How to Quit Smoking… Essential Reading for Non-Smokers
(Excerpts from Dr. Max’s book: Younger Every Day)
“All the resources we need are in the mind.”
If you are among the millions of teenagers who started smoking because they wanted to look ‘cool’ and feel older, you got your wish and may be more than you bargained for. Nothing ages your health and your appearance more than smoking. Even if you are not a smoker you should read this chapter so that you understand more about the dangers of second-hand smoking and about how to help people quit.
Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” Maybe you’ve tried to quit too. Why is quitting and staying off cigarettes so hard for so many people? And how can you quit without driving yourself and people around you crazy?
The legend of Winston Churchill who smoked and drank heavily and still survived to the age of 90 in an alert state is not true. He suffered two strokes that impaired his judgment and reasoning. Sadly, eighty percent of smokers who quit do so without being in any program – and studies show that 95 percent of these self-reliant quitters fail and go right back to smoking.
It’s the same rate of recidivism as with heroin. With a 95 percent chance of failure without a program, you may wish to consider getting some help this time around. The battle against smoking is harder to win when fought alone!
My success rate with patients who want to quit is about 60 per cent.
If you want to improve your chances of quitting by ten-fold, read the next ten pages. The vast majority of my patients report that quitting when using my program was a lot easier than they had anticipated.
People who are the most successful at living life typically get help and plenty of it. For example, they might read up on how to prevent illness and go to the doctor when sick. In business, a businessperson will get a lawyer to write contracts, a marketing firm to do the marketing, an ad agency to create the ads, an accountant to do the accounting – and so on. Ultimately, those who are successful in life are not afraid to outsource and get assistance from the specialists when required. Real men ask for directions! The same applies for saying goodbye forever to cigarettes. For once in your life, be a quitter and be proud of it.
For those who have repeatedly failed at quitting in the past, it’s comforting to learn that most smokers actually fail several times before stopping successfully. Don’t beat yourself up about it, your past failures are not proof that you are unable to quit. Instead, they are part of the normal itinerary toward becoming a permanent nonsmoker.
For many, every failure to quit smoking causes a loss of faith in their ability to do so. Therefore, each time you try, it gets harder and harder to motivate yourself to set a date for the next attempt. The risk is that you begin to feel that all efforts are hopeless.
My mission here is to restore your faith in yourself. You can quit. Even if you’ve failed several times in the past, understand that this is normal. You’re not alone.
In analyzing the motivations behind this dangerous social addiction, when asked people smoke, some might have said, “I just like to smoke!” or “It’s my choice to smoke.” In reality, real choice is not part of the pattern.
Tobacco companies have promoted the idea that smoking is a matter of personal choice. As I see it, there really isn’t as much choice as they have suggested to their customers.
Ask yourself honestly: Am I addicted to tobacco? Am I truly exercising free will when I light up?
By telling smokers that smoking is a personal choice, the tobacco industry has helped to keep its customers in denial about the true extent of their addiction.
If smoking is a choice, then what’s the rush to quit? The tobacco companies have used this spin to keep millions of customers buying their deadly products.
The most important step to take is the first step – admit you have an addiction.
Admitting that you’re smoking more out of addiction than choice will help motivate you to proceed to the next steps – taking control of yourself and becoming a nonsmoker.
This admission will further serve you by helping you stay smoke-free later. In the months and years after you quit, when temptations to smoke occasionally overpower you – and they will – remind yourself, “I have an addiction and I’m powerless over tobacco.” Saying this to yourself in overwhelming moments of temptations will give you the strength to say no to ‘just one’ cigarette.
Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is highly addictive – as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Over time, the body becomes physically and psychologically dependent on Nicotine. Studies have shown that smokers must overcome both of these to be successful at quitting and staying cigarette-free forever.
When smoke is inhaled, nicotine is carried deep into the lungs, where it is absorbed within ten seconds into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body. Nicotine adversely affects many parts, including the heart and blood vessels, hormonal system, metabolism and brain. Absorbed throughout, Nicotine can be found both in breast milk and in cervix mucous secretions of smokers. During pregnancy, nicotine freely crosses the placenta and has been found in amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants. Highly toxic, only 60 mg of pure nicotine (contained in two packs of cigarettes) placed on a person’s tongue would kill within minutes.
What’s the big deal about cigarettes anyway?
