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What to do when you’ve tried everything…

Dear Advisor,

I have the psychological addiction to smoking in the worst kind of way.  I’m working crazy hard to finish my Master’s Degree and I can’t even think of stopping until I finish in January.  Then I really have to learn to deal with this problem.  I hope it’s not too late. I’m sixty-seven years old and have been smoking off and on all my life.  It really makes me feel horrible and I want to live the rest of my life in as good health as possible. What make The Complete Quit System different than everything else I’ve tried?  And, believe me, I’ve tried everything.

Signed,

Tried Everything

Dear Tried Everything,

You sound exactly like me several years ago – I had tried ‘everything’ to quit, with no success.  I was starting to despair that I would ever be able to quit, and I didn’t know what to do next.  I was starting to think I was going to die a smoker… and probably sooner rather than later!

So first, let me reassure you that it is not too late.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how long you have been smoking – you CAN quit, and it will vastly improve your health and your life.

 

I know of at least one woman who was 70+ years old, who had been smoking for more than 50 years, and was up to five packs a day when she used this program to quit.  If she can do it, you can, too.

Second, you mention that you are psychologically addicted.  Knowing that, I can tell you [click to continue…]

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I’m an emotional wreck when I quit. What can I do?

Dear Advisor,

Previous attempts at quitting left me an emotional wreck and I cried a lot.  Now I am menopausal – in other words – emotional.

I can’t afford to let my emotions get the best of me.  Is this crying part of the grieving process?

Signed,

Emotional Wreck

Dear Wreck,

There are actually a handful of things going on for you, some of them inter-related.  You identified a couple of them yourself:

First, you mention that you are menopausal.

This certainly has an impact on your emotional state.  This impact happens both directly as a result of hormonal changes, and possibly indirectly as you deal with a changing stage of life.  As you probably know, [click to continue…]

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I want to quit, but I have no willpower. What do I do?

Dear Advisor,

I really need to quit smoking, but I don’t think I have the willpower to do it.  I’ve tried a few times, but it just never ‘took.’  Do you know of anything that can help someone like me?

Signed,

Weak-Willed in Iowa

Dear Weak-Willed,

Think about the last time you wanted a cigarette really badly.  Maybe it was during a stressful time, or after some extended event where you couldn’t smoke.  Remember it?

Now imagine that just before you lit up, a genie appeared, laid a cool million bucks right on the table in front of you, and offered you a deal:  [click to continue…]

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Why is it so hard to quit smoking?

Dear Advisor,

I’ve tried to quit so many times I’ve lost count.  I’ve tried just about every method you can think of, including nicotine patches, acupuncture, and even medicine prescribed by my doctor.  No matter what I try, somehow I always end up smoking again.  My question is, why is it so hard for me to quit?

Signed,

Lost Count in Austin

Dear Lost,

Part of the reason it’s so difficult to quit smoking is because nicotine is so darned addictive.  But there’s a lot more to the smoking habit than just the nicotine addiction, so if that’s all your quit method focuses on, you’re trying to slay a rather large, fire-breathing dragon with nothing more than a toothpick.

In other words, the other reason it’s hard is because [click to continue…]

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1-800-Quit-Now

1800quitnow.cancer.gov

This is a government-sponsored quit smoking support line – the website provides some information about what you can expect if you call.  Since it’s government sponsored, it’s free.

The site has a series of videos to answer some common questions about quitting smoking and using the quit line.  However, the videos don’t all match up to the questions listed, and the ones I listened to tended to cut off in the middle, so the site may be having some technical problems.

Nonetheless, free phone-based quit smoking support could be helpful.  I’d certainly be interested in hearing if anyone has tried this particular one, and what it was like for you.

Let others know what you think: If you have personal experience with this resource or have an alternative suggestion, add your comments below.

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Complete Quit System

www.completequitsystem.com

The Complete Quit System is my own proprietary smoking cessation program.  It’s a step-by-step method for quitting that focusses primarily on dealing with the psychological issues around smoking.  (It also deals with the physical addiction to nicotine, but in my experience, that’s really the easier of the two aspects to overcome.)

It’s not free – after all, I have to earn money somewhere so I can provide all the information in this blog and the Quit Smoking Advisor site for free, right?  But I did pour my heart and soul into making it the best home-based program I possibly could, and I don’t think you’ll find another program that deals with the psychological aspects of quitting nearly as effectively.  If it works for you, it’s a bargain at twice the price.

Let others know what you think: If you have personal experience with this resource or have an alternative suggestion, add your comments below.

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Quit Smoking Advisor

www.quit-smoking-advisor.com

The Quit Smoking Advisor site is the companion site to this one.  On that site I describe various methods for quitting – from Acupuncture to Zyban – and try to provide science-based information about how well each one works.  You’ll find info about prescription drugs, nicotine replacement therapies like patches and gum, natural methods, acupuncture, hypnosis, and various programs, including residential smoking cessation programs.

For each method, I summarize what I could find in the scientific literature about the effectiveness, and then I stick my neck out just a little and provide some recommendations based on everything I learned while researching the method.

Be warned that this is an information-laden site, so it’s very text-heavy.  If you want straight-up information about a method you’re considering, poke around in that area of the site so you can make an informed decision before you start.

If you’re curious about a method that’s not discussed on the Quit Smoking Advisor site, dash me off an e-mail with your question, and I’ll try to answer it either in this blog, or on the QSA site.

Let all of us know what you think: If you have kudos or (constructive) criticism for the Quit Smoking Advisor site, feel free to add a comment below.

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American Lung Association

www.lungusa.org (Click on “Quit Smoking” in the top menu)

The American Lung Association site has a number of smoking cessation resources, as you would expect, including government fact sheets and reports, FAQ’s, ‘healthy lung comparison’ sheets, and an assortment of information for employers or organizations that want to help employees quit.

They also have a free online program called “Freedom From Smoking” which is administered by a trained facilitator.  (She acknowledges in the introduction that she was never a smoker, but apparently watched several family members struggle with quitting.)  The program has several modules with lots of advice and tips, as well as an online support forum.

For a free program, it really looks pretty good, although I think their approach to the psychological aspects of quitting is a little bit superficial.  (Of course, I’m a psychologist, so I tend to be biased in that direction.)  Also, it’s worth noting that they are considering starting to charge for the program, so you may want to check into it soon if you’re interested.

This site also has a lot of information about various lung diseases that are smoking-related, such as COPD and emphysema, so if you’re suffering from one of those, this may be a good site to check out.

Let others know what you think: If you have personal experience with this resource or have an alternative suggestion, add your comments below.

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American Cancer Society

www.cancer.org (click on “Quit Smoking Guide” on the left)

The American Cancer Society has one lo-o-o-ng page of information about quitting, including information about various methods, including a list of additional resources.

The information is the same basic info that you’ll find on most of these kinds of sites, but this is a fairly comprehensive rendition of it.  It includes explanations for things like how nicotine works, why you should quit, withdrawal symptoms, how your body heals, etc.

They also have an online search form for finding a “quit-line” (telephone support) in your area, although I couldn’t get that function to work when I tried it.

Let others know what you think: If you have personal experience with this resource or have an alternative suggestion, add your comments below.

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QuitSmoking.com

www.quitsmoking.com

QuitSmoking.com is an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink kind of site with a mish-mash of information, including lots of products that are supposed to help you quit, a message board, and a newsletter.

It’s been around for some time, but appears to take more of a quantity-over-quality approach.  You may find what you’re looking for, but be prepared to spend some time searching, and realize that you’ll need be selective.

Let others know what you think: If you have personal experience with this resource or have an alternative suggestion, feel free to add your comments below.

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