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Quiting Smoking 101

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This entry was posted on 6/2/2006 1:36 AM and is filed under Motivation,Interesting,Medicine,Health,SCARY.

By David Maillie

Smoking is a very addictive habit and very hard to break!
We all have heard that it is cancer causing and can cause numerous medical problems and diseases. Study after study have shown this.  The cigarette manufacturers settled a multimillion dollar settlement (one of the largest settlements in history) for lying about the highly addictive traits of nicotine and downplaying the hazards of tobacco use.

Yet, millions and millions of people still do it.  This article will help create more urgency in why you should stop and give you hope and lots of helpful information and contacts.  If you are a smoker or other tobacco user this should scare the hell out of you.

Quiting smoking can be and is very tough.  Some try to do it cold turkey, others attend smoke cessation classes and or take aids such as the patch, gum, etc... Many people do this as a New Years resolution, some for economic reasons, some for family reasons and considerations (Smoking is not a turn on), and others for health reasons (their doctor told them they have to stop).  Everyone that wants to quit has good intentions and a few do quit and some make it a few months, but most fall back into the old habit.  

I was once a smoker, so this is not coming from some doctor or researcher that never smoked and doesn't understand how addicting smoking really is and how hard or almost impossible it is to quit.  I started smoking because I thought it was cool and made me look more mature.  It gave me a immediate calmness during a very stressful job - I was a salesman.  You could always just go outside, smoke a cigarette and go right back with a clear mind.  It didn't help that almost everyone in sales smokes.  When you weren't selling you smoked to pass the time.  Before you know it you are smoking 3-4 packs a day - and Marlboro Reds at that (I would even cut off the filters so I would get the most punch out of each drag)!  For those of you that don't know, Marlboro Reds are some of the strongest cigarettes available with very high levels of nicotine, tar, and everything else that comes with smoking.  None-the-less, after many years of this I did successfully and permanently quit smoking and I am going to show you how I did it, what made me quit, what I went through, and what help there is available so you can hopefully do the same.

Knowing smoking and tobacco use is bad is not enough

We all know it can cause cancer, gum disease, heart problems, etc...  We all think that won't happen to me or I'm young and have years to go before I need to start worrying.  What got to me was several customers I had that were dying, died, or wearing oxygen tanks and face masks.  They were all due to smoking.  Yes, most were in their 50's and 60's.  They were struggling to talk and whistled and wheezed when they breathed (emphysema).  One talked through an opening in her neck - this freaked me out.

They probably could have lived to be 80 or more if they hadn't smoked or had quit earlier.  This worried me as I smoked so much that my chest and lungs would hurt sometimes for days.  I tried to quit a couple of times - 6 hours here, 2 hours there.  It was hard.  If I went an hour without a cigarette I would get all shaky and jittery.  

Finally, I lost another customer to smoking related illnesses and had enough.  I went to Walmart and got the Walmart brand nicotine gum starter pack (4mg as I qualified as a heavy smoker).  It was beyond tough.  I had chills, sweats, tingling sensations throughout my body and I was always reaching for something to put in my mouth.  I was very jumpy and nervous.  Basically, I felt like I had the flu.  I had nausea, a fever, aches and pains - my body craved a puff.  The gum did help, but it wasn't anywhere near the same (still, I don't think I could have done this without the gum).  I didn't give in.  After a while it got better.  Its been over 5 years now since I have smoked.  I still chew a piece of nicotine gum (a 1/4 piece of 2mg nicotine gum) every now and then when I get stressed over something, but I don't even think of smoking anymore. Below are some great resources to help you quit smoking. 

Some of the drugs available to help you quit smoking:

1) Nicotine patch

2) Nicotine gum

3)Nicotine nasal spray

4) Nicotine lozenges

5) Nicotine inhaler

6) Various prescription medications (some of the above (the inhaler) also require a prescription). 

The gum, patch and lozenges can be bought at your local drug store or Walmart by anyone over 18.  I used the gum and it worked great - I couldn't imagine quiting without it.  I wouldn't have made it past the first day or two.  

Reasons for quiting

Every smoking cessation program, tape, class tells of how important it is to have a bonified reason to quit smoking and to write it down and visualize it daily.  This is good, but it is like New Year's Resolutions.  As the great memory expert Harry Laraine has said "the more intense and abstract your visualization, the better it will be remembered."  So I'm going to take that idea a little further and not only give you a reason, I am going to help you visualize it so you will never forget it.  

Warning - what follows is graphic and disturbing and will make you want to stop smoking!

Mouth cancer isn't pretty.  The below pictures are all from tobacco use (mostly smoking).  And yes, this can happen to snuff and smokeless tobacco users also. 

Bad circulation is a direct result of smoking.  Here is a foot with gangrene and infection due to smoking related circulation problems. Buerger's disease is the complete loss of circulation to an extremity (arms, legs or both) usually due to smoking. For more about Buerger's disease and what it did to 22 year old that only smoked for 3 years visit



Lung cancer and disease. What do you think breathing in all the toxins and carcinogens is going to do to your lungs?  Below is a healthy lung (left) and a lung with tar buildup (black) and a cancerous tumor (white) on the right.


Below is a man with a scar from a recent lung cancer operation.

Lung Cancer Operation scar

Here is a lung with emphysema a very painful and debilitating disease caused by smoking.

Some tobacco smiles full of cancerous tumors.  Why would anyone want this to happen to themself.  Stop smoking and or chewing before its too late. 

Here is a smoker with their larnyx and lymph nodes removed.

Seen enough to make you atleast think twice before you pick up that next cigarette or pinch of chew or snuff?

Quitting smoking resources

These tobacco quitlines offer counseling sessions over the phone:

1(877)44U-QUIT (448-7848)

1(866) 66-START (667-8278)

Quiting smoking classes available in most areas:

Nicotine Anonymous (support group for people who want to quit, meets every week for one hour and is free) 1(866)879-7168

American Cancer Society's Fresh Start program ($25 which is returned upon completion of the course). (704) 376-1659

Freedom from smoking clinics from the American Lung Association (800) 586-4872

Many of the people pictured above have died already from smoking and diseases it has caused.  They aren't all old people.  Whatever it takes - quit now.  It is a proven fact that in 24 hours after one quits smoking their body starts repairing itself.  In one year your chance of smoking related diseases drops in half and in two years your chances are similar to that of someone that never smoked.  

Get help - it often takes 4 or more tries to quit permanently - Do it! You can still save your life and live a long and healthy life! Do it now!

David Maillie is an alumni of Cornell University and has received numerous awards for writing and research.  For more great information and products please visit and

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