Be prepared to hear some confusing information

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

17 Nov 2009, 15:31 #61

So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit?

If you look around the Internet or even request information from professional health organizations on how to quit smoking you are likely to find that the standard advice given is to use a pharmacological approach, i.e., nicotine replacement products and or Zyban. Each time you see this advice you will also be told that these approaches double your chances of quitting. Some sites and groups come out and almost say, point-blank, do not go cold turkey--basically leaving the reader with the impression that nobody could possibly quit this way.
ImageThe American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts & Figures 2003 report contains the chart to the right which shows the percentage of current smokers who have tried different routes at quitting smoking and also indicates the percentage of current ex-smokers who quit by different techniques.
The numbers that are highly telling are the percentages that indicate how former smokers had actually quit. Keep in mind that this chart is limited. It does not tell us how long they had quit or other key pieces of information, such as, did the people who used quitting aids such as NRT ever actually get off the NRT. But I am not concerned about that at this moment.
According to the American Cancer Society report, how did former smokers actually quit? Those using drug therapies and counseling had a 6.8% quitting rate while those using other methods 2.1%. The remainder quit cold-turkey or cut down. In that it is generally accepted that cutting down techniques do not work, we can safely assume that they had an extremely limited impact upon the overall number. So, approximately 90% of the people who are successfully classified as former smokers quit cold turkey. On the same page as Table 3 is located you will find the following recommendation:
"All patients attempting to quit should be encouraged to use effective pharmacotherapies except in the presence of specific contraindications."
You have to ask yourself how many of the successful ex-smokers in the world today would have actually succeeded if they sought out and listened to "professional" advice such as this.
If you are trying to determine what is the best way to quit, you have a choice. You can go with the "experts" or you can go with what 90% of successful quitters have done.
Take Your Own Survey
So how do most people really quit smoking? Don't take our word for it, or the American Cancer Society's, but instead talk to every long-term ex-smoker you personally know. See how many of them fall into one of the following three categories:
1. People who woke up one day and were suddenly sick and tired of smoking. They tossed them that day and never looked back;
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2. People who get sick. Not smoking sick, meaning some kind of catastrophic smoking induced illness. Just people who get a cold or a flu and feel miserable. The feel too sick to smoke, they may feel too sick to eat. They are down with the infection for two or three days, start to get better and then realize that they have a few days down without smoking and decide to try to keep it going. Again, they never look back and stuck with their new commitment; or
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3. People who leave a doctors office given an ultimatum. Quit smoking or drop dead--it's your choice. These are people who some sort of problem has been identified by their doctors who lays out in no uncertain terms that the person's life is at risk now if they do not quit smoking.
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All of these stories share one thing in common--the technique that people use to quit. They simply quit smoking one day. The reasons they quit varied but the technique used was basically the same. For the most part they are clear examples of spur of the moment decisions elicited by some external, and sometimes unknown circumstance.
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I really do encourage all people to take their own survey, talking to long-term ex-smokers in their real world: people who you knew when they were smokers, who you knew when they were quitting and who you still know as being successful long-term ex-smokers. The more people you talk to the more obvious it will become how people quit smoking and how people stay off of smoking. Again, people quit smoking by simply quitting smoking and people stay off of smoking by simply knowing that to stay smoke free that they must Never Take Another Puff!
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Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

17 Nov 2009, 15:32 #62

Whatever you do don't quit cold turkey!

Most medical professionals believe that the way to quit smoking is to use pharmacological aids. They think that pharmacological aids are an effective tool for smoking cessation. Why do they believe this? They believe it because almost all of the smoking professionals of the world tell them that they work. Even the Surgeon General of the United States says that they work. If almost all world experts believe that they work, and the Surgeon General says that they work, well then they must really work. Right?
Well, I look at it like this. Lets say I see a published story come out that says a specific pill prevents colds in 100% of the cases in human trials. Then another study verifies it. In fact, every expert in the world comes out and says colds no longer exist -- the pill has eradicated them.

But most people I knew who took this miracle pill still got colds. Worse than that, I took the pill myself and all of my friends who were on the pill kept giving the cold to me. Pretty soon I would dismiss those studies and no matter how many times I see it I would not believe it. Sooner or later I would have to believe my own eyes and ears, basically my own instincts, more than expert opinion.

I have seen people use the argument of who should they believe, the Surgeon General of the United States or me. I somehow get the idea that people think that the Surgeon General is a person who has spent years and decades working with nicotine addicts. That somehow being an expert in smoking cessation is a prerequisite for being the Surgeon General.

I have been running stop smoking clinics since 1976. Back in 1976 I told my second group that they were nicotine addicts. If the people in my 1976 clinics were skeptical and wrote the Surgeon General and asked him if it were true that nicotine was a drug addiction he would have answered no it was not.

