Just one or two

Joel
Joel

10:17 PM - Mar 26, 2001 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library


"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)
marty (gold)

10:27 PM - Mar 26, 2001 #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
Joel

10:35 PM - Mar 26, 2001 #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 4:01 PM - Feb 28, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

6:18 PM - Apr 09, 2001 #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
Joel

11:13 AM - Jul 12, 2001 #5

A new friend of mine needs to be reading this.
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Joel
Joel

8:02 PM - Aug 29, 2001 #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)
katenosmo (green)

1:57 AM - Nov 10, 2001 #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
Joel

4:44 AM - Nov 10, 2001 #8

Here Kate, read this article: Quitting by gradual withdrawal
Last edited by Joel on 4:05 PM - Feb 28, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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katenosmo (green)
katenosmo (green)

6:14 AM - Nov 10, 2001 #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)
knowbutts (Gold)

10:44 PM - Nov 19, 2001 #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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wed2x(SILVER)
wed2x(SILVER)

7:26 AM - Jan 15, 2002 #11

I needed to hear this today. I had surgery a couple days ago. I am feeling better, and I think I almost wanted to celebrate that it was over with.
I have been 2 weeks, 1 day and thought the urges would be gone by now. Not so. I will hang in there.
I even had one between my fingers today and came very close to lighting it.
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BrokenKnees1
BrokenKnees1

8:12 PM - Apr 15, 2002 #12

BUT I Really could have just one or two!

What I'd like to say (in weaker moments):

Oh come on, Joel. I've read lots of places that cutting down would help my health tremendously. And quiting would be stressful and I don't need any more stress in my life. And besides I enjoy smoking. AND.....

The TRUTH:

You got this one nailed. I have cut down lots of times- and every time right back to where I was. Out of the hundreds of people I know that smoke, maybe thousands, I know of two or three, that managed to smoke only a few occasionally- and I don't know how long they managed or even why. Cutting down doesn't work. And nicotine makes me stupid. Only under the influence of nicotine (actively using or under the influence of distorted "fond memories") did I consider screwball ideas like:
  1. cutting down
  2. I enjoy smoking
  3. a little smoking wouldn't really hurt
  4. just this once
  5. etc., etc. & etc., blah, blah, blay, yada, yada, yada
Thanks, Joel. A steady diet of reading the materials here is a good antidote to the kind of thinking I can fall into.

I've been a grateful recovering smoker for One month, three days, 14 hours, 37 minutes and 35 seconds. 692 Little cigars not smoked, saving $172.84. Life saved: 2 days, 9 hours, 40 minutes.


BrokenKnees
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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

9:47 PM - Apr 15, 2002 #13

I'm with you BrokenKnees - I never cease to be amazed how hearing the truth - and accepting it - does actually set us Free!!
We are blessed to be here!
yqs mirigirl
another nicotne addict
free and healing
Last edited by mirigirl (silver) on 4:09 PM - Feb 28, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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Slycat
Slycat

2:29 AM - Jul 23, 2002 #14

Hi Joel:

My sister really believes that she is doing something good for herself by cutting down to 2 - 3 cigarettes a day and looks to me for approval. This I will not do. I know she is torturing herself and that she will end up back to smoking what she had been smoking before she cut down She tells me things like.... "Well you could quit and you were able to do it and I could not".. She doesnt realize the horrible withdrawals I went through in the process and how hard it was. She says that it's good that she can cut down the way she has which is her 2 - 3 cigarettes a day and she is very proud of her self. She says she can breath soo much better and that she feels much healthier... She says she doesn't smoke all day and has to have a few when she gets home at night to release the stress from the day.

Personally I did not start feeling healthier until just recently and I'm coming up to 3 months now. How could she really start feeling healthier now or is it in her mind.....I went through a process where I could not even breathe because I no longer had nicotine/poison opening up my lungs. So what is she talking about??? Maybe a phychological thing?

But I've come to the conclusion that it's either quit or nothing and you can not make somebody quit entirely if they don't want to. They do not want to go through that pain and suffering of withdrawal and are afraid if they try to quit than they will have to. This is something they are not willing to do......They are in total denyal.

