Being tempted watching others smoke


March 4th, 2001, 12:55 am#1

Ex-smokers are sometimes tempted when watching others smoke. Spending time with a specific friend and watching them smoke may be a trigger especially if it was the most time you spent with the friend since you quit smoking. The first time you have any new experiences, even if smoking is not part of the ritual, the thought for a cigarette will seem like a natural part of the ritual.

Another factor is when watching a person smoke, the natural tendency is for the ex-smoker to start to fantasize about how good a cigarette will be at that given moment. A more productive way to handle the situation though is to really watch the person smoke one, and then wait a few minutes as they light another and then another. Soon you will see that they are smoking in a way that you don't want to and probably in a way that they don't want to either. But they have no choice. You do. Also, I am attaching a letter here that addresses this issue. It is a little harder to describe because it is based on a demonstration I do at live seminars that you have never seen.

One demonstration I do at all my live seminars is a little smoking contraption made out of a plastic Palmolive bottle with a mouth piece inserted to hold a cigarette. The simulation shows how much smoke comes in when a person inhales, and how much comes out when they exhale. Smokers often feel they take in smoke and then blow most of it out, when in actuality, a very small percent actually comes out (about 10%.) I always use cigarettes given to me by people in the audience, if I used one I brought people would think I was using a loaded cigarette. Anyway, below is a letter I wrote for clinic graduates who have seen this demonstration. The concepts here though apply to those who haven't also. Take my word for it, or better yet, Joanne, Linda or Joyce could explain their memories of the demonstration. Viewing smoking as it really looks will minimize the temptation even of a puff.

Anyway, here is the letter.

Whenever you watch a person smoking, think of the Palmolive bottle demonstration you saw the first day of the Stop Smoking Clinic. Visualize all of the smoke that goes into the bottle that doesn't come out. Also, remember that the smoker is not only going to smoke that one cigarette. He will probably smoke another within a half-hour. Then another after that. In fact, he will probably smoke 20, 40, 60 or even more cigarettes by the end of the day. And tomorrow will be the same. After looking at cigarettes like this, you don't want to smoke a cigarette, do you?

I always suggest that clinic participants follow this simple visualization exercise to help them overcome the urge for a cigarette. When I suggested it to one participant who was off for three days she replied, "I see, you want me to brainwash myself so that I don't want a cigarette."

Somehow I don't consider this technique of visualizing smoking brainwashing. It is not like the ex-smoker is being asked to view smoking in an artificially horrible, nightmarish manner. To the contrary, I am only asking the ex-smoker to view cigarette smoking in its true light.

The Palmolive bottle demonstration accurately portrays the actual amount of smoke that goes in as compared to the small amount that you see the smoker blow out. Most smokers believe they exhale the majority of smoke they inhale into their lungs. But, as you saw by the demonstrations, most of the smoke remains in the lungs. When you visualize all the smoke that remains, it does not paint a pretty picture of what is happening in the smoker. Maybe not a pretty picture, but an accurate one.

When an ex-smoker watches a person smoke a cigarette, he may fantasize about how much the smoker is enjoying it--how good it must taste and make him feel. It is true he may be enjoying that particular cigarette, but the odds are he is not.

Most smokers enjoy a very small percentage of the cigarettes they smoke. In fact, they are really unaware of most of the cigarettes they smoke. Some are smoked out of simple habit, but most are smoked in order to alleviate withdrawal symptoms experienced by all smokers whose nicotine levels have fallen below minimal requirements. The cigarette may taste horrible, but the smoker has to smoke it. And because the majority of smokers are such addicts, they must smoke many such cigarettes every single day in order to maintain a constant blood nicotine level.

Don't fantasize about cigarettes. Always keep a clear, objective perspective of what it would once again be like to be an addicted smoker. There is no doubt at all that if you relapse to smoking you will be under the control of a very powerful addiction. You will be spending hundreds of dollars a year for thousands of cigarettes. You will smell like cigarettes and be viewed as socially unacceptable in many circles. You will be inhaling thousands of poisons with every puff. These poisons will rob you of your endurance and your health. One day they may eventually rob you of your life.

Consider all these consequences of smoking. Then, when you watch a smoker you will feel pity for them, not envy. Consider the life he or she is living compared to the simpler, happier, and healthier life you have had since you broke free from your addiction. Consider all this and you will NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
Last edited by Joel on July 19th, 2014, 6:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

hannes (gold)

March 4th, 2001, 2:25 am#2

This is the post I needed - the visualization of the smoke in the lungs when I see a smoker via the palmolive bottle. Right now I feel free for this post did the trick for today - thank you Joel for thinking of it. For today I am a non-smoker that is not going to take another puff. I'll keep trying and posting - hanging in there @ 1 month and 2 weeks. What a great way to beat this addiction.