Nicotine produces pleasurable feelings that make the smoker want to smoke more. An unusual drug, in the morning Nicotine works as a stimulant, whilst in the evening as a relaxant. It also acts as a depressant by interfering with the flow of information between nerve cells. As the nervous system adapts to Nicotine, smokers tend to increase the number of cigarettes they smoke, hence the amount of Nicotine in their blood. After a while, the smoker develops a tolerance to the drug, which leads to an increase in smoking over time. Eventually, the smoker reaches a certain nicotine level within and then smokes to maintain this degree. Existing within the sphere of a series of mini-withdrawal crisis, the smoker only feels normal or relaxed and able to concentrate when a cigarette is lit. Smoking is like wearing very tight shoes all day just to experience the joy or relief of removing them! When you quit you will feel the pleasure of being relaxed and focused all the time in the same way as nonsmokers.
If you light another cigarette, the Nicotine is replaced and the empty, insecure feeling immediately disappears. It’s the feeling that smokers describe as a satisfaction or pleasure.
When smokers try to cut back or quit, the absence of Nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is both physical and psychological. Physically, the body is reacting to the absence of Nicotine in the bloodstream. Psychologically, the smoker is faced with giving up a habit, which results in a major change in behavior. Both must be dealt with firmly if quitting is to be successful.
Withdrawal symptoms can include any of the following:
Feelings of frustration and anger
Increased coughing in the first three days
Often, these uncomfortable symptoms lead the smoker to resume smoking cigarettes in order to boost blood levels of Nicotine back to a level where symptoms recede.
If a person has smoked regularly for a few weeks or longer and abruptly stops using tobacco or greatly reduces the amount smoked, withdrawal symptoms will occur. Symptoms usually start within a few hours of the last cigarette and peak about two to three days later. These symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks.
For hardened smokers, the addiction is about half mental, half physical. Studies show that the ratio varies with each individual. The physical portion of the addiction is to Nicotine. As to the mental or psychological aspect, a smoker’s conscious mind says, ‘I will stop smoking – no problem.’ But the unconscious mind has been conditioned for years into believing that cigarettes give pleasure and that’s all it can focus on. The unconscious mind says, ‘Give me a cigarette – now!’ It only recognizes what feels good. It demands a cigarette, without regard to right or wrong ignoring the conscious mind’s intentions.
By using a combination of Nicotine replacement products to deal with physical Nicotine addiction and the non Nicotine prescription FDA approved drug Champix for the mental addiction, the withdrawal symptoms can be mild. The products should be used along with the psychological preparation and relaxation techniques that we shall present in this chapter.
Common rationalizations used by smokers.
I’m under a lot of stress and smoking relaxes me. Naturally you will feel more relaxed when you give your body a substance it’s come to depend on. But Nicotine really is a stimulant – it raises your heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline level. Most ex-smokers feel much less nervous just a few weeks after quitting. Also, most smokers are tenser than non-smokers.
Smoking enables me to concentrate. During the withdrawal period you will be tenser and it is harder to focus, but in the long run, smoking actually deprives your brain of oxygen.
I’ve already cut down. Cutting down is a good first step, but there’s a big difference in the benefits to you between smoking a little and not smoking at all. Besides, smokers who cut back often inhale more often and more deeply – negating many of the benefits of cutting back. After you’ve cut back to about seven cigarettes a day, it’s time to set a quit date.
I smoke only safe, low-tar cigarettes. These cigarettes still harm. Carcinogenic substances and many smokers who use them inhale more often and more deeply to maintain their Nicotine intake. Also, the percentage of carbon monoxide intake often increases with a switch to low-tar cigarettes.
It’s too hard to quit. I don’t have the willpower. Quitting cigarettes is hard, but it’s not impossible. More than 25 million people quit every year. It’s important for you to remember that many have had to try more than once – and try more than one method – before they became ex-smokers, but they have done it and so can you.
I’m worried about gaining weight. Many people who’re considering quitting are acutely concerned about gaining weight. Most smokers who gain more than three to six kilos are eating more. Major weight gain (12Kg) occurs in 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women who quit smoking. Gaining weight isn’t inevitable; there are certain things you can do to help keep your weight stable. If you’re concerned about gaining weight, keep these points in mind:
Quitting doesn’t mean you’ll automatically gain weight. When people gain, most of the time it’s because they eat more once they have quit.
