Joel's Reinforcement Library
Quitting Methods - Who to Believe?
Who should you believe on what is the most successful technique for quitting smoking - the government and most smoking cessation experts in the world and the professional health organizations of the world and the pharmacological industry and almost anyone whose career seems to be based in smoking cessation or me?
I guess using this standard it would be best not to believe me. But before jumping ship there is one other important group of people that you may find that will back me up and who are already quite credible to you. It's the people in your family and your friends in your real world who have successfully quit smoking and been off all nicotine products for at least one year or longer.
Find out how the people you know who are long-term ex-smokers actually stopped smoking. By long-term I mean people who are currently off all nicotine for at least a year or longer. You'll likely find that few if any of them have ever heard of me. You will see that many of them had previous quits and relapsed, using all sorts of methods that are endorsed by professionals and maybe even a few of them had professional help with previous attempts. You will find that almost all of them did not follow what is considered the standard recommended advice on how to quit yet they did quit and are still going strong. You'll find that they most likely quit by simply stopping smoking one day for one reason or another and then have been able to stay off by sticking to a commitment that they made to themselves to not take a puff.
Talk to every long-term ex-smoker you know. Do your own surveys. While you are at it, talk to the current smokers you know too. See how many of them have used products and followed the advice of the professionals. Keep in mind, most professional literature will advise people to use pharmacologic aids like nicotine replacement products. Try to see how many long-term successful quitters in your real world encounters actually followed this advice.
Another piece of advice written in most literature produced by smoking cessation experts is something to the effect that temporary slips are common and that you should not let a slip put you back to smoking. People who write advice like this do not understand addiction. A person needs to understand that taking a puff is likely going to kill a quit.
Try to find one smoker who once had quit but are now smokers again who didn't one day take a puff. Finding one such person who fits this criteria is going to take you forever. On the other hand finding current smokers you know who had once had quits that actually lasted for months, years or decades who lost their quits by taking that first puff are quite easy to find. Understand, some of these people had heard comments like, "don't let a slip make you go back to smoking," but sadly, found out from experience that they had little control of the matter once they took that puff.
Our advice if to successfully quit smoking is to simply stop smoking. Our advice for staying off cigarettes is simply to stick to a commitment to never take another puff. So talk to long-term ex-smokers and find out how they quit and hear how they have managed to stay off. Pretty soon you will see it is not a matter of pitting all of the world professionals against me. It becomes a matter of pitting every long-term ex-smoker you know who has successfully quit against the world's professionals. Do the surveys and then I will just become another voice in the crowd of real people who have proven to you that they way to quit smoking and to stay smoke free is to never take another puff!
© Joel Spitzer 2003
Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on November 25, 2003