So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit?

Ann
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

04 Oct 2004, 20:51 #21

I have to agree with Kay on this one. Withdrawal in many ways is a blessing. Withdrawal is exceedingly uncomfortable, frightening both to the addict and to the addict's friends (in my case, anyway), and it has physical side effects such as the shakes, nausea, and constipation.So why is it a blessing? Withdrawal taught me that I am an addict, not someone who has merely an unsavory habit. Also, I do NOT want to go through the discomforts of withdrawal again; the very FACT that it was so uncomfortable helps me avoid smoking. Finally, I have Raynaud's syndrome, a circulatory problem, that nicotine exacerbates. I see no reason to stop cigarettes but to ingest the drug in other ways. The only way out (for me) is THROUGH.

Ann

22 days--about 500 (!) cigarettes not smoked.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Nov 2004, 20:20 #22

Image With the Great American Smoke Out rapidly approaching I thought it might be a good idea to bring materials up to address much of the marketing that is going to be aimed at smokers wanting to quit over the next week. The increases in advertising and media kind of coverage that occurs over the next week may in fact result in more people starting to think about smoking cessation. Unfortunately, many are going to get side tracked into the marketing blitz of products to buy to quit as opposed to getting any real education or help in understanding how to quit and how to stay off. Being that we have the potential of having more people finding their way to Freedom this week I will be keeping many of our educational materials and information supporting cold turkey quitting near the top. For the record, quitting smoking and staying smoke free is as simple as just stopping smoking and then making and sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff!
Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Nov 2004, 21:17 #23

So how do most people really quit smoking? Don't take our word for it--go talk to every long-term ex-smoker you personally know. See how many of them fall into one of the following three categories:
  1. People who woke up one day and were suddenly sick and tired of smoking. They tossed them that day and never looked back.
  2. People who get sick. Not smoking sick, meaning some kind of catastrophic smoking induced illness. Just people who get a cold or a flu and feel miserable. The feel too sick to smoke, they may feel too sick to eat. They are down with the infection for two or three days, start to get better and then realize that they have a few days down without smoking and decide to try to keep it going. Again, they never look back and stuck with their new commitment.
  3. People who leave a doctors office given an ultimatum. Quit smoking or drop dead--it's your choice. These are people who some sort of problem has been identified by their doctors who lays out in no uncertain terms that the person's life is at risk now if they do not quit smoking.
All of these stories share one thing in common--the technique that people use to quit. They simply quit smoking one day. The reason they quit had varied but the technique they used was basically the same. For the most part they are clear examples of spur of the moment decisions elicited by some external and sometimes, some unknown circumstance.

I really do encourage all people to take this survey, talking to long-term ex-smokers in their real world. People who you knew when they were smokers, who you knew when they were quitting and who you still know as being successful long-term ex-smokers. The more people you talk to the more obvious it will become how people quit smoking and how people stay off of smoking. Again, people quit smoking by simply quitting smoking and people stay off of smoking by simply knowing that to stay smoke free that they must never take another puff!

Joel
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Beverley
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:56

07 Jan 2005, 21:24 #24

It was interesting that this article was here this morning. I went to a local government run no smoking group on Wednesday as I thought as much support as I could get would be good.

Firstly I was the only person who had already given up smoking, so I kind of don't and won't fit in every week because I not at the same place the others are.

But more importantly they are recommending NRT's and Zyban (that I'd never heard of until then) with the promise that their way is more effective than any other and four years of groups proves it.

The meeting then went on to people sharing about how they started smoking, for how long etc. and if they have tried quitting before. The meeting consisted of 11 people, over half of which have tried quitting previously and ALL of them had tried just about every 'easy' method available and failed.

After hearing all that the 'professional' asked me how I was feeling on DAY FOUR of quitting cold turkey and when I said I was having a hard time, she used me as an example to verify what she was saying about NRT and suggested that I START taking it!!!!! And my chances would be higher!

