Imaginary Smoking Cure

by Dan on August 19, 2009

quitsmokingThat’s a rather odd title for an article, isn’t it?  It would seem that either I’m talking about how to cure an imaginary smoking addiction, or almost as odd, giving a cure for smoking that only works in the land of make-believe.

To be honest, I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my entire life.  At a Bat Mitzvah party, when I was twelve, a friend passed me a lighter and cigarette from his bathroom stall to mine.  I figured I was going to try smoking eventually, so I might as well do it now.  To make matters more interesting, it was not only my first time using a cigarette.  It was my first time using a traditional lighter.

That made things a little complicated.

I had actually played with a Zippo lighter before, but that’s it.  Zippos are so user friendly that you don’t have to use your thumb against the little flint wheel to ignite the flame.  You either just push a button, or maybe even just open the top to get a flame going.  Traditional lighters actually require you to roll the flint wheel, and then hit the fuel button to keep the flame going.  Way too complicated for me at the time.

So here I am pushing a button, without a flame coming out.  I try rolling the wheel and nothing happens either.  I just get a few sparks.  After five minutes of this, I just throw the cigarette into the toilet and decide I’ll give this a go another day.

Fifteen years later, that day hasn’t come yet, unless I play a smoker in a Hollywood Film, it probably will never happen.

Because of this small detail, I am by definition, completely unqualified to write an article called “How to Quit Smoking.”  However, I do know enough about dealing with other habits and addictions that I think I can contribute to the field.  I truly believe in the process I am going to give you.  I don’t see how it could not work.  Until I get some testimonials though, I will keep the name of this method as…

The Imaginary Smoking Cure

1.    Figure out how many cigarettes you smoke on average a day.  Maybe it’s 5, or maybe it’s 20.  Maybe it’s 45 or 100.  The method is the same no matter what, but the more cigarettes you smoke, the longer it will take.  If you’re smoking over 50, it could take years, but you will finish.  After all, if you’ve spent 10 years smoking, is it that bad to take 2 to get off?

2.    Let’s assume your daily average is 20.  Add 1-2 cigarettes to the number.  This is your new daily cigarette count starting today.  If you’re only smoking 5 a day, just add one cigarette.  If you’re smoking over 30, add two.  So in this example, you now have 21 cigarettes.

3.    Start this step on a Monday.  You are allotted 21 cigarettes each day for this whole week; no more, no less.  Every day, carry with you no more than your allotted number.  If it’s less than a pack’s worth, then empty out cigarettes you won’t use into another container.  If it’s between one and two packs, then take the amount you won’t use out of one of the packs.  Never have more cigarettes with you than you’re planning to smoke for the day.

4.    The next week, cut one of the cigarettes in half, so your number goes down to 20.5 for the day.  If your cigarettes aren’t breakable, then for your first smoke of the day, just finish half and throw the other half out.  It’s not a big waste, believe me.

5.    The week after that, take another half away, so you’re down to 20.  Continue taking half a cigarette away from your daily count each week until you’re down to zero.

6.    Don’t smoke again, even socially.

I think I’ve made this as easy as possible except for two factors.  The first issue that might come up is having it be 11pm before you go to bed, and you still have five cigarettes left to smoke because the workday was too busy for you to have a cigarette every hour.

If this happens, don’t sweat it.  The reason I want you to keep the daily number of cigarettes consistent is so you don’t rationalize “I barely smoked yesterday, so I can have a free for all tonight and do two packs.”  This kind of thinking is easy to say you won’t do now, but becomes very difficult when you’re really in the mood for an escape.

Do your best to not smoke less than the number, but no matter what you do, NEVER smoke over the number.  This takes a very small amount of discipline, but it does take some discipline.  You actually have to want to quit, so if you can’t suppress the desire for one more cigarette, you probably aren’t ready for any smoking modification until you make a real decision.

Step 6 may be really hard too.  A lot of jobs have smoking as part of the social life.  People take a break together to have a cigarette and gossip.  At a bar, your friends might say, “Hey, let’s go out and smoke.”  Even worse, if you’re a guy, a girl might ask you if you want to step outside and smoke with her, and you might wonder if saying no will break the vibe you and her are having.

There’s a huge difference between never smoking and smoking once in a while.  However, there is a very subtle difference between smoking socially and smoking as a habit.  One can easily turn into the other.  Once you’ve gotten down to zero, you’re in recovery mode, so just like an alcoholic would be advised to do, stay off the sauce entirely.

For the record, I’ve never had a problem relaxing outside the office with smoking coworkers, and when a girl invites you to smoke outside, she’s always fine with you not smoking with her.  If she isn’t, she will let you know, in which you can reevaluate whether she’s really the type of woman you want in your life.  I’ve never had a woman object to me not smoking, so I don’t think you have to worry about this anyway.

For my readers, please either try this out, or share some feedback on how this process could be improved.  I may have missed some key issues about the smoking lifestyle, so please fill me in!

Thanks for reading.

–Dan

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rose February 10, 2010 at 10:19 am

I gave up smoking after years of failed attempts by the ‘new’ nasal nicotine spray which is 21 century snuff and at the same time releasing using sedona questions on the emotions attached to before during and after smoking. Some powerful ones came up when I did the advantages, disadvantages. I was crippled with back pain at the time so it was even more of a miracle!

Couldnt follow your steps too well maybe you need to simplify but cutting down just makes you crave more and obsess it’s like a chocolate thing!

2 Rose April 14, 2011 at 2:50 am

Hi just checking in to say I’m STILL off the cigarettes and nice to see your blog doing well

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