I just got the following Public Service Announcement in my AOL news alert:
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Commemorates 40th Anniversary of the First Report on Smoking and Health with American Lung Association PSA"America's Family Doctor" Encourages Smokers to Celebrate Public Health Milestone by Quitting NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 12/29/2003 -- Today, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, often called "America's Family Doctor," joins the American Lung Association in unveiling a public service announcement (PSA) campaign commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. Released on January 11, 1964, the report represented a seminal moment in public health, as it was America's first widely publicized official recognition of smoking as a cause of cancer and other deadly diseases.
The PSA, entitled "Remember 1964," began airing on television stations nationwide in December. In the PSA, Dr. Koop reminds smokers of the Report's impact and issues a powerful call to action, urging smokers to celebrate the anniversary event by quitting.
"Although there have been great strides made in smoking cessation, there's still more work to be done," said Dr. Koop. "Approximately 46 million American adults still smoke, and the introduction of so-called 'reduced risk' tobacco products may pose a serious threat to public health if they have the effect of delaying or changing a smoker's decision to quit, increasing the exposure to risk of contracting a smoking-related disease. Fortunately, the past 40 years have brought new help and new hope for those who want to quit smoking. There are now FDA-approved tools available to help, including nicotine replacement therapies like the patch, gum and lozenge, as well as counseling, support programs and quitlines, all of which can increase a smoker's chances of becoming smoke-free."
"We are honored to be working with Dr. Koop, whom we have long admired and considered a pillar in the public health community. We are committed to helping people stop smoking and preventing young people from starting. This is the only way that tobacco-related lung disease will be eliminated for future generations," said John L. Kirkwood, president and CEO, American Lung Association. "We've made big strides over the last 40 years, but we still have work to do. We are proud to count this PSA among our many efforts to reduce the death and disease caused by smoking."
[I deleted a paragraph here with links to the Lung Association website and phone number.]
For more information about the Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health or FDA-approved stop smoking products, please visit xxxxxx.
It seems to me now that the anniversary of the Surgeon General's report is what is being hijacked this time. (see message 32 in this string for reference to that comment.) Basically this news release is a commercial for quit smoking aids. You know what that first report did 40 years ago. It made the public aware that smoking caused lung cancer. It made the public aware that smoking was deadly. It made the public aware that they should quit smoking to save their lives. This commemorative press release briefly mentions this and spends the bulk of the message telling people that there are now products you can buy with nicotine to help you break free from cigarettes or even the "so-called 'reduced risk' tobacco products" that they refer to.
If anyone wants to find the original article or the links involved it will be easy. Just type Koop into any search engine that has listing for recent new reports. I am not however going to put the links up here. What I am going to do though is highlight some of the appalling comments you will find at that site linked at the end of the article where I have put the "xxxxxxxxx."
Sure, quitting was hard. But as you know by now, staying off cigarettes forever is every bit as difficult. The good news? It is possible!
First, you need to be aware that physical cravings will continue to pop up from time to time. That's why it pays to keep a stop-smoking Quit Aid like Nicorette®, NicoDerm® CQ® , or Committtm on hand long after you quit.
You'll also need to continue to fight off the temptation of being in certain situations without a cigarette. Don't smoke - not even a puff! Who knows how far that will set you back.
4. Get a stop-smoking Quit Aid
These are some of the Quit Aids the FDA has approved:
- It's an undeniable fact - stop-smoking Quit_Aid products can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge.
- Nicorette®- available over-the-counter
- NicoDerm® CQ®- available over-the-counter
- Committ TM available over-the-counter
- Zyban® - available only by prescription
Other, non-proven therapies include herbal remedies, acupuncture and hypnosis.
5. Be prepared to relapse
Most relapses occur within the first 3 months. But don't be discouraged. Remember, most people try 7 times before they finally quit.
The dreaded relapse
Any ex-smoker knows, quitting is so difficult that many have tried 7 or more times before succeeding. So if you relapse, you're not alone.
But you don't have to feel like a failure. In fact, you can learn from your current quit attempt and more likely stay a non-smoker in the future. And, by keeping a Quit Aids like Nicorette®, NicoDerm® CQ®, or CommitTM handy, you can help fight off the physical cravings
The source for the widely distributed press release is GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
GlaxoSmithKline makes Nicorette®, NicoDerm® CQ®, and the CommitTM lozenge.
I normally try not to go on an offensive with any industry, as we have written in our Freedom's mission statement:
We are hostile to nobody. Not even to the tobacco industry or pharmaceutical companies who have different agendas than ours. They exist because they want you to use their products. We exist because you want to stop using their products. We are not here to try to make anyone stop using their products either. We are here to help people quit using nicotine because they have already decided to do so.
