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A Heart of Gratitude

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day comes by statute once a year;

to the honest man it comes as frequently as

the heart of gratitude will allow! 

-Edward Sanford Martin

God Bless each and every one of you! May your day be filled with JOY and lasting memories for you, your Family and your Friends! Our heart healthy dinner is turning out! Amazing what can be done in the kitchen!

Randomized Controlled Trial Leads to Smoking Cessation App

Seattle-based 2Morrow Inc. has launched SmartQuit, a smartphone-based smoking cessation app based on technology pioneered in a groundbreaking trial at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT-based program, was created by Jonathan Bricker at the Hutchinson Center and is different from other smoking cessation programs in both approach and delivery. Last year, 2Morrow collaborated with the center to create SmartQuit for the first randomized controlled trial of an app for quitting smoking.

The study found that users of SmartQuit were 2.5 to 3 times more likely to quit than those who try to quit on their own. After seeing the results, 2Morrow obtained an exclusive license for the technology from Fred Hutch with the goal of getting the program into the hands of millions of smokers who want to quit, company executives said.

SmartQuit is a mobile version of Bricker's ACT-based smoking cessation program, which has received over $10 million in National Institutes of Health funding for clinical trials. The SmartQuit study results were recently published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study followed 200 smokers and found that SmartQuit users were 60 percent more likely to quit than those using the control app, QuitGuide, from

"This equates to being two and a half to three times more effective than trying to quit on one's own or about the same effectiveness as standard nicotine replacement therapy, texting programs or telephone coaching efficiency reported in previous published studies," 2Morrow executives said.

The SmartQuit program will be offered through employers, health plans and states, but can also be downloaded by individuals from the iTunes and Android app stores. There is a light version available for free, and the full program will retail for $49.99.

For groups, real-time aggregate engagement data and/or program completion data will be available. 2Morrow said that feature is useful if an employer wants to offer incentives (like lower premiums) tied to completion of an evidence-based program. To assure privacy, the program has been designed so that users do not need to enter their name or contact info into the app.


Leave of Absence..

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 22, 2014

My best friend dating back from my first job ever is 52 and suffering congestive heart failure. He is in the hosptal right now as the Doctors evaluate his future. But he will be released tomorrow and I will provide as much of his 24 hour care as I can working around my job and Family needs. That means less time here with you, my BecomeanEX Family and Friends! I'll try to drop in once in a while and I'll read as much as I can! 

While I'm away please know that my thoughts and prayers are with Ellen, Jaxson, Anna and so many more who are going through tough times. I'm also glowing with pride at their strength and determinatio as they face these new crisis smoke FREE! I will constantly keep in mind all of the new EXers who whether new to this sight or recuperating from a relapse are taking it one day, one hour, even one minute at a time! And I thank all of the EX -Community for stepping up and helping your fellow EX every way you know how! 

We are so blessed to have each other! Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

I'm grateful for each and every breath I take ~ Smoke FREE!

Every year, the American Cancer Society dubs the third Thursday of November the Great American Smokeout, a day of encouragement for smokers to kick the habit -- even just for one day.

Currently, about 18 percent of Americans say they smoke cigarettes -- a dramatic drop from smoking rates of years passed. On the other hand, use of electronic cigarettes is on the rise: The American Heart Association cites predictions that e-cigarette sales will amount to a $10 billion industry by the year 2017, and "vape", the term given to consuming that nicotine vapor, was even named Oxford Dictionary's 2014 word of the year.

But tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death. By 2030, around8 million people will die annually from the habit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So while we've made undeniable progress, we clearly have a long way to go. If you or a smoker in your life is not yet convinced, here are a few numbers to remind us all why it's important we get there.



The number of deaths in the United States caused by cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke every year. 



The number of those tobacco-related deaths from lung cancer alone



The percentage of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. that are caused by smoking


1 in 3


The number of total cancer deaths caused by smoking




The number of Americans who smoke cigarettes




The number of Americans who smoke cigars




The number of Americans who smoke tobacco in pipes 




The number of years longer a nonsmoker is expected to live than a smoker. However, quit before you turn 40 and you'll reduce your risk of dying from a smoking-related illness by about 90 percent. 





    The number of cigarettes consumed per person per year in the United States. Worldwide, the country with the highest cigarette consumption rate is Serbia, at  2,861 cigarettes per person per year  , the Washington Post reported.  


    The total tobacco-related health care costs from 2000 to 2004 in the U.S.,  according to the American Cancer Society   

15 years

    The length of time it takes for a former   smoker's risk of coronary heart disease   to drop back down to that of a non-smoker's.  



The percentage of their entire income that low-income New York smokers spend on cigarettes, according to a 2012 study





     Dollars spent by the tobacco industry    on advertising and promotions    in 2011.   


     At least this many of the more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds in tobacco smoke have been    found to cause cancer     


     The    total number of cigarettes purchased    in the United States in 2011.   


     The number of teens and children under 18    who smoke their first cigarette every day    in the U.S.  

The Bucket List

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 21, 2014

Suppose just for a minute that you have been given that ultimate prognosis. You have weeks to live. Time to get your Bucket List together because this is it!

What would you include on this list? Smoking????

Really???? You want to die trapped in Addiction?

Well, I want to tell you about some EXers I’ve had the true honor to know and about one Exer I never met but came to know through his legacy to BecomeanEX.


Let’s start with Ray ManOfSteele.

Ray didn’t start out here. He came to BecomeanEx from another site and brought many of his Elder Friends with him.  Ray quit smoking on 04/04/04. He wrote his first Blog here on May 21, 2008 when BecomeanEX was in it’s infancy.

That’s the kind of Man our Superhero was!

He also brought with him the famous Bonfires and Daily Pledges that to this day save lives!

Giulia created Relapse Traps because of him.

G reminds me that it’s BECAUSE of him, because he brought a bunch of Elders with strong quits and compassion to this, at-the-time fledgling on-line quit support community to pave the way for the next generation of supporters, that it has become what it has become.

 We all have HIM to Thank for that!

Unfortunately, Ray wrote his last blog on June 12, 2009.

You see, he passed away – but he never chose to smoke before he passed!


Doris was a quiet dignified Lady. She was a faithful Friend and calm support to all who knew her.

When Doris wrote her first Blog, she already had 4 Weeks and 3 Days under her belt.


She had smoked her last on January 18, 2009 but still didn’t know if she would make it to FREEDOM!

Every Month Doris wrote a Blog for the entire first Year and going back to read them now you can watch an amazing transformation right in front of you! SHE MADE IT!

And she never looked back to the day she passed away on February 4, 2013. Doris had 3 Years of FREEDOM and she lived N.O.P.E. to the end even when her Nephew died of Stage IV Lung Cancer at age 39!

She never gave up or gave in!



Then there was Dawn. I knew Dawn as a loving Mother , Grandmother  and marvelous Friend. Dawn quit smoking September 17, 2009. Here’s her very first Blog:

Dawn made it a point of encouraging her Friends and never judging them. Her support was pure LOVE! Tommy once said of her:

“Our Dawn was a fine EXample of facing life, and sticking to your commitments!

 During the last year and a half of her life she fought a cancer that has no cure. She knew she was going to die. And she lived in constant pain

. But, never once did she back down from her two big commitments in life. Her faith in God, and her commitment to never smoke again.

 A doctor once asked  her how she knew she would never smoke again, and she replied "Because, I would rather die than smoke another cigarette!". That is commitment!

 As far as her faith, a few weeks before she died, one of her daughters did something that made her proud, and she told me (not for the first time) "I am His favorite, I tell you!" 

In spite of the pain and suffering she was going through, she still believed she was God's favorite child!”

Dawn wrote her last Blog on April 26, 2012.

Sadly she passed away a few days later on May 14. She never once decided to smoke!



MamaDeb wrote her first Blog on Day 41 of her quit.

Deb was a confusing combination of vegetarian/health nut who smoked! She saw the conflict in values and chose to quit.

I knew MamaDeb better than most I suppose. You see, we had something in common – COPD.  Deb followed Aunt Dee and myself to another site where we focused on emphysema.

 She was always cheerful and optimistic when she wrote. Deb said, “I feel like I could do just about anything!” She believed that we could quit and we did! 

Not once in all the communications I had with Deb did she ever complain! She was so proud of her Family and she became proud of Herself!

As I got to know her, Deb wanted the best for everybody and she was too far down on her own priority list! Even knowing how sick she was, she was seriously considering going back to school to become certified in respiratory care.

This Lady so full of Life and Love and Hopes and Plans for the Future passed away just short of one Year smoke FREE! But she never gave up her Quititude!



You know you are FREE when you can believe that given the word of your last Earthly days you know in your heart

Not One Puff Ever!

You can fast track the cleaning process by using the tips below.

 Making the lungs free of toxins is one of the foremost challenges after smoking cessation. This is because cigarette smoking tends to leave the lungs not only contaminated but also dehydrated and possibly swollen. One thing to keep in mind is that the lungs cannot be cleansed completely.

 If you want to know the length of time required for cleansing the lungs after quitting smoking, please know that it depends on how long and how much you smoked. More often than not, it takes about 12 months, and it’s shocking to hear that it sometimes takes 24 to 36 months to fix the lungs even after you have dropped off cigarettes.

 So, the good thing is to start cleansing your lungs immediately you kick the smoking habit. This is to enable you recover your normal health. You can do this using a simple combination of food supplements and vitamins that rinse the toxins out of your lungs and flush them out of your body. This easy process will clean out your lungs 10 times faster than your body can do it on its own. Here are some tips on how to clean your lungs:

Tip No 1• Consume lots of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. You could also take a multivitamin pill. Please note that Vitamin E is very effective when it comes to healing. Both the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control advocate that adults gobble at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This should be critically observed after smoking cessation as the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables will help restore your lungs to good health fast.

Tip No 2• Drink plenty of water. Most people do not drink enough water. Consuming sodas, coffee and alcohol weighs down the body system but water heals. It gets toxins out of the body, softens deposits and phlegm, and greases the tissue. It also helps thin the mucous out.• Don’t forget that your lungs make use of moisture with every breath you take, and the pressure put on them by smoking makes your lungs work twice as hard(if not harder). By providing more than enough fluids to your body, you will help improve your lungs and their functions. As a rule, I suggest taking a bottle of water along wherever you go, and sipping from it throughout the day.

Tip No 3• Carry out deep breathing drills. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nostrils. Hold the breath for several seconds. Let go of the breath slowly and forcefully through your oral cavity. Repeat these exercises numerous times a day. Try to take deeper breaths and hold your breath longer as your lungs improve.

Tip No 4• Also begin exercising to help cleanse your lungs. Exercises with expanding and contracting lungs would be most beneficial. For most people, swimming does the trick but if you are not comfortable with swimming, you can go for another type of exercise like taking short walks for a start and then increasing the distance gradually. Also you can commence with a slow walk, and then wind up the speed gradually to jogging and running.

Exercises advance your cardiovascular tolerance and effectiveness, allowing you to run faster and farther. Exercise also improves your cholesterol level and brings down your blood pressure, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease and strokes. It can also perk up your mood and help normalize your sleep and wake rotation. You can read up on how beneficial exercise is to smoking cessation.

Tip No 5 & 6• Dust and mold can irritate your lungs so do a thorough cleaning of your house. Clean dust from furniture, window blinds and other areas. Wipe down walls and vacuum thoroughly and regularly. This will help clear your environment of dust, pollutants and smoke in the air that might impede the improvement of your lungs.• Avoid second hand smoke, unnatural odors, perfumes, house cleaning products, and fireplaces. This will help your lungs improve faster.

Tip No 7• Get out of the four walls of your home and breathe in free and fresh air. This can enable your lungs to get clean air to breath also promote good health.


