How to Quit Tobacco 1
Over 40 Ways to Do It
Here are a lot of pointers in succeeding. Go over them many times, now and in the weeks ahead, as you bid goodbye to the Golden Death.
J. Wayne McFarland, M.D., co-developer of the famous Five Day Plan to Stop Smoking, says this: "The best way to quit smoking is to stop all at once—none of this tapering off business. The reason: It is better to have a few rough days and be through with it than to drag it out for weeks and months. Slow torture is no fun. You can make a clean sweep of this thing and do it easier than you think. It is our purpose to help you get over the craving as rapidly as possible—in fact, in five day's time.
"After quitting, the hardest part comes in the first three days; but, by the end of five days, the majority of individuals find the craving definitely less or gone. Stay by it for ten days, and you make it.
"Say to yourself, 'I choose not to smoke.' Keep repeating your decision throughout the day from morning eye opening through the final yawn at night. As you repeat it, be sure to mean it! In repeating the decision 'I choose not to smoke,' many people discover within themselves a positive, growing resistance to the physical craving for tobacco."
Dr. McFarland is one of the nation's leading experts in helping men and women withdraw successfully from the use of tobacco. Literally thousands of Five Day Plan sessions have been held all over North America, and overseas as well. Later in this book we will tell you how to contact this no charge stop smoking group, so that you can attend their next nearby five day meetings. In the days ahead, keep thinking about his words: "After quitting, the hardest part comes in the first three days." "But by the end of five days the majority of individuals find the craving definitely less or gone."
"Stay by it for ten days, and you make it." That's what McFarland, an expert in getting people to quit, says. And he added, to keep repeating your decision, "I choose not to smoke," from morning till night. As you repeat it, mean it.
1. You know the issues that are involved, for yourself and your loved ones.
2. You have made a personal decision to quit.
3. You have made a list of reasons why you are quitting.
4. You will keep thinking about the issues, the decision, and the list in the days to come. This will be on your mind more, frankly, than most anything else during those first ten days.
5. Learn to depend on prayer. Only God can give you the help you need. They say there are no atheists in foxholes; everyone there prays, for life is too serious not to. You need God in the crises of life, and you need Him all the rest of the time. And just now you surely will need Him also.
6. If you are able to, find a prayer partner; someone who cares enough to pray with and for you; someone who is a real friend and not just a critic.
7. Call your friend on the phone and talk to him when things get rough. The "buddy plan" is used in Alcoholics Anonymous for alcoholics, and it is used in the Five Day Plan for smokers. It can help you also, even though no Five Day Plan may be nearby.
8. Carry with you some Bible promises, written on a card or piece of paper. These can include such promises as: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). "Fear thou not; for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee" (Isaiah 41:10). Believe that these promises were written just for you and your need just now. Repeat them often.
9. Dispose of all your tobacco products. Not only in relation to tobacco, but also in other things. Getting rid of the tempting article will itself serve to strengthen your resolve to be done with it.
10. Stay away from other smokers as much as possible for the next few weeks.
11. It is time far a little luxury: Two or even three times a day take a warm bath for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Relax and enjoy it. And if you feel that you cannot stand it any longer without a smoke, just hop right back into the tub or shower. It's pretty hard to smoke in a shower. It is medically known that part of the addiction craving that you are experiencing during the withdrawal is caused by the nicotine in your body. It is known that the quicker that nicotine leaves your body, the quicker the craving will cease. Frequent warm baths will help draw it out through the skin. (Steam baths pull out the yellow fluid even faster.)
Some people who go off tobacco report that they will sweat more than usual in the night—and that their perspiration yellows the bed sheets. This is the nicotine coming out. Warm baths and showers are a friend at this time; use them. They do two important things: They relax you from your withdrawal tension and they help the nicotine leave your body.
12. After the bath or shower, take a "cold mitten friction." Here is how to do it, as described by Dr. McFarland:
"It will help jangled nerves, step up the circulation, and make you feel like a million! Here is the procedure. First, get up in the morning a few minutes earlier than usual. Second, in a warm bathroom fill the washbasin with tepid or cool water. Third, immerse a washcloth in the water, then wring it out thoroughly, without dripping ends. Fourth, rub an arm until the skin begins to glow.
"Keep rubbing until the desired pink color appears, denoting an increased peripheral blood circulation. Some people discover it requires considerable rubbing before the skin turns pink, which fact often indicates the peripheral or surface blood vessels are somewhat sluggish in dilating. However, the same mitten friction applied the next morning will usually cause the surface vessels to dilate much sooner.
