Last week in this column I wrote about the difficulties involved in giving up cigarettes. From the outset, I will state that it is not easy. So if you are an ‘easy way out’ sort of person, then don’t read any further, but make sure your life insurance is up to date. You will be paying an extra premium as a smoker – ever wondered why? By the way, dying from lung cancer, like the cowboy in the cigarette advert did, is not a fun way to go!
Smokers are not creatures of habit, smokers are people caught in the clutches of addiction. A prime example is one of my friends who is on a vigorous exercise regimen and vegetarian diet as he wants to get fit – but is still smoking. He may as well eat anything he wants, because the cigarettes will kill him before any silly diet does.
To give up cigarettes there are many, many ways, ranging from acupuncture, hypnosis, the I Ching, Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT), chewing gum, patches, nasal spray, amulets and many others all the way through to Cold Turkey. Hop onto the internet and you are besieged with offers, all of which will make it ‘easy’ for you to stop smoking, and all of which will cost you money! Let me state again, it ain’t easy!
What you have to realize is that Nicotine is more addictive than heroin. I know that’s probably hard to believe, but that really is the crux of the matter. You take Nicotine into all of your metabolic pathways until you “need” to have Nicotine to be able to function. Nicotine becomes part of your metabolic chemical chains, and they don’t work properly without it. Now you can see just why you feel so dreadful when you go without cigarettes (nicotine) for any period of time.
Now, leaving aside hypnosis and acupuncture, about which I know very little, but the good books tell me do not enjoy high success rates, let’s look at the other methods. The majority rely on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). All the gums and sprays do is to make Nicotine available for you in measured doses – much like cigarettes do. You get the craving, you chew the gum. You get the craving, you squirt the spray.
Patches are slightly different. They deliver the Nicotine slowly over a 12 or 24 hour period and are supposed to stop the craving before it happens. But often do not.
After stabilizing on the NRT it is time to bring the dosage down, which is the next hurdle at which many fall. The end result can be cigarette smoking plus NRT – a potentially fatal combination. In fact, I strongly believe that NRT should only be done under close medical supervision. Too much nicotine can kill too!
So to the best way – Cold Turkey. The proof is in the numbers. There has been enough research done and the prime factor is that the quitter has to be committed to the concept of becoming a non-smoker. Doing it (quitting) for somebody else, because you lost a bet, because you are being nagged into it by your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend is doomed to failure, I am afraid. This is something which requires your total commitment. 100 percent all the way. Last week I mentioned just how I thought it would be a bad scene for a couple of days, and then found that it was a couple of weeks of torture. Here I am many years later and I could begin smoking again tomorrow. One of my friends even dreams that he cannot find his cigarette packet and he has been a non-smoker for 10 years! It requires dedication and commitment. Yours! No one else’s!
So, I admit that those who go cold turkey may go through a rough time with withdrawals initially, but the majority are still non-smokers after one year. The same cannot be said for the others. The “hard” way is ultimately the best way.
You have to make the decision to quit. You set the day. You tell all your friends that you are now a non-smoker – and you stick to it!
Become a non-smoker for 2014!