinking lots of water or fruit juice and by exercising--with a doctor's supervision, ideally). That should take care of most of the PHYSICAL cravings, which are generally the worst; but then there are MENTAL/ EMOTIONAL/ BEHAVIORAL 'cravings' that you may have to deal with as well. These urges to smoke can appear, occasionally and unexpectedly, for months or even years after you quit. The good news is that, depending on how much work you're willing to do, or on how strong your support network is, these unannounced cravings can usually be dismissed quite easily and quickly. Many ex-smokers never again experience the urge to smoke.

 

 

60 reasons for NOT smoking!

Personal health

  • Increases the risk of lung cancer
  • Increases the risk of emphysema
  • Increases the risk of cardio-vascular disease
  • Increases the risk of breast cancer
  • Increases the risk of cancer of mouth, esophagus and other forms of bronchial cancer
  • Increases the risk of all forms of cancer not mentioned above
  • Increases the risk of stroke
  • Increases the risk of pneumonia
  • Increases the risk of bronchitis
  • Increases the risk of diseases of the eye (e.g. Graves' disease)
  • Increases the risk of back complaints
  • Increases the risk of ear complaints
  • Increases the risk of vascular constriction
  • Increases the risk of respiratory disease
  • Affects breathing quality
  • Affects the operation of the immune system
  • Causes deterioration of general physical condition
  • Increases the chance of impotence (erection problems)
  • Increases the chance of infertility
  • Reduces the capacity of the blood to take in oxygen
  • Increases the risk of dental illness

Health of others

  • Increases the chance of miscarriage or damage to the fetus
  • Lower birth weight of children
  • Lower mental capacity (IQ) of children
  • Increased chance of SID (cot death) when the parents smoke
  • Increased chance of other causes of infant death
  • Affects the health of children
  • Affects the health of others in the environment
  • Sore eyes and eye diseases of others as a result of tobacco smoke
  • Increases the chance of contamination during sexual contact (semen, fingers)
  • Increases the chance of disease due to drinking contaminated breast milk

Quality of life

  • Physical addiction
  • Psychological addiction
  • Social addiction
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Limitation of the possibility of maintaining a relationship

Personal hygiene

  • Body odors
  • Breath odors
  • Evil smelling clothes
  • Yellow, unattractive hands
  • Bye, white teeth!
  • Premature ageing of skin leading to an older appearance

Domestic aspects

  • Stale air indoors
  • Increased fire risk
  • Dirty walls and ceilings
  • Dirty furniture, fittings and household goods
  • Filthy, smelly ashtrays
  • Chance of poisoning children due to swallowing cigarette butts

Social

  • Inconveniences others in the vicinity
  • Handicap in social dealings
  • More difficult to get a job
  • More difficult to get a partner
  • Bad example to growing children

General

  • Constant fear of running out of cigarettes
  • Often having to look for means of lighting cigarettes
  • Often having to look for places where it's possible and allowed to smoke
  • Accidents caused by smoking in cars
  • Becoming a slave to the profit motive of the tobacco industry
  • The enormous cost!

I'd love to accompany this with a list of reasons for smoking, but I couldn't find one which weighed against any single one of the above list!

- Piers Clement

 

Smoking habits and rituals.

One reason people smoke is that the habit of smoking has become very strong. When people who have smoked for a long time stop, they find it strange to have nothing in their hands or mouth. They have become so used to handling cigarettes that their hands seek cigarettes from habit, even when they aren't strongly craving them.

Signs of a strong habit include:

  • Smoking automatically without thinking about it or realizing it. You find a cigarette in your mouth and don't remember putting it there.
  • Lighting a cigarette without realizing there is one burning in the ashtray.
  • Feeling that handling a cigarette, the process of lighting it, or watching the smoke as you exhale is part of the enjoyment of smoking.
  • Smoking automatically as a part of other things you do, such as drinking coffee or alcohol or talking on the telephone

2001 WebMD Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

Smoke and Losing Weight

Except for the fact that it is addictive, makes you sick, and hastens your death, nicotine is a wonderful drug. Nicotine calms you down when you feel stressed and wakes you up when you feel tired. It improves memory, decreases anxiety, raises tolerance of pain, lifts depression, increases metabolism (causing weight loss), reduces hunger, and improves performance, concentration, and problem solving. No wonder people find it so hard to quit smoking!

