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I read them every day even after 4 years. I read each and every one of them.

Yet, I see people come here and ask the same questions over and over.

If you would just read the Blogs there are thousands of responses old and new that answer your question in every form from opinion to factual, from prose to poetry! 

What do we think of e-cigs, for EXample.... 

Which NRT is best.....

How long will I XYZ....

It's OK to ask and ask again but it's also amazingly helpful to read the Blogs.

Then you might not take the answers so personally!!!!

If you ask a question here - you will get an answer (or 2 or 10 or more!)

And you may not like the answer but we don't lie here!

We are all Addicts and using Addicts lie, especially to themselves!

Recovering Adicts have pledged to stop the lies about their drug of choice, NICOTINE!

Only when we stop lying can we move into FREEDOM!

Don't take it personally!

We are here to help you help yourself to save yourself!

The only thing personal is our best wishes for you!



Smoking ruins the flavour of coffee - for ever!


 Toxic chemicals in tobacco harm ability to taste even after giving up.


Smoking spoils the taste of a cup of coffee – even after quitting, say scientists.


Wake up and smell the coffee: Smokers could be destroying their ability to taste caffeine - despite a coffee and a cigarette historically being enjoyed together




The strong, bitter taste of caffeine is usually easily detected, even in tiny amounts – but not for those who light up. It seems their ability to taste is harmed by the toxic chemicals found in tobacco.




To find out whether taste is still affected even after people stop smoking, scientists tested how well 451 volunteers could recognise the four basic flavours of sweet, sour, bitter and salty, as well as the intensity of each taste.


The study, published in the journal Chemosensory Perception, found that whether the volunteers smoked or not did not affect whether they could recognise salty, sweet or sour tastes – but it did have an effect on the bitter taste of caffeine.

One in five smokers and one in four ex-smokers could not correctly recognise the taste. However, a mere 13 per cent of non-smokers failed the taste test.




Researchers believe the build-up of tobacco in the body could stop taste buds renewing themselves and so harm a person’s ability to recognise certain tastes, even after they have stopped smoking.




The experiment was conducted on 451 staff in Parisian hospitals.


The participants were grouped into smokers, non-smokers and people who had quit smoking in tests conducted over the course of three consecutive World No-Tobacco Days.




Bitterness can generally be tasted at very low concentrations, but not so for those who light up, the study said.




Dr Nelly Jacob, of Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, where the experiment was conducted, said that this ability to taste bitter foods and drinks ‘should be examined more closely’ in order to help people stop smoking, as well preventing people from taking up the habit.




'More generally it should be worthwhile to consider the role of chemo-sensory perceptions in smoking behaviour,' Dr Jacob added.




At present, e-cigs are for the most part unregulated, allowing companies to aggressively market them and claim that e-cigs are relatively safe. This approach can't be used with conventional cigarettes. However, opposition to e-cigs is building, and an unlikely backer is funding the move against these products.

Indeed, one of the biggest forces working against the introduction of e-cigs is Big Pharma. Big Pharma is highly active in the NRT market. GlaxoSmithKline  is the leading marketer of these products within the United States. Obviously, if smokers who are in the process of quitting turn to e-cigs rather than quit with NRT, GlaxoSmithKline will lose revenue.


Furthermore, it would also seem as if GlaxoSmithKline has support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; in particular, Mitch Zeller, a former anti-tobacco lobbyist who was appointed head of the FDA's center for tobacco products earlier this year. Zeller disclosed that he:

...provides consulting support to GlaxoSmithKline consumer health through Pinney Associates on an exclusive basis on issues related to tobacco dependence treatment.

This pharmaceutical consultancy has regulatory authority over competing products, including e-cigs.

 Altria recently purchased Green Smoke, an international e-cig company with a distribution network and sales in the US and Israel. Meanwhile, Lorillard has acquired a British e-cig developer, although this does mean the company must compete with tobacco industry behemoth British American Tobacco, which has launched its first e-cig product in its home market.

In addition, Altria and Reynolds have made inroads in the NRT market within the US, both offering types of tobacco gum. Reynolds also has several smokeless snuff offerings, which are still registering strong demand. This is nothing new; it just helps set the company apart from its peers.

As a result, all will not be lost for these companies if the FDA moves against them. Smaller e-cig companies, however, could potentially be snuffed out overnight, as regulations benefit the industry's larger players.


Follow the Money!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 27, 2014

I just read an article that describes the market for “Nicotine De-Addiction Products.” For the purposes of this article they include Nicotine Gums, Patches, Lozenges, Inhalers, Sprays, Sublingual Tablets, Zyban, Chantix/Champix, E-cigarettes.

2012  $5.1 Billion with a giant B!

2019 (projected) $16.02 Billion!

That’s a market increase of 18.7% in a short 7 years!



So where is all that money going for “smoking de-addiction products”?

NRTs were worth 995.5 million in 2012.  Increased promotional activities and effective distribution is expected to boost their market growth in the near future. The major players in the NRT products market include Johnson and Johnson, GSK, Cipla and Novartis.

Smoking cessation pharmaceuticals market is expected to witness a decline in revenue across the globe, by the end of 2019. Zyban  (bupropion) lost it’s patent in 2013 and Chantix/Champix (varenicline) will lose theirs  in 2018.  The leading players in the drug therapy market are GSK and Pfizer.

The e-cigarette market has posed a challenge to smoking cessation products as well as to the tobacco cigarette business. The global e-cigarettes market was worth  1.662.5 billion in 2012. Lorillard, NJOY and VMR products LLC are some of the major players in the e-cigarettes market.

Big Tobacco got into the game when Lorillard acquired Blu, an e-cigarette brand, and demonstrated its economic power. NJOY has the largest portion of the market and has been in the e-cig business since 2006. The first thing they did was to hire former tobacco marketers to show them how to convince the consumer. VMR is America’s largest volume online retailer of electronic cigarettes in a strategic partnership with National Tobacco Company (NTC), distributor of the iconic Zig-Zag and Beech-Nut brands.

My conclusions?

You can either go with the same pharmaceuticals that sell me my COPD medicines


You can go with the newest industry knee deep in BIG TOBACCO


You can be a Smart Turkey!

I have more trust in ME that I do in folks who want to see me sick and/or hooked!





Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 25, 2014

As Addicts in Recovery we will go through the Grieving Stages:

1. Denial and Isolation

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

For more on this, check out the following Blog:

Today I’d like to focus on (3) Bargaining.

This is the emotional state where you will be most likely to fail in your attempt to quit smoking. You will find yourself saying “I’ve made it a week already, one little cigarette won’t hurt,” or “I’ll just vape, it’s less harmful than smoking at least,”  and you will try and convince those who still smoke to let you finish the ends of their cigarettes. “Maybe I should restart the quitting process. I might not have done it right.” But you must change your perspective, you’re beginning to look and feel desperate!

During the bargaining stage you will be willing to do anything to get a cigarette. You will become incredibly devious and your Addictive Mind will be constantly finding new ways to try and justify having a smoke or a vape. Now instead of using this new found cunning to smoke we should use it to help ourselves quit.

Be prepared

(1)   Listen to the Voices

First, you have to begin listening to your Addictive Mind! We’re so busy doing things these days we don’t always take the time to listen to ourselves. When you go into withdrawal, your Brain goes into overtime Fight/Flight response. That’s the most reptilian part of your Brain and the part we least pay attention to. Yet we still act upon it without even understanding why! Have you ever automatically done something that made no sense at all? You were most likely acting from this part of your Brain – the Amygdala.


(2)   Respond rather than react!

The Control Administrator in your Brain has stopped communicating with your Reptilian Brain. It’s like a small child who is so caught up in emotion that (s)he can’t hear the Parent! As you practice listening, then you have a window of opportunity to respond not just react.

 If somebody near you lights up, you can remove yourself from the scene rather than bum that cigarette. If a trigger presents itself you can refer to your go to list (you DO have one, don’t you?) instead of reach for the pack. You can avoid sure fire quit breakers like alcohol and hanging out at your past favorite smoke site while your smoke buddies smoke like chimneys.

(3)   Take Charge!


You can decide to stop the bargaining! This is the most important of all! The more you allow yourself permission to even consider bargaining, the more likely you are to talk yourself into smoking. Instead, talk yourself into Recovery! That must be your daily non-negotiable goal!

 No EXcuses, No Exceptions. N.O.P.E.!

The potential of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as an effective quit-smoking tool has been extinguished, new research shows.

Results from a longitudinal analysis of e-cigarette use and smoking cessation in a national sample of 1549 participants showed that baseline e-cigarette use was not associated with change in cigarette consumption at 1 year.

"[W]e found that e-cigarette use by smokers was not followed by greater rates of quitting or by reduction in cigarette consumption 1 year later," the authors, led by Rachel A Grana, PhD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco, write.

