No thank you, I can't have a cigarette

No thank you, I can't have a cigarette

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Feb 2001, 21:27 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library


"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 10 Oct 2012, 15:36, edited 3 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Feb 2001, 21:30 #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!

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!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Apr 2001, 19:28 #3

Image 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!


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

02 Apr 2001, 19:43 #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 Image . And that change of language and mindset is very largely a result of spending time here at Freedom.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Apr 2001, 19:54 #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.


hannes (gold)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:00

02 Apr 2001, 20:16 #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.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Jun 2001, 21:15 #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.


Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:57

04 Jun 2001, 02:18 #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 25 Mar 2013, 00:12, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Jun 2001, 03:33 #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.

Last edited by Joel on 25 Mar 2013, 00:12, edited 1 time in total.

Mari (GOLD)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

04 Jun 2001, 04:49 #10

Image Ooohhh-Noooo!!!! Lefty! No, no, no!!! You glued the pack shut so you wouldn't make it "too easy"??? What's up with that???Image 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 Image 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.