Triin (GOLD)

March 4th, 2001, 3:37 am#3

Thank you

I had a pretty bad day today, and I really needed this post. It was something new to me - I hadn't ever thought about it. It means that the smoker who smokes usually with the interval 30 or 40 minutes, has constantly a fog in the lungs. This smoker has NEVER clear air in the lungs!?! Wow. Disgusting. I better breathe and smell

I have been Quit for: 1W 5D 21h 35m 54s. I have NOT smoked 257, for a savings of $17.74. Life Saved: 21h 25m.

Tash (Gold )

March 4th, 2001, 8:00 am#4

I really like this post, I can see the demonstration perfectly. I feel like throwing the rest of my dish soap into any container lying around and making my own contraption to show my stinky smoker boyfriend. Actually, if I had my videocam, I would even tape the demo... show it to everyone! Well, anyone that would stay & watch it. Seriously a great idea for a demo! It doesn't matter that I haven't seen it, it's great. Keep this post near the top for the newbies, I would have loved it in the first week, but can always add to the reenforcements. I'm so happy to be quit. I love my Freedom family, you guys Rock!!!

Two months, 4 hours, 30 minutes and 31 seconds. 828 cigarettes not smoked, saving $140.87. Life saved: 2 days, 21 hours, 0 minutes.


March 8th, 2001, 10:00 pm#5

Still having trouble finding the article on nicotine in second hand smoke exposure. Let me put it like this. You would have to be in a smoke filled room, non-stop for 100 hours, yes I am saying over 4 days to get the equivalent dose of nicotine delivered to a smoker from one cigarette. This is a unique property of nicotine though. Other chemicals in second hand smoke can reach some pretty toxic levels much quicker than that, in minutes not days.

The side effects felt from being exposed to second hand smoke are from Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Cyanide and some other noxious chemicals that can reach levels that are well above OSHA standards for safety. If a non-smoker happens to have a heart condition or an asthmatic or bronchial problem, and exposure to second hand smoke induces an incident on the spot, it would be said by all that the second hand smoke was more dangerous to that non smoker than the first hand smoke was to the smoker him or herself at the time. But rest assured, if the second hand smoke could induce the attack, if that person had smoked him or herself it would have induced a lot earlier and probably more severely. I have to say probably because the second hand smoke exposure may have fatal consequences for the predisposed non-smoker. But again, if second hand smoke did it, if that person were a smoker they would likely have experienced much sooner from their own self induced exposure.

The best way to keep your exposure to nicotine and the 4000 other chemicals and poisons to a bare minimum is to never take another puff!


maid n oz (Gold)

March 8th, 2001, 10:42 pm#6

Thanks Joel,
I read a comment in regards to passive smoking a little earlier and was a little rattled by it. When I actually stopped to think I realised I was actually giving myself an excuse to quit my quit (imagine that..) Thankyou for enlightening me (so quickly, lol) on a few extra facts. You sure are good to have around. Sort of like a protective father. It's so neat.
oh, p.s. 2 weeks, 13 hours and 38 minutes....yay team!!!! lol


March 8th, 2001, 11:46 pm#7

Hi quit sisters/brothers,

Tempted by others (friends & strangers) who smoke ?
Nope, not for one second. Why? Ok, have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror with a cigarette sticking out of your face ? If you are honest about it, you would probably say you looked rather stupid...imagine having a smoking white tube hanging from your lips, your eyes all squinted because of the stinging smoke, your face contorted because the smoke is half choking you (funny that the smoke doesnt choke you when inhale, but it chokes you when it sort of wafts around your nostrils).

Try it. Roll a white piece of paper into a small tube to resemble a cigarette and see how silly you look in the mirror. Go on...have a good laugh.

So why did Marlboro man looked so cool when he wa pictured in the advertisements years ago. Simple answer is that the ad agency had a good team of photographers and he was specially posed in a such a manner as to let the light and shadow on his craggy face and low brim of his hat give you the idea that the man was rugged and remember how his head wqas tilted to one side?

Hehehe, Marlboro, Camel etc...they had us all fooled.