America and tobacco are and always have been inextricably linked.


America’s cultural icons – from Texas cowboys to New York gangsters – have long been associated with smoking.


The American South provided the lion’s share of the world’s tobacco for centuries, and the US continues to be one of the world's largest producers.


However in more recent times America has been in the headlines not for growing tobacco, but for banning it.


So how did the country of smoke-filled back rooms become the land of smoke-free streets, parks and, well, just about everything else?


1492: Christopher Columbus arrives in the Bahamas, and is given dried tobacco leaves by native tribes as a token of friendship. Members of Columbus’ crew describe Cuban natives smoking tobacco from pipes.




1612: Early British settlers in Virginia, finding other crops unprofitable, experiment with tobacco plants. By 1640 tobacco is by far the most profitable export of the American colonies, with 1,500,000lbs shipped from Virginia to England annually.


18th century- dominant tobacco product: snuff


1776: Tobacco serves as a chief source of funding – and motivation – for America’s fight for independence from Britain. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other influential figures of the time owned large tobacco plantations, and had found themselves in severe debt to British tobacco merchants prior to the war.




19th century- dominant products: chewing tobacco and cigars


1880s: The first regulations on the use of tobacco take effect in various US states, as scattered reports emerge of health concerns for smokers. The majority of America’s states ban the sale of cigarettes to minors during the second half of the 19th century.


20th century- dominant product: cigarettes


1900s: Four states outlaw the sale of cigarettes, and the Anti-Cigarette League of America pushes for further bans. Despite that fact, 4.4 billion cigarettes are sold in 1900 alone.




By the 20th century cigarettes dominated the tobacco market, despite Al Capone's preference for cigars. Photo: Rex Features


1918: A generation of American men return from the First World War addicted to smoking. One American general reports that cigarette rations had been as important to the troops as bullets. Tobacco consumption spikes after the war.


1955: CBS airs the first TV news segment alleging links between smoking and lung cancer. Two years later the US Surgeon General releases a report tying tobacco to cancer, the first time the US government had taken a position on the subject.


1965: Congress passes legislation forcing tobacco companies to put health warnings on packs of cigarettes.




1970: President Richard Nixon signs a measure which bans cigarette advertising on radio and television.


1975: Minnesota becomes the first US state to ban smoking in public, except in designated areas.


1987: Beverly Hills, California and Aspen, Colorado ban smoking in restaurants. Several towns and cities across the country follow suit.




1990: Smoking is banned on domestic flights across the United States.


1993: Incoming President Bill Clinton prohibits smoking in the White House.


2007: The Motion Picture Association of America announces that the use of tobacco in films will impact parental guidance ratings.




2011: New York City bans smoking in public areas, including Times Square and Central Park.


2014: The town of Westminster, Massachusetts debates a measure which would make it illegal to sell all tobacco products.

History of the Great American Smokeout Event 

What is the Great American Smokeout?

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. They may use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. The Great American Smokeout event challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people know about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.

In many towns and communities, local volunteers use this event to publicize the need to quit, and press for laws that control tobacco use and discourage teens from starting, and support people who want to quit.

It's hard to quit tobacco.


Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have support, such as:

§  Telephone smoking-cessation hotlines

§  Stop-smoking groups

§  Online quit groups

§  Counseling

§  Nicotine replacement products

§  Prescription medicine to lessen cravings

§  Guide books

§  Encouragement and support from friends and family members

Using 2 or more of these measures to quit smoking works better than using any one of them alone. For example, some people use a prescription medicine along with nicotine replacement. Other people may use as many as 3 or 4 of the methods listed above.

Telephone stop-smoking hotlines are an easy-to-use resource, and they are available in all 50 states.

Call us at 1-800-227-2345 to get more information on quitting tobacco and to find telephone counseling or other support in your area. You can also learn more in our "Stay Away from Tobacco" section.


How the Great American Smokeout began

The Smokeout event has helped dramatically change Americans’ attitudes about smoking. These changes have led to community programs and smoke-free laws that are now saving lives in many states. Annual Great American Smokeout events began in the 1970s, when smoking and secondhand smoke were commonplace.

The idea for the Great American Smokeout grew from a 1970 event in Randolph, Massachusetts, at which Arthur P. Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund.  Then in 1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times in Minnesota, spearheaded the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day.

The idea caught on, and on November 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society got nearly 1 million smokers to quit for the day. That California event marked the first Great American Smokeout, and the Society took the program nationwide in 1977. Since then, there have been dramatic changes in the way society views tobacco advertising and tobacco use. Many public places and work areas are now smoke-free – this protects non-smokers and supports smokers who want to quit.


The Great American Smokeout event helps fuel new laws and save lives.

Each year, the Great American Smokeout event also draws attention to the deaths and chronic diseases caused by smoking. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, many state and local governments responded by banning smoking in workplaces and restaurants, raising taxes on cigarettes, limiting cigarette promotions, discouraging teen cigarette use, and taking further action to counter smoking. These efforts continue today.

Because of individuals and groups that have led anti-tobacco efforts, there have been significant landmarks in the areas of research, policy, and the environment:

§  In 1977, Berkeley, California, became the first community to limit smoking in restaurants and other public places.

§  In 1983, San Francisco passed the first strong workplace smoking restrictions, including bans on smoking in private workplaces.

§  In 1990, the federal smoking ban on all interstate buses and domestic flights of 6 hours or less took effect.

§  In 1994, Mississippi filed the first of 24 state lawsuits seeking to recuperate millions of dollars from tobacco companies for smoking-related illnesses paid for by Medicaid.

§  In 1999, the Department of Justice filed suit against cigarette manufacturers, charging the industry with defrauding the public by lying about the risks of smoking.

§  In 1999, the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was passed, requiring tobacco companies to pay $206 billion to 45 states by the year 2025 to cover Medicaid costs of treating smokers. The MSA agreement also closed the Tobacco Institute and ended cartoon advertising and tobacco billboards.

§  In 2009, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law. It gives the FDA the authority to regulate the sale, manufacturing, and marketing of tobacco products and protects children from the tobacco industry’s marketing practices.

§  In 2012, the FDA published a list of harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) in tobacco products and tobacco smoke. The list helps people better understand the amount of toxic, addictive, and cancer-causing substances in every puff of smoke.

Those states with strong tobacco control laws are now reaping the fruits of their labor. From 1965 to today, cigarette smoking among adults in the United States decreased from more than 42% to around 18%. Strong smoke-free policies, media campaigns, and increases in the prices of tobacco products are at least partly credited for these decreases.

 Still, today about 1 in 5 US adults smoke cigarettes (that’s more than 43.6 million people). Nearly 15 million people smoke tobacco in cigars or pipes. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women. About 87% of lung cancer deaths in men and 70% in women are thought to result from smoking. Smoking also causes cancers of the larynx (voice box), mouth, sinuses, pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), and bladder. It also has been linked to the development of cancers of the pancreas, cervix, ovary (mucinous), colon/rectum, kidney, stomach, and some types of leukemia. Cigars and pipes cause cancers, too.

Smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the US. Another 8.6 million people live with serious illnesses caused by smoking.

Fortunately, the past few decades have seen great strides in changing attitudes about smoking, understanding nicotine addiction, and learning how to help people quit. Today, the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event is celebrated with rallies, parades, stunts, quitting information, and even “cold turkey” menu items in schools, workplaces, Main Streets, and legislative halls throughout the US.

Visit to learn more about quitting smoking, improving your health, or getting involved with the Great American Smokeout in your community. Or just call your American Cancer Society anytime at 1-800-227-2345.


New Type of Neuron Plays Key Role in Nicotine Addiction

For decades, scientists thought drug addiction was the result of two separate systems in the brain—the reward system, which was activated when a person used a drug, and the stress system, which kicked in during withdrawal.

Now scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found that these two systems are actually linked. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, show that in the core of the brain’s reward system are specific neurons that are active both with use of and withdrawal from nicotine. The researchers believe the same neurons may be active in responses to many addictive drugs.

“If we can find a way to target those neurons in humans, maybe we can reduce the ‘high’ produced by the drug and reduce the withdrawal symptoms,” said Olivier George, assistant professor at TSRI and senior author of the new study.

Mysterious Neurons

Until now, the area of the brain where these neurons are found, called the ventral tegmental area (VTA), had only been associated with the reward system—not stress from withdrawal. The neurons in the VTA were known to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of pleasure.

Five years ago, George was sure there had been a mistake when Taryn Grieder, a staff scientist in Derek van der Kooy’s lab at the University of Toronto, who was collaborating with George on this project, detected a stress peptide in the VTA. This peptide, called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), is associated with anxiety and depression. Grieder, now first author of the new study, ran the test again and got the same weird result. She then ran a third test: same result.

George decided to take a closer look at the VTA and worked closely with Paul Sawchenko, professor at the Salk Institute who was part of the group that originally discovered CRF, to use radioactive RNA markers to detect CRF in brain samples from rodents.

At first, Sawchenko did not find anything unusual. Then one day, Sawchenko and George found themselves staring at an X-ray film of a mouse’s VTA when they suddenly spotted tiny black dots on the X-ray film—the CRF-producing neurons where they had never been seen before.

They reminded George of pictures sent back from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope showing dots of light from unknown stars.

“If you look in a textbook, these neurons don’t exist in the VTA,” said George. “That was the most exciting day of my career.”

A New Framework

Following up on these unexpected findings, the researchers looked at the role of these neurons in nicotine addiction.

They studied brain samples from mice and rats that were raised with chronic exposure to nicotine and had developed nicotine dependence—similar to a heavy smoker going through two packs a day. They found that CRF-producing neurons in the VTA were activated during withdrawal, and they examined brain samples from humans, showing that the same CRF-producing VTA neurons are present.

The researchers also tested whether CRF production in the VTA was linked to escalation of nicotine intake in rodents that had withdrawn from the drug and then had nicotine access restored. Previous studies had shown that in rodents—and in humans—those who relapsed began consuming more nicotine than they did when first exposed to the drug. To test whether this behavior was linked to neurons in the VTA, the researchers targeted a gene in the neurons to decrease the production of CRF during withdrawal. They found that rodents with less CRF in the VTA did not escalate their nicotine intake during a second round of access to the drug.

Now that researchers have found a link between the reward and stress systems, George thinks of the systems working together as one “motivational” system. The “high” of dopamine motivates a person to keep smoking, and the stress of withdrawal motivates a person not to quit.

“That changes the whole conceptual framework,” said George. “We have to look at everything again, going back to the 1970s. It’s possible that when you activate those neurons, you have the reward system that’s activated—you have this euphoria, this high—but at the same time you activate this stress peptide.”

George hopes the recent study will help researchers develop drugs or genetic therapies to target these neurons. “It’s a new road to finding treatments for people,” he said.

Source: Scripps Research Institute


What Can be Repaired!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 19, 2014

Tens of millions of Americans have quit smoking cigarettes. The benefits of quitting — no matter what your age — are prodigious. Risks of heart disease and stroke plummet. So does the risk of lung cancer, along with cancers of the mouth, throat, bladder, cervix and pancreas. But can the damage from smoking ever be completely undone? 

 The human body has an astonishing and miraculous ability to heal itself. A look at ex-smokers is all you need to prove this point. The very minute you drops off cigarettes, your body system begins the healing process.

 If you are feeling nervous, quick-tempered, weary and coughing a lot, just know that you are experiencing the symptoms of recovery from nicotine addiction. These symptoms are the result of your body clearing itself of nicotine, a powerful and highly addictive substance. In most cases, your body is rid of nicotine within 2-3 days unless you are using Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Paradoxically, people find that they cough a lot more right after they stop smoking, but that's natural. That's the lungs cleaning themselves out.

