No thank you, I can't have a cigarette

Joel
Joel

February 18th, 2001, 9:27 pm #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library

http://whyquit.com/joel/ntp.gif[/img]

 
"No thank you, I can't have a cigarette."

 
I often hear this reply from ex-smokers offered cigarettes by people around them. It always sounds to me like they really wish they could have one and are depriving themselves of a great joy. The fact is, any ex-smoker can have a cigarette any time they want. They have the freedom of choice to smoke or not to smoke. Whenever they want one they can have it. But there is a catch. If they take one, they must accept the consequences of reinforcing the full addiction and going back to their old level of consumption. Very few ex-smokers ever want to smoke at their old level again. Even fewer wish to go through the withdrawals experienced when initially quitting. So, what ex-smokers really mean when they say they can't have a cigarette is that they choose not to go back to smoking.

 Isn't it nicer to choose not to smoke than to feel deprived of cigarettes? When you choose not to smoke you feel as if you had won a major battle--you broke away from a deadly, dirty and expensive addiction. One clinic participant made the analogy that saying "I gave up smoking," is like a recovered cancer patient saying "I gave up cancer." You don't give up cigarette smoking, you get rid of it. Once you see cigarettes in their true light, and the many advantages of not having to smoke anymore, you begin to understand just what smoking was doing to you and what not smoking does for you.

 When you quit smoking you made a decision. It was a good decision. Ever since you have continued to weigh both options, and if you keep an objective and clear perspective of both sides, not smoking is clearly the optimal choice.

So, the next time someone offers you a cigarette, answer them directly with "I choose not to smoke." And to maintain that freedom of choice, always remember-Never Take Another Puff!

               
Last edited by Joel on October 10th, 2012, 3:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Joel
Joel

February 18th, 2001, 9:30 pm #2

From: Zep (mgr) Sent: 8/6/2000 6:40 AM 1 of 8
"I gave smoking!" "I gave up cancer!" You're right ... it makes no sense whatsoever. WoWsErS....One more lesson for us long term "Starters!" It seems that negative junkie thinking rides with us, even into glory! It's true, the solution does lie within the problem and the answer is in every question, but sometimes it's hard to even notice the question. Thanks for AGAIN teaching me the unseen obvious. Zep
From: elec7(RTL) Sent: 8/19/2000 8:58 AM 2 of 8
Iam very new at choosing not to smoke and have wondered what to tell my friends. They all know me as a life long smoker. During my other quits I have talked about what I was try to accomplish. I told them cigarette smoking was a habit as in smoking a cigarette. How wrong I was cigarette smoking is a habit of addiction to nicotine. I think that is what I will tell my friends who offer me a smoke. Iam a nicotine addict who chooses not to feed his addiction. Maybe someone else will get the message because if they could know the joy I feel not feeding that addiction for over three days after 46 years. On a lighter note the coffee has a great scent while brewing. Of coke or pepsi pepsi has the stronger bite and there is a pair of sneakers I truely love but should find their way to the dumpster now!! Ed

Three days, 9 hours, 58 minutes and 16 seconds. 68 cigarettes not smoked, saving $14.69. Life saved: 5 hours, 40 minutes.

From: WWW Sent: 8/19/2000 1:02 PM 3 of 8
I think I'll just say " No Thanks! - I'm a non-smoking smoker "
From: Roswitha Sent: 9/21/2000 8:53 AM 4 of 8
When friends offer me a cigarette,I tell them,that if I smoke one cigarette,I be back smoking full time.There don`t believe me ,but I shoose not to smoke becores I know,to never take a puff.

Roswitha Four weeks, two days, 8 hours, 53 minutes and 25 seconds. 1214 cigarettes not smoked, saving $212.59. Life saved: 4 days, 5 hours, 10 minutes.

From: Joel (Mgr) Sent: 9/21/2000 8:57 AM 5 of 8
Hello Rosewitha:

The reason they still have their own cigarettes is precisely because they don't believe that one will put them back to smoking. You do believe it. That is why you are an ex-smoker and why they are still slowly killing themselves with nicotine.

Hang in there Roswitha. Never take another puff!

Joel
From: Jitterbug (Staff2) Sent: 12/5/2000 6:30 AM 6 of 8
You know, I've got some really great support. My smoking friends don't offer me cigarettes and won't smoke around me. And, of course, my non-smoking friends don't have the cigarettes to offer! Of course, there are times, like the last time I went to the library on a weekend to come to the Freedom board, someone sat down beside me, and STUNK - that nauseated me. I didn't stick around long after she got there. and thankfully, I don't smell that bad! However, as I do when offered a drink, I'm a smokaholic, an addict, and I WON't PUFF AGAIN!

