So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit?

Joel
Joel

January 1st, 2004, 11:52 pm #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library





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 that will be given is to use a pharmacological approach, i.e., nicotine replacement products and or Zyban. Every time you see this advice you will constantly hear 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.

In the 2003 American Cancer Society's Facts and figures there is a chart that shows the percentage of current smokers who have tried different routes at quitting smoking and also showed what percentage of current ex-smokers who quit by different techniques.

The numbers that were very telling were the percentages that broke down how former smokers had actually quit. Keep in mind this chart is limited, it does not tell us how long they have quit or some other key pieces of information--like did the people who are using quitting aids such as NRT ever actually got off the NRT. But I am not concerned about that at this moment.

So how did former smokers actually quit according to the American Cancer Society report? Those using drug therapies and counseling, 6.8%. Those using other methods, 2.1%. That leaves those who either went cold-turkey or cut down. It seems that the study authors didn't feel a need to separate these two unimportant methods, but since even they generally admit cutting down techniques do not really work, I think we can safely assume that they didn't really have any major impact on the overall number. So basically 91.4% of the people who are successfully classified as former smokers quit cold turkey. On that same page is 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 the sought out and listened to professional advice.

So for anyone looking in 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 over 90% of successful quitters have done. If you decide to go with the quitters all you need to do is to never take another puff!
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Nora (Gold)
Nora (Gold)

January 2nd, 2004, 6:48 am #2

Hi Joel,
This successful ex-smoker can testify that COLD TURKEY quitting was the only thing that worked for me. I tried the patches a few times, even smoked with them on. I couldn't stand the gum, I tried quitting a few times cold turkey without the education to go with it. This is my 4th New Years free from nicotine.

I was 66 years old when I quit and I sure can say it is no easier for an older person to quit than it is for a younger one. ATTITUDE is so important, we each have it in us to go the next few minutes without nicotine, then stretch it out a little longer. Before you hardly know it, you will have reached the GREEN milestone, etc.

To all you looking in out there, this is so doable. It is so simple, just never take another puff like Joel says. IT WORKS!

Here is a link that I would like for you to read. Crutches to Quit Smoking.

Nora
Three years, four months, three weeks, six days, 6 hours, 43 minutes and 43 seconds. 37328 cigarettes not smoked, saving $4,311.57. Life saved: 18 weeks, 3 days, 14 hours, 40 minutes.
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Shinelady Gold3282003
Shinelady Gold3282003

January 2nd, 2004, 9:03 am #3

Joel,
Why is it that the obvious and the simple approach doesn't work? What is it about society that they think it's better if they spend money to cure what ails them? Perhaps if you put a high price on the admission to Why Quit and Freedom there would be a greater interest. Because you don't have a cure with an inflated price, you are classified as not worth while? I'm just trying to figure this out.... One thing I would like to say is that due to the influence of this site, I have quit and my 23 year old son has quit now (for 3 months). My son was waiting for the next, promised, miracle on the market for NRT. I asked him one day if he would buy an alcoholic friend an alcohol patch? Well, you know where this conversation went and I think the logic sunk in. Thanks Joel.... Sorry to be long winded, but knowing what I know now, I get so angry to see people being taken advantage of. Common sense tells us that if something is harming us , don't do it!!!! It doesn't mean stop it a little bit... I just want to say that cold turkey quitting is in no way painful and it is the most merciful way to quit of all. It is the only way that makes any sense. I am so thankful that I learned this for myself before getting involved in the expense and the prolonged agony of quitting with NRT. All I needed to do was never take another puff.
sue (thankful for every day of my freedom after smoking for 38 years)
Nine months, four days, 2 hours, 9 minutes and 11 seconds. 11163 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,613.14. Life saved: 5 weeks, 3 days, 18 hours, 15 minutes.
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VoluntaryDebraSilver
VoluntaryDebraSilver

January 2nd, 2004, 9:13 am #4

I didn't look at this posting right away because I thought it was a joke and I'd save it for a laugh in a bit....then I opened it and what a shock I got when I saw it was more than one line long. I was sure the answer was going to be:

DUH! They never took another puff.

Thanks for the info,

Debra Flower - Free and Healing for One Month, Four Days, 18 Hours and 37 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 3 Days and 14 Hours, by avoiding the use of 1043 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $161.94.
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DlunyGOLD
DlunyGOLD

January 2nd, 2004, 9:57 am #5

Debra that is funny. I had not thought that it would be like that at all (probably because I have seen a similar thread elsewhere or in the Library).

Sue it is funny you should mention an Alcohol Patch as I was just thinking about that this morning! Since NRT has been "so" successful why DON'T they have ART for Alcoholics? We all know the answer. I was looking for "the easy way out" myself when I got here so I have little room to talk.

Today I know that for me my quit has to be cold turkey and has to take precedent in my life. If I want to stay quit and happy I have to remember to never take another puff one day at a time MYSELF and then I can share my experience strength and hope with the others here.