"Use progressively cooler water each morning in order to obtain a greater tonic effect. Do not attempt, however, to cover the entire body with the cold mitten friction on the first morning. On the second morning the second arm can be covered in addition to the first. On the third morning the sequence can run as fallows: left arm, right arm, and chest. On the fourth morning the legs may be covered, in addition to the arms and chest, so that the entire body will have been covered by the cold mitten friction. Some Spartan souls find themselves eventually tossing a tray of ice cubes into the morning washbasin. A cold, vigorous mitten friction will make you feel more wide awake and stimulated without triggering the craving for another smoke."—J. Wayne McFarland, "How to Stop Smoking," page 4.
When one quits nicotine, the withdrawal is accompanied by a tension and a letdown. The baths help relax and relieve the tension and the brisk cold mitten frictions counteract the letdown feeling with a refreshing lift.
13. Each time you crave a drink or a smoke, begin slow deep breathing. Do it in this way: Slowly take in as much air as you can and then exhale it slowly. Repeat your resolve: "I choose not to drink; I choose not to smoke." Silently, ask God to help you in your new resolve and mean it. You are learning to trust Him and find in Him the help you so much need.
There is energy in fresh drafts of air. Whenever you first step outside, also take in several deep breaths.
14. Drink the equivalent of six or eight glassfuls of water each day. Do this between meals. Keep a record if needed. This is important, for the nicotine can only leave the body through body fluids. Give your body water, and then the poisons can more easily be washed out or come out in sweat.
Drink a glass or two of water upon arising. Between breakfast and lunch take two more, and in the afternoon another two. "By substantially increasing your fluid intake during the first twenty four hours, you may find yourself rounding the corner on craving much sooner. After twenty four hours you can cut down on the water, but keep your intake of fresh fruit and fruit juices high."—J. Wayne McFarland.
15. Take no alcoholic beverage—no beer, no wine, etc. You have started on a new program to be the boss of your body. Handing the reins of control over to alcohol is a sure way to lose your much needed self control. You are on a program that will strengthen your self determination and willpower. Indulging in liquor will only destroy all you are seeking to achieve.
16. Eat all you want of fruit, grains, vegetables, and nuts. Fresh fruit just now is excellent. It brings to your body vitamins, minerals, and more of that fluid needed so much to carry off the poisons. It also has vitamin C, which works with your white blood cells to eliminate many poisonous substances in your body.
You may find that you add some weight during this time. But getting rid of nicotine is more important than the few pounds gained! Also, you are entering upon a program that is actually strengthening your willpower. You will later be able to use this new help in tackling food problems that seemed impossible before. (And remember: There is a chapter at the back of this book on weight control.)
17. Walk outdoors for fifteen to thirty minutes after each meal, breathing deeply as you go. And don't just sit after a meal, for this is the time of day that you will especially want to smoke. Instead, get outside.
18. Open up the curtains and raise the windows and let in the purifying sunlight and refreshing air. There is tobacco odor all over your house. Get it out. Clean the nicotine out of your home as well as your body.
19. Avoid mustard, spices, pepper, vinegar, catsup, hot sauce, chili, and horseradish. These foods tend to arouse cravings, and this is not what you want. If you wish to eliminate tobacco, alcohol, and overeating, then you want to stay away from these foods. "When it is hot and when it is cold, leave it alone."
20. If you will skip all sweets, pastries, cake, ice cream, and chocolate during the first ten days at least, you will have far more command of the withdrawal and will be able to carry it through successfully. Avoid the rich sugar-heavy desserts.
Heavy smokers often like highly spiced foods and frequently a heavy meat diet, plus gravies, fried foods, and other rich foods. But such a diet makes it harder to say goodbye to the tobacco habit.
21. Do not use fish, fowl, meat, tea, coffee, or cola beverages. The uric acid, ammonia, purines and other wastes in meat give it its flavor, stimulate your nerves, and step up your craving for nicotine and alcohol. The caffeine in tea, coffee, and cola drinks can so trigger your nerves that in a matter of minutes you will have an uncontrollable desire to light up.
A well-seasoned rare steak is in itself sufficient to stimulate a strong craving to smoke. This craving may be related to the stimulating purine substances in the meat and the increased blood ammonia absorbed from protein breakdown in the meat.
22. White, refined sugar has no calcium, phosphorus, iron, or vitamin B1. In fact, it steals several important vitamins and minerals from your body in the white sugar-oxidation process. This includes calcium and several of the B complex vitamins which are so much needed to strengthen and calm your nerves. This is why a lot of sugar in the diet makes you more jumpy and irritable. So at this important time in your life, you are wise to pass up the rich pastries and desserts with their liberal amounts of sugar. A possible exception to this might be the use of a little sweetening between meals, to help tide you over the low blood sugar problem for the first couple of weeks (see number 26, below).