So now when I see a friend smoking, I find it highly amusing...about how silly he or she looks with that ciggie sticking out of her face, and I wouldn't want to look the same too.

improud (golder)

March 9th, 2001, 12:37 am#8

Glad you brought that up Sam I was walking down the street the other day and as I was crossing an old lady was driving her car with a cig sticking out of her mouth I could tell that the smoke was bothering her she almost went into the curb. I really had to laugh thinking that I looked like that. GROSS. (by the way she was older than me) but still the picture she presented was in no way how I want to look ever again! I have been Quit for: 2M 2D 12h 59m 3s. I have NOT smoked 1906, for a savings of $285.93. Life Saved: 6D 14h 50m.


March 9th, 2001, 1:03 am#9

This sure is an eye openener. Thanks for bringing this up.

Sitting here thinking about smoking and read this. hmmmm Sure glad I came here today.

Can always find infor here to make sure you never take another puff.

Elaine, Inquirer
Nicotine free 3 weeks now and very proud of it. (especially for this old lady) hehe


March 9th, 2001, 6:10 am#10

In response 5 of 9 here I talked about how long a person has to be exposed to a smoking environment to get an equivalent dose of nicotine absorbed by a smoker from one cigarette. It looks like Zep went further, not looking at the older studies I was referring to, but went right to the heart of the story. If I read right in his response in the other string I think he contacted the study authors. That was brilliant! I see we only have a preliminary response, that the amount of nicotine and cotinine (a nicotine metabolite which is likely inactive for withdrawal purposes even in smokers but can be used for drug testing nicotine) found in the non-smoking spouses was only 1% of that of a smoker. That doesn't surprise me one bit, pretty much backs up the earlier reports saying that you'd have to be in the smoke filled environment 100 hours to get the equivalent dosage as one cigarette. We are talking trace amounts here and trace amounts are quite harmless. Understand, people get trace amounts of cyanide, arsenic and a host of other poisons in natural occurring products like fruits and vegetables. Don't mean to shock anyone here but there are even trace amounts of nicotine in tomatoes and some other plants. But we are talking about doses so low that they are basically inert in action. You would have to ingest this stuff in quantities that would cause you to explode to get the dose of a puff.

But a puff does not deliver a trace amount. That should be obvious to anyone who thinks back to their first puff as a kid. It was potent. It often induced dizziness, nausea, making some people gag, cough and even throw up. It delivers a huge huge amount of a whole bunch of stuff, enough to cause an immediate reaction. This was to you as a non-addicted person, once an addict that same dose does more than gives you an instant (7 seconds) jolt to your brain, it establishes the brain centers to again need nicotine or repeat withdrawal, in other words, it is a dose amount that was capable of causing a relapse.

Try to avoid second hand smoke when possible, no so much for nicotine risk but for other poisons that actually do reach dangerous levels. But always know the way to minimize your risk of all smoking diseases, and the way to guarantee that "you" will never relapse and go through full-fledged smoking again or full-fledged withdrawal is for "you" to never take another puff!


MrsO (Double Gold)

March 9th, 2001, 6:47 am#11

When I see someone smoking on the street or in their car - I am always reminded by a poster I believe The American Cancer Society put out years ago. I believe it read "Smoking is Glamorous" and picture a haggard old woman with a sickabutt hanging out of her mouth. NOW ISN'T THAT AN ATTRACTIVE SITE!

My hubby and I are mighty proud today. We are double green! Two months, five days, 4 hours, 44 minutes and 16 seconds. 1814 cigarettes not smoked, saving $244.93. Life saved: 6 days, 7 hours, 10 minutes EACH.

Thanks for being there Freedomites!


March 9th, 2001, 7:59 am#12

I remember reading in an article about cigarettes and manufacturers lies, that the cig companies created a special type of filter that when used by humans would deliver more than when used by the government testing machine. It had something to do with an internal structure of the filter and how it would collapse when sucked if not pressed (as by the lips) and the testing machine, while it sucked - did not press. My very convulted point is - while I would love to see the Palmolive demo, it seems possible to me that the reality is even worse.



March 9th, 2001, 8:20 am#13

The perforated filter is just such a tactic. It **** air in at the same time as a person smokes, in theory. But in practice smokers will learn to seal their lips around the perforations thus rendering it useless. Some people I know had even put tape around the perforations making them easier to inhale. Games people will play. I can compensate for the action with the palmolive bottle. I have the mouth piece designed to be able to go further back if necessary on the cigarette, in essense mimicking what the smoker does. When ever necessary I do it and explain the process to the group. The ones who used the products recognize the practice instantly. It comes down to there is no safe way to smoke, no matter what the package says or any reports say, smoking cigarettes, any cigarettes is dangerous and with time can be deadly. The only safe solution is to never take another puff!



