Jimmy Strobl

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Quit smoking!

I recently joined a conversation http://www.ted.com/conversations/4515/full_information_disclosure_on.html about rating cigarettes and as always we went off-topic.

I'm a former smoker, I used to smoke 1-2 packs/day for almost 10 years but that was almost three years ago now...
Please, share your thoughts on smoking: Why do you do it, what are the up and down sides? Have you tried to quit? Are you as me a former smoker and wish to share your story on how you managed to quit?'

All entries are welcome!

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    Jul 28 2011: In my opinion, when one is aware of all the fallacies that lay behind the actual act of smoking and quitting smoking, it's much easier to stop.
    I beg to differ with Muhammad Afif Idris, I have made such change, it takes one split of a second to chose to stop harming yourself and take action. That doesn't mean it's easy but it's doable. And I know many others who have made such change and after many years, continue to be non-smokers.
    Smoking is an addiction not a habit. Nicotine stays in the body for about two weeks, after that two week period, the addiction is psychological.
    I find the anti-smoking campaigns which promote brutal messages and brutal images of the effects of smoking rather harmful; in my opinion they only accentuate smoker's anxiety, guilt and worry which makes them want to smoke more. Instead I would promote education, have doctors, farmacists, etc. inform people about the fallacies, take out of the market all the useless and harmful substitutes for nicotine such as patches and gum, give people the right information and simply display messages of encouragement in cigarette packs and advertisements.
    People already know how harmful tobacco is, what people need is encouragement and support.

    To those of you considering quitting smoking or who already are in the process of stopping what I'd say to you is: Go ahead, don't beat yourself up if you only manage to stop for a few days, you already did very well stopping for so long, keep trying and remember you're not giving anything up, smoking is no pleasure, you're stopping harming yourself, you're aiming for better health, better economy, better quality of life.

    All the best.
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        Jul 30 2011: Hi Griffin,

        I have great respect for your opnion and experience but again, I beg to differ, the patches or any other substitute which, by the way, cost as much as cigarette packs, can never remove the psychological addiction. They might numb it for a while, however, the smoker's misery and depression, caused by the belief that they are being deprived of a pleasure or crutch, is not removed. It won't be long before the smoker on patches falls back in the smoking trap and if he/she doesn't, it takes a great deal of painful willpower.
        And if I'm not wrong, you tried the patches, they worked for three months, and now you're back smoking, am I right? It's hell for the smoker who wants to stop smoking to rely on will power, and I'm speaking from my own experience here, it's a really painful way to go.
        I highly recommend you check Allen Carr's website. http://allencarr.com/36/the-allen-carr-method
        I am really not one to read this kind of self-help literature, however when a friend of mine shared with me what he had learned by reading his book, I didn't even have to read the book. It was so clear to me and, I'm proud to say, It's been more than six years since I stopped smoking and I do not miss it at all, never had withdrawal pangs either.

        Griffin I sincerely wish you all the best and, by all means, whatever works for you, use it, but please consider that there are other far more easy and pleasant ways to stop smoking.

        All the best
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        Aug 3 2011: I'm not familiar with Earl Shoop's method. I've googled him but only found information on his location. What does the method consist of?

        I think you might be misinterpreting what I meant when I said it takes a split of a second to choose to stop harming yourself. Making such decision doesn't imply that the process of stopping smoking is spontaneous(although it may be for some), you just have to want to do it. Sometimes we get drawn back by our lack of confidence in ourselves or the uncertainty of how to go about things and decide we are not ready. In my most humble opinion, that is pure fear and it has very much to do with one of the fallacies of quitting smoking: believing one is giving up something, that one has to sacrifice a pleasure to attain good health. There is no such thing as being ready, ready for what? You either want to do it or not. It's only normal you don't feel ready, you are addicted still. Regardless of whatever may be going on in one's life, stopping smoking can only improve one's situation. Continuing with the addiction increases any stress one may be suffering.

        For me, understanding my behavioural patterns when smoking, completely transformed my life. I gained so much confidence in myself by identifying those patterns and overcoming them. Because the so called crutch can come not only in the form of an addiction but also an abusive relationship, bad diet, etc.