Thank you for bringing this article to the top, it is very hard to stay focused sometimes in the beginning of a quit, especially when a 'professional' tells you, you are doing it all wrong AND there IS an easier way!

Next Year I plan on running the course myself and sacking her! LOL (just kidding!)
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jan 2005, 21:41 #25

The reason I popped up that post this morning is because of a discussion that occurred at my clinic last night. Normally I don't spend much time talking about NRT's in the clinic but someone had raised the specter of aren't NRT's at least "safer" than smoking. I spent a little extra time talking about the limitations of the products.

Earlier this morning I sent an email out to the group that was actually modified from a Freedom post. I am going to attach that email here:
In yesterday's meeting a few people raised the issue of the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT's) being safer than smoking and then wondering what's the harm of just using nicotine. After all, it is not totally clear if nicotine itself is a carcinogen, and so many medical professionals think that it is relatively harmless when compared to the well-established dangers of smoking.

The article below shows the real problem of these products that advocates of these products are usually not taking into consideration. The products are keeping the users in a mild to moderate form of chronic withdrawal. These people are never getting free of nicotine and thus free of the demands that their bodies are going to put on them.

I first met Jeanne talked about in the New York Times article below at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Evanston. Jeanne, knowing that I was the person who ran the clinics for the city, came up to introduce herself to me and to tell me that she had been off smoking for 12 years. Jeanne was proud of that fact. She was not looking for help or advice at the time. My guess was that she didn't feel she needed it considering she was off smoking for 12 years.

Her next comment to me though is what triggered our longer-term association. She told me that she has still struggles every day and still constantly thinks of smoking. This raised a flag to me. You see, whenever I meet a person who has been off anywhere close to Jeanne's time off, they will generally say that they hardly think of smoking anymore. Or sometimes, they will say that the still think about smoking, and when I pursue the conversation it turns out that they think about it once a month or once every six months, and that it is nothing major or difficult to contend with.

Jeanne's story was different though, she was clearly saying that she was still struggling daily and has been for the past 12 years.

This is when I asked Jeanne how she quit and when she told me that she had used nicotine gum. When I asked her how long she used the gum she said that she was still using it. I think I let out a little laugh and proceeded to ask her if she ever tried to get off the gum. To that she responded that she had at one time tried to get off the gum by using the patch. That one elicited a bigger laugh from me.

Actually, when Jeanne first quit she used the gum as prescribed and pulled off the quit and got off the gum. I talk about this kind of person in the article Is Cold Turkey the Only Way to Quit? She was off for a number of months, but one day under stress felt that she needed something and took a piece of her left over gum to help her through the moment. That piece of gum is what resulted in a 12 year, $15,000 addiction that kept her in a constant state of relative discomfort.

So is long-term use of NRT going to have the potential of killing a specific individual? No one knows the answer to this for sure at this point in time. But long-term use of NRT is going to have the full potential of making a person suffer years or decades longer and spend a small fortune compared to any person who simply makes and stick to the commitment to never take another puff!

Joel




A Quitter's Dilemma: Hooked on the Cure
By PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ
New York Times

Published: May 2, 2004
OR years it was the same routine: wake up, light a cigarette, inhale deeply and start the day. "I wouldn't even get out of bed without a cigarette," said John Palagonia, 53, of Massapequa, N.Y., who was a two-pack-a-day smoker for more than 20 years.

In 1989, Mr. Palagonia, who entertains at children's parties dressed as characters like Barney and Elmo, decided to quit. He turned to Nicorette gum to curb the cravings for a cigarette. The smoke savored between sips of his morning coffee was replaced with a peppery square. On breaks at work, driving his car, after dinner - all the times he had luxuriated in smoke - he would pop another piece.

"I got to the point that I was having problems with my teeth, and my jaw was killing me," Mr. Palagonia said. He eventually returned to smoking for a short time "to get off the gum." What ended up working for him was counseling, not a hit of nicotine.