April 10th, 2001, 6:18 am#14

Well for all of you who ever wanted to see the Palmolive bottle demo, here is a picture shot last week at my last stop smoking clinic.

This looks like it was an exhalation after about 10 previous exhalations, not that much is seen in this particular photo. I normally get a tremendous amount of smoke out of the bottle with every drag, normally we can smoke up a room with one cigarette. If you look at the mouthpiece of the bottle, it is almost solid brown with tar. It used to be clear. I have used this bottle with somewhere between 300 and 400 cigarettes. While that may sound like a lot, most people smokemore than that in any given month. Even the bottle is pretty yellow and I blow out almost all of the smoke used when it inhales. The bottle is dry allowing me to do this, your lungs are moist trapping most of the tars when inhaled. Literally over 90% of the tar that is inhaled stays in the lung, when you see a person exhale they are literally blowing out about 10% of the smoke.

When viewed this way, even one puff seems disgusting to most people. Again, the logical conclusion for most is to never take another puff!



April 10th, 2001, 6:33 am#15

It certainly disgusted me. I guess I never realized how much stayed in our lungs. Thanks for the reinforcement Joel. NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
2M 3W 6D 18h 22m 25s.
Last edited by Debi289(Gold) on November 28th, 2009, 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Heike (silver)

April 10th, 2001, 6:52 am#16

This reminds me of something I tried once: take a puff and blow it through a paper tissue. held right up against the lips. Do not inhale this puff first. Then inhale another puff and exhale it through the tissue in a different place. Compare the colour of the two stains. Incredible difference. Gives you some indincation how much stuff stayed in the lungs when the smoke was inhaled.

Don't of course try this at home, get a smoker to do it for you!



April 10th, 2001, 7:16 am#17

Joel - That's really grose man - thanks for the best reminder today - I have been here for two hours this morning, now I am equipped with FREEDOM power to switch off the ocmputer and go and celebrate my partner's birthday - I have only been off the sickerettes for just over a week, after 13 years of smoking - I have coughed up lots of nasty surprises this last week - I dread to think what sort of healing my lungs will have to go through over the next twelve months. NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF DUNCAN !!! One week, one day, 9 hours, 51 minutes and 42 seconds. 210 cigarettes not smoked, saving $74.85. Life saved: 17 hours, 30 minutes.

Triin (GOLD)

April 10th, 2001, 8:05 am#18

Yak!!! I'm suprised the smokers get any oxygen through this tar that must be in the lungs! I want to breathe, that's why I will never take another puff!

I have been Quit for: 1M 2W 5D 1h 45m 41s. I have NOT smoked 1001, for a savings of $68.85. Life Saved: 3D 11h 25m.


April 15th, 2001, 7:54 pm#19

Again for those holiday get togethers. Don't sit and fantasize about the joy other people seem to have smoking or worse yet, about the joy smoking would give you at the moment. This again is a fantasy.

If viewed in its actual state, a cigarette will not be a temptation to you. See them for what they are and you will feel no envy toward your smoking family members and friends, but more likely feel a sense of pity for them. You may in fact be helping them by just setting the example of not smoking and not seeming tempted.

If you see cigarettes for what they are this will be the natural state of things, not smoking and not tempted. If you don't see them as they are but rather sit and fantasize about how you wish they could be, the thoughts will drive you nuts. Stay focused on what they were, a drug (nicotine, a very addictive and poisonous chemical in its own right) delivery device that was also delivering thousands of other chemicals, hundreds of which are poisons, 40 of which are known carcinogens, all which combined makes you smell like an ashtray, turns you into a social outcast, and accomplishes all of these life destructive influences for the small cost of thousands of dollars a year.

Again, see cigarettes for what they are and you will be giving thanks for one new component of your life this holiday season, the fact that you have finally attained freedom from tobacco and are able to keep that freedom as long as you never take another puff!


improud (golder)

April 18th, 2001, 3:19 am#20

I wish I could have read this before Easter Sunday. I had smokers in my house. YUCK and was stupid not to tell them not to smoke. I sure did want one, I just went upstairs a million times to get away and of course to make my meal. But it was extremely hard!!! But still Never taken another puff! Thanks Joel
I have been Quit for: 3M 1W 4D 16h 49m 46s. I have NOT smoked 3111, for a savings of $466.65. Life Saved: 1W 3D 19h 15m.


April 30th, 2001, 6:59 am#21

Glad I popped in here to take a look at Glenys post. And very glad Joel dropped in to and left a reply. Was wondering what to do myself tomorrow, when someone is coming over for abit to help me with computer, and he smokes! And next week girlfriend coming down from country to stay 3 to 4 days, big smoker. I know, one hour, one day at a time.