The study was published online March 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Contributor to Nicotine Addiction

These findings mirror those of another recent study of e-cigarettes conducted in a pediatric population and reported by Medscape Medical News at that time, which showed that e-cigarettes not only did not deter smoking in teens but that they actually contributed to nicotine addiction.

Furthermore, the investigators cite another recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that also showed that e-cigarette use was not followed by greater rates of quitting or by reduction in cigarette consumption 1 year later.

According to investigators, the same study shows that 85% of smokers who used e-cigarettes reported that they used them to quit.

For the current study, the investigators analyzed data from current smokers recruited from the Knowledge Networks probability-based Web-enabled panel who completed baseline and follow-up surveys in November 2011 and again in November 2012.

The final analysis was based on data from 949 participants. A total of 88 smokers used e-cigarettes at baseline.

The investigators found that significantly more women, younger adults, and individuals with less education used e-cigarettes. The results also revealed that a greater portion of e-cigarette users reported smoking their first cigarette of the day less than 30 minutes after waking compared with nonusers (69.0% vs 57.9%; P = .046). In addition, baseline e-cigarette use was not significantly associated with greater intention to quit smoking (P = .09).

Although baseline e-cigarette use did not predict quitting at 1 year, 2 other factors ― intention to quit (odds ratio [OR], 5.59; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.41 - 12.98) and the number of cigarettes smoked per day (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.94 - 0.99) ― significantly predicted quit status.

"[O]ur data add to the current evidence that e-cigarettes may not increase rates of smoking cessation. Regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence," the investigators write.

Need for FDA Regulation

In a related editor's note, Mitchell H. Katz, MD, deputy editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, said the study results "increase the weight of evidence indicating that e-cigarettes are not associated with higher rates of smoking cessation."

In addition, Dr. Katz called for regulation of e-cigarettes by the US Food and Drug Administration and agreed with the authors' assertion that "sellers of e-cigarettes should not be able to advertise them as smoking cessation devices without sufficient evidence that they are effective for this indication."

I remember the emptiness I felt when I first stopped smoking! It was ...sadness, ...ah, loneliness,...I don't know maybe ... boredom!  I want to understand the feeling that we often label as "craving" because we don't know how else to describe that feeling. You may have heard of H.A.L.T. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and tells us of warning signs of when we might be tempted.

I've come to the point of thinking of filling the hole. Something is missing and my brain automatically says "cigarette" but that is the addiction talking. Since cigarettes are no longer an option for me no matter what - well, then what is missing?

Am I hungry, thirsty, tired? Does my BODY need something to feel more comfortable and cared for? Am I lonely, angry, frustrated, depressed? Do my emotions need attention? Am I spiritually depleted from the harsh living that we all have to endure? Maybe I need time with my GOD so I can reinforce my love and trust in Him! Very often I find one or more of these factors contributing to my feeling of emptiness. 

When I fill the hole with good food, rest, exercise for the body, with support from my friends to talk out my emotions, and with God time in my daily life then the emptiness ceases to exist and my brain stops even groping for that thing which is not a cigarette but we would use a cigarette to feel better! Next time you think you want a cigarette - maybe you can ask yourself - What is it I really need? After all, when you put out the smoke - the hole is still there! When you fill the hole you FEEL WHOLE!

Happy abundant living everyone! Thank you for your friendship and support! Enjoy your NEW Smoke FREE LIVING! It's a WHOLESOME Adventure!

Many smokers think that lighting up helps them relax. They’re fooling themselves, experts say.

“Nicotine withdrawal makes people feel jittery and anxious, which smokers often confuse with feeling stressed,” says Steven Schroeder, MD, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco. “Lighting up makes them feel better, not because that cigarette eases stress but because it’s delivering the next dose of nicotine.”

Breaking free of nicotine addiction can be stressful, of course. Stress is one of the leading reasons why people falter in their efforts to quit. “Stress releases a brain chemical called epinephrine, which interferes with the ability to focus and think clearly,” says Bruce S. Rabin, MD, PhD, medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Healthy Lifestyle Program and an expert on stress. “When you’re trying to quit smoking, that can make it hard to stay focused on the goal.”

Fortunately, a wide range of strategies can help you get through the tough times without being overwhelmed by stress.  Here are 10 ways to reduce stress while you quit smoking.

1. Cut yourself plenty of slack.

Don’t be hard on yourself while you’re quitting. Kicking the habit is tough enough. Recognize in advance that you’ll experience stress. Understand that your temper may be short and that you may feel discouraged and even depressed. Try not to be critical of yourself or others. Remember: quitting is your most important goal. Try to have an optimistic, “can-do” attitude. “Optimism turns out to be one of the most important determinants of success,” says Rabin. “If people are convinced they can do it, they stand a much better chance of succeeding. If you’ve tried and failed before, don’t let that discourage you. Most smokers have to try several times before they succeed.

2. Resolve short-term problems in advance.

If you can easily resolve any nagging short-term stresses, do it before you quit. Fix that leaky faucet. Clean up the clutter that’s been bugging you. Clear away as many stressful issues as possible. 

3. Set long-term worries aside for now.

The first few weeks of quitting are the hardest. During that period, don’t burden yourself unnecessarily by worrying about long-term problems. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll worry about them later, after you’ve made it through the first few weeks. Focus on the here and now.

4. Learn to recognize signs of stress.

The sooner you deal with stress, the less likely it will be to derail your efforts to quit. Signs of stress include a feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to cope, anxiety, restlessness, headaches, sleeplessness, depression, agitation, and anger. As soon as you feel yourself under stress, act fast.

5. Do things you enjoy doing.

One of the simplest ways to ease stress is to distract yourself with activities that give you pleasure. Listen to a favorite recording. Watch a comedy movie. Take the dog out for a run. Play with your kids. Enjoy a warm shower. Luxuriate in the bathtub. Beyond helping you let off steam, life’s simple pleasures can remind you of why you want to quit in the first place, strengthening your resolve to stick with it.

6. Get moving.

Many studies show that physical activity can help ease stress and anxiety. Exercise even appears to boost brain chemicals associated with feelings of well-being. “Antidepressants help only about half of people with mild to moderate depression. Physical activity, on the other hand, eases depression in about 80% of people,” says Rabin. Almost any kind of activity helps. But doing something you really enjoy, such as swimming or walking in a beautiful area, may be especially helpful for easing stress.

7. Practice relaxation.

Stress reduction techniques also help many smokers quit. These include yoga, progressive relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and various forms of meditation. Mindfulness meditation, which encourages focusing on the here and now, has also been shown to help smokers kick the habit. No one technique works for everyone, so it’s worth trying out a few in advance. If possible, get comfortable with a few stress-reduction techniques before your quit date.

8. Put it in writing.

“Writing about something that’s bothering you -- whether it’s a long-time worry or something that happened yesterday -- can be a powerful way to ease stress,” says Rabin. His advice: Find a quiet place and spend 15 minutes writing about what’s nagging at you. Don’t reread or revise. Just write. Afterward, tear up what you’ve written and toss it away. “Just the act of writing can be enormously helpful in sorting out how you feel and putting stresses into perspective,” says Rabin.

9. Call on a friend.

Being with other people helps relieve stress. Before you quit, make a list of the people you can turn to for support and a friendly conversation. Turn to them when you’re beginning to feel stressed. “Social support turns out to be one of the most important determinants of success for smokers trying to quit,” says Scott McIntosh, PhD, associate professor of community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester in New York and director of the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center.

10. Be patient.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed during the first few days of quitting. Almost all ex-smokers experience moments when they doubt their resolve. Remind yourself frequently: The effects of nicotine withdrawal get weaker every day that you don’t smoke. Every time you resist lighting up, you’re one step closer to a smoke-free life. Even when you’re over the hardest first few weeks, expect to hit some rough patches. “It takes about six months for remodeling in the brain to change behavior and make it second nature,” says Rabin. But once that occurs, you’ll be comfortable in your new life as a nonsmoker -- and happier and healthier for it.


Third Hand Smoke

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 22, 2014

Third hand smoke - the sticky brown residue on smokers' walls and furniture - could be even MORE dangerous for children than passive smoking, warn experts

·         Second-hand smoke reacts with indoor pollutants to create substance

·         'Noxious residue' sticks to items in the home, including children's toys

·         When ingested substance sticks to DNA in a way which can lead to cancer

·         Particularly dangerous for children - who are more vulnerable to its effects as they are small and at a developmental stage

·         Discovered in research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Third hand smoke that clings to walls and furniture could pose a more serious health threat to young children than passive smoking, a new study warns.

Researchers have found many of the 4,000 compounds in second hand smoke, which wafts through the air as a cigarette is smoked, can linger indoors long after a cigarette is stubbed out.

These substances can react with indoor pollutants such as ozone and nitrous acid, creating brand new compounds - some of which may be carcinogenic.

One residue - known as 'noxious residue' - remains on virtually all surfaces, including toys and other items toddlers may put in their mouths. The substance - called NNA - sticks to human DNA and can cause uncontrolled cell growth and the formation of cancerous tumours.