The benefits of giving up cigarettes far outweigh the drawbacks of adding a few extra kilos. Smoking ads the equivalent of 40kg of extra burden to the heart. You’d have to gain a very large amount of weight to offset the many substantial health benefits that a normal smoker gains by quitting.
Watch what you eat!
Plan menus carefully and count calories. Don’t try to lose weight – just try to maintain your pre-quitting weight. Have low-calorie foods on hand for nibbling such as celery, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms, lentil soup, air-popped popcorn without butter, apples and carrots. Chew a sugarless gum. Get back to exercise. Eat lightly in the evening so that you wake up hungry and not skip breakfast. Drink lots of water and avoid juices, fizzy drinks and alcohol.
I don’t know what to do with my hands. That’s a common complaint. You can keep your hands busy in other ways – it’s just a matter of getting used to the change, of not holding a cigarette. Try holding something else, such as a pencil, paper clip, or marble. Practice simply keeping your hands clasped together. If you’re at home, think of all the things you wish you had time to do, make a list and consult it for alternatives to smoking whenever your hands feel restless. Put a rubber band around your wrist so you have something to do with your fingers besides munching on M&M’s.
In his book ‘The Art of War’, Sun Tzu wrote hundreds of years ago that battles are won before they are ever fought. Information and intelligence are gathered, domestic and international opinion is prepared, United Nations’ resolutions are passed, economic blockades are enforced, psychological warfare is started, troops are positioned and internal opposition in the targeted country is supported, with a date fixed as the last detail of an established process. In the same way, quitting smoking is a battle that can be won with proper planning.
Here are the steps you need to take:
The preparation phase
The quitting phase
The maintenance phase
The Preparation Phase:
- Information and intelligence gathering. You need to know that to win this war, help is needed from your physician, family and friends. Most importantly, know that it’s fundamental to take charge of your own health by reading more about how to maximize your chances of success. Find a good quit smoking program.
- The psychological warfare. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but very few appreciate how bad smoking really is. Part of quitting, is to get angry at the cigarette instead of thinking of it as your best friend. You should be able to recite by heart the bad effects of smoking on your health and on your family.
Forty percent of cancers are caused by smoking. Smoking is at the root of 21 different cancers.
Lung cancer accounts for one third of all cancer-related deaths. By the time a chest X ray shows lung cancer, it has been present for at least five years and contains a billion cancer cells. Breast cancer is tripled with smoking, so is bladder and prostate cancer. With 4800 different chemicals per cigarette, 60 of them are known to cause cancer. Cigarettes cause cardiac disease, high blood pressure as well as stroke. They can kill you if you are lucky or worse, can put you in a wheelchair indefinitely.
What most people do not appreciate is that smokers may or may not get cancer or heart disease but every heavy smoker destroys his/her lungs (emphysema). This is the third most common killer in USA. This in turn destroys the person’s quality of life so that the ability to exercise or even climb stairs becomes impossible. In addition, the ‘usual’ morning smoker’s cough is a sign of chronic bronchitis – infection of the bronchi. I ask my patients to do a simple breathing test that measures their lung function before they enroll in my ‘quit smoking’ program. After two months of quitting, their score improves by an average of thirty percent. Clearly, smoking is also a major factor behind asthma and allergies. Also, smoking aggravates stomach ulcers and heartburn as it increases gastric acidity.
Another little known fact is that the majority of people above 80 years old lose a lot of their sight due to the degeneration of the retina. They also get Alzheimer’s where by they do not even recognize their own name or their kids. The likelihood of both terrible conditions is doubled when you smoke. When you get older your height shrinks and you get a hump on your back due to painless fractures of your spine caused by osteoporosis. The risk of fractures and osteoporosis is significantly increased with smoking.
Blood clots in the legs and poor wound healing after surgery particularly affect smokers. Detrimental to physical looks, smoking robs you of your beauty not only by staining teeth and nails. It also takes its toll on the complexion by decreasing blood circulation to your skin. This decrease damages the elastin fibers creating sagging not only of your neck and face, but also of your abdomen, breast, thighs and rear.
Smokers have a higher incidence of impotence and have a decrease in their sexual performance. They are in general, more stressed out than non-smokers.
