Are you smoking more and enjoying it less


11:24 PM - Jun 02, 2001#1

Joel's Reinforcement Library

Are You Smoking More
and Enjoying it Less?

This creative slogan was once used by a cigarette advertiser trying to entice smokers of other brands to switch to their product. The slogan was a brilliantly conceived advertising tactic. Almost every smoker who had indulged for a significant period of time would instantly recognize him or herself in the slogan. He or she may even have tried smoking the other brand to recapture the pleasure and joy of earlier days of smoking. But to his or her dismay, even this cigarette failed to deliver that special feeling once derived from smoking.

Why do cigarettes seem to lose that special appeal for the veteran smoker? Have cigarettes changed so drastically over the years? No, that is not the problem at all. Cigarettes haven't changed, smokers have. For the longer an individual smokes, the more dependent the smoker becomes on his nicotine fix. In his early days of smoking, the smoker derived much pleasure from the pharmacological action of nicotine. It made him feel alert, energetic, or maybe even had a calming, relaxing effect. It helped in studying and in learning. Sometimes it made him feel more mature, confidant, and more social. It pretty much did whatever he wanted it to, depending on the circumstances surrounding him while he smoked it. In these early days, he smoked maybe 5 to 10 per day, usually just when he wanted the desired effect.

But gradually, something happens to the smoker. He becomes more dependent on cigarettes. He no longer smokes to solve a problem, to celebrate, or to feel great. He smokes because he NEEDS a cigarette. In essence he smokes because he is a smoker, or, more accurately, a smoke-a-holic. No longer does he get those special smoker highs--now he smokes because not smoking makes him feel withdrawal. Not smoking means feeling nervous, irritable, depressed, angry, afraid, nauseous, or headachy just to mention a few effects. He grasps for a cigarette to alleviate these symptoms, all the time hoping to get that special warm feeling that cigarettes used to give him. But, to his dismay, all that happens is he feels almost normal after smoking a cigarette. And 20 minutes later the whole process starts up again.

Once he quits smoking, life becomes nice again. No longer does he go into withdrawal 20 to 80 times per day. He can go anywhere any time he wishes and not have to worry about whether he will be able to smoke at his needed intervals. When he gets a headache or feels nauseous, he knows he is coming down with an infection, not feeling the way he does every day as a smoker from too much or too little smoking. In comparison to his life as a smoker, he feels great. But then something insidious starts to occur.

He begins to remember the best cigarette he ever had in his life. It may be one he smoked 10, 20 or maybe even 40 years earlier. He remembers that special warm feeling of that wonderful cigarette. If he thinks about it long enough, he may even try to recapture the moment. Unfortunately, however, the moment will recapture him. Once again he will be in the grip of an addiction which will cause him to be smoking more and enjoying less. This time he may not get off. This wonderful cigarette will cost him his freedom, his health and eventually his life. Don't make this mistake when you quit. Remember how cigarettes were the day you stopped, for that will be what they are like the day you go back, no matter how far apart those two days are. Remember the way they were and - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


OBob Gold

10:28 AM - Dec 28, 2001#2

WOW! This one speaks to me so clearly! I reckon that for the past 3 years, I've believed that every pack of cigarettes I bought would be my last. Every other day or so, I'd wake up without the cigarettes, and think today's the day! It was not uncommon for me to suffer a weekend of withdrawal just to get that start.

But by the time that afternoon rolled around, and the withdrawals on a weekday started to peak, I'd mentally cave.

In fact, I think one of the best cigarettes I ever had was the one that broke my 30th birthday quit. It had probably been about 65 hours, and I walked down to town feeling like I was totally in control. I'd mastered almost 3 days, and to me, that was proof I was above it. I hadn't been planning to smoke that night, but I decided to buy a pack with my wife so we could smoke on the back patio at one of our locals. I figured I'd only have 2 or 3 that night. The first cigarette gave me a total rush. It was that sweet dizzying sensation many of us probably remember from early experiences. That ONE cigarette has probably been involved in about hundreds of broken quits (including all of those quits that started at bedtime one night with resolve, and ended about 3pm the next day). The thought of how GOOD that cigarette was. I was deceived over and over again that the next one could be that good.

The truth is, I don't think I've ever had one as good since. And, I suddenly realized that ONE cigarette was nearly 4 years ago!! I'd spent nearly 4 years breaking quit after quit, smoking miserable horrible cigarette after disgusting cigarette, trying to get back to that one moment (one that lasted all of 2 or 3 minutes).

More common of the past 4 years were the 3pm cigarettes. Here's what they were like. At around 3pm, the stress of withdrawal (from 12 hours, or from a day or 2) would call up the memory of that cigarette (or a one or two others like it). I'd mentally give in, and DECIDE to go out and purchase more toxic chemicals to put into my body. Almost the moment I made the DECISION, I began to develop thick mucous in the back of my throat. To the point where I would gag, choke and cough. It was a physical response worthy of Pavlov's dogs. The knowledge that nicotine was mere minutes away caused the most severe withdrawals to hit like a sledgehammer. Like how you always have to go to the toilet 10 times worse once you're standing at the door fumbling with your keys.

I'd rush to the car, and hack and choke my way the 1 mile or so to the local liquor store. A couple of times I gagged so hard that I actually threw up on myself, and had to run back in the house and change shirts before turning around and rushing to the store.