Jitterbug (Staff2)
From: Sheila-STAFF2 Sent: 12/5/2000 10:30 AM 7 of 8
How about "Oh, no thankyou, I would rather breathe!!"?? Sheila

Breathing for 1 week 4days 5hours and 26 minutes!
From: kelly Sent: 12/5/2000 5:08 PM 8 of 8
You're so right. It's a choice. We all have choices in our lives. There are just positive and negative consequences for our choices. Choosing not to smoke is certainly a POSITIVE choice. I am very proud of the choices I have made this past week and one day!
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Joel
Joel

April 2nd, 2001, 7:28 pm #3

Keep focused, by quitting smoking you are depriving yourself of nothing. Nicotine was depriving yourself of choice. You had to smoke, and smoking was leading to all sorts of consequences, economical, social, and medical. Again, by quitting you are not depriving yourself of a cigarette, you are ridding yourself from nicotine. Because nicotine had the potential of depriving you of choice. It would lead you back to smoking and that would eventually deprive you of your health and your life. Stay in charge of your quit, never take another puff!

Joel
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marty (gold)
marty (gold)

April 2nd, 2001, 7:43 pm #4

Hi Joel - I thought you were going to be away for a while !

This one indirectly strikes a chord with me. Although it is many years since anyone offered me a cigarette (it is definitely NOT the done thing socially in England), this issue of the importance of the words we use arises when people in a group ask if anyone minds if they smoke, or when I go with a group into a restaurant and they ask "smoking or non-smoking?".

Until a month ago, I used to say "I've quit smoking, but you go ahead". Now I say "I'm a non-smoker, but you go ahead". The difference between the two phrases on my mindset is amazing. I feel stronger and more confident as a non-smoker than I did as a quitter . And that change of language and mindset is very largely a result of spending time here at Freedom.
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Joel
Joel

April 2nd, 2001, 7:54 pm #5

Hello Marty:

No I'm still around, just my computer time is limited due to technological issues, and some family medical issues. The computer access problem is going to be around for about 3 weeks. In that time I am going to be around, but probably won't get to every post. That is why I asked that anyone who wants my input on a string or a topic also emails me a notification that the post is on the board. Otherwise I may miss it and the person may think I was ignoring their request.

Thanks for checking in with me. Talk to you later.

Joel
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hannes (gold)
hannes (gold)

April 2nd, 2001, 8:16 pm #6

Thanks for bringing up this post Joel because it is just what I needed. And I particularly like the phrase I got rid of smoking - never thought of quitting like that before. You just never know what you will find in freedom. NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF - TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME - GET RID OF SMOKING - YQF- Hannes @ 2m 1w &4d of wonderful fresh air freedom.
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Joel
Joel

June 3rd, 2001, 9:15 pm #7

This is kind of a neat new feature. There is a new button below that allows you to go back a month at a time. This way you can see what has not been brought up for a while that you may want to recirculate. Also, if you see a person celebrating a one month or two month or so on anniversary, you can go back to that point in time and see what they were like the first few days into their quit. This might be an interesting exercise to do every now and then.

Hope we think of ways to tap into these new features to make the board more helpful.

Joel
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N MI RO
N MI RO

June 4th, 2001, 2:18 am #8

I keep my last box of Marlboros (glued shut the night I quit--no sense making it too easy), so that I'm very clear that I can have a cigarette, if I choose to have one.

I also have written on the outside of the box "'Just one' = 20,000 or more!" and other useful reminders, just in case I somehow contrive to forget why I glued the box shut.

(And I bet someone will offer to buy them off me here. No deal. This is a strategy I picked up from a very helpful book in my experience.)
Last edited by N MI RO on March 25th, 2013, 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

June 4th, 2001, 3:33 am #9

Hello Lefty:

Its not worth the risk. Ex-smokers don't need to keep cigarettes around for any particular reason, just smokers trying not to smoke. If you are trying to show you are stronger than cigarettes, you better think again. You have not won this battle so far by being stronger than nicotine, you have won it by being smarter than nicotine.