It was clearly spelled out in the 1964 Surgeon General's Report that cigarette smoking was not an addiction. In the report of the Surgeon General back in 1979 the Surgeon General was starting to say that maybe it was an addiction, but still had put the emphasis on the habit of smoking being the primary problem. In 1988 the Surgeon General finally issued a report stating once and for all that nicotine was an addictive substance.

In all of the programs I did from 1976 through 1987 I was constantly criticized and attacked for saying that cigarette smokers were drug addicts but I had too much first hand contact with smokers trying to quit that was making it abundantly clear that the Surgeon General was wrong. So I accepted the fact that the Surgeon General and most of the experts of the world were not going to agree with me. For eleven years I was wrong that smoking was an addiciton because the Surgeon General said I was wrong yet today I am no longer wrong on this fact.

The same thing is happening now when it comes to issues like the effectiveness of all of the quitting aids available today. The Surgeon General and most of the world experts say that these products increase success and that people should not quit cold turkey. Again, I have still have too much first hand contact with people who are trying to quit using these products as well as too much contact with people who are actually quitting and succeeding without their use. It is still all too obvious that in real world settings these products do not increase success and that people have a much greater chance of success by disregarding the experts advice.
So I think I am going to just take a wait and see attitude on what the Surgeon General will say ten years or twenty years from now on what is the most effective way to quit smoking. Maybe he or she will have come around by then, maybe not. But I know one thing for sure. That all of the people who decided to follow my advice on how to quit, and then stay committed in the interim to the advice that I gave them on how to remain smoke free, that all of these people will still be successful ex-smokers.

My advice to them, that is so controversial today, is simply that to quit smoking and to stay smoke free is no more complicated than just knowing to Never Take Another Puff!

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

17 Nov 2009, 15:32 #63

Related Videos:
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Addiction - the Surgeon General says ... 4.42mb 13.2mb 1.77mb 5.49mb 12:00 10/09/06
How did the people you know quit smoking? 1.90mb 18.8mb 0.77mb 2.34mb 05:10 09/27/06
My first encounter with NRT 3.99mb 16.1mb 2.13mb 6.66mb 14:37 11/16/06
WhyQuit's candid views about Chantix (and Champix) 17.8mb 53.3mb 7.11mb 22.0mb 48:16 10/19/07

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

17 Nov 2009, 15:33 #64

Is cold turkey the only way to quit?

I have seen it written that we have said that the ONLY way to quit smoking is to quit cold turkey. This is not a totally accurate statement. It is not that cold turkey is the only way to quit,; it is just that cold turkey is the method which gives people the best chance of success. It is the method that all but a small percentage of long-term ex-smokers in the world used to successfully quit smoking.

There are people who have quit using alternative approaches. There are some who cut down gradually and actually succeeded at quitting. For every person who did it like this and succeeded, there are many many many many others who tried it and failed. The individual who used the method will think it is great because it worked for him or her, but since it works for so few people it will generally be recognized as a pretty ineffective technique by most people who do "real world" research into how to quit.

By "real world" research I mean by going to long-term ex-nicotine users who you know personally and finding out how they all got off nicotine. Again, you will very rarely find any who did it by gradual withdrawal. If you find a person like this who is now off years, you should never minimize the person's success. He or she quit smoking, likely doing it in a way that made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but still he or she did pull off the quit. The only advice that I would encourage that you share with the person is that now to stay off he or she must understand the bottom line method of sustaining his or her quit. That message is staying cognizant of the addiction and that the only true guaranteed method to stay off now is knowing never to administer nicotine again.

The same principle here applies to people who use NRT products. There are people who have quit this way. Again, it is a small percentage of the long-term ex-users out there, but they do exist. An individual who pulled it off this way will also feel that it is a great method for quitting. But again, this method works for a small percentage of people who try it and if you look into real world long-term quits you will have a very hard time finding many people who actually successfully got off nicotine this way.

I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.

The question needs to be, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal.? On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.

There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

17 Nov 2009, 15:33 #65

Great American Smokeout Thursday:
Help Your Smoker Quit

ImageThursday is the 34th Great American Smokeout. It's a golden opportunity to gift wrap and hand smoking friends and loved ones the one quitting method they've likely never tried: a detailed understanding of their chemical dependency and the insights needed to arrest it.

Two free quit smoking books are available for download, printing and gift wrapping at WhyQuit, the nation's #1 "nicotine cessation" forum among 1.4 million Google search results.

"Never Take Another Puff" was written by Joel Spitzer, who has counseled smokers full-time since 1972 and is America's most quoted cessation educator. His free book has recorded more than 2 million downloads.

"Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" was written by John R. Polito, the 1999 founder of WhyQuit and a former 30-year heavy smoker. It was released in January.