Dr Bo Hang, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found the residue NNA locks onto DNA to form what is known as a 'bulky adduct' - which is a piece of DNA bound to a cancer-causing chemical.

Other large compounds that attach to DNA tend to cause genetic mutations.

Dr Hang told an American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas: 'The best argument for instituting a ban on smoking indoors is actually third hand smoke.'

The biggest potential health risk is for babies and toddlers.

As they crawl and put their hands or toys in their mouths, they could touch, swallow or inhale compounds from third hand smoke.

Their small size and early developmental stage make them more vulnerable than adults to the effects of environmental hazards.

Although many public places prohibit smoking, Dr Hang said people can still smoke in most rental apartments and private residences, and smoking remains a huge public health issue.

So far, the best way to get rid of third hand smoke is by removing affected items, such as sofas and carpeting, as well as sealing and repainting walls, and sometimes even replacing contaminated wallboard.

Replacing furniture can be pricey, but Dr Hang said vacuuming and washing clothes, curtains and bedding can also help.

However, just as it took years to establish the cancer causing effects of first hand smoke, making the connection between third hand smoke or NNA and cancer could take a long time.

But early research into its nature, exposure and health effects is compelling enough a research consortium dedicated to investigating third-hand smoke was formed in California in 2010.

That helped fund Dr Hang's work on NNA induced DNA damage - which he said could eventually be used as biomarkers to identify people who have been exposed to third hand smoke.

Have you "tried your best to fight the craves and can't seem to win?" Are you sitting there scratching your head about what went wrong and feeling like you can "never win?" I'll tell you something I learned Thanks to the Elders who helped me launch the adventure of my lifetime - Smoke FREE Living! 

I came here like most of us not knowing anything about Nicotine Addiction and was told to read and I did! It really helped but there was this guy who I thought was goofy (Thank Goodness I now know that he was spot on!) His name is James and his moniker is the Happy Quitter! ....Say what? what's there to be happy about? Strong, yes! Determined, yes! Stubborn, fierce, a fighter! But happy??? As I thought about it, something really clicked and the light bulb came on! 


I had been fighting the Nico-Demon with willpower! What could be more effective than that? But I was missing the essential...The Nico-Demon is ME!!!!!


So when I was fighting myself, how could I win without losing??? And guess what, the loser had been the part that wanted to be FREE! You can't be FREE when you're fighting!!!! 

This fellow James had something - something I really, really wanted! he was not just Quit - He was Happy being Quit! 

So how do you handle the craves if you don't fight??? What do you do instead? 

There's a fellow here named Tommy who repeatedly told me to use Focus and Determination. Could I combine these 2 great pieces of advice? Think about Focus for a minute....



When you focus with determination instead of fighting with determination, the whole picture changes! I had changed my perspective! The Nico-demon became more blurry, less important and the object of my Focus increased in POWER - the POWER to WIN! And what was that very important object of my FOCUS?



FREEDOM from the Chains of Addiction! 

FREEDOM to be the ME that my Creator made me to be!

FREEDOM from pain, suffering, illness, devastation!

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize and ignore the Nico-Demon - but don't fight Him because HE IS ME! Just Focus on the Prize! Will He scream for attention? Oh yea! But when you ignore Him long enough, He loses energy - your Energy is on your Prize! And He gets weaker....and weaker...and weaker...and becomes a little bitty gnat that once in a great while bugs you but you easily have the POWER to swat Him back into His place tiny! So worthless! 





Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 21, 2014

Thank You, EX Family, for celebrating with me yesterday 4 Years of Smobriety!

Each of you have been such a blessing in my Life and a joy in my Quit Journey!

May you flourish with the abundance Addiction Free Living!


Enjoy your next breath and have a great weekend!

What’s in a thought really? We have 60, 000 thoughts a day – some positive, some negative, and some neutral. They can be observations, criticisms, motivations, imagination, etc…Thoughts can be passing or obsessive. We have a Control Panel in our NeuroSystem just like the Control Panel in our Computers that allows us to “Administrate!” We get to DECIDE which thoughts we will give personal POWER to and which we will dismiss!

For Example, I might think for a second, “I’d like to be a Movie Star!” Immediately, my Cognitive and Affective Controls will kick in and begin deciding how important that thought is. Do I really want to be a Movie Star or is it just an imaginative sidebar? Just because I have the thought doesn’t necessarily mean that becoming a Movie Star is a viable goal – but it might! My internal Administrator decides.

If something is important to me then I invest energy and allow that thought to grow!


When an Addictive Thought happens to me, “A cigarette would be good right now,” I can DECIDE to give that thought POWER or dismiss it! My “Administrator” can elaborate and think, “Now, that was a ridiculous thought!” [ which is what it chose to do in my case when I thought about becoming a Movie Star!]

OR I can give it POWER by elaborating on how the cigarette will “reduce my stress,” taste delicious,” “reward some behavior,” or some other absurd chain of Addictive Thoughts!

I choose to elaborate on the fact that smoking contradicts every single Value I hold dear and isn’t worth a second thought!

That’s when my ACTIONS take over! I immediately direct my attention to my BREATH! Breathing is something that we all do throughout the day whether we think of it or not! But paying attention to breathing allows me to contemplate the gift of LIFE! It allows me the split second needed to redirect my thoughts toward those life enhancing values I hold so dear! It makes me aware of how my body wants and needs the help of my mind to fulfill it’s mission – Health and Life!

We Addicts have lots of thoughts about smoking, especially at the beginning of our Quit Journey,but what counts are not the thoughts themselves – it’s how we DECIDE to Administer them! Will you focus on the thought and make it grow

OR will you focus on your own choice of life enhancement?

Let your ACTIONS direct your day! N.O.P.E.! Just for today NO MATTER WHAT!


These Last 4 Years…

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 20, 2014

I’ve gotten to know the most incredible, amazing, determined people! Some of my old and dear friends have moved on, some of them are still around and we keep in close touch and some new friends as well. It really is like one Big Family!

We were all brought into this Family under different circumstances in very stressful times in our personal lives.  For one reason or another or for multiple reasons we each had come to the conclusion that it’s past time to quit smoking. What a terrifying thought – that one! 

I came with my LIFE literally in my hands looking for answers on how to survive. What I found was a way to THRIVE! And it is so simple! I have to be responsible for my own EXistence! I have to actually practice what I value!

I never really thought that I was doing anything else. I told myself that I value life, family, friends, work, and marriage. But because I was an ADDICT – namely a Nicotine Addict – I compromised all of those things! For a bloody sickerette! Good Grief!

I couldn’t see that by damaging my health with every puff I was hurting my family – hurting my Wife, God Bless Her! I couldn’t see that I was compromising my professional future, that I was diminishing the Quality of LIFE itself.

I couldn’t see that I was damaging my Sons, my Wife, my pets, even my Clients by Second and Third hand smoke. I couldn’t see how I was polluting my car, my home, my business, my atmosphere.

There’s a lot to forgive myself for in all of that. Thanks to my BecomeanEX Family, I have been shown how to accomplish that! I am an Addict. Addicts become oblivious to the sacrifices they make to their drug of choice. I gave away a little piece of my soul every time a lit up. That’s thousands of times! 

That’s what it means to re-cover! It’s re-claiming ME! Bit by bit through a lot of Focus and Determination every time in those first 130 days that I said NO to that constant nagging Addictive Voice I re- claimed another little piece of my soul – for ME!

 Every time I faced the ups and downs of Life on Life’s terms I re-learned Who I really am – not my Addiction – the real Addiction FREE Thomas!

Every time I celebrated not with a sickerette but with Healthy natural breaths of clean fresh air or a good work out in the gym  I re-claimed my Body for ME!

Every time I spent  taking a brisk walk with my Sons or dancing with the Love of my Life to get some dopamine the way Our Creator intends I re-claimed my relationship with my Beloved, with my Family!

Every time I showed up for work in clean, unsmoky clothes that stayed unsmoky throughout the work day, even when confronted with challenges big and small I re-claimed my professionalism.

Every time I dropped one smoking pal and gained two clean and sober friends, or talked another guy into quitting, or gained the respect of smoking and nonsmoking friends alike, I re-claimed my half of good friendship.

I could dread the years lost irretrievably under the smoke cloud of Addiction or I can Thank God, my Family, and  each and every one of you for contributing to my Quit Journey now and in the future. I know I won’t smoke again Not One Puff Ever….as long as I Never Ever Forget!

 And that’s why I’m here – because a guy I’ve never met in person named Dale jolted my Addicted Brain with his quirky Blogs, because a gal named Giulia and another named Sootie, believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself! Because a gal named Aunt Dee became my Quit Buddy and kept me on track and hopefully, I did the same for her, because a fellow named Tommy and another Fellow named Break-in-the-Chains gave me some much needed cognitive tools. Because a lovely Lady named JoAnne continuously dropped sunshine and a smile into my message box. And little did I know that I was just getting started making some of the Best Friends in the World!