        Griffin, I'm committed that you stop smoking and if I can contribute in some way, even if it's just by showing that I care for a complete stranger's health, then so be it. I actually borrowed Allen Carr's book the other day, and read it in order to be more familiar with what I was actually recommending people to read.
        It's an awesome book, easy to read and you can smoke while reading it, in fact, it's advisable that you do(if you are a smoker), if that's any incentive.http://www.amazon.co.uk/Allen-Carrs-Easy-Stop-Smoking/dp/014103940X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312359509&sr=1-1
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      Jul 27 2011: Good luck to you Griffin! quit smoking and get a healthier lifestyle!
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          Jul 27 2011: so....can i get a cig?
        • Aug 15 2011: so now, when someone asks you for a cig- without responding ask if they ever thought about or tried quitting. every person I have ever asked that question tells me with such disgust of the habit that they are hoping to, have tried, will try

          I can only imagine how much psychologically that could help someone like you who is in the midst of quitting. . .
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        Jul 28 2011: Kate, i'm sure Griffin would need to take some time to get used to it. A change like this cannot be done drastically. By the way, I would like to wish you all the best Griffin. Hoping more people would get awareness like you.
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    Aug 17 2011: I started smoking at a very young age, because of peer pressure. Then - because of a sympathic form of social pressure (a friend's spouse got pregnant and quit smoking) I took that as a signal to quit, too. Just for fun to see if I could ... March 5th is my annual anniversary of quitting my smoking and next year it's the 30th anniversary! I will celebrate it with ...believe it or not ... with a cigar! Just because I can!
    I firmly believe that everybody can quit the smoking habit - it's a matter of priorities and 'personal will' - but it's initially not easy. Have fun!
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    Jul 28 2011: I quit more than 30 years ago. Perhaps i can share something helpful to those who also want to get control of their lives.

    I used to joke about how easy it is to quit: "I've done it... hundreds of times."

    There were several factors in quitting:

    Pleasure! Since we associate pleasure with both the nicotine rush and the relaxing "break," I made a conscious effort to divorce the experience of smoking from these. Having seen pictures of healthy pink lung tissue alongside blackened unhealthy lung remains... Visualizing black bits of tar and soot invading my fairly healthy lungs with each inhale helped to dilute any pleasurable aspect.

    Money! (This will not help if you are getting your fix for free.) Each time one buys tobacco, one should put an equal amount in savings for a great family vacation... or funeral, if you're past the point of no return. Periodically, tally the money in savings and consider... there could be twice as much put aside, if it had not been spent on the evil weed.

    Control over your own life! Who is in charge? You? Or a set of unthinking behavior patterns? Some take this to the max and quit "cold turkey." They never light up another smoke. (At least, that's what they say.) Most of us find it easier to "taper off." That's what I did, with the help of another pattern: procrastination. Each time that I found myself about to light up, I stopped and recalled that the last time I smoked was not that long ago... I put it away, vowing that I would force myself to smoke it, the next time I reached for it. (Then, I smoked it in disgust and horror - no fun allowed.)
    My body got used to having the drug less and less frequently, as I procrastinated every other cigarette.
    In a sense, it was like quitting over and over... less and less...

    I hope this helps someone feel the power of taking charge.
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    Aug 17 2011: I saw the topic and wanted to share something I realized is true -at least for me. It's kind of funny, for the context and the person who taught me that (a friend of mine who is a very persistent ex-smoker). It is also funny because I find it personally funny in Porguese, btw/LOL.
    PS: It works as a "mantra" somehow, because I'm often really into smoking a cigarrete and I repeat this sentence (followed by a sip in the water bottle):
    "The cigarrete pretends to be my friend, but he's actually my enemy!" (Water!)
    or in Portuguese:
    "O cigarro finge que é meu amigo, mas na verdade ele é meu inimigo!"

    This might sound really silly, but if it doesn't Always prevent me from smoking, it sure helps me out and may make sense (who knows?). I'm personally happy my friend introduced me the tip!
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    Aug 3 2011: I quit when I realized that it was a smart thing to do.

    We were having children, I was feeling it's effects more and more, it was getting expensive, there was a groundswell of educational messages that were flooding the media, etc. etc. and I just made the decision one day to change habits. I just stopped. I immediately liked the "new me" even though it was rough in the short-term. I would never go back to smoking, even if it was found not to be a bad thing for you.

    I think what someone needs to do is kick into "delayed gratification mode" - don't worry about the fact that you will likely be miserable for a month or so - what's a month? Nothing! You have to be able to visualize what you will become for the rest of your life: a non-smoker. And if that's really what you want to be, you will sacrifice the short term misery for the long-term benefit.