Ask yourself, what learning takes place by swallowing a pill, slapping on a patch, chewing gum, sucking a lozenge, being hypnotized, stuck with needles or pierced by lasers?

Investing the time needed to print and gift wrap the only quit smoking book your smoking friend or loved one has likely ever received, pretty much assures that your gift will be read.

Why expect our friends and loved ones to quit in ignorance and darkness? Why not hand them the insights that turn on the lights? Knowledge isn't just power. It's a quitting method.

No Copyright - Public Domain - For Immediate Release

Joined: 10 Nov 2009, 04:06

18 Nov 2009, 17:41 #66

I agree Joel, Cold Turkey is the way to go to get rid of the nicotine quickly, so recovery can begin. Much like AA, immediate abstinance is the only way , I can't imagine someone trying to quit the use of alcohol being told to 'cut down" first. I am 17 days now cold turkey and feel great! I absolutely love your site, the support has been phenomenal , and having been thanked myself on other posts, it seems I have even been able to help others as well with my experience through this, which feels great! I really feel however, that if I had quit cold turkey without the education that this site has provided me, along with member support, I think my chances of failing would have been a lot higher. In other words, could this site be seen as an aid also? Of course not NRT, but never the less an aid? Does that diminish the true meaning of cold turkey? Like I said before, I wish I could point every smoker to this site, even if only for a few minutes, I do believe a lot of them would learn things that they don't know and would quit like I and so many other's have.

My second point is, let's say the promotion of NRT products result in not a single person still smoking. Then those of us who are already non-smokers could walk out of a store, movie theater, or sit in an outdoor patio, without breathing second hand smoke. Instead we could be walking past or sitting with people who are chewing nicotine gum or using the patch or on pills. Would that not be the best case scenario for all of us, admitting that some people just cannot quit? It seems that some views here are all or nothing , and I just think we need to be a little more tolerant. Baby steps! even for people using these NRT methods, they should be helped by baby steps. Once they are off smoking then perhaps we, the one's who are already educated, can educate them on getting off nicotine.

Just one member's opinion.

Joel Spitzer
Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

18 Nov 2009, 20:11 #67

Most of what we teach here at Freedom isn't based on what we learned from watching Freedom quitters, but more so from watching how over the past 40 years most people quit in the real world. The vast majority of people who quit in the real world did so by going cold turkey AND the vast majority of people who have quit smoking in the real world never heard of the Freedom from Nicotine site or

Freedom is set up as a site designed to help people who have decided that cold turkey is how they too want to quit. As it says in Our Mission Statement:
We are a cold turkey education and support forum that understands that the key to permanent abstinence is understanding. Why are we a cold turkey site? Because we know that educated cold turkey quitting works. No one can deny that cold turkey is the method that was used by almost 90% of all successful quitters,[1] nor that it continues to prevail over all government approved pharmacology products in nearly all real-world quitting method surveys conducted to date.[2]

If you are serious about breaking nicotine's grip upon your life and think that we are right for you, join us! You will find like-minded people who are all off of nicotine and for the most part happy about it. If we are not right for you please do not join. It would be like joining a religious group in order to convert all of their existing followers to your belief or joining a political party for the sole purpose of having all of its members vote for the opposing party candidate. When a person joins a group under these terms they are not joining a group, they are trying to subvert the group. This is an act of hostility not an act of support or camaraderie.

We are hostile to no one, not even to the tobacco industry or pharmaceutical companies who have different agendas than ours. They exist because they want you to use their products. We exist because you want to stop using them. We are not here to try to make anyone stop using their products either. We are here to help people stop using nicotine because they have already decided to do so.

We are here to help nicotine users who have come to a point in their life that they want to stop and want help doing it -- people who have already picked their plan of action. They have chosen to go cold turkey and want to know what to expect and how to stay focused. That is what we are going to be doing now, helping them maintain their focus.

We help people understand why they used nicotine, how important it is to stop using it, how to break free and most importantly, how to stay free. Many nicotine users who quit at one time or another in their life, some for many years or even decades, relapse. Each did so for one reason and one reason only, they allowed nicotine back into their bloodstream. It's likely that they either did not understand the Law of Addiction or never learned about it to begin with.

We explain nicotine dependency, how to arrest it and provide a forum which brings together like-minded quitters from around the globe. We live by one simple principal here at Freedom: we stay free by staying nicotine-free. No one can relapse without using nicotine. In fact, it's impossible to be a user again without using.

So there you have it, what we are in a nutshell. We are a group of people who share one thing in common. We have decided that today we will not put nicotine into our bodies. Our pasts may be different but our future intent is the same. We are committed to never using nicotine again!