ALL of YOU have become closer in many ways than my 3-D Family and Friends. You have proven yourself not just fair weather Friends but the kind you want to have around you when the sh#% hits the fan! And the kind of Folks you want in your LIFE when you Celebrate 4 YEARS of Smobriety! The BEST of the BEST!

OUR BecomeanEX Community! Becoming responsible for our own EXistence – one minute, one hour, one day at a time!

I'm talking about March 14 - March 20, 2010! And no truer statement can be made! On March 14 I went to the Hospital with a temperature of 102! My teeth were clacking in my head. I radiated heat off my feverish body for yards. I was literally delerious and then I was given the news, "Your lungs are inflated." What do you mean, my lungs are inflated? How can that be and why? "You have Emphysema." That's not possible! I hardly smoke at all! "Emphysema is chronic, progressive and incurable." Whoa, hold on here! I haven't smoked that much!"If you don't quit smoking now you will get a lot worse very quickly."YIKES! I guess my smoking days are over! Smoking just isn't an option for me anymore!

On March 19th I took my last puff! I just couldn't make myself "waste" those cigs I already had! On March 20th I made the Best DECISION I had ever made in my entire life! FREE! ADDICTION FREE!!! Of course, I didn't know that! I wasn't all that happy about quitting but to me nothing is more disgusting than watching somebody on Oxygen smoke! That sure as heck wasn't gonna be me! Well. I also came to BecomeanEx that week and Read, Read, and Read some more and listened to the long timers to find out what they were doing right and I followed their lead! I was as surprised as anybody about how much easier my quit was than I thought it would be! It all had to do with the basic question. I know, you think the question is to smoke or not to smoke! NO! The question for me was, "Since smoking isn't an option then what can I do in this situation?" What can I do when I drink my coffee? What can I do when I'm driving to work? What can I do when it's break time? What can I do while I'm reading my favorite book? What can I do after dinner? etc.,etc.,etc...Before you know it, I found some AMAZING answers!!! I was transforming before my very eyes!!! I became stronger and more confident and more assertive than I ever imagined! And it just keeps getting better and better! WOW! If I had known that I sure as heck would have quit before I had COPD!!!! But regrets never help the situation! So I do my best to help others see what I see before they get the E-Word dropped in their laps! 

That's why I say that it was the Best of Times! Because the NEW Thomas was being formed by a simple DECISION! What to do instead! If I can do this you can too! And you will never ever regret THAT!


Now What?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 15, 2014

Relapse happens – a lot! It’s not an indication of Failure – it’s an indication of lack of sufficient KNOWLEDGE! Knowledge is POWER! Actually without knowledge no device can make much of a difference!

 Unless you have an understanding of Nicotine Addiction and Recovery you are walking into a blind alley! A recent study showed that the part of your Brain that makes decisions about your behavior is literally short circuited by withdrawal. If you don’t know that how can you do anything about it? You can’t just say “Brain – talk to yourself!”  IT CAN’T!

So are you powerless to make a difference?

NO! We have the formula for success right here at EX. Many members spend countless hours telling you over and over and over again….


Now if you’ve already read all that stuff before then what’s the point? You are literally communicating with those parts of your Brain that can’t hear each other – that’s why!


And PARTICIPATE! The Easy Way by Allen Carr is useful but it’s not personally responsive. WE ARE! Right here 24/7 you can talk to folks in all stages of the process of quitting. We can relate to your struggles, be they withdrawal, NML, long term, etc… because we’ve been there!

Nobody can make you quit! Only YOU can do that! And WILLPOWER Can Never Work! It simply doesn’t get the job done!

So you can keep doing what you’ve been doing – and most likely relapse again,…and again,…and again….

OR you can listen and learn from folks who have what you want!


Today is Pi Day! Yep! 3.1416... has it's own day! 

And it's a Great Day to BecomeanEX!

Just give yourself 3.14.16... Months of practice and you can learn to Live FREE!

Hop onboard!

Is it safe to bogart that e-cig or even be in the same room with an e-cig bogarter?

OK, in this post we're going to clue you in on some of the potential issues with electronic cigarettes or e-cigs, as they're diminutively known. But before we do, we need to get one thing straight: Smoking cigarettes kills. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking "is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths, or one of every five deaths, each year."

Add to that the more than 16 million Americans who suffer from a smoking-related disease, and it's fairly clear anything that lowers the rate of cigarette smoking is going to improve our overall health.



Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show the number of U.S. deaths attributable to cigarette smoking has climbed to 480,000. (Source:, 2000-2004)

Americans Are Smoking Less

The numbers are somewhat encouraging. While more than 40 percent of Americans smoked in 1965, only about 18 percent did in 2012. However, given that our population grew over that time, the net drop in American smokers -- 1965's 50 million smokers versus 2012's 42 million -- is only 8 million.

That drop in the rate of smoking probably didn't just happen. The government and a host of nonprofits have waged a long and hard campaign against smoking: ever-increasing taxes, a ban on broadcast advertising, and anti-smoking ad campaigns that promote a healthy lifestyle and warn of the health risks of smoking. (Californiaappears to be leading the pack in this fight.) And ever since 1966, Americans have not been able to purchase a pack of cigarettes free of a stern warning about the hazards of smoking.

Then there's the wide assortment of products to help smokers kick the habit -- everything frompatches and gum to prescription drugslozenges and lollipops. And more recently e-cigarettes.



The Newest and Coolest: 'Vaping'

Although they were patented back in the 1960s, electronic cigarettes didn't really come onto the scene until the past decade, appearing first in China in 2004and spreading to other areas including Europe in 2006 and then the United States the following year. (See infographic on the history of e-cigarettes.)

These cigarette lookalikes basically consist of a cartridge, a battery and an LED light. When turned on, the e-cig heats up the liquid that is housed in the cartridge; this produces an aerosol mist or vapor, which the "smoker" inhales or "vapes," an alternate term that denotes the lack of combustion. The ingredients of the liquid vary, but generally include nicotine (though some are nicotine free), chemicals to vaporize the nicotine (like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin), additives and flavoring.

Since they are tobacco free, e-cigs are currently unregulated in the United States but that may change. Already cities like BostonChicagoNew York, and most recently Los Angeles have restricted their use. And Utah, New Jersey and North Dakota havebanned their use wherever smoking is prohibited. Other states and localities includingMinnesota and Oregon are considering restrictions as well.

It is my impression that there's some confusion in how e-cigs are being marketed. In some cases they are being touted as a nicotine replacement product that smokers can use to eventually quit smoking altogether or (more likely to me) a healthier way to get your nicotine.

And I guess if you "got to" smoke (whatever that means) I suppose e-cigs are probably a lot less unhealthy than good, old-fashioned cigarettes.

Given the long and sorry list of harmful and toxic chemicals in cigarettes, vaping is almost certainly less dangerous to your health.


The Potential Hazards of Vaping

But don't be fooled into thinking that e-cigs are without risks or that you should now be able to vape to your heart's content. Or that they’re plain healthy.

First of all, nicotine is a drug and apowerfully habit-forming one at that, and a 2013 study suggests that even inhaling the drug via either conventional cigarettes or e-cigs may contribute to heart disease.

Also there is evidence that e-cigs deliver some toxic stuff of their own such as formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), nitrosamines (linked to cancer) and lead (a neurotoxin). Though the toxicant levels of e-cigs may be "9-450 times lower than in cigarette smoke," as this study suggests, levels of formaldehyde and metalshave been found to be comparable to or higher than those found in conventional cigarettes.* Silicate particles, which are a cause of lung disease, have also been found in e-cigarette vapors.

The 'Second-Hand Smoke' Question

A number of e-cig enthusiasts I have spoken to believe that the ban on smoking cigarettes in public places should not apply to e-cigs. And some are acting on that belief. I've even seen a woman confidently doing her e-cig thing on the subway in New York. Another in a restaurant.

And why not? Electronic cigarettes don't burn and so there is no smoke. And no smoke means no second-hand smoke. And no second-hand smoke means no health worries for the non-e-cig public who happen to be in the vicinity. Sounds reasonable and what a boon for nicotine addicts. Relegated, lo all these years, to standing outside in the freezing cold or blistering heat to get their fix and unable to inhale while in flight, now e-cig users can reenter conventional society.

But is there really no second-hand "smoke"?

Don't be so sure. A small study by Wolfgang Schober of the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority and colleagues published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health in December found that vaping worsened indoor air quality, specifically by increasing the concentration of nicotine, particulate matter, PAHs and aluminum -- compounds that have been linked to lung and cardiovascular disease and cancer among other health effects.

The upshot? Probably won't be long before the nicotine-inhaling e-cig users of the world find themselves legislated back out into the cold to hang with their conventional nicotine-smoking addicts.