The immediate benefits of smoking cessation include lowered blood pressure and heart rate. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, within 24 hours of quitting, you have already decreased your risk of a heart attack. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that within a year of quitting your risk of heart disease falls to 1/2 that of a smoker’s risk. Quitting smoking will not get rid of the fatty deposits that are already there. But it will lower the levels of cholesterol and fats circulating in your blood, which will help to slow the buildup of new fatty deposits in your arteries.

Within 72 hours after cessation, your bronchial tubes begin to relax, and air flows more easily into and out of your lungs. Within three months of stopping smoking, the lung’s ability to inhale and exhale is greatly improved while the small hair-like cilia in the lungs get better at moving mucus and cleaning the lungs after one smoking-free year. Health challenges such as shortness of breath and coughing also become a rarity after a year of not smoking.

Quitting smoking can re-wire your brain and help break the cycle of addiction. The large number of nicotine receptors in your brain will return to normal levels after about a month of being quit.

If you’re a woman, your estrogen levels will gradually return to normal after you quit smoking. And if you hope to have children someday, quitting smoking right now will increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy in the future. For men, if you quit smoking now, you can lower your chances of erectile dysfunction and improve your chances of having a healthy sexual life.


Quitting smoking will keep your hearing sharp. Remember, even mild hearing loss can cause problems (like not hearing directions correctly and doing a task wrong).Quitting smoking will improve your night vision and help preserve your overall vision by stopping the damage that smoking does to your eyes. Nobody likes a dirty mouth. After a few days without cigarettes, your smile will be brighter. Quitting smoking now will keep your mouth healthy for years to come. Quitting smoking is better than anti-aging lotion. Quitting can help clear up blemishes and protect your skin from premature aging and wrinkling.


The harm smoking inflicts on the skin seems superficial compared to heart disease or lung cancer, but it is usually the first -  and most visible  -  damage caused by the addiction. When smoking, the brain diverts vitamins away from your skin to be used elsewhere. Nicotine also reduces blood flow to the lower living layer of skin, or dermis, which results in less oxygen being delivered. Skin becomes sallow and the regularity and quality of cell production deteriorate, leading to dry, flaky skin that is less resilient to external stresses. Over time the skin sags and wrinkles because the body cannot produce collagen effectively. Smoke saps the body of Vitamin C  -  a key component in the manufacturing of collagen  -  and disturbs the production of an enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase. Within six weeks of smoking cessation the skin will be visibly benefiting from increased oxygen and antioxidant levels

Quitting smoking will help increase the availability of oxygen in your blood, and your muscles will become stronger and healthier. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of fractures, both now and later in life. Keep your bones strong and healthy by quitting now.


Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.

One question on the lips of ex- smokers is: “do lungs heal after quitting smoking?” 

 If you've been smoking a long time and have developed COPD [(or, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)], which includes chronic bronchitis or emphysema, the lungs never totally heal. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the airway. Some of that inflammation can be reversed. But if the inflammation has led to scarring of the walls of the airway, some of that cannot. Emphysema is a disease in which the walls of the fine air sacs of the lung — the place where the lung does its business of exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide — break down. So tiny little air sacs become bigger ones — and they're less efficient in transporting oxygen. The lung can't grow new walls for these air sacs. The lung loses tiny blood vessels and can't grow new ones. So that's permanent. But remember this, Quitting smoking is the only way for COPD sufferers to prolong their lives!

A Lung Health Study bankrolled by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) claimed that women’s lung function improved twice as much as men’s during the first year after stopping smoking.  Previously, LHS researchers made available results indicating that both sexes profit from quit smoking but this new study proves that women benefit more than men as their lung function improved speedily after one smoking-free year. The results can be found in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Smoking impairs circulation and the production and function of blood cells. Tar builds up in your vascular system blocking blood flow, a condition called atherosclerosis. In addition, smoking decreases blood cell production so that you have fewer cells to carry oxygen to your body tissues and remove carbon dioxide and toxins. Smoking starves the organs, including the heart, of the oxygen required to function, resulting in damaged tissues and impaired repair of damaged tissues. Fortunately, according to PAMF, within three weeks of quitting, circulation improves. Oxygen-rich blood once again begins to reach your heart and repair the tissue damaged by cigarettes.

10 years after smoking cessation, a U.S. Surgeon General’s report reveals that the danger of lung cancer plunges to less than half that of a smoker.

Aside the brain, the lungs are the most fragile organs in the human body. By design, our lungs are packed with miniature passage ways and air compartments. Each time you breathe in, fresh air containing oxygen, is dragged into the miniature chambers in your lungs. From there, the oxygen moves to the red blood corpuscles where it is substituted for carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is then passed out from your system as you breathe out.

This breathing in and out process takes place about 20,000 times each day. For this process to effectively take place, the passage ways in your lungs must always be free of deposits that could block the small passage ways and obstruct the oxygen/carbon dioxide flow. To keep the chambers clean, your lungs have tiny, hair-like structures that line up the airways called cilia. Healthy cilia clean the lungs of mucus and reduce chances for infection. Cigarette smoking literally paralyzes the cilia each time you smoke and pollutants and toxins are dragged into the lungs.

As you continue to smoke, many of the short cilia are killed off, making the cleaning process even more complex. Over time, toxins from cigarette smoke begin to block the tiny air chambers called alveoli. In patients with COPD, because the cilia can no longer function optimally, your body takes to coughing as a way of supporting the cilia to clear your lungs.

Apart from smoking cessation, no other treatments have been uncovered to advance lung function. Even though studies have shown that lung function may improve by one year in ex- smokers with mild lung disease, those with severe lung disease may just experience a reduction in their symptoms.

Will My Lungs Repair Themselves? Yes. As with anything that is abused, your body can cure itself once it’s given the opportunity. And that includes your lungs! Cigarette smoking is just like a germ, you’re sick and coughing and you’ve got really bad flu. But if we take that germ out with the right drug, the lungs are able to repair themselves.

With time, this repair process will go on. But, your lungs may never be as efficient as they were before you started smoking. The ability of lungs to recover from the impact of smoking depends largely upon the number of years smokers subject their lungs to the addiction. But experts say the health of lungs begins to improve the very moment smokers drop their last cigarettes.

This simply means the longer you smoke, the more damage you cause your lungs, and at some point, that damage becomes unalterable. Quitting smoking now will significantly lessen your chances of any lung problems in the near or distant future.

 After five years from the date of cessation, a person’s risk of dying from lung cancer decreases to almost the level of a person who never smoked, according to PAMF. If you already have cancer, quitting improves the effects of treatments and the chances of recovery. Quitting also lowers the risk of developing a second cancer. We calculate that the risk for being diagnosed with lung cancer probably returns to that of a nonsmoker somewhere between 10 and 15 years after smoking cessation. 5 years after quitting the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. 10 years after quitting, the risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.


15 years after quitting the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.


We now know that smoking causes type 2 diabetes. In fact, smokers are 30–40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. And people with diabetes who smoke are more likely than nonsmokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their disease. Quitting smoking will reduce your belly fat and lower your risk of diabetes. If you already have diabetes, quitting can help you keep your blood sugar levels in check.



 Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.


The risk that people have for smoking-related diseases is directly related to the total number of cigarettes they've smoked in their life. We measure that with something we call "pack-years": that's the average number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years they've smoked. The greater the pack-years, the greater the risk. When you're getting up around 50 pack-years and beyond, that's a lot. If people have a lot of pack-years, the risk of, say, lung cancer never goes back down to the risk of a non-smoker.

Of course, the way people react to cigarette smoke varies enormously. Everybody has a 90-year-old uncle who smoked all his life and feels fine. And everybody's got a 45-year-old cousin who's dying of emphysema. These two people have reacted to cigarette smoke differently. It's an important scientific question to understand what the differences are, and we're beginning to work on it. Genetics seem to play a role. Do you feel like gambling?

  I   want the Community to speak of their EXperience with COPD Awareness! 
  Here's my story:
  On March 14, 2010 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!
  What I didn't know was way more than what I did know about Emphysema and COPD!!! Oh, I'd seen the pictures of the happy retired folks puttering around in their gardens or playing with their grandkids because they were smart enough to take Advair or Spiriva! That's about it! My Grandma who lived in another State died of Emphysema when she was in her nineties but we all have to die of something, don't we? Eventually! But heck, I was 52 and had never really been sick much at all my entire adult life! I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and never thought anything of it - hard physical labor, not a desk job!
  Here are some facts that I have since learned about COPD: it is an auto-immune illness. it doesn't care if you are 20 or 80 years old! It doesn't care if you smoke 2 or 3 sickerettes  a day or 2 or 3 packs! Just one sickerette will trigger your body's defense mechanism and there you have it! My friend JoJo from New York calls that one sickerette the killerette! 
  About 15-20% of all smokers and EXers will be diagnosed with COPD and half of the folks who have COPD don't even know it! Meanwhile the damage that they are doing to their lungs can NEVER be repaired! Your body creates all kinds of mucus in your lungs and bronchials that is a perfect breeding ground for any kind of bacteria or virus you cross paths with like pneumonia! Every time you get a lung infection a bit more irreparable damage will have been done and your condition deteriorates.
   Because your lungs don't work so well you can inhale fairly well, but you can't exhale so well at all.  If you want to EXperience this feeling take a breath in and without exhaling take another breath and another. Did you feel the panic? What people exhale is Carbon Dioxide - you know, poison! That CO2 stays in your system and makes your whole body in a constant state of being poisoned! Because your body wants Oxygen and not CO2 your heart overworks itself trying to get enough Oxygen to where it's needed. Eventually, the heart deforms itself from working overtime! Then you have Congestive Heart Failure! 
    Don't forget, you're still getting those lung infections from time to time! The toxins make your limbs feel like wet spaghetti so that such things as getting dressed or washing dishes become monumental tasks! When you cross a room you huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf! And know you can't even blow out a candle - let alone blow down a house! This is COPD!  
   So I joined BecomeanEX that very day and 6 days later, March 20, 2010,  had my last smoke ever. Ever since then, I have used my illness as an opportunity to educate myself and also to educate others about COPD. If you enter COPD in the search window you will find 3160 entries. When you add Thomas to that you get 1820 entries. I feel like I'm making a difference! I often wonder if I'm "preaching to the choir" when my intention is to outreach not just to those who have been diagnosed with COPD but to those who may have copd and not know it and to help the rest of you know how to act and what to say around COPDers. Since up to 20% of all smokers has COPD this is a great population to raise awareness.  
    I'm asking anybody who wants to join in to please Blog sometime today about their COPD Awareness.
   Here are some questions to help you get started: 
   How did you learn about COPD? 
   What are your feelings about possibly having COPD? 
   Have you taken the Spirometry Test? If not, what would motivate you to get tested? If you have taken the Test, What were your reasons? 
   What was it like to take the test? 
   How did you feel about learning that you do/don't have COPD? 
   How, if at all, has your perspective on COPDers changed? 
   If you are a COPDer, how has your lifestyle changed since diagnosis? 
   Anything along those lines! 
   Thank You for caring! 

It's NOT Too Late!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 19, 2014

Many of our members unfortunately have COPD and for every person who knows they have it, there's another member who doesn't know it yet and has not been diagnosed! We can change that with awareness! This Month is COPD Awareness Month and November 20 is World COPD Day. 

There is no better place than here since most COPD is Smoking related and about 15-20% of smokers develop COPD.There are other risk factors, such as a family history and airway hyper-responsiveness, but it is not clearly predictable which smokers will develop the disease. Smoking cessation is the only effective intervention to slow the accelerated decline in lung function.Spirometry by a trained health professional gives an indication of lung health by measuring airway obstruction. As a screening tool in smokers it has the potential to detect early changes before any significant symptoms are evident.

