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27. How can I prepare to quit smoking or chewing tobacco?


This article is from the Stop Smoking FAQ, by 70424.57@compuserve.com with numerous contributions by others.

27. How can I prepare to quit smoking or chewing tobacco?

It is generally agreed around here that preparation is the single most
important factor in successfully overcoming nicotine addiction. Getting
yourself to a state of psychological readiness starts with the thought that
you may be about ready to stop smoking, and when that thought occurs, IMHO
you've begun the process of becoming a non-/ex-smoker. Then, if you read
the posts in alt.support.stop-smoking, soon you may find, as many have,
that you've begun to think that you are ready to stop. Before you know it,
you'll be setting a quit date! Once you've reached that stage, here are
some suggestions to aid in your preparation:

a. Set a quit date, preferably around a relatively stress-free time,
although you shouldn't wait until the perfect time, because it doesn't
exist! If you like, announce your intended quit date to the group and ask
for quit buddies, or join in a group which has already formed. Belonging to
a club usually gives you extra support, and makes you extra accountable!

b. Until your quit day, smoke without guilt, but do keep planning. Think
about what provisions you will have on hand to comfort you, what
(brainless) projects to keep you busy, what comfy quiet spaces if you find
you just want to sleep, and whether you'll have access to AS3 and to
e-mail. If the people you spend time with have not had the pleasure of
seeing you go insane before, consider apologizing in advance for any bad
behaviour you may exhibit. :) (After you quit, the statement, "I just quit
smoking" will excuse much. Milk it for all it's worth!) As you read other
people's posts and the info available on the web, you'll get some ideas
that will help you.

c. Make any appointments, join any classes, lay in any provisions (herbal
teas, cinnamon sticks, licorice root, comfort foods, Valium, etc.), and buy
your patches, spray or Nicorette, if you decide to use nicotine replacement

d. Start emptying your ashtrays into one or more clear glass jars which
you'll save as long as needed - I kept one for a few months after I quit.
(ed.) This 'revulsion therapy' will be of help after the initial motivation
begins to leave you and you start thinking that smoking wasn't so bad after
all. And each time you open the jar to add more butts and ashes, you'll get
a whiff of negative reinforcement. Some people add a bit of water to their
'butt jars' to make them that much more nauseating - not recommended for
those with sensitive stomachs!

e. Keep a running list of reasons you want to quit. Especially as your
date gets closer, really study the list; pick one of the most compelling
reasons and repeat it to yourself over the course of the day. It's best to
keep the reasons positive, upbeat; e.g., instead of saying "I want to quit
so that I don't die a horrible ravaging death by lung cancer" you might say
"I want to take a proactive role in my good health."

f. [Hot off the cyberpress! From Ask Dr. Weil, downloaded 21 Nov. 96]:

If you smoke, do breathing exercises. They will help motivate you to quit
and help you with your cravings for cigarettes. Here's how to start. Sit
with your back straight. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of
tissue behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there throughout the

o First, exhale completely though your mouth, making a
whoosh sound.
o Next, close your mouth and inhale quietly through your
nose to a mental count of four.
o Next, hold your breath for a count of seven.
o Then exhale completely through your mouth, again making
a whoosh sound, to a count of eight.

This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle
three more times.

g. [From the same Ask Dr. Weil column; see above.]

"If you smoke, you should take antioxidant vitamins and minerals, which to
some extent can reverse the changes in respiratory tissue caused by
smoking, and so help protect against lung cancer. Also, increase your
intake of dietary sources of carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow
squash, and leafy green vegetables)."

h. Visualize: Start looking at people functioning normally without
smoking. People who don't smoke are capable of having an argument, talking
on the phone, waiting for a bus, playing pool, and basking in the afterglow
just as well as people who smoke. Picture yourself getting through moments
you normally associate with smoking, without doing so. Don't overwhelm
yourself, i.e., you don't need to picture yourself getting through life or
even the day without smoking; just one activity at a time. Watch someone
enjoying a cafe latte without smoking. You can be in that picture!

i. Keep reading alt.support.stop-smoking daily (hourly, if necessary!),
so that you'll start to get a sense of what to expect (good and bad), and
post whenever you like, as often as you like, and as nonsensically as you
like! Try not to loosen your withdrawal temper on another AS3 poster,

Most important, keep in mind that quitting smoking is a journey, not an
event. You will run into many obstacles on that journey, and meet many
false friends. The more you can feel good about the place you're heading
(the smober life) and unsentimental about the place you're leaving (life
chained to nicotine), the more strength you will have to complete that


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