Are You Kidding Me?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 13, 2014

People who try to quit smoking often say that kicking the habit makes the voice inside telling them to light up even louder, but why people succumb to those cravings so often has never been fully understood. Now, a new brain imaging study in this week's JAMA Psychiatry from scientists in Penn Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Intramural Research Program shows how smokers suffering from nicotine withdrawal may have more trouble shifting from a key brain network -- known as default mode, when people are in a so-called "introspective" or "self-referential" state -- and into a control network, the so-called executive control network, that could help exert more conscious, self-control over cravings and to focus on quitting for good.

The findings help validate a neurobiological basis behind why so many people trying to quit end up relapsing -- up to 80 percent, depending on the type of treatment -- and may lead to new ways to identify smokers at high risk for relapse who need more intensive smoking cessation therapy.

The brain imaging study was led by researchers at University of Pennsylvania's new Brain and Behavior Change Program, led by Caryn Lerman, PhD, who is also the deputy director of Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, and Elliot Stein, PhD, and collaborators at NIDA. They found that smokers who abstained from cigarettes showed weakened interconnectivity between certain large-scale networks in their brains: the default mode network, the executive control network, and the salience network. They posit that this weakened connectivity reduces smokers' ability to shift into or maintain greater influence from the executive control network, which may ultimately help maintain their quitting attempt.

"What we believe this means is that smokers who just quit have a more difficult time shifting gears from inward thoughts about how they feel to an outward focus on the tasks at hand," said Lerman, who also serves as the Mary W. Calkins professor in the Department of Psychiatry. "It's very important for people who are trying to quit to be able to maintain activity within the control network -- to be able to shift from thinking about yourself and your inner state to focus on your more immediate goals and plan."

Prior studies have looked at the effects of nicotine on brain interconnectivity in the resting state, that is, in the absence of any specific goal directed activity. This is the first study, however, to compare resting brain connectivity in an abstinent state and when people are smoking as usual, and then relate those changes to symptoms of craving and mental performance.

For the study, researchers conducted brain scans on 37 healthy smokers (those who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day) ages 19 to 61 using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in two different sessions: 24 hours after biochemically confirmed abstinence and after smoking as usual.

Imaging showed a significantly weaker connectivity between the salience network and default mode network during abstinence, compared with their sated state. Also, weakened connectivity during abstinence was linked with increases in smoking urges, negative mood, and withdrawal symptoms, suggesting that this weaker internetwork connectivity may make it more difficult for people to quit.

Establishing the strength of the connectivity between these large-scale brain networks will be important in predicting people's ability to quit and stay quit, the authors write. Also, such connectivity could serve as a clinical biomarker to identify smokers who are most likely to respond to a particular treatment.

"Symptoms of withdrawal are related to changes in smokers' brains, as they adjust to being off of nicotine, and this study validates those experiences as having a biological basis," said Lerman. "The next step will be to identify in advance those smokers who will have more difficultly quitting and target more intensive treatments, based on brain activity and network connectivity."

(Reuters Health) - Smokers who kick the habit appear to benefit from an improved mood, according to a new review of past studies.

On average, quitting smoking was associated with improvements in mental health similar to taking an antidepressant drug, a team of UK researchers found.

"The main message is that when people stop smoking, they feel better than they did when they were smoking," Dr. Paul Aveyard, one of the review's authors, told Reuters Health.

"People who quit smoking may feel grumpy, irritable and bad - those feelings are similar to feelings of stress and people conflate the two," Aveyard, from the University of Oxford, said.

"For clinicians like myself, when we see people who smoke who also have mental health difficulties, there's often a feeling that we are depriving them of a way to deal with the stress," he said. "But in fact we are helping these people to get better."

It is widely known that quitting smoking has saved lives (see Reuters Health story of January 7, 2014 here: But it's nearly impossible to prove that smoking causes specific health problems, or that quitting prevents them, because of other differences that exist between smokers and non-smokers that could impact health and well-being.

With that in mind, "the claim of this paper that quitting is as good as drugs needs more research," Dr. Prabhat Jha, of the University of Toronto Centre for Global Health Research in Canada, wrote in an email to Reuters Health. Jha was not part of the new analysis.


For their review, the researchers examined data from 26 studies of smoking cessation. Some studies included smokers in the general public and others focused on people in psychiatric hospitals. Participants smoked an average of 20 cigarettes per day initially.


All of the studies assessed participants' mental health before quitting smoking and about six months later, on average.


Compared to people who continued to smoke, the studies showed drops in anxiety, depression and stress and improvements in psychological quality of life among quitters.


Other explanations related to mood improvements among quitters need to be considered, the researchers write in the British medical journal BMJ. For example, it's possible that life events improved people's mood, leading them to quit smoking.


Still, there is "an entrenched belief in our culture that smoking ‘calms the nerves' and can help alleviate stressful situations," psychiatry researcher Benjamin Le Cook of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts told Reuters Health in an email. He said this message has met little resistance from public health, mental health and medical communities so far.


The current review serves as a reminder that tobacco withdrawal symptoms like anxiety can easily be confused with mental health problems, said Brian Hitsman of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Both he and Le Cook were not involved in the review.


"It's possible that the emotional withdrawal symptoms are interpreted as an acute worsening of psychiatric symptoms," Hitsman wrote in an email to Reuters Health.


Aveyard and his colleagues conclude that people who smoke "can be reassured" that quitting is tied to improved mental health.


"It's getting harder and harder to find any real benefits of smoking," Jha said.


SOURCE: BMJ, online February 13, 2014


What if the use of a product influenced your perception of it, making you even more susceptible to its positive aspects and altering your understanding of its drawbacks? This is precisely what happens with cigarettes in chronic smokers, according to a recent study by the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Université de Montréal.

The study showed that chronic smokers have altered emotional reactions when they are exposed to negative and positive images associated with tobacco. "We observed a bias depending on how smoking is portrayed ," explained Le-Anh Dinh-Williams, a student at the Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and the study's first author. "For example, the brains of the smokers in our study were more aroused by images that showed smoking in a positive light than by images that encouraged them to stop. They were also more affected by aversive non-smoking related images than by images of the specific negative consequences of smoking."

In Canada and the United States, approximately 20% of adults smoke cigarettes despite knowing its adverse effects. "We wanted to understand why knowing about the negative health impacts of tobacco does not prevent smokers from lighting up," explained Ms. Dinh-Williams.

Approximately 70% to 95% of smokers who quit their bad habit will, despite their best efforts, start smoking again within one year. "Many factors make it difficult for people to quit. Part of the explanation could certainly be because cigarettes 'trick' the brains of smokers," stated Stéphane Potvin, a co-author of the study and researcher at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal. "Specifically, we discovered that the brain regions associated with motivation are more active in smokers when they see pleasurable images associated with cigarettes and less active when smokers are confronted with the negative effects of smoking."

Using neuroimaging techniques, the study researchers compared the emotional reactions of 30 smokers as they looked at aversive smoking-related images (e.g., lung cancer) compared to other aversive images (e.g., an old man on his deathbed) as well as appetitive smoking-related images.


Smokers have a 3 to 9 times greater risk of developing cancer, lung disease or heart problems. Cigarettes are also associated with fertility problems, premature aging, a lack of hygiene and social stigmatization, and they have a negative impact on the health of other people who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Overall, 1 out of 2 smokers will die from tobacco use.

Cigarette smoking is pervasive among persons who are being treated for substance use disorders. The prevalence is 3- to 4-fold higher than in the general population. Whereas approximately 20% of adults in the United States currently smoke, between 75% and 95% of persons in treatment programs for addictions are cigarette smokers.  The consequences of dual addictions to cigarettes and other substances of abuse are dire. In a frequently cited study conducted over a decade ago, approximately 50% of patients who were followed after inpatient substance abuse treatment died of tobacco-related causes—a rate that exceeded deaths from alcohol-related causes (34%).  These high tobacco-related mortality rates reflect not only the greater prevalence of smoking in this population but also the tendency for persons with substance abuse disorders to start smoking at a younger age, to be more dependent on nicotine, and to be particularly susceptible to certain types of cancer secondary to combined use of tobacco and alcohol (eg, cancers of the head and neck).

Smoking cessation interventions are critical for improving the health and quality of life for persons in treatment for or in recovery from alcohol and other substance use disorders. Unfortunately, such interventions have been underutilized because of a number of individual, organizational, and cultural barriers. There has been much progress over the past several decades in recognizing the importance of treating tobacco addiction in persons with other substance use disorders, yet many of the historical barriers remain entrenched in the attitudes of individuals and in organizational culture.

In this article, we provide an overview of the critical issues involved in overcoming personal and organizational barriers to help substance abusers quit smoking. To highlight both the opportunities and the challenges of this work, we include illustrative statements from patients who decided to tackle both addictions at once as part of the Clean Break smoking cessation group at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. This group is made up of veterans in the residential substance dependence treatment program who receive combined behavioral and pharmacological treatment. (See Heffner JL et al,7 for a more detailed description of the program and its short-term outcomes.)