23. Vitamins and minerals can really help you. More information on this will be found in a later chapter in this book. (In another one of our books, How to Quit Alcohol, we outline ways to help you quit alcoholic beverages. Included in that book are several very helpful nutritional aids.)
24. Treat yourself while you are coming off tobacco. This may mean a little indulging during that first ten days.
25. Don't try to solve any major problems just now. Make life as pleasant as possible; keep on the positive.
26. Be thankful for the blessings you have. Name them one by one. Thank God for all you have and for all He is doing for you. And tell others also. Cravings and addictions have a hard time fastening on people who are quite happy without them.
27. Try to avoid all sedatives and stimulants just now. In this way you will strengthen and build up your nervous system more quickly. And this is what you want.
28. Some people carry a few honey drop candies in the pocket they formerly reserved for the cigarette pack. If the going gets rough, chew on some. Tobacco raises blood sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, and it is known that this is part of its addictive power. Some keep lemon drops nearby for the first couple of weeks.
29. Stay away from liquor gatherings! There are always those who try to kick the cigarette habit who then drop in to visit old drinking friends. One drink quickly leads to another and they wonder later what got them back into smoking a pack before it was all over. The liquor dazed their thinking, reduced willpower—and they're smoking again!
30. Special tablets or other aids in kicking the tobacco habit are available and may help you. You will find them in the drugstore. Some receive benefit by them; others don't.
One is gentian root. This is an herb that can be chewed. It has a tendency to remove the taste for tobacco. It should be available at your local drug or health food store.
Chamomile is an herb. Chamomile blossoms may be chewed between meals whenever there is a desire to smoke.
Another is silver nitrate. Some folk rinse their mouth three or four times a day with a weak solution of silver nitrate (1 part to 5,000 parts or 1 part to 8,000 parts) after eating, then spit it out.
(Here is clinical information on this chemical compound: Silver nitrate, USP, is a toxic preparation made from silver. It is primarily used as a germicide and local astringent. It is incompatible with aspirin, and sodium chloride (table salt). Since it is a poison, it must be administered only in weak solutions. Symptoms are burning in throat and stomach rather prompt vomiting. Taken over a longer period of time, it causes "argyria," which is a peculiar bluish discoloration of all exposed body tissues. Treatment is large quantities of ordinary table salt in water, which precipitates the silver as a slightly soluble chloride; follow with egg whites, oils, and other demulcents.)
If you use silver nitrate, rinse your mouth after meals with one-half of one percent silver nitrate solution for one week, spitting it out each time. Six ounces of silver nitrate will be enough. Do not swallow any of the solution. It is almost as poisonous as tobacco. Keep the solution in a colored bottle.
In addition, there are other "stop tobacco" aids that are sold in drugstores. But no medicine can ever be a substitute for willpower. A determination to break the habit, plus the help of God in doing it, is the most helpful medicine there is.
31. The most important part of this program is prayer to your heavenly Father for help and trust in Him to do for you that which you cannot do for yourself. If you have never prayed before, this is the time to learn. Place your will on the side of God and determine that, with His help, you will succeed. You can never fail if you are sincerely trying to do your best and are trusting Him to give you the strength to go through with it.
32. A sweat bath once a week will help eliminate the nicotine from your system.
33. Keep in the open air as much as possible.
34. Keep your mind occupied. When tempted, repeat, "Through the power of Christ, I choose not to smoke."
35. Carrot sticks or raw celery at the close of a meal will lessen the desire to smoke. Chewing raisins helps somewhat. You may wish to carry a small package of raisins with you in your shirt pocket or purse.
36. Keep reading back over the list of items in this chapter. When the going gets rough, breathe deep, send up a prayer to Heaven, and go out and take a good walk, breathing deeply as you go. Keep on with those showers or baths, and be careful to eat good, nourishing food. Keep saying to yourself, "I choose not to smoke." Then take another drink of water. If you feel you are going to break down and smoke, phone your prayer partner. He will either pray with you over the telephone or come and do so in person. Do not drink coffee during the time that you are overcoming the tobacco habit! The two go together. A cup of coffee calls for a cigarette. Get rid of both habits together.
37. You will notice that each time a strong craving for tobacco comes, it will greatly weaken within just a few minutes. The various suggestions outlined in this chapter will enable you to get through each of those periods of craving.
38. Many people announce to family and friends in advance of their intention to quit. Or they may wait until the actual Quit Day to tell others of their plans. Either way, once you begin—do it with a positive enthusiasm! This is it! Done with the stuff forever! From that point onward, you are not trying to quit tobacco—you are now a nonsmoker and do not wish to have a smoke. If anyone asks, you do not say, "I am trying to get off tobacco." Instead you say, "I am a nonsmoker; No, thanks, I do not smoke."