I just brought up a post on the issue, Carrying cigarettes. Give it a read. We try to give advice here that is tried and true for our members. Yes there are plenty of differing approaches by different people and different sites. But most people are here because they have come to like our slant on things. Again, while keeping cigarettes may seem like a smart idea to some, we think it is unnecessary here and again as I said in the opening, it is not worth the risk.

Joel
Last edited by Joel on March 25th, 2013, 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mari (GOLD)
Mari (GOLD)

June 4th, 2001, 4:49 am #10

Ooohhh-Noooo!!!! Lefty! No, no, no!!! You glued the pack shut so you wouldn't make it "too easy"??? What's up with that??? You don't need to keep a pack of sickerettes around to prove anything. You say you have them there as a reminder that you can have one if you choose to? If that's the case, you don't need them right there in front of you to remember that. You already know that. You can have one sickerette or a kazillion every day if you want to because you're a big-grown-up, one-each-adult-type-over-twenty-one kinda guy, who can make his own decisions. The choice is and always has been yours! Let's see, if I remember correctly you'd been choosing to smoke for how long? About 28 years or so? And, you've been choosing to be quit for how long? When you were a smoker, the cigarettes were right there so that if you chose to smoke they'd be right there, close by, easy to reach and light up. Now, you've chosen to quit and the cigarettes are there so you can remember not to smoke?! Am I missing omething here?
If you should ever decide that you are going to relapse, at least give yourself the "safe time" of having to drive to the store and buy them. Maybe those few minutes will allow you to reevaluate your decision and help you keep your quit. I know if I had kept my sickerettes in the early days neither tape, glue, or machine guns would have kept me from smoking. A good sharp knife or a pair of scissors and I would have relapsed in a heartbeat, just because they were so close. I'm not saying that I'm weaker or stronger than anybody else. What I am saying is, there were times that if I hadn't had that "safe time" to think through the crave, I may have blown my quit, and that would have been terrible, and so unnecessary.
Just because this author recommends this as a "help"(???) to quit smoking doesn't mean it's a good thing to do, or that it's the best thing to do. Personally, I think it's nuts. Please throw them away and find some other way to test your resolve like.....never taking another puff (period)!!! We know that works!!!
Yqs, Mari Two months, three weeks, three days, 23 hours, 15 minutes and 27 seconds. 1719 cigarettes not smoked, saving $307.62. Life saved: 5 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes.
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N MI RO
N MI RO

June 4th, 2001, 6:12 am #11

I'm not sure I'm sold on this reasoning. First off, it's got nothing to do with "proving that I'm stronger than cigarettes"; I never made any such claim. It's 100 percent clear that if I convince myself to smoke one, the jig is up. I'ts not about proving anything, but about making a pre-emptive strike certain kinds of "reasoning", e.g. "I can't smoke".

I think we're all familiar with the folks who do fine for a good while, and then stumble across a pack of smokes in a jacket or a drawer, and can't deal with the situation. It's not as though cigarettes aren't readily available if I somehow convince myself to smoke. If this turns into a situation where I can only succeed if I "avoid temptation", then I'm going to have to move to a cave.

Obviously, gluing the pack shut is not a serious deterrent to my deciding to smoke. But the effort I went to to add both inconvenience and "food for thought" serve the same purpose as your "safe time". Cigarettes are always "right there", for some pretty small value of "there". I can convince myself to hop in the car about as readily as I can convince myself to tear open a box of cigarettes, if I convince myself to smoke. We're dealing with this every day, aren't we? How is making that decision not to tear open the box any different from making the decision not to "bum one" off the kid you walk by on the street? Where's your "safe time" there?

What you're "missing", Mari, is that the cigarettes aren't there so I "can remember not to smoke". I remember every day why I don't want to smoke.
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Joel
Joel

June 4th, 2001, 9:18 pm #12

Lefty, would your advice for an alcoholic in the first few days of quitting be to keep a bottle of booze in a safe to remind them not to use it, or even that a crack or heroin addict should keep a little stash in a taped up envelope as a reminder that they don't use anymore. When the right circumstances present themselves the person will more likely go for that supply.

Sometimes it is not possible to get rid of all available cigarettes. There are people here who have smokers in their homes who will in fact have cigarettes. But they are those other people's cigarettes. You are keeping your cigarettes, which means you are likely keeping alive the idea that you are a smoker who is not smoking rather than an ex-smoker who doesn't need cigarettes anymore. Ex-smokers, like never smokers don't keep cigarettes, there is no need to. As far as reminding yourself that you are choosing not to smoke, an empty pack would with the same note would accomplish that too. Actually, all you need is the note.

