Just one little puff?

Just one little puff?

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Sep 2001, 19:35 #1

It is hard for many people to grasp the concept of how just one little puff can result in a full-blown relapse. It just doesn't seem logical to some people. But to everyone who asks him or herself whether or not he or she can maybe smoke "just" one, think about what advice you would give to a family member or friend who you cared very much about and you knew was a recovering or heroin or cocaine addict and was for the first time in months or years was considering to try recreational use. Imagine your shock and horror, especially if you were with him or her when he or she was in the grips of the addiction, ruining almost every aspect of life and maybe even almost losing his or her life.

Would you say to him or her, "Well, maybe you are better now, maybe its worth finding out if you could handle just one?" Would you feel the need to do a little research in current journals to see if maybe one is an option, maybe even delve into a few neurological journals to see if the scientists now have a better grip on neurotransmitter pathways that could explain why addiction happens and then maybe say, "Well they are starting to understand a little more of how addiction works and maybe soon they can alter your brain physiology, so if you relapse it may be no big deal, a cure is around the corner, maybe only years away? Or would you cut through the rationalization and say, "If you do it you are going to be back where you were when you first had to quit?" You are going to mess up your life and everyone around you.

The odds are you would go the latter route. You would be horrified and take a firm stand that he or she shouldn't do it; it would be stupid and even worse, suicidal. Well there is no difference between this scenario and the concept of maybe I can have just one now.

Well there is actually one difference. It is not medically or physically based, but rather societal. Our societies have not been taught about nicotine addiction. People have been taught about addiction and other drugs. Even though nicotine is more addictive than most any other addictive substance, and maybe even the most addictive of all, people still don't grasp how any administration of the substance can cause a relapse, even though they are taught this about most other addictive drugs. How often you will hear someone ask you when they find out you have quit the question, "You mean you haven't even had one?" This is such a ludicrous comment, and yet so common. Or how many times have you seen literature put out by medical organizations advising a recovering addict to not let a slip put them back to using? The message has been clear and consistent with other drugs, the message being don't slip.

Everyone here has been exposed to this discrepancy, not just since you quit, but also for years and decades while you still smoked. You now have to alter a way of thinking that is part of our culture, no matter what culture you are from. The pervasive attitude of the society around you is wrong.

The society may accept the danger of smoking but they do not yet grasp the concept of the addiction. You have to be smarter and more informed than the society around you, maybe even your health care provider. It is asking a lot of an individual to think different than the society as a whole, but it has to be done in regards to smoking.

The consequence of not becoming fanatical against a puff is too serious to just dismiss. It will be the loss of your quit, and that can easily translate to loss of your health and eventually loss of your life. You have to be vigilant at all times, to keep reminding yourself that you are a recovering addict.

There may be no signs of the addiction; thoughts of cigarettes may have become rare events now and maybe even non-existent. But even at this stage of the game, there is a silent addiction still there that can take you down with full force for making one miscalculation; thinking that maybe you are different.

You are no different than any other drug addict, whether it be from alcohol, cocaine, heroin, etc. You are an addict for life, but as long as you get the drug out of your system and never administer it again, you will never be set into the downward spiral that the drug sets into motion to its users. In regards to smoking, that spiral is loss of your Freedom, your health and your life, which means you can lose everything.

To keep what you've got, always remember to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!


GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

30 Sep 2001, 07:04 #2


I found this site today....an emphysema support group, and I spent the last couple of hours reading the most poingant letters written by people just like all of us here at Freedom, but instead of dealing with the psycological aspects of quitting smoking, they are dealing with the harsh reality of what that "one little puff" has done to them. The following letter at that board could be any Freedom memeber:

"I played a deadly game and I lost. It is similar to Russian Roulette, except that in Russian Roulette if you lose, you die immediately. In the game that I played, you die a long agonizing death. You slowly smother.

And not only do you die in this gruesome manner, but all the people that you love and care about, get to watch you die. And they even have to take care of you while you die. You get to see your husband or wife, your parents and your children look at you with such sadness and you feel like you are slipping away from them.

You die a little each day. However, there are times when you hasten it by catching a common cold, which quickly turns into pneumonia and you get to go to the hospital. In that case, you may speed up your death by several months or even a year or two. You might get to spend some time attached to the ventilator; a life support that does your breathing for you.

As you die, your body may swell up from the medication and you will probably get Cataracts in your eyes, blurring your vision until surgery corrects it. Also, your bones become brittle and you can break a bone even without falling. Your skin will age like something in a science fiction movie....The doctors call it Onion Skin. You may have to leave your home that you love because the altitude is too high for your disease. The disease is Emphysema and it is caused by smoking.

I remember when I first started smoking. Sitting on a beach and practicing with my girlfriend. We had a red package of Pall Malls and we smoked them and coughed our heads off. I thought, "How could anyone like to smoke?" We were sixteen years old. But I had a crush on a senior and all the seniors smoked. It was so cool. And all the sexy movie stars smoked! I really thought that somehow the cigarettes would make me look older and sophisticated. Well. I was right! It was not
immediate, but smoking does make you look older. Old and wrinkled, before your time.

My husband and I are at the age where we should be planning that return trip to Paris and Rome. But I can no longer travel.

We have had to change our standard of living because my illness has been so expensive. I could not attend my son's graduation because I could not tolerate the altitude. My illness has affected every member of our family. It has been eight long years since I got my "bullet" of information: my "diagnosis". I know my two sons would like to write a segment too. They are very angry at those cigarettes that have taken my life away from me and now is taking me away from them. They both have asthma and allergies and I wonder how much the second hand smoke damaged them directly.

I can tell you that there was never one cigarette that I ever smoked that was worth the price that we have paid."

