14 ways to quit smoking

one of my favourite magazines is visions, BC’s mental health and addictions journal. it always has a great cross-section of mental health “consumers” (isn’t that a strange term?) and professionals writing about issues that directly impact people with mental health concerns: from those who are living with schizophrenia, to parents of youth battling with bipolar disorders, to social workers in the trenches of vancouver’s downtown eastside.

this quarter’s focus is on tobacco. i thought i’d give you a run-down of some ideas about quitting smoking found in the articles:

  • surround yourself with people who do not smoke (susan katz in “smoking: habit or addiction?”)
  • make a plan: “i started to tell myself this was it. even though i was still smoking, i started saying to myself: i am a non-smoker. i repeated that phrase over and over … i then went to a health food store and asked for something that would prevent me from ripping people’s arms off and slapping them with the soggy end when i finally decided to stop smoking.” he ended up with something that is used for PMS, and it worked (ronald p. macintyre, “the joys of smoking – yeah, right”)
  • don’t want to “end up with ugly yellow teeth” (dawn-marie tytherleigh, “puffing it up”)
  • brainstorm to come up with something that you enjoy more than smoking: “the $60 a week i save i treat myself to live hockey games.” (lyle richardson, “break’s over!”)
  • a good friend had a mild heart attack: “this happened in part because of his smoking” (rene ray, “quitting: a journey to compassion and song”)
  • understand the synergistic health effect between cigarette smoking and other carcinogenic substances. “research shows that when trades workers understand this effect they are more likely to quit smoking.” (kate dahlstrom and tara ney, “blue collar taste: researching strategies to shift the smoking norms in trades workers”)
  • reduce or stop smoking as a couple
  • remember that each quit attempt makes it easier the next time (both from joan bottord and joanne carey: “learning about TRIPs: men, women and tobacco in intimate relationships”)
  • switch the language, to reflect the seriousness of tobacco addiction: “we started to talk about recovery from tobacco dependence rather than about smoking cessation, and about tobacco-caused illnesses rather than tobacco-related illnesses” (gail malmo, “treating tobacco dependence in the addictions setting: the aurora centre’s experience”)
  • mindfulness and relaxation techniques as well as group support (tom heah: “vancouver’s butt out stop smoking program”
  • and here are some web sites that may help:

by the way, i quit smoking 18 years ago, after 20 years of puffing away, sometimes two packs a day. being around people who don’t smoke and having had the experience of quitting a number of times (that is, knowing that quitting won’t kill me), were probably the most influential for me.

and here’s a video, just to drive home the point a bit more:
Quit SmokingSmoking video

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