I'd light up as soon as I got back in the car, and drive a couple of blocks to stop and get a fix while parked. Early on, 1 cigarette would be enough to get me past the gagging. Eventually, it got to be 3. After suffering withdrawal for 12 to 48 hours, I would sit in a car CHAIN SMOKING cigarettes that tasted absolutely vile, hacking and gagging, waiting to get through the acute symptoms. People would stare at me coughing and inhaling. I'd smoke several others during the afternoon and evening, usually getting back to "comfortable" nicotine levels about an hour after the first cigarette, and smoking one or two an hour until bed. Each one I had after that would remind me of what a sorry individual I'd become, and rather than bringing relaxation and release, would make me feel less energetic, more moody and more depressed.

By the next afternoon or night, when I'd finished the rest of the pack, I was usually either resigned (mid-week, gotta make it to the weekend to try again) or resolved (another quit). Of the 20 cigarettes I'd gagged down, maybe 2 had not caused me immediate emotional, psychological, or physical discomfort of one degree or another. My threshhold of what I considered a GOOD cigarette had come to this. If it fed my addiction, and wasn't too miserable, it was a good one (of course, that's not how I spoke to myself at the time).

The number of "good" ones would be higher if I'd been drinking -- it's easier to forget how much of an addict you are when your numb. Hence, when I'd smoke more, I'd sometimes drink more to drown out the voice that was yelling "ADDICT!" There's a twist I don't hear many talk about -- drinking to cope with nicotine addiction. It's funny how much less inclined I've been to want a drink since I stopped smoking.

I guess what caught me about this post was the line about that ONE GOOD cigarette being from 2, 3, 5 or 10 years ago. It is SO TRUE! That ONE cigarette, truly enjoyed nearly 3 years ago for the space of 2 minutes, has led directly to hours/days/weeks of wretched emotional and physical misery. I guess it wasn't that good after all.


6:27 AM - Nov 25, 2005#3

Believe me, Joe, you've got every right on Earth to not allow the stench of cigarette smoke to permeate your personal property. My response when such a question comes up sounds a lot like a Dr. Seuss book: "Not in my house, not in my car...". Fortunately, it doesn't come up often.

When my boyfriend and I were negotiating our moving-in agreement, he casually mentioned that when we moved to our next house (the one we're in now) he would like his own smoking space. I replied, "Sure, you can have your own smoking space--OUTSIDE!" He wasn't a happy camper, but the interior of our house remains smoke-free. He's really a logical sort of guy, so I'm sure before long smoking will be an illogical action. I only hope the day comes soon.

325 days

JoeJFree Gold

10:49 PM - Dec 21, 2006#4

I'm revising and reposting a message I'd written about a year ago.
So last night I went to play basketball and picked up my friend Jim. Jim and I are regular golfing buddies, our kids are about the same age, we've vacationed together. We've both been smokers. He still is, I am not. We've been friends for almost 10 years. We played B-Ball on Tuesday's at 8 o'clock for five or six years. I always pick him up as his house is on the way. I've not been able to play ball for the last few years due to health problems which are now in large part resolved - some due to quitting smoking, some not.
On the way to the gym about 10 minuetes away we always used to smoke a cig. And even after breathing hard and coughing and being short of breath we'd smoke one on the way home.
One time we arrived at the gym and the custodian says to us as we walk by "Hey you fellas must be smokers". We both were sort of embarassed but said "yeah, isn't that dumb smoking before we play basketball for a couple of hours" Afterwards, when we handed in our 'donations' for court time the older gentleman came back to pick up the rent. He said to us - "you fellas are young and in good health. you ought to quit smoking if you want to stay that way. I had a lung removed 8 months ago and my life is forever changed, you can't do alot of things when you only have one lung. I'm lucky to be alive."
That chance encounter stuck with me and become just one more thorn of reason that would occasionally give me a poke as I lit up another cig - not because I wanted to but because I had to. Indeed, that was the fact of 90% or more of them.
So last night my buddy Jim gets in my car to go play basketball for the first time since I got rid of cigarettes for good. Within 100 yards of his house he's looking for the window switch (which I had turned off ) and asks if it's OK to smoke in my car. (I got this car just after I quit to replace one my daughter totalled on the second weekend of my nicotine free journey back to me. That is a good story on its own. NOBODY smokes in this car, I got it used at an auction and one of the reasons I bought it was it was owned by a non-Smoker, believe me it's easy to tell) So what do I do, I say "That's OK, it doesn't bother me". And on our way home the same thing.
Well you know what, it bothered me. The smoke or the act of him smoking didn't bother me. What bothered was me that I did not tell him that he was HAVING to ask to smoke in my clean-smelling car cause he had to, not because he wanted to. That he was asking to do so because he HAS TO FEED HIS ADDICTION.
Jim is in great shape, you would never guess he is a smoker, his insides would tell a different story. I don't want to write a post like this one ( Dec 2 was five years... ) about my friend Jim. I really want to help him see the truth. I just wish he could step inside my brain and body for a day & see how much better life is on this side of the bars, livin free naturally by simply committing to stay in control by just Never Taking Another Puff.
JoeJ - a nicotine addict for life yet now a grateful and comfortable ex-smoker for over 700 days.
And all ya gotta do is Live Naturally
& N T A P!
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 3:59 AM - Oct 21, 2009, edited 1 time in total.