I think that the reason that you believe that NRT has some value can be seen by what you wrote here:

"Would that not be the best case scenario for all of us, admitting that some people just cannot quit?"

That is the way that the vast majority of the public health community thinks, although their beliefs are probably more accurately stated as "most people cannot stop."

Here are articles addressing this issue:

"I can't quit" ... or ... "I won't quit"?
I Can't Quit or I Won't Quit

"I don't want to be called on during this clinic. I am quitting smoking, but I don't want to talk about it. Please don't call on me." This request was made by a lady enrolling in one of my clinics over 20 years ago. I said sure. I won't make you talk, but if you feel you would like to interject at anytime, please don't hesitate to. At that she got mad and said, "Maybe I am not making myself clear-I don't want to talk! If you make me talk I will get up and walk out of this room. If you look at me with an inquisitive look on your face, I am leaving! Am I making myself clear?" I was a little shocked by the strength of her statement but I told her I would honor her request. I hoped that during the program she would change her mind and would share her experiences with the group and me but in all honesty, I wasn't counting on it.

There were about 20 other participants in the program. Overall, it was a good group with the exception of two women who sat in back of the room and gabbed constantly. Other participants would turn around and tell the two to be quiet. They would stop talking for a few seconds and then start right up again with just as much enthusiasm as before. Sometimes, when other people were sharing sad, personal experiences, they would be laughing at some humorous story they had shared with each other, totally ignorant of the surrounding happenings.

On the third day of the clinic, a major breakthrough occurred. The two gossips were partying away as usual. There was one young woman, probably early twenties who asked if she could talk first because she had to leave. The two gossips in back still were not listening and kept up with their private conversation. The young woman who had to leave said, "I can't stay, I had a horrible tragedy in my family today, my brother was killed in an accident." Fighting back emotions she continued. "I wasn't even supposed to come tonight, I am supposed to be helping my family making funeral arrangements. But I knew I had to stop by if I was going to continue to not smoke." She had only been off two days now. But not smoking was important to her.

The group members felt terrible, but were so proud of her, it made what happened in their day seem so trivial. All except the two ladies in the back of the room. They actually heard none of what was happening. When the young woman was telling how close she and her brother were, the two gossips actually broke out laughing. They weren't laughing at the story, they were laughing at something totally different not even aware of what was being discussed in the room. Anyway, the young woman who lost her brother shortly after that excused herself to go back to her family. She said she would keep in touch and thanked the group for all of their support.

A few minutes later I was then relating some story to the group, when all of a sudden the lady who requested anonymity arose and spoke. "Excuse me Joel," she said loudly, interrupting me in the middle of the story. "I wasn't going to say anything this whole program. The first day I told Joel not to call on me. I told him I would walk out if I had to talk. I told him I would leave if he tried to make me talk. I didn't want to burden anyone else with my problems. But today I feel I cannot keep quiet any longer. I must tell my story." The room was quiet.

"I have terminal lung cancer. I am going to die within two months. I am here to quit smoking. I want to make it clear that I am not kidding myself into thinking that if I quit I will save my life. It is too late for me. I am going to die and there is not a **** thing I can do about it. But I am going to quit smoking."

"You may wonder why I am quitting if I am going to die anyway. Well, I have my reasons. When my children were small, they always pestered me about my smoking. I told them over and over to leave me alone, that I wanted to stop but couldn't. I said it so often they stopped begging. But now my children are in their twenties and thirties, and two of them smoke. When I found out about my cancer, I begged them to stop. They replied to me, with pained expressions on their faces, that they want to stop but they can't. I know where they learned that, and I am mad at myself for it. So I am stopping to show them I was wrong. It wasn't that I couldn't stop smoking- it was that I wouldn't! I am off two days now, and I know I will not have another cigarette. I don't know if this will make anybody stop, but I had to prove to my children and to myself that I could quit smoking. And if I could quit, they could quit, anybody could quit."

"I enrolled in the clinic to pick up any tips that would make quitting a little easier and because I was real curious about how people who really were taught the dangers of smoking would react. If I knew then what I know now- well, anyway, I have sat and listened to all of you closely. I feel for each and every one of you and I pray you all make it." Even though I haven't said a word to anyone, I feel close to all of you. Your sharing has helped me. As I said, I wasn't going to talk. But today I have to. Let me tell you why."

Then she turned to the two ladies in the back of the room, who actually had stayed quiet during this interlude. Suddenly she flared up, "The only reason I am speaking up now is because you two BITCHES are driving me crazy. You are partying in the back while everyone else is sharing with each other, trying to help save each other's lives. She then related what the young woman had said about her brother's death and how they were laughing at the time, totally unaware of the story. "Will you both do me a favor, just get the **** out of here! Go out and smoke, drop dead for all we care, you are learning and contributing nothing here." They sat there stunned. I had to calm the group down a little, actually quite bit, the atmosphere was quite charged with all that had happened. I kept the two ladies there, and needless to say, that was the last of the gabbing from the back of the room for the entire two-week clinic.