To give up this horrible habit, you have to be ready to face the consequences. The consequences include years of abusing your body and your lungs and now you will have to find the strength to fight back... It isn't easy I will admit that. In fact, I will say personally that it was the hardest thing I have ever did in my life... But the rewards are starting to show now and I am stepping out of the dark and into the light of the new life that I have made for myself.....

2 - 3 Cigarettes are not worth your future and not worth the effort......

Judy

12 weeks, 6 days+
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Rickgoldx5
Rickgoldx5

2:42 AM - Jul 23, 2002 #15

Being a recovering alcholic for 15yrs this point is so important that they push it all the time.
So let me say that if a drunk can't have one drink what makes you think a nicotene addict can have just one smoke?
Rick
I have chosen not to smoke for 2 Months 2 Weeks 4 Days 7 Hours 1 Minute 42 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 4995. Money saved: $746.82.
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Roanne
Roanne

5:07 AM - Jan 14, 2003 #16

Thanks, Joel. Your articles on cold-turkey quitting are what made me finally give in and give up without any NRT's. The whole science of going thru withdrawals, made even more intense by cutting down, made so much sense to me. I got down to 6 a day, and it was worse than not smoking at all, because of the withdrawal - and I remember thinking, is this really helping? And if I can do 6 a day, why not quit altogether? My response to that little bit of insanity was, that to go cold turkey would mean I'd probably be in such excruciating withdrawal pain that I wouldn't be able to handle it. When in actuality, cutting back to 6 was the cause of my agony, not giving up nicotine.

Thanks so much for the constant reminder: Not One Puff!
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MareBear GOLD
MareBear GOLD

4:39 AM - Jan 15, 2003 #17

If there was one article that I needed to read the most, the one that slapped me in the face with the truth about my addiction, this was it! Oh, I didn't know it at the time, surely not. But this is the one that ticked me off immensely! And really, the things in this life that annoy us the most are the things that bring us a little too close to our own shortcomings. I don't know if I'd be here today, a comfortable ex-smoker, if I hadn't read that article several times.
Thanks Joel!
MareBear
Not a puff for 7 1/2 months!
Last edited by MareBear GOLD on 2:15 PM - Mar 08, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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MareBear GOLD
MareBear GOLD

9:36 PM - Sep 16, 2003 #18

If only we could help people understand that the actual withdrawals from cold turkey quitting are generally not as bad as what these "Just one or two" people are putting themselves through constantly. My husband is one of those people. Okay--some people have a harder time coping than others. But there's no denying that "cold turkey quit" withdrawals will end! And that is the only way that true comfort will come.

Stop the cycle and taste what real Freedom is!
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Starshinegrl Gold
Starshinegrl Gold

3:19 AM - Jun 26, 2005 #19

Thanks, Joel, for bringing this up today.

Joe, thanks for making me look up another word. I was surprised to find this definition (okay, for the verb, admittedly ) as well :
"to separate or distinguish (valuable from worthless parts) (sometimes fol. by out): to winnow falsehood from truth."
In that case: if you are reading this and you are not nicotine free yet, keep winnowing and find all the true facts about Nicotine Addiction 101 in Joel's Library or on WhyQuit.Com and hopefully you will join us soon in saying
Gitte
211 days and a bit
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

11:16 PM - Oct 31, 2006 #20

Not Much of a Smoker ties in with this Joel classic.

see also - Quitting by gradual withdrawal

JoeJFree-Gold
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 4:24 PM - Feb 28, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

5:49 AM - Mar 10, 2007 #21

Just one little puff?
The one puff files
Yep. that's all it takes. I've watched it happen to a close friend who had quit last July and took a drag from a cigarette on New Years Eve. She's back in the garage, shivering in the cold and hating each and every puff she now must take to maintain her addiction. There's no guarantee you will quit again. Stay nicotine clean, This is a lot easier than it looks.
JoeJFREE
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 4:28 PM - Feb 28, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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SalGold
SalGold

11:49 PM - Feb 06, 2009 #22

No nicotine today.

Keep healing.

Keep educating yourself about this addiction that maims, tortures and kills us and our loved ones.

You are healing! Your brain is adjusting and re-wiring itself. Let the healing continue.

It gets better and better!

Sal
Gold x 6

The One Puff Files
Last edited by SalGold on 6:13 PM - Feb 28, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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