Susan Connelly

Hikacking this thread a little to insert recent video touching on this topic:

"You mean you haven't had a single puff off of a cigarette?"

Last edited by GrumpyOMrsS (Gold) on 22 Aug 2014, 13:10, edited 2 times in total.

nkontheblock ( gold )
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:08

20 Oct 2001, 19:57 #3

It is eerie that you posted this today. I have been having thoughts of just one smoke again. Yesterday I went into my son's room thinking that I could take one of his and who would know. After that I would stay quit and no foul there. I did not find any cigarettes except for two half butts, and I felt ashamed and left his room. It was close but I did not smoke. I KNOW that I can not have one puff and yet I somehow thought that if no one saw me then it would not count. Dumb!
I feel better today and with the help of God and my other supports, I survived this. Still nicotine free and thankful for that.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Oct 2001, 20:59 #4

Hello Nkontheblock:

This comes down to the issue of sneaking not being a relapse. If no one knows you did it then you didn't do it. Well the problem with addiction isn't what other people know nor is it even what you know or believe. You can know every fact in my library, at whyquit.com, hold advanced degrees in pharmacology, physiology, and be certified in addiction counseling, and all that knowledge would be useless against a puff on a cigarette. Although, if you were to take a puff, it would mean that with all the degrees and background information you had at your disposal, the fact is that you didn't understand the simplest aspect of the addiction--that you could not administer the drug without kicking in the bodies overwhelming demand for it or "proving" to yourself that one was possible which will instigate the belief that another one is possible somewhere down the road and soon another and sooner or later one of them hooks you. (See "The lucky ones get hooked" for point of reference.)

I'll sometimes get replies when I am doing phone follow-up with clinic participants where the person says, "I am doing okay, I am not buying cigarettes." I know when I hear this comment I have an active smoker on the line, who is likely bumming cigarettes from everyone and anyone around them who will cough them up. Often these people are so self-delusional to their addiction that they actually have bought cartons for friends as presents, just to bum one or two a day back. The friend loves it, they are getting large quantities of cigarettes for free. The SMOKER loves that they can feel in control because they are not buying cigarettes for themselves. Their little game is keeping them in an active addiction, a chronic withdrawal and they are literally spending many dollars per cigarettes to live this self lie.

Don't question the idea of one puff silently. Ask it to your currently smoking friends, see how many of them quit at one time or another and lost that quit and see where they are today--smoking and likely regretting that first puff. Or ask it here and you will hear from people who had past quits longer than yours who didn't ask that question once and found the answer the hard way--turning them into a smoker again who had to quit. The people here can tell you a scary story--your smoking friends can tell you a scarier one though, because at this point you don't know and they don't know whether they can or will quit again before smoking kills them.

Learn from others and your only desire will remain to never take another puff!

Last edited by Joel on 22 Oct 2009, 17:22, edited 2 times in total.

Nora (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

20 Oct 2001, 21:32 #5

Hi Joel

Just one little puff?


I know all too well (by experience) what one little puff can do. In past attempts at quitting, I would go buy a pack....smoke one and tear up the rest. I thought that one would get me over the hump. NOT SO! The next day I would buy another pack and have one and save one for later. tsk....tsk.... Well, it didn't take many days to be back to my old level.

I have learned here that in order to be FREE, I can never have another puff. I do not want one anymore. For that I am so thankful for this Freedom site and all my Freedom family.

Nora at One year, two months, two weeks, 22 hours, 37 minutes and 56 seconds. 13228 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,131.02. Life saved: 6 weeks, 3 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Dec 2001, 10:33 #6


Research shows that just one puff of nicotine and up to 50% of the brain's
a4b2-type acetylcholine receptors become occupied by nicotine, creating
a flood of dopamine that will soon have the brain begging for more.
Last edited by John (Gold) on 09 Jul 2009, 02:00, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Dec 2001, 02:03 #7

Image For Cando:

Just another piece to put into your private folder next time you are tired and want to do some "light" reading. This one will help you see the "light," that your decision was good to commit to never take another puff!


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2001, 05:08 #8

Here Maryann:

In case that voice keeps telling you maybe you could have "just one."

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:57

31 Jan 2002, 17:24 #9


How often you will hear someone ask you when they find out you have quit the question, "You mean you haven't even had one?" This is such a ludicrous comment, and yet so common. Or how many times have you seen literature put out by medical organizations advising a recovering addict to not let a slip put them back to using? The message has been clear and consistent with other drugs, the message being don't slip.

Very True!!!

Before my Quit on 12/1 when i had gone to my Dr for prescribing Zyban
the Doctor Asked me "How Long ypu been Smoking?"

I replied "15 years".

To this the Dr replied "15 Years! I think it is going to be difficult for you..but Dont lose heart.. Keep trying to Quit and you will make it one day..It is good to be off cigarretes!"

I know he meant well..but it really put me off..(I had not been to WhyQuit that time) also the smoker inside me was in a corner.. trying to be happy !!

I really wonder how such thoughts will harm a Smoker really trying to quit unless he gets educated on the Laws of addiction etc..


Two weeks, five days, 17 hours, 18 minutes and 4 seconds. 394 cigarettes not smoked, saving S$136.07. Life saved: 1 day, 8 hours, 50 minutes.

Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 21:02

10 Feb 2002, 02:51 #10

i had no idea that the thoughts that run through my head (like i can sneak one while no one is looking and be fine) are thought by so many others who are quitting. it helps SO much to be able to log on here and read others' experiences. I WILL NOT give in and have a puff, and it is largely due to this wonderful and supportive place.

now at one week, 5 and a half days, haven't smoked 251, saved $37.66, gained 20 hrs 55 min.