Now, you might think that COPD has nothing to do with you - I certainly did! You might think that it's a gloomy subject - but if you keep an open mind, I will give you plenty of reasons for optimism! You might just be AFRAID and refuse to look at it! I wish that would provide you with some kind of magic shield but it doesn't! Knowledge is POWER! So learn about COPD and become aware and it will be a lot less frightening!

COPD causes a reduction in air flow in and out of the lungs due to inflammation, loss of elasticity and excess mucus. As the disease worsens, even everyday activities become challenging due to shortness of breath. While COPD can be managed effectively if found early most people aren’t familiar with the warning signs. Symptoms include coughing with or without mucus, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, wheezing and tightness in the chest.

   Smoking causes up to 90 percent of COPD cases, with air pollution and environmental irritants also factoring in. If you experience any symptoms and are a smoker or have been exposed to other risk factors, arrange for a consultation with your physician. Delayed treatment can result in a permanent loss of lung function. If you are diagnosed with COPD, your physician will propose a treatment plan.   Eliminating smoking is the most effective course; other treatments include medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and, in severe cases, surgery.
  Scientists and researchers are striving to find better diagnosis techniques, improved treatments and ultimately a cure for both COPD and lung cancer. Join the   American Lung Association in supporting their efforts by sharing this message of awareness with friends, family and fellow community members.
   World COPD Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world. Its aim is to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and improve COPD care throughout the world.
  The first World COPD Day was held in 2002. Each year organizers in more than 50 countries worldwide have carried out activities, making the day one of the world's most important COPD awareness and education events.
   World COPD Day 2014 takes place    TODAY around the theme   “It’s Not Too Late.” This positive message was chosen to emphasize the meaningful actions people can take to improve their respiratory health,    at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis. 
   Individual activity organizers can also adapt the slogan in various ways to target specific messages to their audiences. For example--   
   For people with symptoms who have not been diagnosed: 
   If you’re short of breath, it’s not too late to ask your doctor about    spirometry.
   For patients with COPD: 
   If you have COPD, it’s not too late to live an active life. 
   For doctors: 
   If you care for people with COPD, it’s not too late to help your patients breathe better.  
   Let's get the word out! Early diagnosis provides us with many options for a long healthy happy life! We get to/have to decide to make the lifestyle choices that will enhance our breathing and calm our minds! And if you haven't done so yet, tell your Doctor that you want a Spirometry Test! Do it Now!    It's not too late!

Get Ready!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 18, 2014

imageTOMORROW, November 19, 2014 is World COPD Awareness Day! Tomorrow I will be sharing information on this Year's theme - It's Not Too Late! I would also appreciate it if the entire community would contribute their independent blog about their own COPD Awareness. Do you have COPD? Does somebody in your family have it or your friends? How did YOU become aware of COPD?

If you have COPD and have noticed an improvement in symptoms, please share that with us too! It's important for folks who have been diagnosed with COPD to know that they can do something about it ~ QUIT SMOKING NOW! 

PLEASE contribute to making the 1 out of 5 members of this Community know that you care and that you want to support their progress in COPD awareness and management! See you tomorrow!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 18, 2014

Scientists Say E-Cigs Contain 10 Times As Many Cancer Chemicals As Cigarettes

Tokyo (AFP) - E-cigarettes contain 10 times the level of cancer-causing agents as regular tobacco, Japanese scientists said Thursday, the latest blow to an invention once heralded as less harmful than smoking.

Read more:


If you could see the damage that smoking does to your blood stream, your heart, your bladder, your lungs, your brain, every single cell of your body, 

THEN maybe you wouldn't smoke 

OR maybe you would!

This really is what your insides look like after Years of Nicotine Abuse!






  That's what I call this stretch of road in my Recovery! I have come to an awareness - different from a cognition - of my permanent status as an Addict. But not just any addict but my own personal brand of Thomas the Addict. I feel my weakest point - when others relapse I feel responsible and my strongest point - when I learn I share. I am still in the process of learning non-judgment of myself and letting go of others' addictive actions. It's not enough to 'know' that I have nothing to judge myself for and that I can't change others' behaviors. I have to really 100% get it - here, in my heart, not just my head! 
  Here's how I have been working on this:
  I have been using Mindfulness Meditation and Neurofeedback.
    Mindfulness Meditation
   Mindfulness meditation, yoga practice, and regular exercise lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, increase your interleukin levels (enhancing your immune system and providing you with greater energy), and streamline your body’s ability to cleanse itself of chemical toxins, such as lactic acid in your muscles and bloodstream, which can affect neurotransmitter receptors and alter your mood. Mindfulness practice may positively affect the amount of activity in the amygdala, the walnut-sized area in the center of the brain responsible for regulating emotions. When the amygdala is relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system engages to counteract the anxiety response. The heart rate lowers, breathing deepens and slows, and the body stops releasing cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream; these stress hormones provide us with quick energy in times of danger but have damaging effects on the body in the long term if they’re too prevalent. Over time, mindfulness meditation actually thickens the bilateral, prefrontal right-insular region of the brain, the area responsible for optimism and a sense of well-being, spaciousness, and possibility. This area is also associated with creativity and an increased sense of curiosity, as well as the ability to be reflective and observe how your mind works. 
    By building new neural connections among brain cells, we rewire the brain, and with each new neural connection, the brain is actually learning. It’s as if we’re adding more RAM to a computer, giving it more functionality. In The Mindful Brain, leading neuroscientist Daniel Siegel , defines the mind as “a process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” His early brain research showed that “where neurons fire, they can rewire”; that is, they create new neural pathways or structures in the brain. He postulates that one of the benefits of mindfulness meditation practice is this process of creating new neural networks for self-observation, optimism, and well-being. Through mindfulness meditation, we light up and build up the left-prefrontal cortex, associated with optimism, self-observation, and compassion, allowing ourselves to cease being dominated by the right-prefrontal cortex, which is associated with fear, depression, anxiety, and pessimism. As a result, our self-awareness and mood stability increase as our harsh judgments of others and ourselves decrease. By devoting attention, intention, and daily effort to being mindful, we learn to master the mind and open the doorway to the creativity available in open-mind consciousness.   
    The pillars of mindfulness practice are non-judging, patience, a beginner's curiosity, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go. That doesn't mean you have to have all of these to get started! It means that they cultivate mindfulness and mindfulness cultivates these attitudes!  
     Neurofeedback trains the brain directly and is often referred to as exercising the brain. Computer feedback enables the brain to learn new patterns to function more efficiently. Interestingly, neurofeedback training takes place almost entirely at unconscious levels similar to learning to ride a bike or balancing on one foot. The mind doesn't need to "understand" for the brain to learn.    
     Specialized equipment allows the practitioner to observe brainwave activity while the client either listens to sounds or a combination of sound and visual display (games) for feedback. The auditory and visual feedback "rewards" the brain's achievement when the student meets target goals.  Rewards encourage the brain toward more appropriate patterns, resulting in new brain function and greater self regulation.   
     Self regulation is key to neurofeedback because as  the brain increases its capacity to self regulate,  both mental and physical functions are able to improve. The goal of neurofeedback training is to shape the brain toward greater self regulation. Over a series of training sessions, the new patterns in the brain become more permanent (as with learning to type or ride a bike) for  lasting improvements in both mental and physical performance.   
      Neurofeedback can help me regulate my own nervous system so I can have an appropriate anxiety response when it is necessary and stay calm when it is not. Infra low frequency neurofeedback can help my depression. It also helps me cope with the psychological stress of having a chronic incurable ilnness and chronic physical pain.    
      With increased clarity and awareness comes ever increasing self-compassion and self-respect. It makes the possibility of relapse a never option! N.O.P.E.! Not this fellow!    

I may not look sick, 
BUT…...I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease(COPD)


What is COPD?  It includes such illnesses as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and sometimes asthma.  It is primarily characterized by extreme shortness of breath.



It means  having to avoid strong odors, smoke, flowers, perfumes, cleaning agents, paints, solvents, vehicle exhaust, shaving lotion, bath powders, incense.


I also have to avoid temperature extremes or wind, crowds, molds, and dusty places because they make me short of breath.



Living with COPD can mean having difficulty walking up stairs or inclines, not walking very far, being unable to rush or "being rushed" tiring easily--especially if things last too long, being unable to tolerate tight clothing and the inability to talk for any length of time.



Living with COPD can mean coughing in public which attracts attention and embarrasses me, having to use or wear devices or equipment, or take medication which invites public comment (oxygen, cold  weather masks, inhalers), being concerned (often excessively) about contact with cold or flu germs, and having my friends make short, pleasant, smokeless visits



Living with COPD can mean crying easily, angering easily, becoming frustrated and impatient because I can't do the things I used to do. Feeling resentful when others tell me, "You don't look sick."  It can cause me to be panicky and tense, and becoming dependent and demanding because it's frightening when I can't breathe.



By having to adapt to my physical, emotional, social and environmental needs and limitations, often having to leave social functions earlier than they wish because of me or sometimes never getting there and by having to check out all of the details in advance, getting places early and all the while having to remain calm and reassuring at all times on my account

REMEMBER: I may not look sick but-- SICK LUNGS DON'T SHOW!!!!


I’m not trying to suck up to the big boss – Warren Buffett, owner of The Buffalo News and Berkshire Hathaway – but as I worked on cigarette smoking-related stories for WNY Refresh this week, I couldn’t help but think about another company he owns.

The one that advertises: “Fifteen minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.”

Everybody knows that – and as I went into my interview earlier this week with a Roswell Park Cancer Institute researcher, I went in with the belief that everyone knows that tobacco use can kill you.

Turns out that a more people might believe a talking gecko than the U.S. surgeon general.

Roughly one in four people in Erie and Niagara counties smoke, even though there is clear evidence this can be a deadly habit.

Why? That's one of the questions I asked Maansi Bansal-Travers, a research scientist with the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell who focuses on tobacco advertising and promotion.

“It’s a complicated answer,” she said. “There are still misperceptions about the health risks. Two-thirds of people believe that nicotine is the cause of cancer. Nicotine is not the cause of cancer. It’s other carcinogens in cigarette smoke. There’s a real physical addiction with cigarette smoking and there’s also a very strong behavioral component.”

How quickly can someone become addicted to cigarette smoking and how powerful is the addiction?

“It can be as fast as the first one,” Bansal-Travers said. “It’s stronger than cocaine, heroin, alcohol. Nicotine is physiologically the strongest addiction you can have.”

She and colleagues across the globe have spent the greater part of their professional lives trying to better understand why smokers can make a choice that flies in the face of their best interests.

They have discovered that the poor and uneducated tend to smoke in greater numbers in countries where tobacco maintains a stubborn foothold, despite the cost of cigarettes. In countries where smoking or chewing is portrayed favorably in the media, movies and advertising. And in countries where addicted users choose to ignore the dangers, particularly since so many of them start at younger ages when inexperience and a since of invincibility meet the drive toward experimentation.

Bansal-Travers and colleagues across the globe are conducting work in more than 20 countries as part of the International Control Policy Evaluation Project. The project is led by K. Michael Cummings, a former Roswell researcher now at the Medical University of South Carolina, with help from his former Roswell co-workers, along with researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Australia, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Today’s In the Field feature in WNY Refresh focused on the research Bansal-Travers and others have conducted on cigarette packaging, particularly the impact of graphic packaging.

Bansal-Travers is a 1993 graduate of Williamsville East High School. She has a bachelor’s in human nutrition and food management from Ohio State University, a master’s in epidemiology from the University at Buffalo and her PhD in epidemiology and community health, also  from UB. She and her husband, fellow Roswell tobacco researcher Mark Travers, have two sons, Matthew, 6, and Milan, 4.

