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!

Joel
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

30 Sep 2001, 07:04 #2

Joel,

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.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:08

20 Oct 2001, 19:57 #3

Joel
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.
nkontheblock
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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!

Joel
Last edited by Joel on 22 Oct 2009, 17:22, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

20 Oct 2001, 21:32 #5

Hi Joel

Just one little puff?

NEVER!!!!!!

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.
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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.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Dec 2001, 02:03 #7

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!

Joel
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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."
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:57

31 Jan 2002, 17:24 #9

Joel,

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..

Ravi

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.
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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.

sue
now at one week, 5 and a half days, haven't smoked 251, saved $37.66, gained 20 hrs 55 min.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:12

16 Feb 2002, 10:55 #11

Thank you a million times for the reinforcement. No matter how far along anyone is in their quit, it never hurts to remind any and all of us of the consequences.
Teresa
Loving my smober life at 6 months 1 day 3 hours 17 minutes
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Feb 2002, 02:19 #12


"Just one little puff?" Hmmm...Maybe...?

Go back to full-fledged smoking until it cripples or kill you?
NO WAY!

It is much easier to squelch the desire when a drag on a cigarette is seen for what it is--a full-blown nicotine relapse! See a puff in its true light and your choice will always be to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

07 Apr 2002, 10:00 #13

Not today thanks
yqs mirigirl
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:33

27 Apr 2002, 05:11 #14

This thread reminded me of another one of Joel's articles, The Lucky Ones Get Hooked. I realize now that a year ago, I was one of the unlucky one's who lost a 11 month quit. I had a puff or 2, basically just to prove that I could, and thought that was it. A few weeks later I was offered a cigarette, and feeling smug that I could, indeed, have just one, I took it. That "just one" became just-one -pack- a-day.
That one puff was my relapse. There's no way I'll listen to that junkie again. There is no just one puff.
Carolyn
Choosing to be nicotine free for one week, six days, 6 hours, 22 minutes and 50 seconds. 265 cigarettes not smoked, saving $39.80. Life saved: 22 hours, 5 minutes.
Last edited by Carolyn on 22 Oct 2009, 17:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Jun 2002, 18:38 #15

Last night was my clinic panel night. The wealth of experience that can be found in one room at one time is overwhelming. We had the experiences of three people who were in the current clinic who had past quits that had exceeded ten year periods only to be lost by taking a puff.

One of the men was actually off 13 or 14 years, took a puff on a cigar and has smoked cigars daily ever since. That first cigar was taken sometime in the 1970's.

We had one panelist who had once quit with me back in 1983, a year later took a puff, and ended up smoking another seventeen years or so before coming to another clinic to quit--he has been off over a year now. He figured out how many cigarettes he had smoked during his short slip period, and it was over 120,000 cigarettes.

We had one man who was in my very first clinic from back in 1976 come in. I didn't know he was coming or I would have done the math of how many cigarettes he didn't smoke by quitting when he did--the number is now 563,940 cigarettes.

There was another man who had quit in a clinic back in 1987 and now had not smoked 267,900. The totals of cigarettes not smoked in that room last night was likely mind boggling--all because these people have remembered for years that they were addicts and could not take a puff.

The number of cigarettes that were smoked in that room because at one time or another the clinic members did forget or never really understood the fact that one puff was going to be their downfall was also equally mind boggling and a lot scarier if really considered. We all witnessed great successes and great past failures, all hinged on the acceptance or the disblief in the fact that to stay smoke free you must always know to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Aug 2002, 20:17 #16

One of Canada's new cigarette warning labels (below) goes further than any government warning label in history in attempting to teach Canada's children the true power of nicotine. There are no such warnings in most of the rest of the world, where children are taught that smoking is just a "nasty little habit" like picking your nose. As for us and potential relapse, a recent study suggested that nicotine smokers only need one puff - that very first puff - in order to elevate dopamine output almost to its maximum potential. Like topping off a gas tank, the rest of the puffs of nicotine appear to be for reserves for later.

It's highly likely that few if any of us will require a second puff in order to set relapse in motion. Try thinking of it like you'd be giving a recovered alcoholic one drink but not enough to get them drunk. The damage is done. Triggers have been re-established that must be visited again, the brain has chemically tasted the fruit of the poisonous tree, and a sea of old dependency memories have been awaken, revived and are floating on the surface. Look around you and watch others as they are forced to feed a mandatory chemical need. Nicotine's power is real!


Last edited by John (Gold) on 09 Jul 2009, 02:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Jan 2004, 19:47 #17

Last edited by John (Gold) on 09 Jul 2009, 02:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 12 Jan 2009, 21:56

18 Mar 2004, 23:36 #18

I'm a newbie, so not really sure what I'm doing....

Just reading this made me want to put in my two cents worth.