Smoking cigarettes, in fact, is as physiologically and psychologically addictive as smoking crack cocaine or injecting heroin. Some scientists think it's even more so.

Because nicotine is so addictive, it is very hard to stop smoking. For hundreds of years in countries throughout the world, people have consumed -- and become addicted to -- tobacco.

When smokers try to quit, the relapse rate is high, averaging 70% in three months. This relapse rate is similar to that observed in heroin addicts and alcoholics. Surveys indicate that more than 90% of people who smoke cigarettes would like to quit but find it very hard to do so. The majority has tried to quit one or more times. As is often said, "Quitting smoking is easy -- I've done it many times!"

Nicotine withdrawal is not pleasant. About 80% of people who stop smoking will experience withdrawal symptoms and have a strong craving to smoke. Symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, irritability, anxiety, drowsiness, headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, frequently waking from sleep, impatience, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some performance measures, such as reaction time, become temporarily impaired. Metabolism slows, so there is a tendency to gain weight even if food intake remains the same.

So while some people might say that it's hard enough to quit smoking without also changing your diet and lifestyle, I often find that it's easier to make comprehensive changes at the same time. For example, many people smoke when they're feeling stressed, so practicing yoga, meditation, and other stress management techniques may reduce the craving for a cigarette.

Smokers weigh an average of 3 to 5 lb less than nonsmokers because nicotine increases the body's metabolism, so calories are burned faster. Also, nicotine decreases appetite, so smokers tend to eat fewer calories than nonsmokers. Eating a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet may help you prevent gaining weight that often occurs when people quit smoking.

2001 WebMD Corporation. All rights reserved.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


When Smoking Was a "Choice Addiction"

by Joel Spitzer

It was cheap, well under 50 cents a pack.  It was readily available.  You could smoke it any where, any time you wanted.  It was respectable.  Your friends did it, your relatives did it, your co-workers did it, your boss did it, your doctor even did it.  There was no social stigma attached, to the contrary, you were viewed as sophisticated, smart, tough, enlightened, or even healthy and robust as you deeply sucked in drag after drag.  You never felt threatened by it—as far as you knew, it was safe.  You never felt withdrawal, you seldom felt nicotine poisoning.  When you could smoke any time you want, you were able to balance nicotine at optimal levels never facing extremes.  Without facing extremes, you never recognized the consequences associated with using an addictive substance.  You smoked because you liked it.  For a while you knew you could take it or leave it.

But in 1964 things started to change.  It was then the first Surgeon General's report was released.  For the first time, the public was made aware about the early known dangers of smoking.  The link to lung cancer was firmly established and the risks of heart disease were becoming apparent.  Those who actually read the report and understood the implications of the early studies were the first to begin to stop smoking.  Among the first groups of people to reduce smoking among their ranks were physicians and dentists.  As more time passed and hundreds and then thousands of studies were reported, the link between smoking and premature death was becoming firmly established.  Greater numbers of nonmedical professionals were joining the ranks of ex-smokers.  All of a sudden, the act of smoking was not viewed as an intelligent behavior.  Smokers were not shunned, but they were no longer admired for their smoking behaviors.

Many American were attempting to quit but could not.  For the first time, they were beginning to realize they were no longer smoking by choice.  They were now hooked.  They knew for medical reasons they should quit, but without understanding how to treat addiction they did not know how to stop.  While they may not have been happy about this realization, they still felt comfortable smoking (unless they had developed crippling effects).  After all, they could still smoke at the regular intervals necessary to avoid the consequences of nicotine withdrawal syndrome.  They were now drug addicts.

But nicotine addiction still had major advantages over any other addiction.  Sure, it literally killed more people than all other addictions combined, including alcohol and heroin.  But it was still legal, accessible, and relatively socially acceptable.  These are important attributes for a drug of addiction.  For, even though the long-term effects are lethal, the immediate short term effects are relatively comfortable, if not down right pleasurable.  What other drug could you self administer 40 plus times a day getting the little pharmacological fixes with each and every hit that a smoker gets from every puff?  Smokers still didn't face the chronic withdrawal syndromes other addicts faced from being unable to deliver ever larger amounts of a substance required by the increasing tolerance associated with addiction.