All the people who were there that night were successful at the end of the program. At graduation, the two ladies who had earlier talked only to each other were applauded by all, even the lady with lung cancer. All was forgiven. The girl who lost her brother also came for the graduation, also smoke free and proud. And the lady with lung cancer proudly accepted her diploma and introduced one of her children. He had stopped smoking for over a week at that time. Actually, when the lady with cancer was sharing her story with us, she had not told her family yet that she had even quit smoking.

It was a few days later, when she was off a week that she told her son. He, totally amazed said to her that if she could quit smoking, he knew he could and stopped at that moment. She beamed with joy. Six weeks later she succumbed to the cancer. I found out when I called her home just to see how she was doing and got her son on the line. He thanked me for helping her quit at the end. He told me how proud she was that she had quit and how proud he was of her, and how happy she was that he had quit also. He said, "She never went back to smoking, and I will not either." In the end, they had both given each other a wonderful gift. He was proud her last breath was smoke free- she NEVER TOOK ANOTHER PUFF!

Epilog: I normally say you can't quit for someone else, it has to be for yourself. This incident flies in the face of this comment to some degree. The lady with lung cancer was quitting smoking to save her children from her fate, to some degree undo the lesson that she had taught years earlier. The lesson that she "could not stop." It was that at the time she "would not stop." There is a big difference between these two statements. It holds true for all smokers. The lady in this story proved years later she could quit too late to save her life, but not too late to save her sons. Next time you hear yourself or someone else say, I cannot stop, understand it is not true. You can quit. Anyone can quit. The trick is not waiting until it is too late.

Video Title Dial Up High Speed MP3 Audio Length Created
"I can't quit or I won't quit" 6.33mb 28.6mb 10.15mb 22:15 10/16/06

Breaking free from nicotine's grip is more doable than most people think

I am assembling a string of a few short commentaries here that highlight how we see things a lot differently here at Freedom than most other Internet sites, most other quitting experts, and most sadly, most people who are still smoking in the world today. These groups view quitting smoking as an almost impossible to accomplish task, a task that only a small percent of smokers ever successfully accomplish. In the real world, nothing is further from the truth.

The common belief that "Most people who try to quit will fail"

There is a strong belief by many that most people can't quit smoking. You will often hear or read quotes like: only 5% of people who try to quit will actually succeed. This is a statistic that is grossly misunderstood and leaves people thinking that they have very little chance of ever successfully quitting smoking.

The fact is, in America today, we have more former smokers than current smokers. Over 45.9 million Americans have successfully quit, and there are some 45.4 million who still smoke. If only 5% of people who try to quit succeed, how do you have more former smokers than current smokers?

Most people who looks at their own real world examples will realize that there are a whole lot of former smokers out there. Start surveying your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. You are going to find that a whole lot of these people used to smoke and don't any more. You will see from your own real world experience that successful cessation is possible. Most of these people quit on their own with a whole lot less understanding and support than you are getting now.

You can join their ranks and achieve long term success, and the health and life saving benefits that go with quitting, by making and sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Is Relapse a Natural Part of the Addiction Process?

Most other boards, and in fact most professional programs and nicotine addiction experts, see relapsing as a normal part of the addiction process. In a way we are out on a limb here at Freedom. We don't accept relapse as a normal process of addiction. We see a relapse as a natural process of not understanding and/or accepting ones own addiction. For if the true implication of a relapse is understood, any educated and recovering addict would choose not to relapse.

Every recovering nicotine addict here has the tools in place to not relapse, which is why he or she is a recovering addict now and not an active user. He or she understands full well, up to this point in time that he or she could not control quantity of cigarettes or duration of the relapse. If nicotine is re-administered, the relapse will take on a life of its own, and has the full potential of taking your life in the process.

If you keep that understanding and keep in practice our one simple principle, a relapse is not going to be a natural occurrence and in fact, a relapse is going to be an impossibility. For as long as you follow one simple principal, you will never be able to go back to smoking. That principle is just remembering that if you want to keep control of your addiction to never take another puff!

If this is your first time quitting

You can quit your first time. You will hear lots of material to the contrary; that you have to quit over and over until it finally takes. It is a common misconception being perpetrated by many sites and even professional clinics and organization basically explaining why people quitting using such programs or approaches don't often seem to succeed.

The idea that you "can't" quit the first time is absolutely wrong. The only reason it takes most people multiple attempts to quit is that they don't understand the addiction to nicotine. How could they, no one really teaches it. People had to learn by messing up one attempt after another until it finally dawns on them how each time they lost it, it happened by taking a puff. If you understand this concept from the get go, you don't have to go through chronic quitting and smoking.