When I was 28, a heart attack forced me to quit smoking. I had remained quit for 4 years, with the fear of another heart attack looming if I ever took another puff. Unfortunately, one day, during a very bad/stressful/postpartum depression/self-destructive time in my life, I ended up stopping at the store and buying a pack of cigarettes..convincing myself that since I had quit for 4 years, that one pack wasn't gonna hurt me. That I wasn't addicted anymore since it had been so long. Well, that one pack of smokes seems to have lasted 18 months. What had kept me quit for so long was the threat of a repeat heart attack...I had myself convinced that if I ever took another puff, the pain in my chest would start again...well, it didn't...I find it absolutely amazing how one's mind can forget fears in order to feed an addiction.

I'm into my second quit now, and this one will last forever.

cathy
One week, three days, 16 hours, 37 minutes and 49 seconds. 267 cigarettes not smoked, saving $96.23. Life saved: 22 hours, 15 minutes.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

02 Jun 2004, 07:42 #19

Lighting a cigarette or putting a cigarette in your mouth will cause the absorbtion of nicotine and that absorbtion is administration of nicotine to your body and administration of nicotine is a relapse.
Trying to rationalize it or define it as anything else is going to kill a quit and killing a quit can very likely end up in killing the quitter. The only way to guarantee staying totally smoke free is to know that they only way to avoid relapsing is to never administer nicotine via any NRT route and as far as for burning tobacco the only way to avoid relapsing is to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:57

09 Jul 2004, 03:31 #20


Thanks Joel -

Frankly, this sort of reinforcement -- self-directed and with absolute honesty -- has saved me from some embarressing admission lately. As you say, I am no different than any other addict out there, NO DIFFERENT. That's the point. It's essential to keeping the quit. I've been reminding myself over and over, "One puff is unacceptable. One puff is unacceptable." It's gotten me through some rocky times. I'm still clean, and try to wake up each morning and be grateful for the opportunity to continue staying that way.

Johnny

145 days as the

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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

10 Jul 2004, 02:19 #21

The One Puff Story
In March 1991, I had been smoking for 10 years. I was 29 years old and had 2 children; I'm ashamed to say that I had smoked through both pregnancies. My son was 2 and a half years old when he had a serious bout of pneumonia and as I stood outside the hospital smoking, 31 weeks pregnant with my daughter, and looked at all the other mums whose kids were also in hospital with chest problems, I realsised that there was a lesson which needed to be learnt. It took another year, but as 'National No Smoking' day came round in 1991 I took the plunge and quit. It was very hard but I did it. Each year that went by I quietly celebrated my life as a 'non-smoker'. As the years went by I couldn't imagine ever having been a smoker. My kids had no further chest complaints and in 1997 I had a 3rd child and it felt so good to have a really healthy pregnancy without worrying about smoking. My little boy was born and I never had to worry about smoking in the room or smelling of smoke. I was free, healthy and clean and I had reached the stage where I didn't give that health or freedom or smoking a thought!!!
Then guess what happened?????
In 2001 I started back to work after the birth of my son. I got a job in a supermarket and the people were very sociable and friendly. We socialised quite a bit both outside work and during our breaks at work and many of the women were smokers. One day, in the pub for a very quick drink after work, I was chatting about the fact that I had given up smoking so long agao and I decided to have a quick puff to see what it would taste like.
And that was where it started (or ended whichever way you choose to look at it).
It took only a couple of weeks of arrogantly thinking that I could have an occasional smoke before I was back up to 20 cigs a day! 10 years of healthy living and not smoking and clean teeth and clean house were down the pan. Not long before, I had read that 10 years after quitting is the point at which your chances of getting lung cancer drop to the same as a never-smoker almost. I had been thrilled at reading that and now it's all back to square one!
It took me almost 3 years before I could get up the courage to start a proper quit again. I had a few half-hearted attempts but they were all failures. This time I've got past 6 months and I am NEVER smoking again.
Take heed. This is a tale with a moral.
NEVER Take Another Puff.
Not only your health suffers.
I lost my self-esteem. My husband and his family were gutted because they had only known me as a non-smoker. Friends were disappointed. My young son was shocked because it was new for him & Mummy didn't smell good. I worried about his lungs even though I didn't smoke in the house. I worried about dying young and leaving the kids behind and on and on and on and on............
There's a simple answer.
Never Take Another Puff
Mags
190 days clean
£500+ saved
Almost 2300 cigs not smoked
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:57

16 Sep 2004, 03:21 #22

I enjoy Mag's take on this subject.

johnny
214 days quit
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

22 Nov 2004, 02:04 #23



Sandy - Free and Healing for Eight Months, Twenty Three Days, 11 Hours and 3 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 11 Days and 3 Hours, by avoiding the use of 3210 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $1,298.03.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Jan 2005, 01:39 #24

"One is too many and one
thousand never enough!"
Last edited by John (Gold) on 09 Jul 2009, 02:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

17 Mar 2005, 21:30 #25

Took me a few minutes to find where Bruce lifted the following quote from: "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."
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