    On a side note, knowing how difficult it is to quit (did I mention that I "tried" to quit dozens of times before I actually did?) President Obama quit smoking. I cannot believe he was able to do that AND manage the country!!! I remember hearing that he was in the process of quiting and thought to myself "how could he possiblly do that and be president at the same time?" But he did it. It's one of those things about him that convinces me that he is an extraordinary man.
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    Jul 30 2011: Check WHO's info on tobacco! http://www.who.int/tobacco/en/
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      Jul 31 2011: Hi Jimmy,

      I read through the brochure and it's very interesting, although I still have my reservations about the advertising of the effects of tabacco, nontheless if it makes a big enough impact on some people to the point they never want to smoke again, that can never be bad, it's just that, for me, it's a very negative way to approach the issue, I'd sooner chose other approaches.

      Great conversation, by the way. It has been a great reminder of how much I enjoy my freedom from such an addiction and the positive impact it has had in my everyday life.

      Thank you.
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      Jul 27 2011: Kate! You reminded my of exactly why I have NEVER been tempted to smoke. As a child of about 6, I was playing with my mother's cigarette in the ashtray. My father told me to try it. I pretended to take a puff and he removed the cigarette from my hand and said 'No like this' and proceeded to take a drag deep into his lungs (I had never seen him smoke but learned later that he was a former smoker). I emulated him and was promptly and totally sick. While I do not recommend this approach and did not use it with my own children (now I am wondering if my Dad had something though) it certainly worked to keep me from cigarettes for a life time. I do not even date smokers.
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      Jul 29 2011: Kate, you are a dear person. I hope that, if you have truly bad lungs, you consider the possibility that factors other than second hand smoke could be at play. Many of us former first hand smoke inhalers have recovered healthy lungs. If you have removed yourself from smoky rooms, etc., and have not recovered, please investigate the possibility that some other (treatable) cause may be to blame.

      "Many would have gained wisdom (or truth) but, they thought they already had."
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          Jul 30 2011: Kate, I'm so sorry that so many are so thoughtless of others; sorry it has been so hard on you. Has it been long, since your last regular exposure? Perhaps, with time, you can recover, more fully. I hope so.
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    Aug 17 2011: Especially Newports, but all cigarettes prove more harm than good. However if it prevents you from drinking, by all means smoke a cigarette.
  • Aug 15 2011: can I share even though I have never been a smoker, because I have had my vices that I have battled

    1)avoid fantasizing about the 'vice'
    literally do not allow yourself to use your vice in as a comfort and don't talk about how good a cigarette would be right now

    2)find a new habit- I recommend a healthy one
    my new habit, a green food smoothie daily- a healthy gut can give you what I call clean energy (no ups or downs, thanks to the serotonin and other hormones benefited from a healthy gut)
    I literally went back to my bad habit when my blender broke in the first few weeks of my progress

    3)remember why you don't like it
    this kind of goes along with not fantasizing about it

    4)Anais Nin wrote "and the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom"
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    Jul 30 2011: I'd just like to say that there are some wonderful viewpoints and stories here, keep them coming!
    We're changing lives!
  • Jul 30 2011: mind over matter is in my opinion the best way forward you have to want to do something
  • Jul 30 2011: is it my imagination? more females than males now smoke?
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    Jul 27 2011: Hi Jimmy
    I think ,is so hard to quit for someone who is addict.
    the first step is to change culture...and after cultural efforts ,
    maybe we should change laws for more press to use tobacco.
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    Jul 27 2011: Having had several good friends and a grandfather that battled with smoking, I'm genuinely curious if anyone has attempted to use an interactive web tool like ChangeAnything.com.

    As a minor addict I found I had to identify my crucial moments (When I was just getting home from work, bored late at night, or stressed) and a..
    vital behavior coupled with social structure to counteract those moments (Paying up $5 to a buddy if I gave in, setting a reminder on my phone to go to bed, making sure I was with a friend who isn't an addict as soon as I started getting a craving, etc.)
    I've been using the book and the site (You can try it by using the coupon code "Workit04")
    but I'd be really curious to see what others think of it.
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    Jul 27 2011: I hope that I am not out of place here as a person who never smoked but I want to share a story. One of the saddest things in my life is that when I got cancer after a lifetime of not smoking or drinking- my kids reacted with distress and decided that there was no point in living so 'cleanly'. (Poor logic of course but they were teens). They started to smoke. Now some of them are struggling mightily to quit.
    I have deep compassion for them in their struggle with this addiciton. For anyone struggling to quit: I wish you the very best and a truck load of tenacity. Keep trying until you succeed. (PS We all need your contribution to the planet what ever it might be!)
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    Jul 27 2011: My father used to be a smoker but since he got married to my mom, he quit smoking. Maybe all countries should put some really brutal images on the cigarettes packages in order to scare the smokers just like what Malaysia did...