Happy New Year!

yqb, David One month, three weeks, four days, 11 hours, 56 minutes and 1 second. 998 cigarettes not smoked, saving $74.92. Life saved: 3 days, 11 hours, 10 minutes.
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VoluntaryDebraSilver
VoluntaryDebraSilver

January 2nd, 2004, 12:37 pm #6

Hi David,

How did you buy 5 cartons of cigarettes for $75.00? Am I right? Are there 200 cigs in a carton? And it does say appoximately $75.00. Maybe your meter is off a bit.
Debra
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DlunyGOLD
DlunyGOLD

January 2nd, 2004, 9:31 pm #7

You are correct about there being 200 cigarettes in a carton. I paid approximately $1.50 per pack for generic store brand cigarettes when I was smoking. The "name brands" all sell for about $3.25 a pack here in Metro Atlanta and the "value brands" sell for about $2.25.

Actually, the $1.50 figure may be a little high because the actual price was $1.39 plus 5-7% sales tax. I could buy 3 packs for $4.41 in one county but in a different county the same 3 packs were about $4.50 because of the sales tax difference so my meter may be a little off, but not in the way you were thinking.

Thank you for your concern. Today I know it is more important to stay focused on not taking another puff than worrying about the money not spent. For me it will be quit some time before I have the kind of dollar figures that are worth posting.

yqb, David One month, three weeks, four days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 51 seconds. 1007 cigarettes not smoked, saving $75.57. Life saved: 3 days, 11 hours, 55 minutes.
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Joel
Joel

January 2nd, 2004, 10:05 pm #8

I always get a kick out of people who think they are shrewd business people because they have figured out how to slowly kill themselves at bargain basement prices. It comes down to the issue that cigarettes would not be worth the cost even if they were free or even if you were somehow paid to smoke them. For the ultimate costs of cigarettes was never the economic toll of paying for them but rather the toll they were taking on your health and on your life. On the same token, getting off smoking is worth a fortune which is ironic since basically most people who successfully quit will ultimately do it for free by simply deciding to quit and then to stick to their commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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TaranieriWag
TaranieriWag

January 24th, 2004, 2:35 pm #9

I quit by reducing the number of cigs a day. Also by not smoking in the usual situations, such as when I got in the car, on the phone. I didn't take them with me when I went somewhere. I left them home. I slowly changed my habits of when I smoked. Then I only smoked a 3 or four a day, I stopped buying them and only bummed once in a while.(which was embarrasing) Then the last thing to stop doing was the after dinner smoke. Once I kicked that habit of repetition I could stop pretty easy. Smoking is an addiction, the times I smoked were a habit. I have learned to cope in stressful situations without a smoke. After seven months now, I can say I am so happy to be "free" of the disgusting and stinking gross addiction! Teresa
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Joel
Joel

January 24th, 2004, 8:03 pm #10

Teresa, you will notice that the title of this post is "So how did most successful smokers actually quit." It did not read, "So how did "ALL" successful ex-smokers actually quit." This was by no means an accident. Teresa, make sure to read the strings Is cold turkey the only way to quit? and Quitting by gradual withdrawal. You may think that because you were able to quit this way that you should share these thoughts with others looking to quit. Truthfully, your comments do not pose much of a risk to most of the readers here at Freedom. They have seen these articles and others like them. Also it is more than likely they have already recognized from their own observations from watching others trying to quit that what worked for you does not end up working for most. Most importantly, most of our members tried to cut down and one time or another as you described and learned from their own personal experiences that what worked for you did not work for them.

Where you may truly find yourself hurting others though is the people in your real life who may look to you for guidance on how they should stop. If you share your experience with them and do not point out how very few people pull off successful quits this way you may be undercutting their chances for success. You may influence a person you care for who is truly wanting to quit to use a technique that in all probability will fail. The implications of this should not be dismissed. People who are quitting are fighting for their health and for their lives. Their best chance of winning this fight is to simply quit smoking and then to recognize that to stay off they must never take another puff!

Joel
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kattatonic1 gold4
kattatonic1 gold4

April 7th, 2004, 9:56 am #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.

Cheers!
~ Kay ~
Celebrating 3 Months, 14 Days
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jane kathryn
jane kathryn

April 24th, 2004, 4:43 am #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.
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screechwinter
screechwinter

June 20th, 2004, 10:59 pm #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.

ahnaka
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.
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Joel
Joel

June 21st, 2004, 12:08 am #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!

Joel
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durgysan
durgysan

July 3rd, 2004, 12:02 am #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.

durgy
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AidaSaba1
AidaSaba1

July 7th, 2004, 1:35 am #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.

Aida
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.
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Rickrob53 Gold
Rickrob53 Gold

July 7th, 2004, 2:23 am #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: (cancerfacts.com)   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.

http://www.cancerfacts.co...CB=14&CancerTypeId=4



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


Richard


5 months
Last edited by Rickrob53 Gold on August 8th, 2011, 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

July 7th, 2004, 6:39 pm #18

I am pulling a post from another string that I think supplements this string very well:
Reply
Recommend Delete 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
By CHRISTINE GORMAN
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 smokefree.gov). 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.

Joel
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kattatonic1 gold4
kattatonic1 gold4

September 9th, 2004, 9:45 am #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~!
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Joel
Joel

October 4th, 2004, 8:06 pm #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!

Joel
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Ann
Ann

October 4th, 2004, 8:51 pm #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
Joel

November 12th, 2004, 8:20 pm #22

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
Joel

November 16th, 2004, 9:17 pm #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
Beverley

January 7th, 2005, 9:24 pm #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
Joel

January 7th, 2005, 9:41 pm #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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