The effect of smoking cessation on sobriety


“I heard at AA that you shouldn’t quit everything at the same time. It’s too much of a shock to the system and might make you want to go back to drinking. Also, I really wanted to do some cocaine when I was out on my weekend pass so I thought it was better to do the less dangerous drug. It was either cocaine or smoke.”


Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear individuals in substance abuse treatment programs express the belief that smoking cessation would be harmful to sobriety, or conversely, that cigarette smoking facilitates sobriety by reducing urges to use other substances. Although it is tempting to characterize such statements as individual rationalizations to smoke, these attitudes are frequently espoused by treatment providers, mutual support group (eg, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) sponsors, and family members. However, there is little evidence to suggest that smoking cessation has a negative impact on treatment for or recovery from substance use disorders. In fact, an overwhelming majority of studies suggest that smoking cessation interventions either have a positive effect on sobriety or are unrelated to abstinence from alcohol and illicit drugs. One well-designed study did detect worse 30-day and 6-month drinking outcomes for individuals who received a smoking cessation intervention during residential substance abuse treatment (ie, concurrent treatment) than for those who received the intervention 6 months later (ie, delayed treatment). Nevertheless, the differences in alcohol outcomes observed for delayed treatment compared with concurrent treatment were not consistently significant on all measures of alcohol consumption at all follow-up points.

In working with patients to address the belief that smoking cessation increases the risk of alcohol and drug relapse, we have found that sharing anecdotal evidence rather than citing research findings tends to be a more powerful motivator to reexamine such beliefs. Thus, learning more about the experiences of fellow smokers in treatment or recovery who have successfully quit smoking can be very helpful.

Group treatment settings that include both current and former smokers provide an invaluable opportunity for interactions that challenge the belief that smoking cessation is harmful to sobriety. In individual treatment settings, smokers might be directly encouraged to seek information from former smokers to “test” the hypothesis that smoking cessation increases the risk of relapse to alcohol and other drug use. This type of strategy, referred to as “collaborative empiricism” in cognitive therapy terms,  is preferable to confrontation or challenge as a means of promoting attitudinal change in that it tends to strengthen rather than strain the therapeutic alliance, which is critical to the effectiveness of any intervention.


Recognizing and building motivation to quit


“I got to thinking . . . what good is it if I stop drinking and still smoke? Nicotine is a drug, too, right? I figure that while I am in here I might as well try to stop smoking too. If I just do all the things that I do to not pick up a drink, the same things should work for cigarettes.”


Another common myth that has impeded the widespread provision of smoking cessation interventions for individuals in substance abuse treatment is the characterization of substance abusers as intractable cigarette smokers who are largely uninterested in quitting. Much like the hypothesis that smoking cessation is harmful to sobriety, this theory has not held up to scientific scrutiny. Numerous studies have found that a significant proportion of substance abusers in treatment are interested in quitting and will take advantage of the opportunity to stop using all drugs of abuse simultaneously. In fact, we have often heard patients make spontaneous comparisons between tobacco and abuse of other drugs in terms of causes, consequences, and the process of quitting, which is consistent with the goals of integrative treatment for nicotine and other substance dependence.

Nonetheless, there are undoubtedly smokers who are not interested in quitting or who are not ready to quit while they are in a substance abuse treatment program. Brief motivational interventions should be provided for all unmotivated smokers. The Clinical Practice Guideline provides a useful mnemonic to guide brief motivational interventions: the “5 R’s.” These are

 the exploring of Risks of continued smoking;

 discussing the Relevance (personal reasons that quitting might be important)

 and Rewards of quitting;

 identifying and addressing Roadblocks to success;

and Repetition of the motivation-enhancing intervention.

As indicated by the last of the 5 Rs, persistent attention to smoking cessation by treatment providers conveys the message that this is an important issue. Repetition also takes into account the dynamic nature of motivation to quit and the possibility that smokers may change their mind about quitting in a few days, weeks, or months.


Smoking cessation is challenging but achievable


“Quitting drugs is hard, but quitting smoking is harder. I am really proud of myself for doing this. If I can quit smoking, what else can I do?”


There are a number of reasons smoking cessation may be particularly difficult during early abstinence from alcohol and other substance use. For example, symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may be less tolerable in the context of concurrent withdrawal from other substances. There may also be some reluctance to give up what is sometimes described by patients as the last remaining mechanism for coping with the heightened physical and psychosocial stress that often accompanies early abstinence from alcohol and illicit drugs.

The results of a recent meta-analysis suggest that the quit rates of substance abusers in active treatment who received a smoking cessation intervention were lower than the quit rates in individuals with longer-term sobriety (ie, 12% in active treatment vs 38% in recovery quit with assistance at end of treatment). This finding is consistent with the notion of greater difficulty of smoking cessation during early abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

An important finding from this meta-analysis is that the efficacy of smoking cessation treatment is not different for patients in active treatment than for those in recovery. That is, although the absolute quit rates were higher for individuals in recovery, the effect sizes of the interventions were not significantly different. The relative risk was 1.77 for those in recovery (ie, treatment increased the probability of quitting by 77%) and 2.03 for those in substance abuse treatment (ie, those who received treatment were twice as likely to quit as those who received the control intervention). This finding suggests that smoking cessation interventions almost double the likelihood of successful quitting compared with no treatment or placebo treatment, regardless of length of abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

Lack of effectiveness of traditional smoking cessation approaches is not an acceptable reason to postpone smoking cessation treatment for individuals who are newly abstinent from alcohol and other drugs. In fact, many of these individuals are well-positioned to attempt quitting because they are in a controlled environment where smoking is either restricted or banned. They are also likely to have regularly scheduled contact with providers who can support their efforts to quit. Research also shows that rates of participation in a smoking cessation program are higher when treatment is offered concurrently with addiction treatment as opposed to being delayed until a period of sobriety is attained.

Although some of the benefits of and barriers to quitting smoking may be different for substance abusers than for smokers without other addictions, the process of quitting remains the same. Interventions found to be effective for the general population of smokers should therefore be offered to smokers with substance use disorders. All smokers should be given at least a brief intervention consistent with the “5 A’s” approach described in the Clinical Practice Guideline (ie, Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange).14 For individuals who are ready to quit, combined pharmacological and behavioral interventions are considered to be the gold standard of treatment.

An FDA-approved medication to aid cessation (ie, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion SR, and varenicline) should be used in combination with individual or group behavioral treatment that offers skill training and support for quitting. The Updated Clinical Practice Guideline suggests that combination nicotine replacement therapy (ie, a nicotine patch for 14 weeks plus a nico-tine spray or gum) is more effective than a patch alone (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 - 2.7).

For individuals who are not ready to quit smoking, a brief motivational intervention should be provided. Providers should consistently convey optimism that smoking cessation is both achievable and essential to the drug-free, healthy lifestyle that they are working toward as part of their treatment for substance abuse.


The role of organizational practices


“I went outside with the smokers because I needed some fresh air, and the smell of smoke got to me. I just figured, I might as well smoke and enjoy myself. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I try to stay away from the smokers as much as possible, but it’s hard when everyone here smokes.”


Challenges to successful smoking cessation in substance abuse treatment occur at multiple levels, including individual treatment providers as well as organizations. For example, the treatment environment may reinforce rather than discourage smoking. Group “smoke breaks” and mutual support group meetings where smoking is normative present a powerful environmental trigger to smoke and contribute to relapse. Staff smoking is also problematic in that it has been shown to decrease the probability of encouraging patients to quit smoking almost 6-fold.

Creating an organizational culture that supports smoking cessation is an important task worthy of the time and effort to develop and implement a plan for change. Such a plan might include free smoking cessation medications and counseling for staff; offering staff training in the assessment and treatment of tobacco use disorders as well as alcohol and other substance use disorders; providing information about and access to support meetings that are smoke-free; and restructuring break times so that they do not reinforce social rewards of smoking or the use of nicotine to “self-medicate” negative affect (eg, encouraging smoke breaks to calm down after a difficult session). Ziedonis and colleagues provide additional suggestions on programmatic changes that can be made to facilitate smoking cessation.


Many individuals in substance abuse treatment are quite willing and able to quit smoking with the assistance of pharmacological and behavioral support. Although absolute quit rates tend to be lower for smokers who are in treatment than for those in recovery from alcohol and other substance use disorders, smoking cessation interventions are effective for both groups and do not appear to increase the risk of relapse to alcohol and other drug use.

Some individual and organizational barriers need to be overcome to improve smoking cessation outcomes among those in substance abuse treatment. However, the available research as well as our own experience suggest that quitting smoking during substance abuse treatment is indeed achievable—in other words, a mission possible.

Hi, folks! I found this on and that's why I chose March 20 as my quit date! maybe you will too!

Spring is an excellent time to quit smoking and stop the self destruction of our body

To emerge and arise, spring, the season of birth can be the greatest period of personal awakening a smoker has ever known. Nicotine dependency is a brain "want" disease. The "want" felt for that next cigarette is born of slavery not choice. Feed the "want" and bondage continues. Say "no" and the process of rebirth can at last begin, a slow yet steady bloom into entire days where never once do we want for nicotine.

