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Thursday. February 21, 1S80
n of cigarettes
ak their habits
j fruit to satisfy the "oral fix" of cigarettes, setting limits
i on where and when you will smoke, hiding ashtrays
and lighters so they're hard to get to, not carrying
1 digarettes with you to work, trying to smoke with the
'I opposite hand and drinking fruit juices instead of
1 smoking for a pick-me-up. The tricks you can use to
break the smoking habit are endless and we were
encouraged to try a variety to find the ones that
! worked for us.
Though we were under no pressure to report our
weekly cigarette consumption, most of us did discuss
what progress we were making and exchanged
suggestions and ideas. The encouragement we
received from the clinic leaders and each other was a
powerful incentive. Though quitting was the ultimate
goal, any reduction in smoking was a step forward and
was worthy of praise. The shared struggle made us a
cohesive group and made the clinic not only positive,
Guest speaker Penny Bruce, who was also trying to
quit, pinpointed the main difficulty I found in
quitting the conflict between short-term and long
term rewards. When you smoke, you are immediately
rewarded with the pleasant sensations of smoking
stimulation and relaxation. But the rewards of not
smokingbetter health and longer life are not
Bruce recommended that the smoker set up his own
personal reward system whereby he earns points for
not smoking and, upon a certain accumulation of
points, rewards himself with something that he really
wants. Another way to accomplish this is to put money
in a jar for every pack of cigarettes not smoked and use
that money for a present.
Although all of us had made a partial commitment to .
quit simply by coming to the clinic, Bruce said, it would
take a strong personal commitment to quit for good.
"Having made a conscious decision to smoke, you can
make the decision not to smoke," Brirce said.
"Willpower is not something you have no control
over. Willpower is consciously choosing to change
During the next week, I began to limit myself to
three cigarettes per day. The more I cut down,
the less I liked them, and often after waiting all
day for my quota of three cigarettes, I would smoke
only one. The longer I abstained between cigarettes,
the more nauseated and dizzy smoking made me. I still
wanted a cigarette at times, but smoking became so
unpleasant that I rarely finished the one I started.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 1979, I stubbed out my second
cigarette of the day after two puffs, and said aloud,
For the first time, I really didn't want to smoke
anymore. I had f inally reached that point at which I no
longer wanted to be associated with the habit and was
truly willing to leave it behind. For the first time, I felt
tremendous resolve, freedom and confidence. I didn't
want a cigarette and I didn't think I'd ever want one
At first it was easy, but it wasn't long before I did
want one. To keep from backsliding at work, where the
cigarette lust was usually the worst, I told my non
smoking co-workers that I had quit. Then whenever I
wanted a cigarette I'd tell them, and they would help
talk me out of it. Instead of a cigarette I began reaching
for a sttck of gum, and found that the action of chewing
worked off more nervous energy than smoking.
The trick for me was finding those things about
cigarettes that I disliked the most and working to
magnify the negative aspects of smoking in contrast to
the pleasantness of not smoking. Since I disliked the
smell and dirtiness of cigarettes, I brushed my teeth
more often than l needed to and bought myself some
expensive perfume as a reward for not smoking. The
thought of smoking became even more unpleasant in
.contrast to the sweet smell of perfume and a fresh
- V r x .
, -" 1 f A
Susan Ladd uses an
Ecolyzer to measure the
level of poisonous carbon
monoxide in her
bloodstream, an indicator
of smoking's effects on
the body. Ladd was
awarded the certificate at
right after successfully
giving up cigarettes.
One of the most powerful deterrents, however, was
the anticipation of telling the group that I hadn't
smoked for a week. I had missed the Monday meeting,
and the excitement of sharing my accomplishment
with the others kept me on the wagon until Friday.
They shared in my triumph and lavished praise. It
was a good feeling to share the struggle of the past
week's abstinence and offer hints that might help
them. Several others in the group had quit as well, and
we together could laugh about the trials of being a
non-smoker. "The rest of me died, but my lungs are
working," one said wryly.
I was also jubilant to discover upon retesting with
the Ecolyzer that the carbon monoxide level in my
bloodstream had dropped from an initial
measurement of 13 to seven lower than Blackwell,
who never has smoked.
Bn the last week of the clinic, I continued to
abstain, using some of the same techniques and
experimenting with others. I found that the very
act of not smoking for a day became self-reinforcing
for every day I didn't smoke, the next day was a little bit
Even though my resolve grew daily not to smoke
another cigarette, my mind looked nervously ahead to
graduation and job-hunting, and more pressure than I
had ever known, when I wouldn't have the clinic to
help me. At the last meeting of the clinic, I found that
this was a common feeling among others who had quit.
But when I came to realize in talking with the others
In addition to carbon monoxide,
cigarettes contain substances such as
ammonia acetone... and
formaldehyde. At least six
carcinogens, or known cancer
causing substances, are contained in
cigarette smoke, including benzene
and vinyl chloride.
having iuies(ully (omplelrJ a
Quit Smoking Clinic
umtlnctfd by the Jlmtrkm Catntr Society
t 'ONK .K ATULATIONS TO
Jwardtd lhi c?6 Jay of AJfllfcwirr 19 79
American Cancer Society
was that I had quit only because I wanted to and
decided once and for all that I would. The clinic
supplied me with the techniques and with moral
support in the crucial time that I quit, but I alone was
responsible for quitting. If i smoked again, I would still
have those techniques to use. But if I didn't want to
smoke, I wouldn't nave to.
The clinic began with 21 people. Throughout the
four weeks of the clinic, all four men and seven of the
women dropped out. Of the 10 remaining women,
eight had quit smoking, at least temporarily, by the last
It has now been three months, two weeks and six
days since I stubbed out that last cigarette, and 1 still
have not lit another.
The first two months were not bad. The desire to
smoke was still strong at times, but having many days of
abstinence behind me gave me the willpower to resist
a moment's fancy. Lately, my cigarette lust has gotten
worse. I dream that I am smoking, and wake to mixed
feelings of shame and ecsticy.
But I know that if I smoke asain, it will have to be a
conscious decision. It will not be a failing of the clinic,
but of my own.
Upon completion of the clinic, I was rewarded with a
Certificate of Achievement, a button that says I quit,
and perhaps as much as eight more years of life.
Who says quitters never win? 0
Susan Ladd is features editor for The Dairy Tar HecL