Again Lefty, it is not worth the risk. But lets stop debating it here. You are going to do what you want, but please don't try to influence others to follow your lead. I am going to attach a note here I sent to another person who was offering up alternative advice at the board. I think it will give everyone a sense of what we are trying to accomplish here at Freedom.

The message:

We really prefer that short term quitters feel they are here to learn more than here to teach. I know at most other sites an "anything goes" or "what ever works for you" kind of approach is the norm. Most places work with a hit or miss approach, "If this quit doesn't work, maybe the next one will kind of mentality."

We are different. We are set up to give focused suggestions and want things written here to be as accurate as possible. We try to offer up advice based on the experiences of thousands of long-term successful quitter, not of one or two people that a new member knows or has read about.

We don't want people establishing any early patterns or behaviors that reduce their chances of success. All members should make sure of what their reasons for being here at Freedom are. If you are just quitting smoking and are here to learn, great, you will get some great guidance. If you are just quitting smoking and feel the need to teach, your time will be better spent where people are looking for many different alternative approaches to quitting.

Our methods are quite pure and simple. It is to quit smoking you need to quit smoking. Then to stay off smoking it is simply to remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 4th, 2001, 9:53 pm #13

Your "cigarettes are always right there" advice to Mari is quit threatening advice Lefty. Why leave them in the box? Why not walk around with it hanging from your lip or at least in your shirt pocket? If you ask a guy on the street for a smoke his box isn't glued shut. You're playing a drug addict's mind games and it could cost you not only your quit but your very life. If we were so darn good at quitting, Lefty, we wouldn't be in the early stages of doing it again.

If you were seriously suicidal would it help your healing to leave a loaded gun where you could always see it, because that is just what you are advocating that all quitters do. Oh sure, you'd put the safety on the gun (glue the box shut) but is that really an intelligent way to approach your mind's need for time to heal and adjust. By your reasoning, your justification for looking at the gun is so that "you can remember every day that you don't want to kill yourself." Oh really? It's ok for mentally healthy people to handle guns, Lefty, but you're not healthy yet. Give yourself some time to heal.
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Joel
Joel

June 28th, 2001, 7:07 pm #14

Sorry that this string got cluttered with a prolonged debate, but the initial message is still good to reflect on. Even the debate had some important points brought out and clarified. Anyway, stay focused on the fact that you all now have a choice in regards to whether you smoke or not. As a smoker you had very little choice, nicotine called the shots for you. The more you consider the full implications of both ways of life, being an active smoker or being an ex-smoker the more likely it is that you will choose to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

July 17th, 2001, 7:54 pm #15

I saw where Linda Lu replied to a co-worker's request to go out and smoke with "I couldn't." From the way it was written I know she just meant to avoid a lengthy conversation about having quit and that of course is every individuals prerogative. But I hope everyone considers each such occurrence as a possible teaching moment.

When someone asks you if you want to go smoke, a simple answer of "I have chosen not to smoke anymore," or even better yet, "I'm through with smoking," or "I've finally beaten the nicotine addiction and plan on never going back to that deadly way of life," said with a big smile can have a powerful impact. Saying it with conviction and confidence and without a trace of remorse or regret will make the person know you are serious and happy with your decision. It will make them realize that you have gained controlled of something that up to that moment they believed was uncontrollable. It might just move them a little closer to quitting themselves, or at least helping them know that you are a resource when they are ready to quit.

Please know that every member here has a better understanding of the nicotine addiction and its treatment than most other people on this planet. There is a total lack of understanding of the nicotine addiction with really bad information and advice given by many people in regards to how to quit and how to stay off. If you can share a fraction of the information we have shared with you can possibly help save the lives of people around you. Consider helping a smoker in need, and know that in fact every smoker you encounter is a smoker in need. They are in need of understanding and in need of hope. You can all supply a little of both.