Use your sense of humor. Remind yourself how ridiculous it is for a person to become so dependent on a little tobacco-filled paper tube. Laugh a little at the situation and yourself.
39. When your friends tell you it can't be done, do not become angry but pleasantly tell them to wait and see. Oddly enough, all the derision and laughing directed at you may, at some point, be just what was needed to help carry you through to success. They say that you cannot do it (usually, frankly, because they do not think that they themselves can). All right, you shall do it anyway.
Take the initiative: Talk to your friends about your having given up smoking—and tell them the benefits that have already resulted. Encourage them to give up the weed also.
40. There may be some situations that you know are coming which you cannot avoid: certain smoking environments and people. Avoid as many as possible for the first few weeks; but, those you must face, brace yourself to resist. Tell yourself it is coming and get ready to meet it. And then meet it when it arrives in a positive manner. You are not a timid rabbit. Tobacco is a thing of the past for you.
41. When you see another light up and begin smoking, and the smoke goes outward, think candidly to yourself a few tobacco facts: What a waste of time and money this is. How tasteless it is. I know! Smoke from a burning rope in my mouth, with its hot, acrid, bitterness. Continually blackening lungs that later become cancerous.
Tempted by seeing someone else smoke nearby? Not at all, for you are too preoccupied with far different thoughts, thoughts of why you remained enslaved to that habit so long yourself, thoughts of pity for the poor soul before you who is still fastened to a chain.
Those are not idle thoughts. They are very truthful, very real. For life is real . . and so is death.
In contrast, from the very first day that you have quit, you have had your sufferings; but, from the very beginning, you have noticed benefits: a more energetic feeling, more alertness, better sleep at night, food now tastes better. And you know that, with the passing of time, these benefits will increase.
42. Each night, before going to sleep, get on your knees and thank God for the help He has given you that day. You know very well that without His enabling strength you could not do what needed to be done. Make this a habit in the coming months and years. Let Quit Day mark a major turning point in your life. Begin reading your Bible and praying through the day. Find others to help, for there are many around you who need a peace of heart that they do not have.
We will let Dr. McFarland conclude this chapter: "Recently a heavy smoking business executive declared, 'I am amazed at how many beneficial side effects there are in this plan to stop smoking.' Whereupon he listed a number of benefits experienced through more exercise, deep breathing, and the stronger willpower to regularize personal habits. For him the plan had already paid off in an improved sense of well being. He concluded by saying, 'And all these benefits have come to me within the framework of giving up tobacco.'
"We believe this is as it should be. In ceasing to smoke, you are certainly not the victim of some negative decision that deprives you of a cherished habit. Instead, in the process of quitting, you can open other doors leading to new avenues of altogether better living.
"Now for a word of definite warning. If you allow your willpower to drift into gradual inactivity, thus becoming careless in habits of eating, drinking, working, and sleeping, your guard will be imperceptibly but steadily lowered. Don't forget that just beneath the surface' lies a once well-established neuromuscular, psychological addiction, ready without warning to unleash a savage craving to smoke.
"Keep your guard up. Your job now is to establish the habit of not smoking just as firmly as before you had established the habit of smoking. Remember, this will take time, but you can make it."—J. Wayne McFarland, M.D., "How to Stop Smoking," page 11.
And, we might add, we can know you will make it; for this time you are doing it with God. The future is always bright . . when He is the center of it . . and the reason for it.
AND LATER ON
Weeks and even months later, the temptation to smoke can come at moments least expected. It might be when you are in a tense situation or when you are totally relaxed. But you catch yourself and say, "No, I choose not to smoke." You have said No, and in a moment or two the sudden strong temptation leaves almost as quickly as it came.
Remind yourself that, were you to smoke now, you would gain little; for the very first puff would tell you that you were back with the old acrid, bitter, hot poisoned air again.
"But, then," someone will ask, "cannot I later take a drag on a smoke safely?" No, it will never be safe. Keep reminding yourself: There is a deep satisfaction in refraining, but no satisfaction in smoking. Your only safety is to stay away from it forever.
We dislike having to bring up such an unpleasant topic, but what should you do if you ever do later slip and smoke a cigarette?
Well, what does a pilot do when he crashes a plane? He immediately goes back up in another one! If you were to slip—and that would be very unfortunate and not something to even consider doing—you would immediately get back on guard, continue to fight off temptations, and stay off tobacco from then on. You've successfully been through the "coming-off party" before, so you would know you could go through it again, with the help of God.
However, let us not fool ourselves: It is very dangerous to play around with temptation. Leave dangerous things alone. You do not want to fall into an on-again-off-again pattern!
Get off and stay off! Always, only, forever. That is the only way you can be happy and stay happy. And you know that to be true.