The Michigan addiction research center revealed in 2005 that 87 percent of alcoholics smoke cigarettes, compared to less than thirty percent of the general population. While researchers showed that improved mental functioning is one of the immediate effects of Nicotine exposure, chronic smoking, however, had the opposite effect. Smoking predicted poorer performance on verbal and visual-spatial reasoning and lowered the IQ even more than chronic alcohol abuse.
Anathema to vitality and longevity, cigarettes cause accelerated aging. Chronological age refers to how old you are on paper while, biological or ‘real age’ refers to how truly old or young your heart, bones, muscles, joint, brain, liver, kidneys and immune system are. There can be a 27-year difference between the two numbers. The first and most effective anti-aging step is to quit smoking. When you quit smoking you start growing younger every year for ten years to come.
Smoking parents, health professionals and teachers have a bad influence on kids. Smoking can be the first gate to alcohol and drug abuse as the child accepts that it is OK to harm your body instead of respecting this amazing and complex machine.
Passive smoking can be very dangerous to your family as the smoke coming out from the unfiltered cigarette end is eighty percent more harmful than the filtered one that the smoker inhales. For every cigarette that the smoker smokes, you are inhaling a third of it yourself. This can increase asthma, respiratory and ear infections and can affect the unborn child.
In terms of productivity, smokers waste a lot of time consumed in the act of smoking and taking unproductive brakes.
Thankfully, smoking is becoming less socially acceptable now than it was in the past. While decisions may not be based entirely on social acceptance, most workplaces have some type of smoking restrictions. Some employers prefer to hire nonsmokers too.
Landlords, also, may choose not to rent to smokers since maintenance costs and insurance rates rise when smokers occupy buildings.
For all you smokers out there, friends may increasingly ask you not to smoke in their houses or cars. Public buildings, concerts and even sporting events are largely smoke-free nowadays. More and more communities are restricting smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars. Like it or not, finding a place to smoke can be a hassle. Smokers may find their opportunities for dating or romantic involvement, including marriage, are largely limited to only other smokers, who make up only about one fourth of the population.
Smoking is usually a precursor to illicit drugs. In the Gulf countries, 40% of high school students are smokers with an alarming increase in women who smoke. It is still on the rise despite governments’ efforts to curb it, even though it is really declining in the Western world. Most parents are not even aware their kids are smoking. Why wouldn’t they smoke when their teachers are smoking, their parents are smoking, doctors are smoking, movie stars are smoking and a pack of cigarettes is five times cheaper than it is in the US or UK?
However, smoking is expensive with not just the thousands of dollars wasted buying cigarettes but more importantly, the cost paid to treat the major health problems that invariably affect the smoker later on added to the cost of lost earnings due to the frequent sicknesses reported by smokers – or worse their early retirement due to disability. Shisha is also everywhere.
Having the aforementioned list present in your head helps you decide to seek help, take action and view the cigarette as the enemy camouflaging itself as a friend that is a source of pleasure and calm.
- Setting the date. There is no convenient date to quit smoking. Seventy percent of smokers would love to quit but are afraid of gaining weight or going through the pain of withdrawals or are afraid of failure. Do not postpone quitting until you have less stress. There is always an excuse to postpone the decision. The best time is usually two to three weeks from the time you finish reading this chapter, when you should be mentally ready to quit. If you smoke less at home then choose the quitting date on a weekend or vacation. If you smoke less at work then chose the beginning of the working week. Announce to all the people you know the magic date and ask them for their support. If your spouse is a smoker, it is essential that you quit together.
- Two weeks before the date you have set up for quitting, you should:
Switch brands. Switch to a brand you do not like. Switching increases your success rate. A common strategy is to switch from Menthol-flavored to non-menthol flavored or vice versa. Remember, you will be quitting soon. You want to sever this love-hate relationship gradually.
Huff don’t puff. We all know that exercise is good for us. Why then do most of us not exercise? Most smokers suffer from a state of low energy and feel older than their age. Exercise is an essential tool to deal with the temporary increase in stress or depression of the first two to four weeks after quitting. Quitters who exercise four hours a week are thirty percent more likely to succeed than those who do not exercise. Exercise releases Dopamine a substance that gives us a natural high, the same way Nicotine does.