So learn from other people's mistakes, not your own. Going through a quit once is bad enough, going through it over and over again is horrible and should be avoided at all costs. The way to avoid it is to always remember to never take another puff!.

At Freedom, relapse is not a normal part of quitting

Never get the impression that relapsing is a normal part of quitting. Relapsing is only normal for people who don't understand addiction or don't believe that they themselves are addicts.

Once you joined up here you were probably making an acknowledgement of your state of being at that time, that you were an addicted smoker. That state is never going to leave. Once an addict, you will always be an addict. But over time, it will become an asymptomatic addiction, hence, no visible signs, no real need.

However, your body is permanently altered and if you ever let your guard down for a second then a relapse is going to be a reality. Nobody knows if they are going to have another quit in them. But as long as you follow one simple lesson here, you will never have to worry about another quit. That rule is: to stay smoke free, and reap the health and lifesaving benefits that go with being smoke free, you must never take another puff!



"I just think we need to be a little more tolerant. Baby steps! even for people using these NRT methods, they should be helped by baby steps. Once they are off smoking then perhaps we, the one's who are already educated, can educate them on getting off nicotine."

There are dozens if not hundreds of sites across the Internet to help people wanting to quit by different methods. We are a niche site designed to help people who want to quit by going cold turkey. It is the way the vast majority of successful ex-smokers quit and that it is a method of choice of millions of people wanting to quit so we think it is a necessary site.

Our materials though are there to help people no matter how they quit.

Here is a post that was put up at another quit smoking site that often uses a lot of our materials and regularly refers people to the site. It will touch on other issues you have raised here :

Posted in 2006 at another quit smoking message board:

"Quote from Joel Spitzer.. full article available here:"

Actually, this is not a quote from me, it is from's editor and founder John Polito.

John likes doing research through more current scientific and medical journals to find supporting evidence to concepts I discovered from working live with smokers over the past 30 some years. I am not one for going through journals much any more, although I should note I did a lot of this kind of research in the 1970's, 80's and 90's. By 2000 I was pretty tired of the reading and was glad that I had found a colleague who could keep me apprised of things going on if I ever needed supporting materials.

On a more important note here though, I have always tried to make it clear here that while is a site that advocates cold turkey for quitting, we have also amassed a lot of materials that can be beneficial for people no matter how they quit.

Here is a copy of a previous post used at the board here addressing how we hope people quitting by various means are able to use to help support their quits:

I know that some of my views on certain quitting topics can be quite controversial and I really do try to stay clear of these issues when I post at the site here. I also, try to make it clear that some of the materials at can be controversial, and I do try to warn people going there that they may want to stay clear of certain materials, especially the how to quit section for people who are using medications to quit smoking.

I am going to copy and paste comments I put up in another string here letting people who read here know of strings that I put up at this board that I hope will be helpful to all people wanting to quit and that I hope stay clear from controversial content:

I assembled a few strings in the past on this board addressing relapse prevention issues and articles addressing the importance of quitting smoking that I think could be beneficial for newer members to read. I am assembling the links to these threads here in this one string.

Here are some of the posts I have put up here in the past:

Is relapse a normal part of the addiction process-

Craves (thoughts) that happen over time after quitting

Are there Social Smokers

Free Online Quit Smoking Video Lessons

Implication of second hand smoke exposure on your quit

Minimizing the most common side effects to quitting smoking

"Quitting smoking is the hardest thing I have ever done

A Safer Way to Smoke

Smoking and Circulation

Is this a symptom of quitting smoking-

Smoker, ex-smoker, non-smoker-

I also want to make sure all who read here are aware of the free materials we have made available at to assist people in quitting. Most of the library materials are compiled in a free downloadable e-book linked on that page. It really comes down accepting the premise that to stay smoke free is no more complicated than understanding to never take another puff.

I am going to attach the preface of the book below. It kind of captures this premise. I do want to make people aware that the library and the book are broken into sections covering topics like why people smoke, why they should quit, how to quit and how to stay off of smoking. The how to quit section is focused on cold turkey quitting, and people quitting by other methods should probably stay clear of reading the materials on how to quit. The other sections however are likely going to be beneficial for all people quitting, irregardless to what method they are using.

Also, I want to be sure that all who reads here are aware of the day by day video lessons set up at the site too. I think anyone first starting their quit will find these lessons invaluable. Again though, there are a few videos which are focused on the cold turkey method and I would encourage people using other methods to quit to avoid these specific videos. They are "How did the people you know quit smoking?", "Quitting by gradual withdrawal," "My first encounter with NRT" and "WhyQuit's candid views about Chantix."

