So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit?

kattatonic1 gold4
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Apr 2004, 09:56 #11

My quit comes up in conversations more casually now. (I guess I don't have to shout about it as much because I am settling in nicely.) One thing happening is that some colleagues and acquaintances have now decided to tell me all about their quits.

Example: This afternoon I lunched with a colleague/friend I've know about 15 years. She's in her mid 50s. Turns out she was a pack and a half a day smoker who thought she "loved" to smoke since she was 14. She quit Christmas Day 1981. Go figure! I never knew her as a smoker. How did she quit? Cold turkey. Why did she quit? She decided it was the best gift she could give herself for Christmas that year. Was it easy? Not particularly. She remembers the first 12 days as the worst. Was it simple? Yes. She never took another puff. She says it was still the best Christmas present she ever gave herself. Worth those 12 uncomfortable days? No question, she said.

I believed you when I first read your reasoning, Joel. Now I'm hearing it over and over again from long-term smokers who have stayed quit so long they don't often talk about it. Today's friend is just one example. The stories are almost all the same.

~ Kay ~
Celebrating 3 Months, 14 Days

jane kathryn
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:03

24 Apr 2004, 04:43 #12

When I think about the useless quit my husband and I embarked on with nicotine gum last spring I feel furious. I really bought (literally, and it was expensive!) the idea that NRT was the only way. Of course, it was torture, especially to my husband who was in constant withdrawal for three weeks. Now it is very hard for him to believe that quitting does not have to be that painful. I know he will quit when he wants to, but it does make me mad to know that NRT experience just made him more afraid--needlessly afraid, because cold turkey is not that bad!

This thread also made me think about my aunt. She smoked for over 40 years. She tried everything--patches, gum, hypnosis, therapy, anti-depressants, you name it. Then, one day, she quit. She's been quit for about five years now. My mother asked how she did. She said she just decided enough was enough. Amen!

Jane K

Jane - Free and Healing for One Month, Fourteen Days, 17 Hours and 45 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 7 Hours, by avoiding the use of 671 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $168.08.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

20 Jun 2004, 22:59 #13

Just a theory:

If the NRT companies are at all related or somehow connected to looking out for the best interests of the tobacco industry, then it would be in the best interest of the NRT companies to make withdrawl as uncomfortable a process as possible in order to sustain both industries.
Nictotine replacement therapy is advertised as the easiest and most comfortable way of permanently giving up smoking, however the instructions for the products direct the "quitter" to maintain the use of the product for weeks to months on end, in order to successfully quit. This process, as it is a painfully long period of time to be in withdrawl, may lead NRT users to believe it isn't possible for them to give up smoking because they can't successfully succeed from smoking using even the most "comfortable" method.
It's a scary thought that those companies which advertise help are actually selling and reaping the benefits from the long withdrawl of nictotine.

Two months, one week, two days, 11 hours, 38 minutes and 4 seconds. 1057 cigarettes not smoked, saving $274.39. Life saved: 3 days, 16 hours, 5 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Jun 2004, 00:08 #14

Trying to ascertain the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the tobacco industry is a bit beyond our capabilities and in a way even at odds with our stated mission. Without trying to guess at the motivations of either industry, it is safe to say that neither industry has a whole lot to fear from the other.

The existence of companies that propose to make products that will help lots of people quit does not likely cause the tobacco industry much worry considering in the real world, there are not really a significant number of people who really end up quitting for any great time period by the use of these products. Also, the pharmaceutical companies who produce NRT products owe their existence to the tobacco industry for creating most of their client base. I say most of their client base as opposed to all of their client base because there is a real chance that some people will start on NRT and stay on it over the long-haul without ever having taken up smoking first.

The one issue I feel a real need to expose is how the promotion of NRT has been designed to discourage people from going cold turkey, and how the scientific and medical community has perpetuated the concept that quitting cold turkey is too hard for most people and how all people should be given pharmaceutical products to quit smoking unless it is for some reason medically contraindicated. This aspect of the promotion of the products causes me a whole lot more concern than a manufacturer trying to sell their products. The government agencies and worldwide health organizations that are established to help people are the ones who I feel are missing the boat and leading the masses astray.

Below are links that explore some of the issues being raised here. For our members most of this information is of little significance. Most of our members have already realized for themselves what they really needed to do to quit smoking and what they need to do now in order to stay smoke free. They don't need to shake up entire industries or wait for the health care organizations of the world to figure out how people should quit. All our members need to do is to stick to their own personal commitment to never administer nicotine via any NRT product source and to always remember to never take another puff!


Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:32

03 Jul 2004, 00:02 #15

The other bit missing in that 2003 report is what percentage of people use NRT vs. the lumped gradual reduction and cold turkey folks (and the breakdown between those groups as well). I don't see the raw data anywhere.

Oh well, I suppose if you don't commission a report, you can't complain when it doesn't lay out the information in a way that you want it . . .

Of course the way to stop using nicotine is to stop using nicotine. Quod erat demonstratum.


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

07 Jul 2004, 01:35 #16

I quit cold turkey. I have never used NRT. However, I do understand that the danger of smoking lies mainly in the chemicals and toxic gases that smokers inhale when they smoke. But is Nicotine alone also dangerous? I am not advocating NRT as an alternative to just quitting. In fact, I do believe that there is no other way to quit except to just quit. I am simply curious as to those who may have never smoked cigarettes but got hooked on NRTs. Are they too subject to the dangers and hazards of smoking? I don't know and I will not try to find out myself. Just curious.

Free for 3 weeks, 1 day, 13 hours all together 22 days. I have not smoked 789 cigarretes since I quit and I saved $221.13. Most importantly I saved 2 days and 17 hours from being wasted away from my life.

Rickrob53 Gold
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

07 Jul 2004, 02:23 #17

Aida, studies are showing that nicotine, in and of itself, is dangerous in any form:

John (Gold) - Sent: 1/4/2003 4:35 AM
Nicotine implicated as a cancer promoter

Source: (   Friday, January 03, 2003

BETHESDA, MD. -- Jan. 4, 2003 -- Once thought to be only the addictive agent in tobacco, a new study shows that nicotine itself may promote cancer.

The finding could change the view of smoking cessation treatments such as nicotine patches, gums and nasal sprays as themselves carrying a risk of cancer that people may need to take into consideration.

The study by Dr. Phillip Dennis and colleagues at the US National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md. showed that the lung cells, called epithelial cells, that come into contact with smoke, become unresponsive to a signal to self-destruct when exposed to nicotine in the laboratory and in mice.

That finding together with an another group's earlier finding that nicotine or its derivative stimulates the growth of blood vessels in tumors, a process called angiogenesis, implicates nicotine as promoting both development and progression of cancer. The report appears in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"In addition to increasing epithelial cell survival as described in this report," the researchers wrote, "nicotine can stimulate endothelial cell growth and angiogenesis."

Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is one of the body's most effective defense mechanisms against cancer. Cells are constantly checking their "normal status," and are poised to commit suicide at the first sign of irregularities, thus protecting the body from production of abnormal cells that can, over time, form tumors. Virtually all cancers have found ways to undermine this defense mechanism, and activation of a molecular circuit called the Akt pathway is one of them.

In the study, the researchers found that lung epithelial cells exposed to nicotine and a derivative of nicotine called, nicotine-derived nitrosamine (NKK), in amounts equivalent to those seen in smokers, resulted in the activation the Akt pathway, which promotes cell growth and survival. They also found that the Akt pathway was active in the lungs of mice treated with NKK and in lung cancer tissue taken smokers.

Scientists have long thought that of the two "active ingredients" in tobacco, nicotine was the addictive agent, and tar contained the carcinogen. In this new study and a handful of others, scientists are beginning to unravel the mechanisms of how tobacco consumption causes cancer. While that information may one day lead to more effective treatments for cell damage caused by tobacco, this new information may also require that people weigh the risks and benefits of current stop-smoking aids.

More than 4 million deaths worldwide are attributed annually to tobacco use and more than 400,000 people in the United States die each year from tobacco-related causes according to the American Cancer Society.

SOURCE: J. Clin. Invest. 111:81-90 (2003)
Copyright © 2001, 2002 NexCura, Inc.

This came from the following thread (I'm sure that John has more on nicotine):  Nicotine the culprit in lung cancer?


5 months
Last edited by Rickrob53 Gold on 08 Aug 2011, 17:11, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jul 2004, 18:39 #18

I am pulling a post from another string that I think supplements this string very well:
ImageRecommend ImageDelete Message 38 of 49 in Discussion
From: Joel Sent: 1/15/2004 10:46 AM
I just saw an email from a gold member who was alerting us to an article in the current issue of Time Magazine. I am going to attach the article here and add a few comments at the end of the article:

Y O U R T I M E / H E A L T H

Stub Out That Butt!
But don't try to go it alone. Here are some tricks that make it easier to quit
Monday, Jan. 19, 2004
More than 42% of adult Americans smoked when the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was published. Today, 40 years later, fewer than 23% do. That's good news, but it could be better - a lot better. The drop-off in smoking stalled in 1990 and has hardly budged since then. Surveys show that 70% of tobacco users want to quit, but kicking the nicotine habit isn't easy.