Smoking speeds up metabolism by 100 calories per day. This translates into four kg per year. You can get the equivalent calories burning benefits by lifting weights to build muscle. Every kilo of muscle burns 100 calories per day (the equivalent of twenty olives) while a kilo of fat burns only five (one olive). By gaining only one extra kilo of muscle you would make up for the loss of metabolism. In addition, weight lifting also reverses osteoporosis that will show up later in life due to smoking.
Exercise also helps us sleep better; fight constipation and control weight gain. So just do it!
Smokers who smoke more than 10-15 cigarettes per day would benefit from Champix. Champix decreases your obsession with smoking and lifts your mood calming anxiety. It is not addictive and has few side effects such as sleepiness or dizziness. It’s strange how some people are against using FDA approved drugs to get help with quitting but have no problems ingesting the 4,800 chemicals found in a cigarette!
It takes two weeks to work and that is why you should start it two weeks before quitting and continue using it for three months after quitting.
- Stress reduction strategies. Beside exercise, get plenty of sleep and cut down on coffee and other caffeine drinks. Do not stop coffee cold turkey as you will get headaches and feel lethargic. Instead change the size of the mug to a smaller one, mix half decaf and half regular and ad skimmed milk. Coffee increases your blood pressure and increases stress making it harder to quit smoking.
Few days before quitting you need to get Nicotine replacement patches (10mg patch for each pack you smoke per day). You should start the patches the day you quit.
Learn how to use deep breathing exercises to control stress, anger or frustration. (Take a yoga class if you can.) Acupuncture, while effective in treating chronic pain, does not help in quitting smoking regardless of the claims of some practitioner.
Book a visit to your dentist on day one or two after the quitting date to clean your stained teeth and gums.
Stock up the night before on sugarless gum and healthy snacks. The aim of the quitting game is to be prepared. Temptation is inevitable.
The Big Day – the quitting phase.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Throw away all the cigarettes, lighters and other paraphernalia
- Eat a good breakfast
- Drink lots of water
- Send your clothes to the laundry to rid them of cigarette stench, which can linger a long time
- Get a tooth cleaning and or whitening session
Keep very busy on the big day. Go to the movies, exercise, take long walks, go bike riding or the gym.
Craving a cigarette? Do deep breathing exercises. Distract yourself with the thought of how free you will be without cigarettes. Stay busy but avoid stress, smokers and things that make you want a cigarette. Keep you hands busy. Get plenty of sleep. Do not think that you will never have a cigarette. Think that you will not smoke today.
Deep breathing is perhaps the single most powerful and important technique to adopt. Every time you want a cigarette, do the following. and do it three times.
Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air comes out slowly.
As you exhale, close your eyes and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing out. Learn to relax quickly and deeply. Make yourself limp. Visualize a soothing, pleasing situation and get away from it all for a moment. Concentrate on that peaceful image and nothing else.
This is a variation of an ancient Indian yoga technique from India, and is very centering and relaxing. If you practice this, you’ll be able to use it for any stressful situation encountered in the future. It will be your greatest weapon during the strong cravings that are sure to assault over the first few days.
This deep breathing technique will be a vital help to you. Reread this point.
Remember that the urge to smoke only lasts a few minutes and will then pass. The urges gradually become further and further apart as the days go by.
Do your very best to stay away from alcohol, sugar and coffee the first week or longer, as these tend to stimulate the desire for a cigarette. Avoid fatty foods, as your metabolism will slow down a bit without the Nicotine, and you may gain weight even if you eat the same amount as before quitting. So discipline about diet is extra important now. No one ever said acquiring new habits would be easy!
Nibble on low calorie foods and snacks. Chew a gum.
Stretch out your meals – eat slowly and wait a bit between bites.
After dinner, instead of a cigarette, treat yourself to a cup of mint tea or a peppermint candy. Get up from the table and brush your teeth or go for a walk.
Nicotine patches are associated with better patient compliance and hence slightly higher success. However, the highest success is achieved when combining Champix, Nicotine patches, deep breathing exercises and physical exercise. You need 10mg of Nicotine per day for every pack you smoke.
The first few days, drink lots of water and fluids to help flush out the Nicotine and other poisons from your body.
Go to a gym – sit in the steam room, exercise. Change your normal routine – take time to walk or even jog around the block or in a local park.
Ask for support from coworkers, friends and family members. Ask for their tolerance. Let them know you’re quitting, and that you might be edgy or grumpy for a few days. If you don’t ask for support, you certainly won’t get any. If you do, you’ll be surprised how much it can help. Take a chance – try it and see!