A third of the nation's nearly 50 million smokers attempt to quit each year, according to the American Cancer Society, and that has made smoking-cessation products an $800 million business in the United States alone. The products include gum and patches sold over the counter; pills, inhalers and nasal sprays sold by prescription; and even more exotic products like nicotine-infused lollipops sold on the Internet.

Still, addiction to nicotine remains. The medical field has accepted that fact since the mid-80's, when the Food and Drug Administration approved, by prescription, products like gum to give would-be quitters a substitute comparable to cigarettes in price and nicotine content, but without other cigarette toxins.

Now some scientists and former smokers are voicing misgivings. No one disputes that cigarettes, which are laced with toxic additives like ammonia, pose far graver health risks than nicotine alone, but nicotine is also classified as a poison, and in recent studies it has been shown to break down into a substance that causes abnormal cell growth. In 2001, researchers at Stanford University found that nicotine speeds the growth of malignant tumors by stimulating the formation of the blood vessels that feed them, a process called angiogenesis.

Dr. John Cooke, the lead author of the Stanford study, said, "As long as people are using nicotine replacements properly, it's a win for all of us, if we can get people to stop smoking. But, I would urge people not to use it long term."

For people addicted to nicotine, using the replacement products properly can be difficult. A study financed by GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Nicorette and other stop-smoking products, found last November that more than a third of nicotine gum users continued chewing beyond the 12 weeks recommended under F.D.A. guidelines.

"We estimate 36.6 percent of current gum users are engaged in persistent use," said Dr. Saul Shiffman, a company consultant and the study's primary author. Though the company says on its Web site that nicotine "may promote lung cancer," it insists its products are safe "when used as directed."

Even the companies that make nicotine-replacement products acknowledge problems with treating this particular addiction. Dr. Kenneth Strahs, GlaxoSmithKline's vice president for research and development in smoking control, said, "I wish we could tell you that if you took one piece of our gum it would be enough, but that's not the case. Nicotine addiction is a chronic relapsing condition."

When the F.D.A. approved over-the-counter sales of Nicorette gum and the NicoDerm CQ patch in 1996, sales of the two products soared. GlaxoSmithKline reported $578 million in global sales of over-the-counter nicotine replacements during 2003, down from $606 million the year before as other companies jockeyed for market position.

How effective these products really are remains a debate. Some ex-smokers and smoking-cessation experts oppose using nicotine at all when trying to quit. "It's like the difference between snorting cocaine and freebasing it," said Mr. Palagonia. He has neither smoked nor chewed nicotine gum for a decade now after years of meetings at Nicotine Anonymous, a 12-step program.

"The trick with getting off cigarettes is to stop delivering the drug," said Joel Spitzer, a smoking-cessation counselor and director of education at WhyQuit.com, an online support and education site that advocates quitting nicotine cold turkey.

Mr. Spitzer, who estimates he has counseled 5,000 individuals in stop-smoking clinics he has run in Chicago, says nicotine replacements keep ex-smokers in a protracted state of withdrawal.

Denise Henrie, a mother of four from Owasso, Okla., is familiar with that. Ms. Henrie, 43, tried and failed twice to quit smoking, using nicotine gum for more than a year. "You feel a little hopeless," said Ms. Henrie, adding, "I just don't want to be addicted to anything at all." She has slipped back to her pack-and-a-half-a-day habit, but she remains optimistic. A package of Nicorette sits in her kitchen pantry for a third try.

According to the American Cancer Society, fewer than 5 percent of smokers who attempt to quit each year succeed. Of those who do, the society reported last year, 91 percent quit cold turkey.

Some people succeed only after a long struggle. Jeanne Hutchinson, 59, began chewing nicotine gum in 1984, the first year it was available by prescription. "One of the happiest days of my life was when nicotine gum was allowed to be sold over the counter," said Ms. Hutchinson, a social worker in Chicago.

But, years later, she was still hooked on the gum. "I felt almost like a drug addict," said Ms. Hutchinson, who estimates the 12 pieces she chewed each day cost her more than $15,000 over the years, without curing her habit. Suffering from a receding gum line and worn molars, she joined WhyQuit last January and managed to stop using nicotine.