Joels reply and article re: actually watching someone smoke, gave me a whole new perspective on how to look at it. From that perspective I am quite sure it will look like a really ugly and nasty habit. I've been telling anyone who I know personally who has called or been in touch with me over the net .... to have a ciggerette for me! I'm really glad I dropped back in and realize now that that is only reinforcing my mind/body that it wants one! And is very negative and damaging. Will stop asking that as of NOW! And as for the Palmolive bottle, well that was a stunner ........ Thanks for the input. Not so scared now of someone dropping by tommorrow. But shall be sure to tune in here before they arrive.

Glenys ..... go for it, I'm in my 3rd day too

your quit sister
aka sunshineray


May 4th, 2001, 11:08 pm#22

This includes watching smoking spouses.

Triin (GOLD)

May 8th, 2001, 7:22 am#23

I thought I'd just share one thing. I had my graduation ceremony from the university on Saturday. Big day, big celebration - and NO urges to smoke. Maybe I wouldn't have realized how free I was feeling unless I hadn't been with one of my friends. We used to spend a lot of time together in the past and she is as heavy smoker as I was in the past. I knew our rythm of "getting the fixes" had been very similar - we smoked on similar times and on similar frequency. Now back to the graduation. We met a few minutes before going in and she sucked that last cigarette fast and deep. Wow her car really stunk! Yak. We went inside to try on cap and gown, and it took about an hour before the actual thing started. She started complaining about wanting a cigarette already then!!! Then it started...Her opportunity to smoke came about 3 hours after her last cigarette. I was fully enjoying the ceremony whereas she was waiting to get a fix. She had to sneak away from parents and family to secretly **** in the nicotine - whereas I was spending time with the people who had came to congradulate me. I know that if I hadn't quit, I would have been in her shoes too. I would have thought about cigarettes half a time! But now...I didn't. I was so occupied that the thought never even crossed my mind. Only she was there to remind me how thankful I am for all of you who have helped me to get free!!! Watching her being in slavery really made me realize even more the value of my quit.

I have been Quit for: 2M 2W 3D 1h 21m 25s. I have NOT smoked 1561, for a savings of $107.33. Life Saved: 5D 10h 5m.


June 8th, 2001, 1:47 am#24

Joel...You are the Man!!

Thanks for this great article. I too did not realize how much smoke a person consumes off of just one puff. I remember doing the toliet paper trick when I use to smoke and I thought,"Wow that was a lot of smoke!" I didn't realize that only 10% was coming out of my lungs. Now that you have told me this I am very disgusted and am glad that I have been nicotine free for three weeks, two days, 13 hours, 28 minutes and 7 seconds.

Thanks again bud,



July 2nd, 2001, 7:26 pm#25

Again just want to make sure everyone is psyched for the upcoming holiday.

Here is the picture from post 16 in this string which will disappear now unless you go back to read the earlier responses. (Which by the way is probably a good idea to do on all of our larger threads. Threads get long because a lot of people found something important in them to respond to. Often those responses as are good and maybe even more important as the original post.)
The Palmolive Bottle smoking demonstration.

Again you can see how the smoke had darkened the bottle after about a few hundred cigarettes. You can start to see how the smoker's lungs below became so discolored. Smokers don't just put a total of a few hundred cigarettes in their system; they literally deliver hundreds of thousands of cigarettes over their shortened lifetime. This discoloration effect is more than just aesthetically unpleasant--it is in fact deadly. See cigarettes as they are and you will always choose to never take another puff!

Non smokers lung with carbon deposits from pollution
Smokers lung with cancer. White area on top is the cancer, this is what killed the person. The blackened area is just the deposit of tars that all smokers paint into their lungs with every puff they take.
To add a little more perspective to the demonstration, here is another way to see how much tar actually gets into the lungs from smoking. Below is the picture of a smoking machine.
This machine smokes 2,000 cigarettes a day, mimicking smokers puffing patterns to capture equivalent amounts of tar as would a smoker. In one day the machine captures the amount of smoke in the picture below.
This is the same amount a pack a day smoker will paint in his or her lungs in a little over three months. You can see why the lungs are so discolored. But again, the discoloration is a minor issue. It is not that the lungs look altered, it is the fact that there are thousands of chemical being deposited with over 40 that are cancer causing chemicals. Again, keep seeing cigarettes for as they are and your logical choice will be to always never take another puff!