Try recalling what it was like before getting hooked, the beauty of going days, weeks, and months without once wanting to smoke? Can you remember the calm and quiet mind you once called home? If honest, the answer is no, you can't. None of us could. That's what drug addiction is all about, about quickly burying all memory of the comfort we left behind.

The mind's want circuitry, its dopamine pathways, were designed to assure our survival, to create "want" for food and water. Nicotine de-sensitized our dopamine pathway receptors, which in turn caused our brain to grow millions of extra receptors. A vicious cycle, one cigarette, two, three per day then four, the more we smoked, the more receptors nicotine numbed, and the more that were needed. Soon, any attempt to stop brought potential for an emotional train wreck that takes up to 3 days to peak in intensity and up to 3 weeks before the sensitivity and number of receptors return to normal.

The nicotine want feeding cycle

Want for food, want for nicotine. The difference is that without food we die, while without nicotine we thrive. Recovery is a temporary journey of re-adjustment that transports us home.

Nicotine addiction is about living a lie. Hijacked "want" pathways pound home the falsehoods that smoking nicotine defines who we are, gives us our edge, helps us cope and that life without it would be horrible. Lies, all lies. In fact, within 2-3 weeks we discover that everything we did while nicotine's slave can be done as well as or better without it.

Although we each invented a long list of reasons to explain why we'd smoke that next cigarette, there was really only one reason. We did so because we had to, because a rising tide of anxieties would begin to hurt if we didn't.

There was always only one nicotine dependency recovery rule determining the outcome for all. It's called the Law of Addiction and it states, "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance." Like the alcoholic taking a sip, just one puff of nicotine and all our healing gets flushed like a toilet. "One is too many, a thousand never enough."


Studies show that just one puff and within ten seconds up to 50% of the brain's "want" pathway receptors become occupied by nicotine. While most walk away from relapse feeling like they've gotten away with smoking just once, it isn't long before their brain is soon begging for more. There was always only one rule, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time.

Freedom is our birthright. A spring recovery means that by summer we can begin experiencing entire days where we never once want to smoke nicotine. After the first such day, they become more and more common, until they become our new sense of normal.

As I'm sure you've heard, smoking costs half of adult male smokers an average of 13 years of life and female smokers an average of 14 years. For each of the five million smokers claimed by nicotine addiction this year, 20 others are suffering from a smoking related disease. Smoke's more than 3,500 chemical particles, 500 gases and 43 cancer causing chemicals destroy additional cells and tissues with each and every puff. 

Smoking truly is a brain priorities "want" disease that had us committing slow suicide.

An ashtray

It isn't that we loved or liked smoking but that we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke, up to 72 hours to empty the body of nicotine and reach peak withdrawal.

While it felt like nicotine relieved stress, truth is, all nicotine relieved was its own absence. You see, stress, alcohol and vitamin C are each acid events that cause the alkaloid nicotine to more quickly be removed from the bloodstream. The more stressed we became, the greater the urge to replenish. But once we satisfied our addiction the underlying stressful problem remained. If the car's tire was flat it was still flat. One of recovery's best gifts is an amazing sense of calm during crisis, as we are no longer adding nicotine withdrawal to it.

Imagine a spring awakening where we discover that years of fears about coming home were unwarranted, that even the love in our heart, we get to bring it with us. Imagine lots of extra time, money, improved breathing, enhanced smell and taste, fewer root canals, less hair and vision loss, and a permanent end to ash and the stink. Most of all, imagine not dying by our own hand, of enjoying up to 5,000 extra sunrises.


A few quick tips. Don't skip meals (especially breakfast) and if your diet allows, drink natural fruit juices the first three days. Eating little and often will stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing or eliminating a host of needless symptoms. If concerned about weight gain, consider fruits and vegetables as healthier alternatives or a temporary increase in daily activities.

If a heavy caffeine drinker, you need to know that nicotine doubled the rate by which caffeine was removed from the body. If feeling anxious or jittery consider cutting daily caffeine intake by up to one-half.

Remember, crave episodes are good not bad. See each as an announcement that you are about to be rewarded with the return of another aspect of life, the destruction of a time, place, person, activity or emotion smoking cue during which you had conditioned your subconscious mind to expect a new supply of nicotine. While crave episodes are less than three minutes, time distortion is normal during early recovery, so be sure and look at a clock. The number of crave episodes usually peaks by day three and is down to about one per day by day ten.

A smoker awakening from her addiction to smoking nicotine

Take a few minutes to write down your reasons for wanting to stop, carry them with you and read them during moments of challenge. Also, try not to be afraid during craves as its like pouring fuel on a fire. Instead, fully embrace each as they cannot cut, hurt or harm you. It will soon be over and you'll be rewarded with return of another piece of a nicotine-free life.

How and when to begin? Contrary to pharmaceutical industry brain washing, each year more long-term ex-smokers succeed by quitting cold turkey than by all other methods combined. As for when, as strange as this may sound, two recent studies found that unplanned attempts are twice as likely to succeed as planned ones.

Why allow a mountain of needless anticipation fears and anxieties to build and fester when there has will never be a better moment to reclaim your freedom than here and now?

Knowledge is power. It allows us to become vastly smarter than our addiction is strong. Visit to download free stop smoking books, watch free counseling videos or visit Freedom from Nicotine, our free online support group. Remember, spring will birth freedom so long as no nicotine enters the body. There was always only one rule that if followed provides a 100% guarantee of success to all, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time.


Dealing With Stress

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 7, 2014

Many people, including my prior addicted self, thought that we smoked in order to deal with stress. In reality, smoking creates even more stress because the second we put out that sickerette, our Addictive Minds are already planning how to convince us that we "need, deserve, have to have" the nEXt one! So the only time addictive stress is relieved is while we're smoking! 

But taking away sickerettes for whatever reasons doesn't change the fact that we dealt with virtually all stress by smoking and don't know another way to face it!

I've seen people discuss many great stress management skills on this site that not only relieve stress but keep it in check in the first place,  including:

* exercising



 *using sensory strategies to relax

 *practicing simple breathing exercises

 *challenging self-defeating thoughts

*building spirituality

*sharing with friends (especially here at BecomeanEX) who empathize with your quit

 All of these are very effective and the more you use them the better the results. We also need in our Quit Tool Boxes quick Stress Relief Strategies. Some that come to mind are:

*Exercise releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being. Try running in place,  jumping rope, or walking around the block.

*Step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape.

*Tell a friend a funny joke.

*Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to bust stress and find balance.

*Play with your dog or cat, enjoying the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur.

*Put on some calming music.

*Light a scented candle.

*Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite  vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell.

*Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place, such as a sandy beach. Or think of a fond memory, such  as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends. 

*Make yourself a steaming cup of tea.

*Look at favorite family photos.

*Give yourself a neck or shoulder massage.

*Soak in a hot bath or shower.

*Playing Sports


I'm sure you can add to this list now that you get the idea!  You can learn to get through difficulties without falling back on your addiction. Different quick stress relief strategies work better for some people than others. The key is to find the one that works best for you, and helps you calm down when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When you’re confident in your ability to quickly de-stress, facing strong feelings isn’t as intimidating or overwhelming.

Often I see stress referred as triggers but we all know that stress is a part of life so if we want to quit smoking when there's "less stress" in our lives, it will be the day we're declared dead! Actually in the long run, Nicotine Addiction may very likely lead to smoking related illness - now THAT'S STRESS! So we need to learn to differientiate between triggers and stress. Triggers can be avoided, stress cannot! But it can be kept in check and it can be addressed in health ways! It's a set of skills that all successful quitters have developed - and YOU CAN TOO!


Don't Be Illuded!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 7, 2014

BIG TOBACCO wants you to believe....


But if you believe that....


All of your Dreams will go up in Smoke!

Break the Illusion!

Live Smoke FREE - Just One Day at a Time!