Ask friends and family members not to smoke in your presence. Don’t be afraid to ask. This is more important than you may realize. Until you’re confident of your ability to stay off cigarettes, limit your socializing to healthful, outdoor activities or situations where smoking isn’t allowed. If you must be in a situation where you’ll be tempted to smoke (such as a cocktail or dinner party), try to associate with the nonsmokers there.
Write down ten good things about being a nonsmoker – and then write out ten bad things about smoking. Do it. It really helps.
Don’t pretend smoking wasn’t enjoyable – it was. This is like losing a good friend – and it’s okay to grieve the loss. Feel that grief. Don’t worry, it’s okay. Feel and you heal. Stay with it – you can do it!
The Maintenance Phase and Avoiding Relapses.
Know that most relapses occur in the first week after quitting, when withdrawal symptoms are strongest and your body is still dependent on Nicotine. Be aware that this will be your hardest time, and use all your personal resources – willpower, family, friends and tips in these pages – to get you through this critical period successfully.
Realize that the most successful ex-smokers quit for good only after several attempts. You may be one of those who can quit your first try. But if you’re not, don’t give up. Try again. Your chances increase with every attempt. The sooner you try again the better the success rate. Know that most other relapses occur in the first three months after quitting, when situational triggers – such as a particularly stressful event – occur unexpectedly. These are the times when people reach for cigarettes automatically, because they associate smoking with relaxing. This is the kind of situation that’s hard to prepare yourself for until it happens, so it’s especially important to recognize it if it does happen.
Here is perhaps the most encouraging information amongst all these points. In the period starting a few weeks after quitting, the urge to smoke will subside considerably. However, it’s vital to understand that from time to time, you will still be suddenly overwhelmed with a desire for ‘just one cigarette.’ This will happen unexpectedly, during moments of stress, whether negative stress or positive (at a party, or on vacation). If you are unprepared to resist, succumbing to that ‘one cigarette’ will lead you directly back to smoking. Remember the following secret: in these surprise attacks – and they will definitely come – do your deep breathing and hold on for five minutes, the urge will pass. Remember that smoking is a habit, but a habit you can break. Never allow yourself to think that ‘one won’t hurt’ – it will.
When it comes to a spouse or partner who smokes, don’t be a nag. Just three times a year you can ask your loved one – briefly and lovingly – to please quit. Surround your request with honest complements. Keep it brief and they even might be more open to hearing you.
America is a nation of good people but also of addicts. The whole world is importing their lifestyle. It’s not just one addiction, but often several – cigarettes, food, television, music, drugs, sex, even work. Each of these things acts as a kind of drug, since each temporarily distracts your mind from your pain.
Whatever that may be. We are talking about both current pain, such as anger, loneliness or sadness, as well as emotional pain we’ve carried with us since childhood, such as unmet childhood needs, like an absent father or abusive mother. Addictions work as emotional crutches. By getting to the root cause of the problem, the need for the ‘addictive crutch’ subsides.
Sometimes, life is painful. It’s supposed to be that way. All of us are faced with grief, loss and struggle. And it’s by our struggles that we define and strengthen our character.
Controlling anger and frustration
Letting out anger in reasonable, mild little bouts as frustrating situations arise, is acceptable, even healthy. This is better than letting it build up and later exploding in rage.
It’s helpful and healing to verbalize feelings of frustration, as you quit smoking or any other negative addiction for that matter.
Don’t worry, if you ask for support and tolerance, you’ll get it. Don’t isolate yourself, lean on others. If you want a hug, it’s OK to ask for one. Especially for men, showing vulnerability is a sign of strength. Not going to a support meeting could be construed as an act of fear and therefore, cowardice. So be brave and seek support from others. It’s a sign of a strong man.
In coming decades, we’ll look back on smoking as a dangerous habit of the last century. We know that statistically, only children and teens start smoking. As governments pass laws making it increasingly difficult for youngsters to obtain cigarettes and as the rest of the world follows Western governments in limiting tobacco advertising and increasing cigarette prices through taxation, teens will not start smoking in such huge numbers. One day, smoking will be no more. No more premature deaths, no more disability, no more grieving families around the world.
Welcome to the wonderful world of non-smokers. You can do it!
It’s about time.