Below are excerpts from my interview with her that explored the larger scope of her work.

How did you get started down this road?

As part of a large national study where we started to look at perceptions that smokers hold about different tobacco products: what they believe, what they think, the health risks, what they believe about their products, and found that smokers hold great misperceptions about their products.

They don’t necessarily understand the health risks of their products. They don’t know the chemicals in their products. That’s the project I did for my master’s thesis.

I did two studies for my PhD dissertation. They both involved trying to educate people about their products. We found all the areas of misperception that people hold about cigarettes and smokeless tobacco and the health risks.

The other part that interests me is, How do we educate people? How do we have an informed consumer? So I worked with the New York Quitline, which is also housed here at Roswell Park, developed product-specific information for people, to educate them about their brand of cigarettes.

We thought we would do it by brand because people are very loyal to their cigarette brand and they tend to pay more attention when they can personalize the information.

Why are smokers misinformed?

The misperceptions are largely perpetuated by communications by the tobacco industry. My focus is mostly on packaging, so how does the industry use packaging to communicate with their consumer? Ever since other advertising restrictions have been imposed – including no more billboards, no more TV advertising – they’ve used packaging and point-of-sale displays as their main modes of communications. I study how they use packaging, words on packaging, colors and descriptor terms to communicate with their consumer.

I understand you have an interesting camera. Can you describe it?

I am hesitant to put it in a photo because I don’t want it to be recognized when we use it in a store. It’s a mobile eye tracking unit that’s used in marketing research. It’s not new but it has not previously been used specifically for tobacco research. It allows us to look at what people look at when they go into a store.

Some people use this in journalism.

It’s really popular in website design, to see how people look at sites. For example, people like to look across the top, then down the left and then everything else.

You say that in a store, smokers and non-smokers alike tend to be drawn to the ‘power wall’ where cigarettes are sold, starting in the middle, and Marlboro brands often can be found there. Does Philip Morris have to pay more to be in the middle?

Philip Morris generally has a contract or incentive to put them in a specific place on the power wall.

The industry pays over $10 billion a year for marketing and advertising in the United States; 84 percent of that is in the retail environment and 94 percent of that is at the point of sale.

They pay a lot of money to make sure you see their product in a store.

And labeling comes into play?

Labeling and displays work together. A pack-a-day smoker sees their pack 7,000 times a year. Part of that is the industry’s communication with the smoker, with the colors, with the label, with the brand name and associations. Part of that is the warning label that we can put on a pack to convey the health risks. The other thing the industry’s been doing, more so in the last couple of years, is integrating their packaging with their current promotional campaign. There’s clear cellophane on top of cigarette packs and they cover the cellophane with the promotion, which would cover a label.

So if you’re an 18-year-old who’s on a mailing list for Philip Morris, you see the promotion in the store, you get it by direct mail at home, you get it by email, so now they’ve expanding their reach by communicating three different ways with that smoker.

What are these promotions like?

They have different themes. Here’s one (on a Camel pack) that has the words ‘Pride’ and ‘Tradition,’ and has a 75- cent price discount on the packaging. Others have a price discount and take you to a website where you can win different prizes. It’s really multifaceted. When you look at the retail display, you’re not only looking at brands of cigarettes, you’re also looking at all the different colors and icons that they use with that brand.

Graphic warning labels and their effectiveness seem to be central to your research. What have you and other researchers discovered about these labels?

Smokers have said that once they change the pack, they don’t taste as good, and it’s the same cigarette. So it makes a difference. It’s like food, if it looks good, it probably tastes good, but if it looks terrible, sometimes that tastes the best, but it looks terrible so you won’t eat it.

What have Roswell and others determined label-wise are the most effective ways to help people stop?

There are a couple of ways we might try to address this, which would include hiding the displays but also plain packaging with graphic warning labels.

In Canada, they have a 50 percent front and back of the pack warning label, which you also see in their displays. ... In Australia, they have plain packs. They don’t have icons, like a chevron or a camel. They don’t have any descriptive terms, instead it just says ‘Fine Silver.’ So this is the only branding you have on the (bottom one-sixth of the front) cover. The rest of the front and whole back is a warning label. The U.S. warning label is on the side, text only, in the colors that the manufacturer chooses. They don’t have a color requirement. It’s one of four warnings we’ve had since 1985. It has not changed.

How effective is the Australian graphic?

It’s only been on the market for maybe a year or so. They have seen calls to their quitline number increase, because they have a quitline number on the pack. They have a specific olive green color and very specific font requirement, and they cannot use any other pictures or any other colors. So when you put them all on a display, they all look the same, except for the warning. And most of the warnings are gross.

(The Australian warnings say: “The toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can go everywhere that your blood flows, causing harm all over your body.”)

These graphic warning labels have been found to be effective?

Extremely effective. Canada was the first country to have them, in 2001, and has seen a reduction in smoking prevalence. In different surveys that we’ve done, we have always seen a dramatic increase in people noticing the label and people reading the label. When we ask about specific diseases addressed in the label, there is increased knowledge. For example, after they put ‘Smoking causes blindness’ on the label, more people knew that smoking causes blindness.

It sounds like the philosophy of the Australian government is a little bit different. What have they determined to do there that we have not done here?

They are very effective in their tobacco control policies. The reasons are the same in any country. The risks of tobacco are well-known and they have taken a very strong stand in their public policy with packaging.

Talk about your research team, including for tobacco research at Roswell as a whole and the folks you routinely conduct research with.

I work very frequently with my colleagues here, including Dr. (Andrew) Highland and Dr. (Richard) O’Connor. I work very closely with Dr. Cummings at the Medical University of South Carolina. I work very closely with Dr. (David) Hammond and Dr. (Geoff) Fong at the University of Waterloo. I am a co-investigator of the ITC (International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project) India Project. I work closely with educators at the Healis Sekhsaria (Institute of Public Health in India) I have data managers that I work with. I have a couple of project managers here that run studies for us. I am on the committee of a couple of PhD students and a couple of master’s students, both from here and the University at Buffalo School of Public Health. I’m a research assistant professor at UB. A lot of the students from UB will do their research here or in an area that is in addictions or marketing or communications with perceptions and qualitative research. I do a lot of qualitative research. I’m the only person in our department who runs focus groups and was one of the first ones to do a web survey.

What can you tell us about your current or future research?

I have a couple of proposals in to evaluate some of the marketing being done at the point of sale in the retail environment, including the change in pharmacies, with the removal of tobacco products at CVS, and how different pharmacies have responded to that voluntary removal.

Have you heard this comment that only one of three people who smoke will die from smoking? 

I have heard it. I also can tell you one out of three cancers at Roswell Park are tobacco-related. That doesn’t include heart disease, which is the number one health risk of smoking.

What have Roswell and others determined are the most effective ways to help people stop smoking.

To educate them, inform them. To decrease access. To increase price. Clean indoor air policies are very effective, and cessation support. That includes the Quitline and the distribution of (nicotine patches) and smoking medications.

It’s still hard to believe more people aren’t afraid of cigarettes.

They're available everywhere. Until 10 years ago in New York, you could smoke anywhere. Even with young people today, they think it looks cool, and movies perpetuate that belief. And it’s social norm for young people that they think it’s acceptable, that it makes them look older, more distinguished, and they see their parents do it. A lot of times, the first cigarette a child will have will be one they stole from their parent.

Can parents who smoke have any sort of an influence on this?

Sure. They could quit. The best thing they could do is quit, and show their child that they believe smoking is a dangerous habit and that smoking around their kids is dangerous for them and dangerous for themselves.

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the Great American Smokeout. This tradition was started by the American Cancer Society in 1976 to challenge smokers to stop using tobacco and educate about the many tools they can use to quit and avoid relapsing. To mark this annual tradition, which this year is on Thursday November 20, I would like to discuss some of the paradoxes of smoking and quitting.

In China one of the major brands of cigarettes is called Long Life. What better example of what I call the paradox of addiction? Two other examples of this paradox when it comes to cigarettes are:

1. People say they smoke to feel good, but a 2013 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (1) found:



  • Smokers, as a group, are more likely to experience stress, worry, and depression regardless of their income.
  • Nearly nine in 10 smokers regret that they ever started smoking.
  • If smoking feels good, why so much unhappiness and regret?

2. People say they smoke to relieve stress but recent research (2) finds that those who quit experience less, not more, stress than those who continue to smoke. So an important part of the paradox is that addiction itself is stressful!

A new study by Jonathan Bricker and colleagues (3) shows how accepting, not fighting, cravings and feelings helps smokers quit when combined with making a commitment to something new based on their values. The study tested "acceptance" and "commitment" and found them to be active therapeutic ingredients in helping smokers quit.

An important insight offered by the approach tested in the study is that trying to exert emotional control rather than experiencing ones emotions drains off valuable psychic energy that can best be channeled into more productive and rewarding life pursuits. Here are some of the study's key findings:

  • Smokers who at first reported a low acceptance of their cravings did significantly better with this approach than with a standard cognitive and behavioral approach.
  • Smokers who were given this approach "had significantly higher levels of acceptance of cravings to smoke" than in the standard treatment group and this "predicted a 4.6 times higher odds of quitting at the six-month follow-up."

The goal of quitting smoking, and recovery from any addiction, is to make your life better. Committing to a new life goal, such as protecting your body and health or an activity you believe in, is good both for mental health in general, and to successfully quit smoking!

What to focus on for the Great American Smokeout:

Try to avoid getting caught up in controlling the uncontrollable: addiction! Efforts to control it are like hoping the tide will come in at a different time, or that you can somehow coerce the weather to send sunshine instead of rain. If it was going to be different, it would be different.

If you are stalling, delaying, or reducing smoking, and experiencing demoralization and "cessation fatigue" (4) as a result, perhaps you are really "waiting to smoke" rather than quitting (5). In this scenario, cutting down has become an unproductive effort to control smoking, rather than a productive way to quit for you. This can result in frustration and more failed attempts to quit.

A 2013 Gallup poll found, for example that 48 percent of smokers who succeed at quitting said they did so abruptly whereas only 2 percent said they quit gradually (6).

New Strategies to try on the Great American Smokeout:

  • Look for new ways to cope with smokers in your life, like asking them to not smoke in your house, or meeting them in a smoke-free place.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol, especially in the beginning when you first quit, or if you usually smoke and drink at the same time.
  • Try new ways to manage stress in your daily life, like daily walks, mindfulness meditations, or "stress breaks," where you sit quietly and breathe deeply, drink water or listen to music.
  • Challenge your smoking beliefs like: "I smoke because I'm stressed" or "I'll quit tomorrow" or "I'll only smoke one" or "I am not strong enough to quit."
  • Let go of the urge to control smoking. Don't try to fight your cravings or to put them out of your mind. Accept and experience your reactions to quitting, such as cravings if you have them, and your emotions and thoughts, without judging or acting on them.
  • Make sure you are getting enough nicotine replacement (NRT) if you use it to quit. If you are a big smoker, consider using two forms of NRT in combination (7).  [As you can imagine, I disagree on this point but integrity insists that I include it! - Thomas]

The Paradox of Acceptance and Change

The paradox of quitting smoking is that you have to accept how things are in the present moment so you can change them. Acceptance of cravings to smoke, emotions and thoughts experienced in the present moment, make room to commit to something new to care about and make for a better smoke-free life in the long run. Part of the paradox is that trying to push thoughts, emotions and cravings out of your mind just makes them stronger, whereas allowing them out into the open takes the wind out of their sails. The paradox of addiction is that you get control when you give up control. The paradox of quitting is learning to not avoid smoking by "holding on" with willpower, but to "let go" of smoking altogether.