Share with them your satisfaction that you had quit and share with them how you did it. To borrow a saying from AA, "To keep it, you have to give it away." Sharing your understanding helps the other person but at the same time helps reinforce your own resolve and your own memory of what you have done by quitting and why it is still so important. So consider sharing with people when given the opportunity. Most important, share with them the all important message that once a person quits, the trick to stay off for the long-term is that they know to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

January 6th, 2002, 9:31 pm #16

Well, many of our New Year quitters are going to be approaching their first week smoke free now. The trick in quitting the first few days is just not smoking, no matter how good or how bad you are feeling. Now it gets more tricky. To sustain a quit it is important to work on the basis that you are happy not to be smoking. That entails working to develop a mindset that you are not depriving yourself of one good cigarette anymore, you are ridding yourself of smoking dozens of cigarettes a day and all the problems that come with them. The expenses, the smells, the stares, the inconveniences, the mental anguish, the physical damage perpetrated by every single puff, and eventually the sacrificing of your overall health and your life--all in order to avoid the further withdrawal that went along with being an active drug addict.

It is crucial that you keep seeing smoking as it was, in its entirety--the whole package deal so to say. If you remember smoking as it was--at the end, not at the beginning, you will walk away from each new thought with a sense of accomplishment, pride, and most important, with a better state of health and extended longevity, that you will keep forever as long as you always remember why you decided to never take another puff!

Joel
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

January 26th, 2003, 11:36 am #17

"So, what ex-smokers really mean when they say they can't have a cigarette is that they choose not to go back to smoking. Isn't it nicer to choose not to smoke than to feel deprived of cigarettes? When you choose not to smoke you feel as if you had won a major battle--you broke away from a deadly, dirty and expensive addiction."

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Joel
Joel

August 18th, 2003, 8:53 pm #18

Keep focused, by quitting smoking you are depriving yourself of anything. Nicotine was depriving you of choice. You had to smoke, and smoking was leading to all sorts of consequences, economical, social, and medical. Again, by quitting you are not depriving yourself of a cigarette, you are ridding yourself from nicotine. Because nicotine had the potential of depriving you of choice. It would lead you back to smoking and that would eventually deprive you of your health and your life. Stay in charge of your quit, never take another puff! Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

September 30th, 2003, 10:01 pm #19

"I gave up smoking,"
is like a recovered cancer patient saying
"I gave up cancer."
You don't give up cigarette smoking, you get rid of it.
It isn't easy for us to open our minds after years and years of denial thinking that allowed each of us to pretend that we were in "control" while deep down knowing that each new puff was further destroying the capacities and abilities of these amazing bodies and minds. If you want to quit while permanently retaining some romantic dependency denial image of chemical bondage that is your choice.
Remember one thing, living that retained fantacy just once will remove choice from the equation and again put nicotine in control. Once there you'll be free to create and live all the addiction fantacies you desire for a period of time that is likely to be as long as the 43 carcinogens and 4,000 chemicals in each puff allow.
When offered a cigarette, too stay on this side of the bars is as simple as saying, "No thanks, I don't smoke nicotine, I like being me."
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Joel
Joel

February 20th, 2004, 10:02 pm #20

I thought Carla would appreciate this.
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Astonished04
Astonished04

February 21st, 2004, 12:05 pm #21

Nothing gets by you, does it Joel

...and I'll thank you for that!

Carla - Free and Healing for One Month, Fourteen Days and 4 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 5 Days and 8 Hours, by avoiding the use of 1540 death sticks that would have set me back $196.72.
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

February 29th, 2004, 9:49 am #22

I choose not to smoke!
Last edited by Joanne Gold on March 25th, 2013, 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Stormy2687
Stormy2687

June 7th, 2004, 7:20 pm #23

Thanks Joel.
I can't tell you how glad I am to read your articles. They are sure helping me get through. Just when things are happening that might threaten my quit, you come along with something to put it all in perspective.Thanks again for your imput, I don't go one day without having some article or post with me. I love my Freedom, thanks for helping me keep it.


Stormy
3 wks 5 days 1 hr 45 min 15 sec since my quit began.
Last edited by Stormy2687 on March 25th, 2013, 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

June 24th, 2004, 11:30 am #24

"I gave up smoking,"
is like a recovered cancer patient saying
"I gave up cancer."
You don't give up cigarette smoking, you get rid of it.
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AidaSaba1
AidaSaba1

June 25th, 2004, 10:14 am #25

Joel:

What a great article. I made a big banner that is now hanging in my office:

"I GAVE UP SMOKING" is like a recovered cancer patient saying "I GAVE UP CANCER" You don't give up cigarette smoking, you get rid of it.

I love this one too:
NOT ONE STRESSFUL EVENT IN MY LIFE WAS SOLVED BY SMOKING NICOTINE, OTHER THAN RELIEVING THE STRESS CAUSED BY ITS OWN ABSENCE.
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