These are four out of 65 video lessons. I am highlighting this because I want to make it clear that the bulk of the materials that we have made available are there for the benefit of all people quitting no matter how they are quitting. I don't want to keep anyone who could benefit from these materials from avoiding them because they are afraid that the site will discourage them from their current quitting methods. Being that the site here is supporting people using a variety of methods and are not pushing any one over another, I am trying to be sure that all of the materials I share here and in all of the participation I occasionally engage in at this site is utilizing information that I truly believe can help all people to secure their quits no matter how they initially quit. I noted above that I was going to add the preface to the e-book. Here it is:

Preface to the e-book "Never Take Another Puff"

Never take another puff. It seems so simple. If you want to quit smoking all you need to do is to never take another puff. There you have it-a roadmap for breaking free from one of the deadliest scourges ever to hit mankind. Nearly five million people a year die from smoking. Many knew the dangers and wanted to quit but didn't feel as if they knew how to break away from such a complicated and powerful addiction. Truth be known, this is not a complicated addiction and while on the surface it may seem powerful, in truth, it is not. Yes there are lots and lots of people who smoke until it kills them but it is not that they couldn't quit. It's that they didn't have the understanding of what was needed to quit, and more importantly, what they needed to do to stay quit. Again, the answer to both is to never take another puff.

Anyone who goes through the trouble of reading this book is going to see that phrase a lot. While it may sound repetitive to the point of being annoying, it is the one key piece of information that will secure your quit. This series of short articles, exploring different smoking issues, was written over a twenty-two year period. They were not written to be a "how to" manual for quitting, but as follow-up reinforcement to support those who had already quit smoking through clinics I had conducted, to remind them of the importance of remaining vigilant in order to stay free. While they were not intended to be a "how to" manual, when compiled and organized as they are here, they may very well serve as an empowering tool to help you learn how to join the ranks of the millions of successful ex-smokers alive today. The more you read the more you will understand why you smoke and why you should quit. You will also begin to grasp how your life can change by quitting. After spending a few minutes reading any article that touches on some aspect of smoking pertinent to you, you will arrive at a sentence spelling out what you need to do to remain free today. Make it through to the end and you will have all the understanding and tools in place to make a commitment that can preserve your health and likely save your life. You will understand that all you need to do to stay smoke-free is to Never Take Another Puff!

Again, I want to make it clear that I try to totally stay clear of any issues regarding quitting techniques while on the board. The information that I share are only on the dangers of smoking and relapse prevention based materials--information that I think are of value to all people who want to quit smoking no matter how they are trying to do it.

I don't get by here much but I want all members to feel free to pop up any of the above threads or copy and paste any of these materials whenever they think it would be helpful. Also, if people have quitting questions or concerns I will be more than happy to address them through Private Messages or you can email me directly.

The above post illustrates how we have made resources available for people wanting to quit via other methods through Basically though, while here at Freedom we are quite intolerant of nicotine. We recognize nicotine is an addiction that are members are tired of using and that all of our members and we hope that most of our readers have come to the conclusion that they were or are able to break free from and are now committing to stay free by never introducing any form of nicotine into their bodies again via any route of administration.

Joel Spitzer
Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

18 Nov 2009, 20:20 #68

I occasionally get emails from people inquiring why I have such a critical view on the use of nicotine replacement products. Being that it takes time to personally answer all of these emails, I have assembled a series of articles that address different issues involving the use of nicotine replacement products for smoking cessation.
Hooked on the Cure
Wall Street Journal article explores pharmaceutical industry "Nicotine Fix"
Related Videos:
Video Title
Addiction - the Surgeon General says ... 4.42mb 13.2mb 1.77mb 5.49mb 12:00 10/09/06
How did the people you know quit smoking? 1.90mb 18.8mb 0.77mb 2.34mb 05:10 09/27/06
My first encounter with NRT 3.99mb 16.1mb 2.13mb 6.66mb 14:37 11/16/06
WhyQuit's candid views about Chantix (and Champix) 17.8mb 53.3mb 7.11mb 22.0mb 48:16 10/19/07


Joined: 10 Nov 2009, 04:06

18 Nov 2009, 21:45 #69

You changed what I really said. C'mon, you know that I agree with you, the only point I made is some people will use NRT no matter what. And what I said was " the best case scenario would be that those of us who truly quit would benefit from not having to breathe second hand smoke because those who are on NRT would not be blowing smoke around" that is the only value. All be it a selfish one.

Anyway I got ya, I understand what you're doing, it has worked for me... so be it. But you could have maybe privately made that point to me, rather than changing my comment.

I'm 17 days nicotine free, I'm happy about that , I will continue to encourage other's and you will only see me reinforce the cold turkey quit.

Joel Spitzer
Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

18 Nov 2009, 22:55 #70

"You changed what I really said"

It was not my intent to change what you said and actually do not believe I changed what you said.