Dr. Daniel Seidman is director of smoking cessation services at Columbia University Medical Center, author of the Up in Smoke program from Mental Workout for iPhone, Android, Mac, and PC.

The cards were stacked against me! If I were to examine my lung history I could find easily 10 reasons that I have COPD at age 56.

-          Lung disease “runs in the family’

-          I had poor lung health as a child with multiple upper respiratory infections

-          My siblings also had lung issues at an early age

-          I was exposed to farm pollutants (and most likely, asbestos)

-          I was exposed to second hand smoke as a child (heck, even my Doctor smoked right in front of me!)

-          My parents smoked in an enclosed car for hours long road trips

-          I worked in a high exposure job around second hand smoke every day for years

-          I had undiagnosed  (and untreated) asthma and chronic bronchitis

-          I suffered from and reported to my physician chronic cough and shortness of breath but was never tested for COPD

-          And, of course, I smoked intermittently for 20 years

What makes the difference in the quality of people’s lives? What is the single factor that shapes and controls our ultimate destiny?

Most people think that biography is destiny, that the past equals the future. And you know what? It can—but only if you live there. Any study of history shows that the difference in human beings comes down to one thing: an ability to harness the power of decision, often in spite of adverse conditions. The history of our world is the result of decisions.


It’s the power of decision that caused Rosa Parks to remain in her seat and state, “No, I will not go to the back of the bus.” It took a forceful decision to compel an unarmed man to stand in front of a tank at Tiananmen Square. It was the strength of decision that led President John F. Kennedy to declare that an American would be first to walk on the moon by the end of the 1960s.

Decision is the ultimate power—and there are three core decisions each of us makes every moment we’re alive. These decisions have the capacity to empower, advance, frustrate or derail us, depending on what we choose:


Decision 1: What are you going to focus on?

Do you focus on things you’re excited about or things you fear? Whatever you focus on, you experience. Wherever focus goes, energy flows.

I chose to focus on establishing and maintaining an excellent quality of life. I often say that I’m healthier and happier now than I have ever been in my life (except my lungs!) That would not have been possible as a smoker.



Decision 2: What does this mean?

Is this the end or the beginning? Are you being punished or rewarded? The minute you decide to focus on something, you give it a meaning. How you define an event produces emotion and determines how you feel going forward.

Was I doomed because I was diagnosed with COPD? OR was I given the opportunity to change my lifestyle before my health deteriorated even more? After all, Half of all those who have COPD don’t even know it and I was diagnosed at a relatively early Stage! I chose to look at my diagnosis as the beginning of a whole new world of lung health and self maintenance! The first decision I made even before I walked out of the doctors' office was to quit smoking, which I did within 6 days of diagnosis 1701 days ago!


Decision 3: What are you going to do?

Are you going to give up or follow through? The meanings we assign to events influence what actions we take as a result. It’s our decisions, not our conditions, that ultimately shape the quality of our lives. At any moment the decision you make can change the course of your life forever.

I decided to quit smoking, change my nutrition plan, become more involved with exercise, avoid pollutants, increase hygiene, take my medications, and regularly attend my doctor’s appointments.

The pay-off? Better lung health and overall health than I’ve had in years, or ever! I took charge of my health and didn’t just leave it up to destiny!

“Success and failure are not overnight experiences. It’s the small decisions along the way that cause people to fail or succeed.”
–Anthony Robbins


1700 Smoke FREE Days!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 14, 2014

And I earned them by making a decision each and every day!






Life Beyond Addiction

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 14, 2014
  We spend a great deal of time here talking of how to cease smoking and rightfully so! But abstinence from Nicotine Addiction is only the beginning of recovery! True recovery addresses not what we abstain from, but the rebuilding of the life that was saved! 
  When we realize just how much time, money, emotional and physical energy we sacrificed to our Sickerettes, we often feel overwhelming shame and guilt about the terrible decision we had been unthoughtfully making for years, even decades. This in spite of our loved ones' pleas for change, their own personal sacrifices to our vice, their heart break and pain!
  So when we speak of grief, at first we think of ourselves - our grief which, totally justified, is a natural process accompanying any fundamental change. But there is another deeper grief we must accept - the grief and remorse for the lost moments we might have had with our family had we been living Addiction FREE - for ourselves and for our loved ones!
  There's the   denial and isolation - although you know that you not only hurt yourself, you hurt your Family and Friends but you may not want to believe or face it!
  Next comes   anger - at yourself, even at the tobacco companies, for the torment that your social circle has been through because of your choices.
  Even   bargaining comes into play! "Please God, protect my health so I can make it up to my loved ones!"
   Depression might become overwhelming if we don't have or develop the skills to forgive ourselves and to make amends to the best of our ability to those we care about.
  Finally,   acceptance! There has been and I can't imagine there being any better way to address grief than the Serenity Prayer! 
   God grant me the serenity 
   to accept the things I cannot change;  
   courage to change the things I can;  
   and wisdom to know the difference. 
   Continuously, I find recovery opening up like a beautiful big blossom, one petal at a time with each new phase more spectacular than the last! May you find your true self through self awareness and acceptance and enjoy a deep abiding peace! 


Finding a viable alternative to jet fuel has become something of a holy grail for the world’s airlines in recent years. No longer is it just out-of-the-box thinkers like Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson who want to find a way forward that doesn’t depend entirely on fossil fuels. Why? Because fuel purchases are responsible for a full third of the airlines’ operating costs—a mind-boggling $209 billion in 2012.

  So what else can carriers put in their tanks?

Aerospace giant Boeing and South African Airways are collaborating with a company called SkyNRG to make sustainable aviation biofuel from a new type of nicotine-free tobacco plant being cultivated in South Africa. This new hybrid, called Solaris, yields especially oily seeds that can be processed into biofuel. 


The partners are already recruiting farms both large and small to join the program, pitching the idea as a win-win-win scenario. Tobacco farmers can do what they do without harming the health of their fellow citizens or triggering a food versus fuel debate; the airlines can find a path to cutting costs; and the resulting carbon emissions will drop up to 80 percent through the entire production and consumption process.


It’s not just South Africa, and it’s not just tobacco. Boeing is working in the United States, Europe, China, the Middle East, Brazil, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere on a wide variety of biofuel experiments. After all, an airline won’t want to buy Boeing’s jets if it can’t afford to fly them. In the past three years, dozens of airlines, led by Virgin, have launched more than 1,500 flights using some measure of biofuel.


But don’t expect to see South African Airways’ 747s blowing nothing but smoke rings across the sky anytime soon. Production will be slow to ramp up and scale, and for years into the future, biofuel—which is currently far more expensive to produce than traditional jet fuel—will only be a small part of the aviation industry’s fuel mix. But step-by-step, Boeing hopes, the proportion will increase. Someday, a plane may take off with nothing in its tanks but environmentally friendly and sustainable tobacco juice, and your walk across the airport parking lot may smell more like an ashtray than a refinery.


Read more:




Smile and BREATHE!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 13, 2014


  You know it's strange to me that folks associate COPD with oxygen use in a negative connotation! Oxygen therapy enriches the blood with much needed oxygen and keeps the entire system - not just the breathing system - functioning! 
  Though COPD is a lung disease, it has far-reaching effects and leads to a host of other health conditions. COPD is actually the umbrella term for chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, emphysema, asthma,  and other chronic obstructive lung diseases which combine in different ways for different people. One size does not fit all!
  A recent study published in Thorax: An International Journal of Respiratory Medicine found that not only does COPD reduce your quality of life in the present, but it can also shorten your overall life expectancy by causing excess wear and tear on the cells in your body.
  Researchers studied blood samples of 46,396 people and determined the amount of each person’s state of cell erosion by measuring the length of their telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that protect each cell’s DNA. As you age your cells divide. Each time they divide, a piece of the telomeres is cut off until there is nothing left. Once the protective tips have disappeared, the cells stop functioning, ultimately leading to organs shutting down and death. This process occurs naturally over time, but the study demonstrated an accelerated rate in people with COPD. Oxygen therapy slows this process and protects the telomeres.
   Why Does This Happen? 
    Smoking is the most common source of COPD, but the disease can also be caused by genetics or long-term exposure to other lung irritants such as pollution, dust, or chemical fumes. As COPD progresses, damage to the lungs makes it more difficult to breathe. “In people predisposed to COPD, this damage accumulates over time, leading to progressive loss of cells,” says Antonello Punturieri, MD, PhD, program director and medical officer in the division of lung diseases at the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “The final result is an organ crash; the lung crashes; without the capacity to sustain the respiratory needs of the body.” 
   In addition to immediate damage to the lungs, COPD causes damage to other parts of the body by way of a downstream effect, explains Keith Robinson, MD, MS, a member of the COPD Foundation Clinical Advisory Committee (CAC) and a board certified pulmonologist and critical care medicine intensivist at North Broward Hospital in Florida. White blood cells are produced in response to damage that occurs because of COPD inflammation. In order for these white blood cells to be created, existing cells must divide, causing more damage to the telomeres and making cells wear and age faster than they normally would. Controlling the chronic inflammation associated with COPD alleviates this function. Some pulmonologists are prescribing low dose anti-inflammatories as on going therapy for COPD. 
   The Impact of COPD-Related Health Concerns 
   The possibility of potentially serious health concerns occurring alongside COPD makes it necessary to focus treatment on more than just improving airflow to aid breathing. Along with experiencing flare-ups and the inability to exercise, many with COPD are malnourished, and their weight loss can lead to muscle deterioration, impaired health, and death. A study of 424 COPD patients found that health care costs for malnourished patients were higher than costs for overweight or normal weight patients, primarily due to an increase in the number of times the malnourished patients had to go to the emergency room for treatment. Researchers believe it is important to measure muscle mass as part of routine check-ups in order to better monitor the overall health of COPD patients and improve their quality of life and life expectancy. 
   The link between COPD and other health conditions has been identified in multiple studies. 
    A study by the American Thoracic Society found that people with COPD are 2 to 5 times more likely to develop lung cancer than smokers who do not have COPD.  
    A study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology showed that people with COPD have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  
    Another study, published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease identified a varied list of additional medical issues: malnutrition, osteoporosis, anemia, muscle deterioration, kidney abnormalities, and hormonal abnormalities.  
    Vitamins and Hormones published a study that explored the connection between vitamin D deficiency and an increase in severity of COPD, as well as with the prevalence of osteoporosis in COPD patients.  
    It is important to work with your health care provider to develop a treatment plan that focuses on all aspects of your health in order to achieve and maintain the best quality of life possible.  
    Ways to be Proactive and Stay Healthy  
    Here's what oxygen therapy can do for somebody with COPD:  
    Improve blood health. Severe COPD limits the amount of oxygen in your blood cells, which can affect your overall health. Improving the health of your blood will make you feel better and help to keep your organs healthier.   
    Stay active. Physical activity is important for staying well, especially if you have COPD. Increasing the amount of oxygen you get will allow you to remain active for longer periods of time.  
    Sleep better. If you have bronchitis or  bronchiectasis, you know how uncomfortable it can be to wake up coughing in the middle of the night. Getting more oxygen will help you feel more rested.  
    Keep your mind working better. The brain needs oxygen to function properly, and it gets oxygen from your blood. Many COPD patients also see an improvement in their stress levels when they are on oxygen therapy.  
     Enjoy more of your favorite activities. If you opt for portable oxygen, you can continue to work, travel and do almost all of the activities you enjoy. Oxygen treatment does not mean you have to change your life completely. In fact, you will probably find that you can do more of the activities that you have been missing.   
     Yes, COPD can reduce your life expectancy. If you do not properly manage your symptoms, the risks for complications increase. But if you are proactive, you can help keep your body healthy, longer. “Good nutrition,      quitting smoking, regular exercise, use of recommended medications, including oxygen therapy and taking care of other conditions are all expected to improve the quality of life of COPD patients and may improve life expectancy as well,” says Punturieri.   
      The next time you see somebody with oxygen, look past the tank, look them in the eye and SMILE! They're out and about and caring for themselves - not sitting at home feeling shame and embarrassment and giving up!  


Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 13, 2014

I went to the Doctor with all kinds of symptoms. After many blood tests, it was discovered that I had been ingesting arsenic! WHEW! No wonder I haven't been feeling well! Thank God I went to the Doctor before it killed me! I will recover but it will take a long time, he said. Then he absolutely shocked me! This "Doctor" said that getting off of the arsenic too rapidly would be bad for me and that I would have to wear arsenic patches with just a little arsenic in it until my body could get used to the fact that I wasn't poisoning myself anymore! WHAT?! 

"You want me to poison myself slooooowly instead of quickly? Doesn't that still kill me in the end?" asked I. "Oh, no, sir! This is just a little arsenic! It will continue to make you sick, but not as sick as you are now and as long as you eventually stop using it, it won't kill you," he said with a reassuring smile. "And if I don't stop using it?" The Doctor looked me in the eye and said, "Well, of course, there is that risk since arsenic is addictive. But my guess is that you'll get tired of feeling sick all of the time and eventually stop." Angrily, I looked directly back at him and said, "You're a QUACK! You just want my money so that I can continue to kill myself but not notice it as much!" And I stomped out yelling behind me, "And don't even think about billing me for this 'consult!' You're pathetic! What happened to the hypocratic oath?"

Do you see where I'm going with this, folks? Fortunately, this is just a story. But change up Arsenic for Nicotine and you get the picture! Nicotine is insecticide! IT KILLS!


The Happy Quit

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 12, 2014

Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity - successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something.  Soon it becomes a reality.  Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly and you will be amazed at the positive results!

 - William James  (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910)

Build FUN and Self Care into your Quit Plan! You are literally creating a New YOU so you get to decide what this person looks and acts like! As that Smoke Cloud lifts, let it reveal the you that you really wish to BE and become that person - One Day, One Hour, One Minute at a time! 

You get to/have to decide!

Another James - the Happy Quitter taught me that I CAN and I decided that I AM!



We Honor Our Veterans!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 11, 2014

A Very Special Thank YOU to our Veterans and to their Families!

We HONOR your service to our Nation and our FREEDOM!

Because we live in this Great Country we have many freedoms that can only barely be imagined in most other Countries of the World! But with FREEDOM comes responsibility!

We have the opportunity to forfeit Freedom with Addiction as well as to LIVE Addiction FREE!

Let us choose Smoke FREE Living today as we thank our Veterans that we live in one of the Greatest Democracies ever seen throughout History because of their sacrifice of blood and sweat!

My heart goes out to all of those who have casualties of service whether through death or injury!

We will never forget!








Thomas is not available right now, and if you leave a message he won't get back to you!!!!

I'm too busy counting my Blessings because I'm an Exer!!!

Fill your mind with Positive Thoughts and there won't be time to listen to those lying whispers!

If I can do it you can too!

It isn't a bit harder for you than it is for any one of us, we just changed our perspective!!


Life is too short!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 10, 2014

Don't smoke it up!


  Half of all people with COPD do not know it! A total of   12 million people! That's a lot of people out there and most not all of them are either current or EX smokers. Maybe even You! 
  You might ask yourself, "Why do I want to know? Isn't it incurable anyway?" 
  Yes, COPD is chronic, progressive and incurable. BUT it is manageable! 
  Take the chronic part - 
  There are many things a person can do to make their chronic COPD more liveable. Speaking for myself at Stage II, I can work as much as I want or need. I can do many of the activities that I have always enjoyed. I say this, "I'm healthier now than I've ever been ...except my lungs!
  How about the progressive part?
  I have maintained the same level of lung capacity for 4 1/2 years! Zero change! That's as good as it gets! And I was able to do this because, honestly, I work very, very hard at taking the best of care of myself! And it's sooooooo worth it! 
  But it's still incurable, you're thinking....
  Well, yes, for now COPD is incurable but each and every day, great strides are being made to change that! And in my opinion, there's a real possibility that a cure will be found before long. My job is to maintain my health to the best of my ability until that day comes! And I will. Because even if I don't see a cure before the Lord takes me, the Qualiy of my LIFE in the meantime is that much BETTER! And that, my friends, is a Blessing!
   SO if you have shortness of breath, chronic coughing, a lot of mucus or sputum, even difficulty sleeping, PLEASE ask your Doctor for a Spirometry Test and find out one way or the other! The truth can only help you!


Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 9, 2014

We inhabit ourselves without valuing ourselves, unable to see that here, now,

this very moment is sacred; but once it's gone its value is incontestable." 

 --Joyce Carol Oates

Today I am not going to think about what I wish I had done differently, what I wish I had said, where I wish I had gone, which choices I wish I had made. Dwelling on the past does me no good at all! 

Today I am not going to fret about what the future holds, whether I'll have money, fame or even food, clothes and shelter, or HEALTH! That's not for me to worry about! Matt 6:25ff

Today I choose to think about TODAY! Just for TODAY, I Thomas, choose to live LIFE Smoke FREE Abundantly! I will not smoke even one single puff under any circumstances, for any reason NO MATTER WHAT!

I will make the most of my FREEDOM from ADDICTION to protect my Health and ENJOY my Happiness! When I work, I will work for my betterment, when I rest I will rest for my relaxation and renewal, when I go amongst my fellow man I will remember that they too have their story! 

I can't change the past and the future is just a series of NOWS! One moment at a time! 



Opening my Heart!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 7, 2014

I come here with 4 1/2 Years quit almost every day. I read all of the Blogs and often write a blog - usually informational. This is not an informational Blog! This is ME talking to YOU!

I know the statistics. I know that 1 out of every 5 of us has been told that (s)he has COPD. I know that 1 out of those same 5 has COPD and doesn't know it! But I'm not talking statistics.

I'm talking to you! I don't want you to be diagnosed with COPD or Cancer! I don't want you to have a smoking related heart attack or stroke! 

I want you to at the very least taste the sabor of FREEDOM! I want you to know what it's like to go a whole day and not even want a sickerette! Not even think about smoking! Not even be able to remember what it's really like to be Addicted to Nicotine! 

I want you to live LIFE to it's fullest - with all it's strife and stress, yes...But also with all of it's vitality and pure JOY! A LIFE of FREEDOM from Addiction - what I refer to as Abundant Living! I'm not just talking of the thousands of EXtra bucks you'll have available once you quit for LIFE! I'm talking of the richness of human EXperience FREE of Addiction!

THAT is why I still come here every day! THAT is what drives me to find a new angle, a new tidbit, a new approach, ... ANYTHING that might set you FREE!


Yet there is nothing I or any of us can do to give it to you! This is a Gift you must give to yourself! We can only shine a light on the path toward FREEDOM! But you must walk the walk through and then OUT! And only YOU can protect your Quit for LIFE! 

Nothing grieves me more than the hundreds who disappear after a while because they've relapsed! They have given up on the one Great Gift that they can give themselves - FREE ABUNDANT LIVING! May each of you become an EX for LIFE!

There is no scientific evidence that these products work to help stop smoking and little is known about their safety.

  • Products claiming to deter smoking. This includes products that change the taste of tobacco, special diets to curb nicotine cravings and vitamin combinations marketed as smoking cessation aids.
  • Herbs and supplements. Homeopathic aids and herbal supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so they don't need to prove their effectiveness or safety.
  • Nicotine lollipops and balms. Products containing nicotine salicylate are not approved by the FDA, and these products pose a risk for accidental use by children.
  • Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Flavored mist containing nicotine that looks like smoke is puffed through a system that looks like a cigarette. Questions exist about the safety of e-cigarette vapor and the amount of nicotine provided.
  • Hypnosis. Although no evidence supports the use of hypnosis in smoking cessation, some people say they find it helpful. If you choose to pursue hypnosis, talk to your doctor about finding a reputable hypnotherapist.

Support that can help:

  • Internet-based programs. Several websites offer support and strategies for people who want to stop smoking. BecomeAnEX is free and provides information and techniques as well as blogs, community forums, ask the expert and many other features. Text messaging services, including personalized reminders about a quit-smoking plan, also may prove helpful.

We have the answers to SUCCESS! YOU get to/have to do the work!


t’s never too late to quit smoking for good

     By Helen Marra, R.R.T.   

The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use that date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.This year’s date is Nov. 20.


Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — that’s almost 1 in every 5 adults.As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.


Just look at these remarkable statistics to see how quickly stopping smoking can make a positive difference in your health and longevity:




 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.


 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.


 2 weeks to 3 months, your circulation improves and lung function increases


 1 to 9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease, cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.


 1 year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.


 5 years, the risk of cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.


 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking.The risk of cancer of the pancreas and larynx decreases.  15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smokers.

      2014-11-06 / Front Page  
      Print article Print  

It’s never too late to quit smoking for good

      By Helen Marra, R.R.T.    

The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use that date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.This year’s date is Nov. 20.


Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — that’s almost 1 in every 5 adults.As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.


Just look at these remarkable statistics to see how quickly stopping smoking can make a positive difference in your health and longevity:




 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.


 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.


 2 weeks to 3 months, your circulation improves and lung function increases


 1 to 9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease, cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.


 1 year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.


 5 years, the risk of cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.


 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking.The risk of cancer of the pancreas and larynx decreases.  15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smokers.


For smokers who can’t or won’t quit, prolonged conditions can include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that make up COPD. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs are gradually destroyed. Damage to your lungs from COPD can’t be reversed, but treatment can help control symptoms and minimize further damage.


Symptoms of COPD often don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time. For chronic bronchitis, the main symptom is a cough that you have at least three months a year for two consecutive years. Other signs and symptoms of COPD include:


 shortness of breath, especially during physical activities


 wheezing


 chest tightness


 having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs


 a chronic cough that produces sputum that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish


 blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)


 frequent respiratory infections


 lack of energy


 unintended weight loss (in later stages)


The health benefits of quitting smoking start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke. See your doctor if you need help quitting smoking, or if you may be experiencing symptoms of COPD.