  Your Addictive Self is a part of   YOU! That being said there is another part of you that is being dragged down with it - the part that knows that what you're doing is wrong and contradictory to your every moral value!   Your Addictive Self  won’t stop smoking, and you can’t stop forking over the time and money that make the sickerettes possible.
  Of course you can easily see the problem from the outside. Why would an Addict stop smoking when they can squeeze thousands of dollars a month out of you and keep right on doing what they’ve done their whole lives? And how can you say no when your Addiction seems impossible to break? Besides, it’s a disease, isn’t it? How can you deny your sick addiction?
  You probably already know that that’s how the daily cycle continues for years and years, and how it’s apt to go on until you get very, very sick or  die or the money runs out. The Addict within will continue to manipulate you, and you will continue to feel guilty and wonder what you did to cause your decision to smoke that first sickerette and go down the Addict road.
   Nicotine Addiction  is a Choice, not a Disease
  Of course you've always known that the promise of tobacco never really came to fruition. You weren't really cooler, more rebellious, more popular, sexier, calmer and whatever else the commercials depicted just because you smoked your cancer sticks. Even when your childhood quest for those things played a role, it doesn’t excuse ongoing childishness. Searching for the current problems’ beginnings, even finding them, does nothing to fix the mess. As you’ve probably noticed, everyone just stays trapped in the swirl of emotions, habit, myth, and despair.
    There is an Alternative
    This time I have a different  suggestion. Instead of pouring on battles and willpower, I recommend a carefully planned disengagement. No threats, no expectation that your addictive self  will change - just a gradual change in the personal dynamics that will, over the course of a year, result in your Addictive Self being isolated. 
   Concentrate on YOU! What values do you have? What activities would you like to do if you "had the time." Imagine your perfect self in line with your values and then decide on one activity that brings you closer to becoming that person and do it. You are the part of yourself who wants things to change - so ignore your Addictive Self who obviously has a vested interest in things staying the same. 
   It works because you are focusing on that part of you who wants to change rather than to force change onto your Addictive Self. Success means working with the part of you that is motivated; skipping labels and self-justifying EXcuses; focusing on the present and future, not the past; and actively instituting new behaviors. 
     The Temper Tantrum 
    Your Addictive Self will certainly protest, especially if it got it's fix by carrying on loud enough or long enough! But just as you wouldn't given in to a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, that's obviously not the solution here either.  
    But you can defuse the tantrum using similar methods as good parenting skills. You can acknowledge that your Addictive Self is frustrated. You can let it know you feel it's pain, too! Even just saying "I know you're upset," you're telling it you're there to help it feel better. That might be enough to calm it down so you can add, "I wish we could have a cigarette, too. It's too bad we can't right now."  
    Be silly. Laughter can be a great tantrum buster. If your Addictive Self starts to pitch a fit about walking past a temptation, try singing a goofy song  -- anything to make yourself giggle.  
    Try a distraction. Give yourself something else to think about. There are several lists of 100 things to do instead. Get busy and if it's an activity for which you're passionate, like art or music, even better!   
       Ignore it. Sometimes, tantrums escalate because your Addictive Self  thinks it will get what it wants if it screams loud enough. If you don't react, it will give up.     
       Leave the scene. When all else fails, get out of public and let yourself have the meltdown, tears and all - just keep those sickerettes away from your face! But do it without making a fuss  -- you'll be proving to yourself that even when you don't feel calm you can display calm behavior. It may be inconvenient, but it shows who's in control:      





“Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”   -Victor Frankl

I have great respect for Victor Frankl. He was not only a concentration camp survivor during the Holocaust, but also someone who went on to help others find goodness and meaning in life. He was a man from whom we can learn something about what it means to be human and how to be our best – sometimes in spite of our inclinations. And the above quote is incredibly wise guidance in these very areas. 

In it, he implies that people often react without thinking.  We frequently don’t choose our behaviors so much as just act them out. But he observes that we don’t need to accept such reflexive reactions. Instead, we can learn to notice that there is a “space” before we react. He suggests that we can grow and change and be different if we can learn to recognize, increase, and make use of this ‘space.’ With such awareness, we can find freedom from the dictates of both external and internal pressures. And with that, we can find inner happiness.

Victor Frankl was clearly an extraordinary man. Most of us can only wish for his moral strength, insight, and wisdom. But we can follow his lead by looking for the ‘space’ in our own lives. When faced with situations that pull for some particular reaction, we can choose to respond instead. Nothing I can think of is more pulling than Addictive Cravings.

 Frankl found his ‘space’ through finding meaning. Others find it through prayer, meditation, or self reflection.

If you struggle with cravings consider finding your ‘space’ to respond, rather than reflexively react, by doing the following:

Consider the person you would like to be: Think about the person you would like to be, especially take the time to imagine YOU Non-Smoker. For instance, you might not like your tendency to become quickly frustrated in difficult situations, wanting instead to be a patient person. Take the time to develop a clear vision of this more ideal version of yourself.

Think about the meaning or origin of your reactions: There is a reason that you react as you do. It can be very helpful to understand your reactions, and perhaps even their origins. For instance, when you feel stress you have a core belief that smoking relieves it so you feel compelled to smoke. You might also realize that you reward yourself after completing a difficult task by smoking.

Observe the outcome of your reactions: Pay close attention to the results of your reactions. By bringing negative consequences to your awareness, you will be more motivated to change your reaction to a desired response. With our example, you might just discover that rather than relieve stress, smoking creates even more stress by procrastinating or by worries about your health.

Imagine a better response: Think about better ways to respond. Imagine doing them and the consequences of this. Also imagine what it would feel like to respond more in keeping with what you want for yourself.  Continuing the example of smoking at your stress, you might envision yourself responding calmly to a problem and then moving on to find your way to an effective solution.

Learn a more compassionate approach to yourself: Because personal change takes effort and time to accomplish, it is important to support this process within yourself. Being critical will only undermine your efforts. So, instead, practice being understanding and patient with yourself – much as you would be supportive of a good friend who is working to develop a new skill.


I Like Smoking!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 28, 2014

Do you really? Right now, as you smoke that cigarette, do you really like the smoke hitting the back of your throat? Do you like the feeling of the deep inhale as smoke travels into your lungs? Do you like the rush back up the airway and out through your nose?

OR are you like 99% of people who smoke everyday and entirely unconscious of what they are doing –

The pleasure, those ‘warm, relaxing pleasurable’ feelings that we experience from cigarette smoking do NOT come from the cigarette. It is YOU by your mental intention of smoking cigarettes that causes the release of the ’happy’, ’pleasurable’ brain chemicals – not the cigarette. But because you believe it is the cigarette you now believe you MUST smoke to get those feelings.

But even more importantly, you believe that if you quit smoking cigarettes, you will NEVER experience those feelings again.

To enjoy that feeling – that sensation!

…Of calm.

…Of peace.

…Of security.

…Of relaxation.


We smoke because we want to experience
those pleasant feelings that we have
unconsciously linked to smoking cigarettes.


We believe it can……

§  Relieve our boredom

§  Relax us if we are nervous or tense

§  Help us to think and concentrate.

§  And, dangerously, we even believe it can help us stay slim.


We feel relief and a great pleasure that that empty feeling is gone.

When we smoke that cigarette and satisfy our craving, we F-E-E-L a great sense of relief and

we unconsciously DECIDE TO ENJOY THE MOMENT. This is why is smoking so addictive.

For those few minutes……you ALLOW yourself time to think, FREE of all your worries and concerns. And as time goes on, these pleasant, relaxed FEELINGS become interlinked – totally linked with smoking and certain parts of your day.

Every time you have a cigarette you mentally and emotionally ALLOW yourself ( even if you are unconscious of this happening ) to have a break  FROM your work or worries and for THAT moment you feel…….




And Secure.


And as you begin to enjoy these brief periods of peace, safety and relaxation snatched during the day, you do not realize it but you become …..SLOWLY convinced that these PLEASURABLE FEELINGS are totally linked - in fact, most of us falsely conclude that they must be in some way INHERENT in the cigarette itself.


We have set up a neurological association in our bodies between the act of smoking and these feelings.

We have unconsciously transferred pleasurable feelings of peace, relaxation and safety that we allowed ourselves to experience to the daily act of smoking. This is why smoking cessation can be difficult if this point is not understood.


The simple truth is……

We find it difficult to quit smoking, not because it is enjoyable, or because it helps us to relax, but because WE BELIEVE that it does all these things for us!


There are two things that keep us addicted to nicotine……..


1.       Our absolute belief (our mental conditioning) that we NEED them – that we MUST have them to be happy, to enjoy ourselves.

2.       And…..our chemical addiction to nicotine.


Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are Mild.

In fact, giving up smoking is 90% mental and only 10% physical.

The actual physical discomfort you will experience will be less than that of a head cold.



Millions and millions of us have ALREADY made the journey and we have
already made the great discovery:

 If you approach the journey in the right way, there is nothing ahead of you
but success, joy and freedom as you reach the land where non-smokers

In fact, if in quitting smoking, all we had to deal with was the
chemical addiction, the process would, indeed, be easy.

 Today thousands of people who genuinely and totally believed that they NEEDED to smoke to enjoy certain parts of the day have realized it is a TOTAL ILLUSION.


85 % of the general population can get through their day and enjoy it fully without needing to inhale filthy smoke into their lungs through a cigarette.



The only thing between you and that reality is a core belief that says that quitting 
smoking must be agony and should be avoided.


Your fight is not with the cigarette ………..


………..but  with your belief programming that YOU NEED TO SMOKE TO BE HAPPY and to ENJOY different parts of the day.


My name is Thomas and I am celebrating 1441 Days of Authentic Happiness and FREEDOM from Addiction to Nicotine! You can, too! Read more at:


You deserve Authentic Calm, Peace, Security, Relaxation and Happiness!

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