STILL, when she reached into her coat pocket a few months ago and found a long-forgotten piece of gum, it took all her willpower not to pop it into her mouth.

That may be why analysts say that demand for nicotine-replacement therapies is unlikely to wither anytime soon. "We see it as a market with tremendous potential, but efficacy-starved," said Devesh Gandhi, a research associate at Sanford C. Bernstein, adding that the market - for "a product that really works, that manages both the addiction and the side effects of the withdrawal" - is there for the taking.
Copyrigtht 2004 The New York Times Company





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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Sep 2005, 22:36 #26

I see where a member who just made her one year anniversary commented on how she originally felt that she had a slim chance of success considering that she read that only ten percent of people who quit smoking cold turkey succeed till six months and only five percent make it for a year.

She is right, that statement is written and quoted all over the Internet and in lots of professional publications. Kind of gives the impression that quitting cold turkey is quite improbable and makes the recipient of the message almost think it is a total waste of time to even attempt to quit since the odds of success are so small. It pretty much sounds like quitting smoking is a futile effort and that there must not be many successful ex-smokers out in the world today.

Well, any person who bothers to go out in the world and actually talks to people are in for a surprise. There are plenty of successful ex-smokers in the world and the vast majority quit by going cold turkey.

In America today we have more former smokers than current smokers. Over 46 million Americans have quit smoking. (For anyone who thinks it is impossible to quit smoking) It has to be obvious to all that people are able to quit smoking. As this article discusses the vast majority of the long-term ex-smokers did in fact quit by going cold turkey.

People who succeed by following the advice given at this board are not indicative of a few isolated success stories. They are just another small group among the tens of millions of other people in the world who have quit smoking and then discovered that they were able to stay free as long as they stuck to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Nov 2005, 18:13 #27

I am starting to see where cold turkey quitting is starting to get bashed pretty heavily in the media. One of the techniques that is being used is having smoking experts come out and say that while everyone seems to know one person who has quit cold turkey, that most people just cannot quit this way. They are trying now to undercut the real world examples that people are inevitably exposed to since since this is the way that most people have successfully quit smoking. I would agree that if a person just seemed to know only one person who had successfully quit smoking by a certain technique, it would be a clear sign that maybe the technique was not very successful. The issue is that if people go through the trouble of finding out what technique was used by ALL of the people they know who had quit smoking, they would most likely find that most if not all of them were in fact cold turkey quitters.



Here is the standard commentary I use when addressing the issue of talking to ex-smokers: I really do encourage all people to take this survey, talking to long-term ex-smokers in their real world. People who you knew when they were smokers, who you knew when they were quitting and who you still know as being successful long-term ex-smokers. The more people you talk to the more obvious it will become how people quit smoking and how people stay off of smoking. Again, people quit smoking by simply quitting smoking and people stay off of smoking by simply knowing that to stay smoke free that they must never take another puff!

Again, go talk to as many long-term successful ex-smokers (people off all forms of nicotine for at least a year or longer) in your real world that you can find and find out how they quit. I don't believe that there is a single professional smoking cessation NRT advocate who will suggest to their patients that they take a similar survey. For if they did their credibility would be called into question almost immediately when the patient starting seeing the results of their real life survey.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Jan 2006, 02:45 #28

I popped this one up this morning. I feel the need to pop it up again.