The biggest slam to effect the smoker was the danger associated with second hand smoke.  Nonsmokers, who make up the majority of the population, were becoming intolerant.  Work places, homes of friends and families, public meeting places and even the smoker's own home were becoming smoke free.  No longer could the smoker deliver the ever increasing needed fixes necessary to avert nicotine withdrawal.  Now the smoker is either oversmoking or undersmoking all day long.  He oversmokes so he can get as much nicotine as can possibly be tolerated to get him through multiple hours before he can get to his next fix.  He undersmokes for numerous hours when he is restrained by no-smoking rules and regulations.  Chronic withdrawal or chronic poisoning is the norm experienced by today's smokers.

So, today, the smoker does not only have to worry about the slow crippling effects of smoking or the long-term lethal effects.  He or she must be concerned about the day to day drudgery experienced by maintaining an addiction which is socially unacceptable and, hence, not allowed for many hours every day.  Smokers today are suffering from oversmoking and undersmoking.  They are scorned by many.  They should be pitied by all and envied by none.  The memories from the hey day of smoking are a fantasy in today's reality.  The reality of smoking is a tortured life and a slow death.  Don't get trapped in life of addiction - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

To read more excellent letters written by Joel Spitzer:

http://www.whyquit.com/joel

1984. Rush North Shore Medical Center. Good Health Program.

 

 

Smoking habits and rituals

One reason people smoke is that the habit of smoking has become very strong. When people who have smoked for a long time stop, they find it strange to have nothing in their hands or mouth. They have become so used to handling cigarettes that their hands seek cigarettes from habit, even when they aren't strongly craving them.

Signs of a strong habit include:

  • Smoking automatically without thinking about it or realizing it. You find a cigarette in your mouth and don't remember putting it there.
  • Lighting a cigarette without realizing there is one burning in the ashtray.
  • Feeling that handling a cigarette, the process of lighting it, or watching the smoke as you exhale is part of the enjoyment of smoking.
  • Smoking automatically as a part of other things you do, such as drinking coffee or alcohol or talking on the telephone.

 

The gift of water when quitting smoking*

Debora J. Orrick, M.A., LCDC, CTAC-ACP
drkoop.com

In the Tackling Tobacco chats and message boards, I often recommend drinking lots of water. As with breathing, water is one of those obvious health enhancers that many people, including health professionals, overlook.

While researching material for this article, I was very surprised to find that only one out of every four health books mentioned water. Water is vital to life, and it is cooling, soothing, refreshing, healing, detoxifying and tasty as well!

There are many good reasons to drink water, and many different ways to use water for self-help. Water is a miraculous compound of hydrogen and oxygen molecules that helps to make life possible on this planet. All living things rely on it.

Our bodies are composed of 65 percent to 70 percent water, with women having less water and more fat in their bodies. Every cell and every system in the body is dependent on water for healthy functioning. Without water, we will quickly become dehydrated and die, usually within seven days.

Every day, we can lose four or more pints of water (about two liters) through our breath, saliva, tears, urine, stools and sweat. The fluid that is lost must be replaced. If you exercise, especially if you exercise vigorously, you will need to increase your water intake by up to 50 percent. On average, you should drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. But if you have exercised, cried, sweated or urinated more than usual, you may need to drink more, even up to 16 glasses per day.

Some of the water that we require comes from food. Just as our own cells contain water, so do the cells of the food we eat. Generally any water-based fluid will help to satisfy our water needs, except those beverages that contain caffeine, salt, carbohydrates or sugar. Drinks containing these ingredients may cause you to dehydrate or retain water. Beneficial beverages include water, mineral water, herbal teas, fruit juices or vegetable juices. Try to moderate or avoid soft drinks, coffee, processed fruit or vegetable juices, and alcohol.

Many health educators recommend getting your daily fluid intake between and before meals, and to minimize or avoid beverages during a meal. Often, if you drink beverages during a meal, they allow you to swallow food in larger pieces without thoroughly chewing it. Without drinking a beverage, you will chew your food better, enjoy your meal more, eat more slowly, and even eat less.

