Just one or two

Just one or two

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Mar 2001, 22:17 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library
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"You know smoking one or two
cigarettes is better than having
smoked one or two packs!"


This statement was angrily snapped at me by an irate clinic participant on her third day of successive cheating during her stop smoking clinic. She was mad because I kept telling her that she was blowing her chance at quitting smoking. I told her that as long as she smoked three or two cigarettes or even a single puff, she should just smoke the other two packs she would normally consume in a typical 24 hour period. She was suffering horribly and was convinced that all this misery had to serve a useful purpose. I was belittling her valiant attempt, and she was mad as **** at my arrogance.
She had been in other professional programs before. The other programs considered an 80% reduction in smoking a great accomplishment. Sure, they thought 100% would be better, but not all people could do 100%. Her physician would probably agree as well, that, if she couldn't quit, at least she drastically reduced her smoking. Her family and friends were most likely equally impressed by her major victory. Then she would come in to our meeting and I would say she was back to square one and should either smoke everything or stop all together. What made her so mad was her conviction that I really thought she was doing a great job but wouldn't admit it to her.

Contrary to her beliefs, I did not consider her attempt at reducing smoking a praise worthy effort. Cigarette smoking is an addiction. Because of this, smoking is an all or nothing proposition. While her other programs, family, friends and other professionals may have viewed her drastic reduction as impressive, they all failed to understand that reduction was a temporary state. Reducing smoking by 50, 80, 90, or even 99.99% is worthless. It will result in a complete failure in the attempt. This failure will most often result in an eventual return to the old level of consumption and may even lead to a substantial increase over the level smoked prior to the attempt at quitting. It does not pay to cut down for a day or week or even a month just to become a heavier smoker for years afterward because of it. The end result of such a pattern is often the loss of one's health and eventually one's life. No one has ever lost his or her life from following our clinic's cold turkey and total abstinence approach, but many have already died and many more will die from disregarding it.

Eventual loss of health and life is not the only problem with cutting down in our program. There is the more immediate problem of intensified withdrawal lasting over a longer duration of time. It's not that the quitter is treating herself to one or two a day. In fact, she is prolonging the period during which she feels that she is depriving herself of 30 or 40 per day. This period will last until she either totally quits and survives through the initial quitting phase or until she reaches her old level. Unfortunately, the latter is the outcome in the vast majority of similar situations.

For a person truly dependent on nicotine, cutting down on tobacco consumption is guaranteed suffering and failure. It doesn't pay to suffer just for the sake of suffering. Quitting cold may cause some discomfort, but it is short term, and the end result can be freedom from cigarettes. Sure, quitting cold turkey can be difficult. But--for an addict--quitting by any other means is virtually impossible. Given the choice between difficult and impossible, go for the difficult. At least there is a chance of success. With that success comes improved health, self-esteem, societal acceptance, more money and an overall improvement in the quality of life. Once quitting is accomplished, all that needs to be done to maintain a life free from nicotine addiction is to - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

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marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

26 Mar 2001, 22:27 #2

The same principle applies to switching to "lite" and "ultralite" cigarettes. I never tried to quit before, but I did switch to ultras in the hope that this would be "better" for my health (lol - I really DID think like that not long ago !) and in the hope that this was an easy way in to reducing my smoking, then maybe quitting one day.

I finished up smoking more, inhaling deeper, coughing worse, getting continuous colds, to the point where I knew that far from making things better, the "lite" route was simply reinforcing my habit.

I also remember how after not smoking on a 6-hour flight I would rush out of the airport building and smoke 3 cigarettes in 15 minutes to make up for having to "cut back" on the flight. My guess is that many people who think they're cutting back actually have a time period in which they don't smoke, then (as I did) make up for that by cramming in twice as many during a smoking period, and probably actually finish up smoking more!
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Mar 2001, 22:35 #3

Here Marty:
I seem to be following you all over the place today. I am done now. Have to go make phone calls. Hope you enjoy this article.
Joel
"A Safer Way to Smoke?"[/size] Smokers are always looking for ways to reduce the health risks of smoking. Unfortunately, most techniques used to reduce the risk don't work, and, in many cases, may actually increase the dangers of smoking.[/size] Probably the most popular method of risk reduction is switching to low tar and nicotine cigarettes. If people only smoked to perpetuate a simple habit, low tar and nicotine cigarettes would probably reduce the dangers of smoking. Unfortunately, the necessity to smoke is not continuance of a habit but rather maintenance of an addiction. Switching to a low tar and nicotine cigarette makes it difficult for a smoker to reach and maintain his normal required level of nicotine. The smoker will probably develop some sort of compensatory smoking pattern. Compensatory behaviors include smoking more cigarettes, smoking them further down, inhaling deeper, or holding the smoke down longer.[/size]

By doing one or a combination of these behaviors, the smoker will reach similar levels of tar and nicotine in his system as when he smoked his old brand, but, in the process, he may increase the amount of other potent poisons beyond what was delivered by his old cigarettes. Low tar and nicotine cigarettes often have higher concentrations of other dangerous poisons. By increasing consumption, substantially greater amounts of these poisons are taken into the system, thereby increasing his risk of diseases associated with these chemicals. One such poison, found in higher quantities in many low tar and nicotine cigarettes, is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is one of the major factors contributing to the high incidence of heart and circulatory diseases in smokers. Also, to give flavor to the low tar and nicotine cigarettes, many additional additives and flavor enhancers are used. Tobacco companies are not required to disclose what the chemical additives are, but the medical community suspects that many of these additives are carcinogenic (cancer producing) and may actually be increasing the smoker's risk of tobacco-related cancers.[/size]