First, a post from above:

So how do most people really quit smoking? Don't take our word for it--go talk to every long-term ex-smoker you personally know. See how many of them fall into one of the following three categories:
  1. People who woke up one day and were suddenly sick and tired of smoking. They tossed them that day and never looked back.
  2. People who get sick. Not smoking sick, meaning some kind of catastrophic smoking induced illness. Just people who get a cold or a flu and feel miserable. The feel too sick to smoke, they may feel too sick to eat. They are down with the infection for two or three days, start to get better and then realize that they have a few days down without smoking and decide to try to keep it going. Again, they never look back and stuck with their new commitment.
  3. People who leave a doctors office given an ultimatum. Quit smoking or drop dead--it's your choice. These are people who some sort of problem has been identified by their doctors who lays out in no uncertain terms that the person's life is at risk now if they do not quit smoking.
All of these stories share one thing in common--the technique that people use to quit. They simply quit smoking one day. The reason they quit had varied but the technique they used was basically the same. For the most part they are clear examples of spur of the moment decisions elicited by some external and sometimes, some unknown circumstance.

I really do encourage all people to take this survey, talking to long-term ex-smokers in their real world. People who you knew when they were smokers, who you knew when they were quitting and who you still know as being successful long-term ex-smokers. The more people you talk to the more obvious it will become how people quit smoking and how people stay off of smoking. Again, people quit smoking by simply quitting smoking and people stay off of smoking by simply knowing that to stay smoke free that they must never take another puff!

Joel

Here is a news article from this morning that ties into this above commentary rather well:

Snap Decision to Quit Smoking Called Effective
1/27/2006

Some smokers may need a "quit plan" to stop smoking, but researchers say that those who spontaneously decide to quit may have more success, Reuters reported Jan. 26.

"Contrary to what experts had previously believed, the idea that you have to plan your quit attempts ahead of time isn't necessarily true," said researcher Robert West of University College London, who along with colleague Taj Sohal queried 1,900 smokers and former smokers about their attempts to quit.

West and Sohal found that about half of all quit attempts were spontaneous, and that those who chose to quit on the spot were 50-60 percent more likely to succeed than those who planned their attempt in advance.

The researchers stressed that the findings should not be used to discourage quit plans, but rather reinforce the importance of the smoker being in the right frame of mind and motivated when they decide to quit.

The study was published in the January 2006 issue of the British Medical Journal.

Image

Some additional commentaries from the string Setting Quit Dates
Normally when I see a news headline with "New Study" attached to a smoking cessation report I cringe. Somehow most studies reported are some sort of laboratory study, where conclusions are being drawn from rodents or people in experimental settings. Somehow lab settings seem to always show what we teach here at Freedom is wrong.

Every now and then though a different kind of study is released. Not research done in a lab where the researchers control the variables--but rather real world surveys where researchers are simply trying to find out what has worked for people in real world settings.

Those kind of studies are a whole lot more credible to me, and I believe to be a whole lot more replicable by any average person trying to see if the the reports hold true to their own experiences and to the experiences of those around them. These kind of studies often result in the the smoking cessation experts of the world having to tap dance around the new findings.

Here is a comment I put up earlier today regarding real world studies involving NRT's. I am going to change a few words in that commentary, replacing the phrase "NRT" with a variation of the phrase "plan your quit" or "planned their quit." I think all who read here will realize that the same concepts apply:

I really do encourage all people to take this survey, talking to long-term ex-smokers in their real world. People who you knew when they were smokers, who you knew when they were quitting and who you still know as being successful long-term ex-smokers. The more people you talk to the more obvious it will become how people quit smoking and how people stay off of smoking. Again, people quit smoking by simply quitting smoking and people stay off of smoking by simply knowing that to stay smoke free that they must never take another puff! Again, go talk to as many long-term successful ex-smokers (people off all forms of nicotine for at least a year or longer) in your real world that you can find and find out how they quit. I don't believe that there is a single professional smoking cessation "plan your quit" advocate who will suggest to their patients that they take a similar survey. For if they did their credibility would be called into question almost immediately when the patient starting seeing the results of their real life survey. They will end up having to spend quite a bit of time trying to explain away the discrepancy, using excuses like the people who "Planned their quit" didn't do it right or didn't "plan" long enough or were more addicted smokers.