Instead, precede your meals -- even breakfast -- with a glass of water. This strategy often will help to reduce hunger and you will eat less. If you must have a beverage during your meal, try to limit it to one-half cup to one cup, and drink in sips and not in gulps!

Think in terms of "preventing thirst," rather than drinking water "in response to thirst." Thirst can be an unreliable signal in the early stages of dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Common signs of dehydration are fatigue, headaches, dryness of the eyes or nasal passages, inability to concentrate, dryness of the mouth, and dizziness. These symptoms, which many people experience daily and may believe are from other causes, may really be the result of lack of water.

When you do not drink enough water, your body tends to hold on to the water that it does have, thus reducing kidney function and the elimination of waste products. When this happens, your liver must flush out the impurities in your body, which hampers its ability to perform one of its main functions -- metabolizing stored fat into usable energy.

Thus, aside from its life-giving properties, water also helps with weight management. When your body burns fat for fuel, some of the fat may be burned incompletely. These partially burned fat byproducts are called "ketones." Your body can use these for fuel, but if there are too many to use, it will dispose of them in your breath or by passing them out in the stool or urine.

The more water you drink, the more urine you make, the more ketones pass out of the urine, and the more weight you can lose. You can maximize your calorie burn by drinking ice water because your body requires more energy (about 200 calories for every gallon of ice water) to warm it to your core body temperature.

Water not only cleanses inside the body, it cleanses the outside of the body and it can be a soothing therapy for the cravings and irritability that often accompany changes in your tobacco habit. Soaking in warm or hot showers and baths, swimming in cool natural springs or hot spas, splashing your face with cool water, and soaking your feet in warm water are all recognized as effective tools for reducing stress and cravings. Water simply has the magical ability to make us feel better, inside and out.

If you are planning to reduce or quit your tobacco use, be sure to include a variety of water strategies in your plans!

*Courtesy of QuitSmokingSupport.com

Common smoking triggers*

Below are some common activities that many smokers find trigger the urge to smoke. Ways to avoid these triggers are suggested as well. You might find other ways to avoid them.

         Being around other smokers. Avoid the smoking areas at your workplace. If there is an entryway where smokers gather during breaks or before work, find another entryway or time your arrival to avoid the smokers.

         Finishing a meal. Get up from the table immediately and start some pleasurable activity. Try a walk or a new hobby.

         Drinking coffee Change the way you have coffee: the place, the coffee mug, everything that you did when smoking. Consider waiting until you are at work to have your morning coffee.

         Drinking alcohol. After you have had a few drinks, your resolve not to smoke may weaken. You may choose to give up or cut down on drinking alcohol when you first quit smoking. Varying the kind of alcohol and the place where you drink may help break the trigger, but it will not help with the weakened willpower

         Parties. Quitting smoking will definitely impact your social life for a while. You don't have to skip parties altogether, but if you do go, don't follow your friends who smoke outside when they go out for a cigarette. If people are smoking indoors (or if it's an outdoor party) try to sit or stand as far away as possible from people who are smoking. Step out for a breath of fresh air if you need to; but don't smoke! And stay away from the alcoholic drinks.

         Talking on the telephone. Use a phone in a different room than usual for long calls at home. If you smoke at the office, there may be little you can do to change location. Have small objects nearby to handle while you are on the phone.

         Work breaks. Avoid places where smokers go during the break. Seek out the company of nonsmokers and spend your break with them.

         Between tasks. Instead of smoking a cigarette before moving on to your next project, try taking a short walk or reading a section of the newspaper or a chapter of the novel you're enjoying.

         After an argument. If you are still feeling angry after having an argument, let out the steam by walking briskly around the building

         In the car. Since smoking has been banned in so many workplaces, cars are becoming a popular place to smoke. Remove the ashtray from your car, or fill it with potpourri or tiny strips of paper on which you've written the reasons you don't want to smoke anymore. (You can also write your reasons for quitting on an air freshener that hangs from your rearview mirror.) Instead of smoking while you drive, play your favorite music on the stereo and sing along.

*Courtesy of QuitSmokingSupport.com

 

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