The filter at the end of cigarettes also may make a difference in how much poison a smoker takes in. Some filters are more effective than others, but, again, a smoker will generally alter the way he smokes rendering many of the protective actions of the filters useless. Some cigarettes have holes inserted around the perimeter of the filter permitting more air to be inhaled with the tars and gasses of the cigarette. Theoretically, this lowers the amount of the actual tobacco smoke being inhaled. But, a smoker will normally find these cigarettes difficult to inhale and cannot get the amount of nicotine necessary to satisfy the craving. In response, he may smoke more or may discover an even more innovative way to interfere with the filter's protective action. Many times a smoker will learn how to put the cigarettes a little deeper into his mouth and seal his lips around the ventilation holes, thus decreasing the filter's efficiency. I have even encountered smokers in clinics who put tape around these holes because they found the cigarette easier to inhale and generally tasted better. In the process, they inactivated the semiprotective mechanism of the filter. Their attempts at making their smoking safer were simply an inconvenience and a waste of time. Filters could be developed that would take out all of the nicotine, but, unfortunately, in order to satisfy the addiction, most smokers would give themselves a hernia trying to inhale.[/size]

One last method of risk reduction worth mentioning is vitamin supplements. The body's ability to utilize Vitamin C is impaired by smoking. When some smokers learn this, they start taking supplemental Vitamin C. But vitamin C acidifies the urine, resulting in the body accelerating the excretion rate of nicotine. In response, the smoker may smoke extra cigarettes. In the process, he will probably destroy the extra vitamin C and increase his exposure to all of the poisonous chemicals found in tobacco smoke.[/size]

Almost every method of making smoking safer is a farce. There is only one way to totally reduce the deadly effects of smoking, and that is, simply, not to smoke. Only then will your chances of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and emphysema be reduced to the level of nonsmokers. And to keep your risk at these low levels, only one method is necessary-NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF![/size]
Last edited by Joel on 28 Feb 2009, 16:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Apr 2001, 18:18 #4

The same concept of "just" one or two not being a problem while quitting applies to the situation of early relapse too. Arlene's relapse is a clear example of this. For a few days it was "only" one, now it is three. Smoking is going to go in one of two directions. Either a person is going to make up her or her mind and fight with all he or she has to quit again, meaning forcing cigarette consumption to zero, or the addiction is going to call the shots and gradually (or not so gradually) force the person up to his or her old level of consumption.

In fact, until the person reaches his or her old level, he or she is going to be in a moderate to severe state of withdrawal, never achieving the minimum amount of nicotine to stay comfortable even for a few minutes. This is the cost of a puff--chronic withdrawal or smoking levels capable of squelching withdrawals, thus delivering 4000 chemicals, many of them toxins, some of them carcinogens, working in combination to slowly cripple and kill the person. So while going back to the old levels of consumption help alleviates the withdrawal, the long-term grief and suffering induced by this method of withdrawal avoidance is much more severe than the withdrawal ever would be.

A relapse is a no win situation. It means either having to quit again and go through the initial quit problems and readjustments, or it means having to smoke again until cigarettes cripples and kills you. Again, both options are disgusting. The only logical solution for everyone is once you have quit smoking you must know to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Jul 2001, 11:13 #5

A new friend of mine needs to be reading this.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Aug 2001, 20:02 #6

I think I saw a post yesterday from a person whose husband was cutting down drastically on smoking and she thought it was better than nothing. Its a dangerous way for both parties to think. For the husband, it is making him think he tried to quit, and the odds are great that he will fail. He can get the lesson that he tried to quit and could not do it--that quitting for him was impossible. Well, he didn't try to quit--he tried to cut down and that he likely cannot do for any extended time period.

But the person writing the letter also sounded as if she had the perception that somehow smoking a few was a lot better a lot. This belief can very easily kill a quit. You must see addiction as a black and white issue, there are no shades of gray. The only way to GUARANTEE a successful quit is to focus on drawing the line that the only way to succeed is to never take another puff!

Joel
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katenosmo (green)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

10 Nov 2001, 01:57 #7

"If smoking is merely a habit for you, something that you can take or leave, cold turkey may work best for you. But if you are very dependent on cigarettes, gradually weaning yourself from cigarettes may work best."

I found the above "advice" while surfing WebMD today. I cound't even begin to list all the things that are wrong with that statement! How can they give out that advice? These are doctors!

Thank goodness I found Freedom first!!!!!

Thanks for letting me vent. Kate
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Nov 2001, 04:44 #8

Here Kate, read this article: Quitting by gradual withdrawal
Last edited by Joel on 28 Feb 2009, 16:05, edited 1 time in total.
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katenosmo (green)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

10 Nov 2001, 06:14 #9

Thanks Joel! I'd hate to see what kind of shape I'd be in if I had used the gradual method - I'm sure it wouldn't have been pretty!
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knowbutts (Gold)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:25

19 Nov 2001, 22:44 #10

Joel,
I'm here to testify that just one puff wrecks everything!!!
The old hunger comes right back. You might fight off full blown relapse for a while but after a month or so of just one now and then, shine the cold hard light of truth on yourself as you're stealing one from someone's pack or finally taking that ride to the store in the next town for something and coming back with a pack of your own.
Then you are back in your old smoking hideout feeling nauseous, your chest aching wondering how you let this happen. YOU TOOK ONE PUFF!
kb
Thanks to Freedom I am 10 days Free again and understand why I can never taking another puff.
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