We don't need to spend time trying to explain away the results of the surveys that people will do in there real world settings. All we have to say is the results make it more and more obvious that the way to quit smoking and to stay successfully free is no more complicated than just making and sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
Last edited by Joel on 18 Oct 2011, 11:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Aug 2006, 19:19 #29

I see we never updated the page here with the newer version that includes the chart that was published in the American Cancer Society report. Here is a link to an updated version of this report with the chart included.

Joel

http://whyquit.com/joel/Joel_03_32_How_ ... e_quit.htm
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 May 2007, 21:05 #30

Updating this one with the actual chart:
So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit?

If you look around the Internet or even request information from professional health organizations on how to quit smoking you are likely to find that the standard advice given is to use a pharmacological approach, i.e., nicotine replacement products and or Zyban. Each time you see this advice you will also be told that these approaches double your chances of quitting. Some sites and groups come out and almost say, point-blank, do not go cold turkey--basically leaving the reader with the impression that nobody could possibly quit this way.
ImageThe American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts & Figures 2003 report contains the chart to the right which shows the percentage of current smokers who have tried different routes at quitting smoking and also indicates the percentage of current ex-smokers who quit by different techniques.
The numbers that are highly telling are the percentages that indicate how former smokers had actually quit. Keep in mind that this chart is limited. It does not tell us how long they had quit or other key pieces of information, such as, did the people who used quitting aids such as NRT ever actually get off the NRT. But I am not concerned about that at this moment.
According to the American Cancer Society report, how did former smokers actually quit? Those using drug therapies and counseling had a 6.8% quitting rate while those using other methods 2.1%. The remainder quit cold-turkey or cut down. In that it is generally accepted that cutting down techniques do not work, we can safely assume that they had an extremely limited impact upon the overall number. So, approximately 90% of the people who are successfully classified as former smokers quit cold turkey. On the same page as Table 3 is located you will find the following recommendation:
"All patients attempting to quit should be encouraged to use effective pharmacotherapies except in the presence of specific contraindications."
You have to ask yourself how many of the successful ex-smokers in the world today would have actually succeeded if they sought out and listened to "professional" advice such as this.
If you are trying to determine what is the best way to quit, you have a choice. You can go with the "experts" or you can go with what 90% of successful quitters have done.
Take Your Own Survey
So how do most people really quit smoking? Don't take our word for it, or the American Cancer Society's, but instead talk to every long-term ex-smoker you personally know. See how many of them fall into one of the following three categories:
[center]
1. People who woke up one day and were suddenly sick and tired of smoking. They tossed them that day and never looked back;
[center]
2. People who get sick. Not smoking sick, meaning some kind of catastrophic smoking induced illness. Just people who get a cold or a flu and feel miserable. The feel too sick to smoke, they may feel too sick to eat. They are down with the infection for two or three days, start to get better and then realize that they have a few days down without smoking and decide to try to keep it going. Again, they never look back and stuck with their new commitment; or
3. People who leave a doctors office given an ultimatum. Quit smoking or drop dead--it's your choice. These are people who some sort of problem has been identified by their doctors who lays out in no uncertain terms that the person's life is at risk now if they do not quit smoking.
[/center] [/center] [/center] [/center] [/center] [/center] [/center] [/center] [/center]
All of these stories share one thing in common--the technique that people use to quit. They simply quit smoking one day. The reasons they quit varied but the technique used was basically the same. For the most part they are clear examples of spur of the moment decisions elicited by some external, and sometimes unknown circumstance.
[center] [center]
I really do encourage all people to take their own survey, talking to long-term ex-smokers in their real world: people who you knew when they were smokers, who you knew when they were quitting and who you still know as being successful long-term ex-smokers. The more people you talk to the more obvious it will become how people quit smoking and how people stay off of smoking. Again, people quit smoking by simply quitting smoking and people stay off of smoking by simply knowing that to stay smoke free that they must Never Take Another Puff!
[center] [center] [center] Joel
© Joel Spitzer 2003, 2006
Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on May 3, 2006
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[/center] [/center] [/center] [/center] [/center] [/quote] [/center]
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