What a lot of smokers don't realize is that the most popular method of quitting - just stopping, a.k.a. going cold turkey - is the least effective. Studies show that getting intensive short-term counseling, taking drugs like Zyban (an antidepressant) or using one of the many nicotine aids (gum, patch, inhaler, nasal spray, lozenge) all double the chance of success. Preliminary results suggest that combining these methods will increase success rates even more.

The trick is to find out what works best for you. For counseling, you don't have to go into full-fledged psychoanalysis; you can pick up practical strategies from various quit-smoking telephone hotlines (for a list of numbers as well as tips, visit As for nicotine products, make sure you're using them the right way. You need to chew the gum slowly, for example, not swallowing the saliva until the nicotine can be absorbed through the cheek, says Dr. Elliot Wineburg, who has used everything from drugs to hypnosis at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City to help hard-core smokers quit. Many people try to make do with as little nicotine as possible, which is a mistake. "You don't want the brain to go into withdrawal," Wineburg says.

It's never too late to quit. As the years go by, an ex-smoker's risk of heart disease and stroke diminishes until it's essentially the same as that of a person who has never smoked, says Dr. Corinne Husten of the Centers for Disease Control's Office on Smoking and Health. Alas, the risk of lung cancer never quite gets down to what it would have been without smoking. "Even with cancer, people respond better to chemotherapy if they quit," Husten says. Best of all, of course, would be not to take up the habit in the first place.

From the Jan. 19, 2004 issue of TIME magazine

No one should ever be surprised when they see reports in the popular media about how quitting smoking by cold turkey is so ineffective. Strings that we have covering this issue are "What ever you do don't quit cold turkey!", Who Should You Believe?, So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit? and Is cold turkey the only way to quit? Also make sure to read post the 36th post in this string.

The one new thing I want to comment on this particular article is how it points out that smoking declined from 42% to 23% in the past 40 years, but how the drop-off stalled in 1990. The dates are interesting. The article is saying is that there are a whole lot more effective ways to quit than by going cold turkey. It is basically talking about NRT products and Zyban. What is interesting is that almost all of these products came into existence in the 1990's--the years where the rapid decline in smoking cessation actually stopped. Nicotine gum was first approved for use in America in 1984, by prescription only. In 1991 and 1992, four patches were approved for prescription use. In 1996 all controls broke loose--the gum and two of the four patches went over the counter and Zyban was just coming into the fray. So now we have all of these miracle products available, many without prescription. If these products were so good at increasing success, and if they are being used by so many people you would think that smoking rates would be plummeting now when compared to when people just had to rely on their own resolve to quit. Again, read the following line from the article above: "The drop-off in smoking stalled in 1990 and has hardly budged since then." Lets hope not too many miracle products for smoking cessation get introduced in the future. They may result smoking rates skyrocketing again.


kattatonic1 gold4
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Sep 2004, 09:45 #19

I so appreciate that you openly address popular beliefs about cessation, Joel. Definitely the success timeline pointed out in the article is incongruent with the claim that the aids help.

What struck me the most reading the article was this line:
"You don't want the brain to go into withdrawal," Wineburg says.
Why not? Isn't that actually exactly what we want to do to get the drugs out of our system? Until "they" come up with a way to eliminate withdrawal, I think the fastest way to discontinue an addict's use of a drug is to go straight through withdrawal ASAP and keep on going to "recovery". Withdrawal doesn't kill you. Withdrawal is finite; it ends.

I have to say that after my cold turkey experience this year, my preferred path to any suffering I will have to endure (for whatever in my life) is to go right straight through it for now on.

~ Kay ~
Celebrating 8.something months of Freedom~!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Oct 2004, 20:06 #20

I'm popping up a few articles from last night to bury a post that we want to drop. These articles directly related to the issue of using one of the multitudes of new cutting edge gimmicks to break free from nicotine addiction. New high tech gimmicks are not going to significantly reduce the number of smokers in the world today, it is going to be by smokers recognizing the tried and true method used by the vast majority of successful ex-smokers which is simply knowing that to quit smoking smoking and to stay free is as simple as sticking to a commitment to never take another puff!