I feel that I am would be being negligent now though if I did not point out a tactic that I have not seen so blatantly used before by the pharmaceutical industry. The idea that you should keep any source of nicotine on hand just in case is absolutely ludicrous. It gives the impression that people have to have some nicotine around in case they have an urge. The fact is ex-smokers don't have physical urges they have psychological . Taking a dose of nicotine to deal with a psychological trigger will basically start the physical process of withdrawal again. If a person does it he or she had better be prepared for three more days of withdrawal. He or she had better have a good supply of his or her quitting aid on hand again to get through the following days for he or she has started up an active need again.
I think the other way that this comment needs to be looked at is the idea that an ex-smoker has to have something on hand "just in case" the ex-smoker finds himself or herself wanting a cigarette. What might happen if a person gets a thought and has no aid? Will he or she stop breathing? Will his or her heart stop? Will he or she burst a blood vessel unless he or she takes nicotine product? None of these things will happen. For the record, most ex-smokers are going to get an occasional thought and if they have a nicotine product in hand and have a feeling that it is better than smoking, or that it is an either they are either going to take this NRT product or they are going to smoke, they are going to take the product. The bottom line is there was and always will be a third option, which is not to take the product and not smoke. The person will get through the event with their quit totally intact.
We are seeing a new level of nonsense now. Every one of our members are living proof that all you need to have with you to keep your quit strong and secure in times of major crisis, minor emergencies, or just plain random thoughts is a personal commitment to never take another puff!
I am attaching the first letter I ever wrote on a nicotine replacement product, written almost 20 years ago now. Its message is as pertinent now as it was back then:
Joel's Reinforcement Library
Due to the recent release of Nicorette®, a chewing gum containing nicotine, I feel it is necessary to issue a special warning to all clinic participants who may be considering experimenting with this product. The gum is intended to be used by smokers to ease the severity of symptoms encountered during initial smoking cessation.
But the ex-smoker occasionally desires a cigarette months and even years after quitting. He may feel that the urge is due to a physiological residual effect of withdrawal. This thought may lead to the idea that trying the gum may help get rid of the desire. But, the actual cause of the thought for a cigarette is due to a psychologically triggered response. Some situation, person or event is causing the thought for a cigarette. While these occasional triggers may be annoying, they pass in seconds and may not occur again for hours, days or even weeks.
If the ex-smoker tries the gum, the end result will be tragic. For once he takes the first piece, his addiction to nicotine will be established. Once again he will be in nicotine withdrawal. Then he will have to make a choice--either relapsing into full fledged smoking or once again encountering the two week nicotine withdrawal. All this because he wanted to ease a thought for a cigarette which would have only lasted seconds.
Even the intended use of nicotine gum presents certain problems. Many hope the gum will be a panacea for the truly addicted smoker. But caution must be given to the non discriminate use by any smoker who feels that this new aide will help him break free from cigarettes. For while the gum may reduce the severity of initial withdrawal, it does so at a cost.
Normally, when a smoker quits, physical discomfort will peak within 72 hours and totally subside within two weeks. While the first three days may be traumatic, with proper support any smoker can successfully get through this period.
Use of the gum may reduce the initial severity of withdrawal when quitting. The ex-smoker may continue chewing the gum for months, never reaching peak withdrawal. But because blood nicotine never reaches the levels maintained by cigarettes, nor totally leaves the body, he feels minor withdrawal symptoms on a chronic basis. When he finally quits using the gum, he will probably experience the same withdrawal he would have originally encountered when quitting cigarettes.
The gum may help an addicted smoker break some of the psychological dependence and conditioned responses before experiencing potential difficult withdrawal. But the cost for this easing of initial symptoms is a prolonged chronic withdrawal followed by peak symptoms when giving up the gum. This is a lot of long term discomfort which could be avoided by simply ridding the body of all nicotine by quitting cold turkey.
When you quit smoking, you broke free from the addiction to nicotine. As long as you keep all nicotine out of your body you will never again have to worry about the health consequences of smoking or deal with the withdrawal of quitting. If you wish to stay free, don't try the gum, and as for cigarettes, cigars or pipes - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
NOTE: I originally wrote this in 1984. Since then, a number or similar products, (e.g., patches, gums, other devices are currently under development), have been introduced as over the counter cessation aids. The same principal applies to them all - they are transferring the delivery system of the drug nicotine. If the smoker simply stops, withdrawal will peak and start to subside within 72 hours. Use of the agents will unnecessarily prolong the cessation process as well as add to the expense.