    http://teamslumber.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/gambar-kotak-rokok-imej-lebih-ngeri-tahun-depan.jpg
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      Jul 27 2011: Obviously this doesn't work at all! this doesn't affect the smokers even one bit! Being in Malaysia myself,I've watched numerous people smoking despite seeing such horrible images on the cigarette packet.What we need to do is to follow Canada's nationwide ban on smoking.It is done in all of Canada's territories and I'm sure that individuals caught smoking in public would be considered as an offence.Here's a little info regarding smoking bans around the world.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_smoking_bans
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        Jul 27 2011: Dear Muhammad,

        You cannot say that the action taken by the government does not work at all because maybe there are too many smokers in Malaysia we didn't see those who did quit. Maybe the government should stop all the stores from selling cigarettes.
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          Jul 27 2011: Basically it didn't work because the government FAILED to eradicate the act of smoking in public areas.As much people who quit smoking,larger are the numbers of people who started to incorporate smoking in their daily lifestyles.We have the infrastructure to follow what developed countries are doing to combat smoking in public areas.

          Quick research : Malacca has recently ruled out that smoking in public areas are considered as an offence.

          The whole of Malaysia needs to take Malacca as a lead if we seriously want to create a healthy environment for Malaysians.Clearly, citizens of this country need this.
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        Jul 27 2011: That is why the government need to use their power to stop every store in Malaysia from selling cigarettes and making it illegal. The government just does not use their power wisely. It's obviously through law enforcement
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          Jul 27 2011: The law enforcement part,I agree but to make it illegal to sell cigarettes I don't agree.The problem in Malaysia is about people smoking IN PUBLIC not people smoking.What Malaysia needs is a ban on smoking in public areas.Thus, the law enforcement part can be executed properly. But that doesn't mean that we are denying the rights of the people to smoke.You have to know the differences between both.Then can we discuss this further and with better understanding regarding this issue.

          P/S : Can you call me Muhammad? I prefer Muhammad because it sounds so much better than Aizat ;)
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        Jul 27 2011: Well, maybe by not making people smoking in public is really achievable but I think it would be greater if it is made illegal as it could also save our love ones. But of course every big steps starts with little ones. :)
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          Jul 27 2011: Indeed, ban on smoking in public places is achievable.However,I still don't find it logic/relevant to make the whole cigarette industry illegal.You know what they say, a small step for man is a giant leap for mankind.
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        Jul 27 2011: In my opinion, that is one of the problem of todays people. They stopped as soon as a small things is done while they can create a bigger impact. And nothing is impossible as long there are effort, we cannot only think, but we must also take action in order to look at the result. Maybe we think something is impossible but actually it can be achieved. Like I said before, nothing is impossible.
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          Jul 28 2011: Indeed it can happen.However, have you tried to think of the consequences of your suggestion yet? It does sound undoubtedly absurd!We must start slowly first.That's the best way to create the biggest impact.Do you think people would just stop smoking if it was made illegal? Ever heard of the Firecracker Case back at home? More of a hindrance than a help I think.
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        Jul 28 2011: That's what I actually meant about 'why stop?'. Actually what i'm really trying to say here is after the government has successfully make people stop smoking in the public area, they should start trying to making cigarette illegal. Just like what I said before that after doing small steps, we need to try to do something bigger for a greater impact.
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    Jul 27 2011: Hi, I'm a non-smoker but I am willing to share with you my view about smokers and smoking.Smokers usually smoke in public.They give out what is called as secondary smoke.This secondary smoke is worse than the primary one.The secondary smoke affects non-smokers around the smoker.In my case, whenever I meet a smoking smoker, I would usually get my asthma attacks immediately (and that was before I could fled that place!).Therefore, my conclusion would be, smoking kills everyone whether directly or indirectly.In fact, in my opinion, lighting a cigarette would be like lighting your own money!
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        Jul 27 2011: Better if you could stop,friend.If you do that, you would be benefiting yourself and everyone around you.Have a nice day!
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        Jul 27 2011: @griffin tucker
        As someone who is badly allergic to tobacco I sincerely appreciate individuals such as yourself. Thank you for being considerate!