"the only point I made is some people will use NRT no matter what"

And my point is that they have plenty of places to go on the Internet and in real world setting for advice and support of their chosen method of "trying to quit" or "trying to avoid withdrawal" by using NRT for as long as they choose. There aren't many sites that are designed to help cement the desire of people wanting to actually break free from nicotine. We are filling that need.

"the best case scenario would be that those of us who truly quit would benefit from not having to breathe second hand smoke because those who are on NRT would not be blowing smoke around"

I can honestly say that in all of my years in the field I have never helped in any cause to restrict smoking in public places. It is not like I wasn't asked either. I was asked often to provide expert testimony at local and state level when ordinances were being introduced, but I made a clear decision back in the 1970's not to get involved in these politics. The reason being is that I always say myself as an advocate for smokers. By that I mean I was never telling people to quit smoking or asking people to quit smoking for me, or for their company, or for their family, or for anyone else. I actually don't tell or ask people to quit smoking. I always saw my role as helping people to quit smoking who already wanted to quit. If people saw me as the person trying to force them not to smoke here or there, or even forcing them to quit, there is very little chance that they were going to turn to me for help. They were going to see me as their adversary rather than their advocate.

I was heavily involved in prevention programs for kids and smoking, but even in those settings, I never told kids not to smoke. Here is an article addressing this issue:

Please don't smoke

I notice some people respond to other members pleas for help with comments like, "Please don't smoke." I am not saying not to do it, but I want to point out something that was once said to me by a clinic graduate that really seemed to make a difference to him in joining in my program and staying in it. He pointed out that I never once made a plea or request of him or any of the people in his clinic not to smoke.

As I thought about that after it was first pointed out to me I realized it was true. I realized that I probably never had said it to anyone, except maybe at my first clinic when I was totally clueless to what I was doing. I basically never asked people not to smoke or tell people not to smoke, which is pretty interesting since I have spent a high percentage of my life talking or writing to people about not smoking.

So why have I never made such pleas or requests of others? Well I always tell people they have to quit for themselves. I always explain that you cannot do it for your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, your employer, your society or your government. Well, if you can't quit or stay off for these other significant people, why in the world should I expect that you would quit or stay off because I am asking you politely not to smoke. You have to be quitting for you, not for me or any other caring individual.

So my tactic has always been to find out what the person really wants to do at the time of making such comments as to wanting to smoke. I make sure that they truly consider the full implications of a full-blown relapse. I try to make them recall their own initial reasons for quitting. I try to ask questions to make them remember just why they quit and why they likely don't want to go back to smoking. I try to give them one piece of advice to secure the quit, to never take another puff. Once again, that term I use over and over again is always just advice--it is never a demand or a request.

Whenever I write "never take another puff" it is prefaced by a comment of, "if you want to stay free" or "still choose not to smoke," or "want to save your health or your life," or something to the effect that it is what the ex-smoker wants to do as opposed to what I want them to do. Each and every person has to keep his or her own reasons personal of why he or she does not want to smoke.

I am not saying that no one here should not make such statements; it is kind of a personal style issue. But I would advise everyone when dealing with others here, and maybe more importantly, people in your real world, your family and friends, make sure that you come across as offering support, advice and information as opposed to making requests or demands on another person not to smoke.

We do make one request here though. We ask our members to write us and give us a little time to respond before throwing away his or her quit. When we do this we are not telling the person not to smoke or to wait for us to have a chance to tell them not to smoke. Rather we are just trying to get the opportunity to talk to the person and point out the full implications of smoking and make sure that he or she fully understands the full ramifications of a relapse.

If the person still desires to smoke after such information is fully understood, well then smoking is an option for him or her. But if he or she decides that his or her desire is to still stay smoke free, then he or she will be reminded that the only way to stay free from cigarettes is to never take another puff!


Also from that string:

For anyone who thinks we are out to make them not smoke. It is not our goal to make anyone do anything. We are here trying to help people realize that they are in full control of their quits and that they have total choice of whether they will be actively feeding their addiction or staying free of the control nicotine will take if given an opportunity to get back into their systems. If your desire is to save your health and your life you only logical choice is to stay committed to never take another puff!


We ask our members to write us and give us a little time to respond before throwing away his or her quit. When we do this we are not telling the person not to smoke or to wait for us to have a chance to tell them not to smoke. Rather we are just trying to get the opportunity to talk to the person and point out the full implications of smoking and make sure that he or she fully understands the full ramifications of a relapse.

If the person still desires to smoke after such information is fully understood, well then smoking is an option for him or her. But if he or she decides that his or her desire is to still stay smoke free, then he or she will be reminded that the only way to stay free from cigarettes is to never take another puff!