   The Short and Long Term Effects of Nicotine on the Brain.
   Smoking Causes Chemical Dependency to Nicotine.
  When you smoke, nicotine enters the blood stream and reaches the brain within ten to twenty seconds. Nicotine then binds to neural receptors and activates neural activity in the brain. (Neurons become active and pass on messages that will activate other neurons.)
  The neurons triggered by nicotine are all connected to larger neural networks, such as those contained within the primal area of the brain known as the Basal Ganglia. One such network of neurons within the Basal Ganglia is of particular importance when it comes to understanding nicotine addiction, the human brain’s motivational reward system.
  Once triggered into action, the reward center releases into the brain, the chemical dopamine. A chemical that causes us to feel pleasure and satisfaction. The reward center of the brain influences our behaviors and is typically called into action whenever we perform basic survival functions like eating, drinking or having sex.
  Each time nicotine is received, the brain’s reward center is activated and the behavior of smoking is again reinforced as being a positive experience. After a few cigarettes, stronger neural pathways which expect the delivery of nicotine begin to develop throughout the brain. Over time, the brain begins to treat nicotine as necessary for our survival, not unlike food and water.
  Given that nicotine leaves the body quickly, the brain needs access to a constant supply of nicotine in order to fill the receptors that keep the dopamine pathways active. As nicotine levels drop, so do dopamine levels. The outcome of this is the physical sensation we refer to as cravings for nicotine and the cigarettes that provide it.
  To make matters worse, a process called up-regulation occurs the moment you start smoking. Up-regulation is when the number of receptors on a neurons dendrites increase. This means that more nicotine is required for a neuron to trigger the pathways that lead to the reward centre of the brain and release dopamine. The more you smoke, the more often you will need to smoke in order to maintain a satisfied feeling
    The Long Term Effect of Nicotine Addiction
   Once a smoker is chemically dependent on nicotine, the addiction progressively worsens. As time goes on, neural pathways begin to link cigarettes to more and more behaviors or actions that occur in the outside world. 
   Not only do these pathways grow in number, they are continuously reinforced and grow in strength. Eventually, the brain develops an incredibly strong and complex web of neural pathways that form connections to almost every emotion and external scenario imaginable. 
   A packet a day, twenty year smoker, has advanced chronic brain disease. Giving up the smokes is a lot more complicated than simply choosing to not light up. Thankfully, as with any treatable disease, a choice to seek treatment and undergo a healing process can lead to recovery. 
    The Path To Nicotine Addiction Recovery.
   Fortunately, there is an absolute certainty that smokers can regain the health of their brain. The very same physiological processes that allow smokers to become addicted, also allow smokers to successfully recover. What’s more, these processes can be invoked and practiced by the user through progressive treatments. 
   The first of these processes is down-regulation, the reverse effect of up-regulation. 
    Down Regulation.
    While up-regulation increases the number of nicotine receptors in the brain, down-regulation decreases it. This means the chemical dependency  to nicotine weakens as it receives less of it. Down-regulation begins as soon as you stop smoking, or even cut down the number of cigarettes you consume. 
   The process is also fundamental to Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which progressively weakens the chemical dependency over time. 
   Once the chemical dependency to nicotine is broken, the addict can begin to invoke the second and most influential process to long term healing, brain plasticity. 
     Brain Plasticity. 
     For a longtime, it was accepted by the scientific community the brain ceased development at a certain point in an individuals childhood or youth. It was also believed we had a fixed number of brain cells.  
    Developments in neuroscience over the last thirty years has debunked this idea and proven the human brain, is in fact, capable of neural development throughout adulthood. This neural development is referred to as a brain’s “plasticity.”  
    Over time, the neurons physically metabolize (break down) and allow new neurons and neural pathways to develop. Unlike down regulation and chemical dependency, this process takes a lot longer to play out and requires a commitment to long term treatment. (There are billions of neurons in your brain.)  
    If a smoker can commit to the healing process, the individual will stop desiring cigarettes and return to a state of normality.  
    So there we are! Hopefully you have a clearer understanding of nicotine addiction and can now believe with confidence, if you quit smoking and seek treatment for your disease, a time will come that YOU DO NOT MISS cigarettes!  

Using brain scanning equipment researchers have established that all addictions can be traced to dopamine-induced expectations. Expectations of getting “high” keep junkies lying, cheating, stealing, and craving the next fix. For some, the expectations involve cocaine. For others, it can be nicotine, alcohol, sex, gambling, or food. Addictions to street drugs are hard to deny because they require the ingesting, inhaling, or injecting of known addictive substances. Physical addictions destroy lives and wreak societal damage, but the most common and dangerous addictions include a short list of easy to deny psychological expectations.

Psychological addictions are more insidious because the dopamine is triggered by emotions, memories, thoughts, fantasies, ideologies, rhetoric, and deceptions. Researchers have added food, sex, gambling, video games and texting to the list of addictive behaviors while continuing to ignore triggers that society considers "normal" behaviors.

Decades ago, psychologist Abraham Maslow identified and categorized what he called deficiency needs, or D-needs for short.

 Level 1: Physiological – air, water, salt, food, sex.

Level 2: Safety/power.

 Level 3: Acceptance/approval/attention.

 Level 4: Esteem/status.

It’s only a question of time until: 

·         Dopamine-induced expectations are extended to all of Maslow’s lower D-needs.

·         The more powerful the expectations, the more powerful the addiction, the greater the denial, the weaker the free will, the more likely addicts are to detest any information that threatens to keep them from feeding their addictions.

·         Scientists acknowledge that It's possible to get addicted to safety/power, acceptance/approval/attention, and esteem/status.

·         Safety, acceptance, and esteem addictions aren't considered addictions because we inherited our addictive behaviors, deceptions, and denials from clever ancestors.

To keep the dopamine flowing, heroin addicts use needles, safety addicts swallow lies, acceptance addicts join groups, and esteem addicts chase status. One important distinction between addictions is that heroin addicts have to hide their needles whereas safety addicts get to wear their weapons, acceptance addicts are free to flock to groups, and esteem addicts get away with flaunting their status symbols every chance they get.

A second difference is that safety, acceptance, and esteem addicts do a lot more damage than heroin addicts.

How does Nicotine Addiction fit in?

Yes, it is a physiological addiction compared with heroin in it’s ability to hijack the brain and cause the addict to forfeit other primary needs including air, water, salt, food, sex, sleep and more….


But the real power of Nicotine Addiction lies in it’s Level 2 through 4 components!

Level 2:  Power – Nicotine Addicts often rely on Nicotine to hide their vulnerability and lack of self-confidence with power issues. By smoking, they can present themselves as edgy, rebellious, “I don’t care what other people think” when really they are simply covering up their fear of power.


Nicotine Addicts accept and spread lies about “harm reduction” when confronted with safety issues dealing with health threats.


Level 3:  Acceptance, approval and attention – Smokers congregate with other smokers in order to give them a sense of belonging and comradery  Often, these relationships are built on nothing beyond their addictive behavior. Many smokers (vapors, chewers, users of all methods) prefer and some need to smoke with somebody in order to feel good about their smoking.


Nicotine Addicts love to hook non-smokers into addiction and quitters back into relapse:


Level 4:  Esteem and status – Ever see a smoker rudely light up where (s)he knows it’s not invited? They need to claim the self esteem that Addiction robs. By flaunting their “habit” in front of others they’re challenging one to confront them.



Overcoming Nicotine Addiction, i.e. true recovery must address ALL of these issues. That’s why even after the 72 hours of physiological withdrawal, we are just getting started on the long journey of recovery.

Sorting out each of these components means getting in touch with yourself in a way that you may have never come to terms with! It takes focus, determination, honesty, courage, and a willingness to learn what you are really all about – without your drug of choice!

That’s why we’re here and that’s why this program works. When it comes to getting to know your Non-smoking self we’re not here to give you the answers – we’re here to help you define the questions and then reach within yourself to find the answer that best suits YOU!


Beating the Odds!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 3, 2014

"What's wrong with the occasional cigarette as long as your lungs don't look like down town L.A.? After all, a cigarette once in a while can't be all bad - it may be a vice but it's a legal vice and it doesn't hurt anybody - at least not like alcohol or drugs! besides nobody's perfect! Look, I just smoke a pack a week! Yea, I know about Cancer and such, but surely that's people who smoked 2 or 3 packs for 40 or 50 years not me! Heck, I was over 30 when I started smoking and I've quit now and then just to give my body a break, so I'll be O.K. Everything in moderation ain't all that bad! "

That was me talking 5 years ago, completely confident that I had successfully dodged the silver bullet by carefully playing the odds! I would be the last person on Earth to get sick from smoking-related illness! But guess what? I was wrong! Boy, was I ever wrong! Holy Smokes!!! ( pun intended)

When I woke up that beautiful Spring morning with a fever of 102 there is absolutely no way I would have predicted the path that my life was about to take! That trip to the Emergency Room (it would have to be on a Sunday!) changed my life forever! I, Thomas, was diagnosed not just with a lung infection but with Emphysema!!! The guy who was so careful to beat the odds just lost the game of poker and there's no going back! Emphysema is chronic, permanent, and progressive! Most likely, although only Our Creator knows for sure, it will be my cause of Death! How does a young (relatively) healthy (usually) active fella like me get Emphysema, for crying out loud?

What I didn't know was way more than what I did know about Emphysema and COPD!!! Oh, I'd seen the pictures of the happy retired folks puttering around in their gardens or playing with their grandkids because they were smart enough to take Advair or Spiriva! That's about it! My Grandma who lived in another State died of Emphysema when she was in her nineties but we all have to die of something, don't we? Eventually! But heck, I was 52 and had never really been sick much at all my entire adult life! I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and never thought anything of it - hard physical labor, not a desk job!

Here are some facts that I have since learned about COPD: it is an auto-immune illness. it doesn't care if you are 20 or 80 years old! It doesn't care if you smoke 2 or 3 cigs a day or 2 or 3 packs! Just one cigarette will trigger your body's defense mechanism and there you have it! About half of the folks who have COPD don't even know it! Meanwhile the damage that they are doing to their lungs can NEVER be repaired! Your body creates all kinds of mucus in your lungs and bronchials that is a perfect breeding ground for any kind of bacteria or virus you cross paths with like pneumonia! Every time you get a lung infection a bit more irreparable damage will have been done and your condition deteriorates. Because your lungs don't work so well you can inhale fairly well, but you can't exhale so well at all. What people exhale is Carbon Dioxide - you know, poison! That CO2 stays in your system and makes your whole body in a constant state of being poisoned! Because your body wants Oxygen and not CO2 your heart overworks itself trying to get enough Oxygen to where it's needed. Eventually, the heart deforms itself from working overtime! Then you have Congestive Heart Failure! Don't forget, you're still getting those lung infections from time to time! The toxins make your limbs feel like wet spaghetti so that such things as getting dressed or washing dishes become monumental tasks! When you cross a room you huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf! And know you can't even blow out a candle - let alone blow down a house! This is my reality! Oh you remember that part about not hurting anybody but myself? What do you suppose my Family and Loved Ones are feeling knowing that I did this to myself?

Now, do you still want that occasional cigarette? You still think it won't happen to you? Do you know that people die of smoke related illnesses in their TEENS? Check out Brian's Story at! Do you know that one single cigarette can not only trigger COPD it can cause a life-altering Stroke? Do you know that one single cigarette can change your DNA permanently setting you up for Cancer? ONE CIGARETTE! Do you believe it? I am testimonial that in this business you can't beat the Odds - the Odds can beat YOU - down! Forever! Get Smart! Be honest, at least with yourself! Smoking KILLS! Every time you light a cig you are committing the little suicide! You are spitting on the Gift of LIFE that your Creator bestowed on you! Enough is enough! Stop playing the Odds! TODAY is the Right Day to becomeanEX  and to protect your Quit - Smoke FREE for LIFE!

When you face down that Demon you come to the realization that for once in many, many Years you are the Master of your decisions! There is absolutely nothing like it! You shine with satisfaction knowing that you put your true self above your Addiction and WON! The more challenging the moment - the greater the Victory!


And you learn some other piece of the puzzle about what Life - especialy My Life - is really all about!


The last time I faced such a crisis, I learned that I still have a long way to go in understanding the Serenity Prayer! For those who don't know this prayer it goes:

God grant me the serenity 

to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 

Enjoying one moment at a time; 

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

as it is, not as I would have it; 

Trusting that He will make all things right

if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life 

and supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next.


--Reinhold Niebuhr


I learned that I still don't like relinquishing control when, in fact, I never really had/ have control over most things in the first place! A very hard lesson to learn! But once learned it has given me an inner Peace and Acceptance that I didn't have before!


This Quit Journey just keeps giving and giving!!!!!

Nicotine Addiction just keeps robbing and stealing!


Praise the Lord I am Addiction FREE!


Self Compassion

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 2, 2014

I could write a whole Blog on how Self Compassion helps us along our Quit Journey or I can simply let Kristin Neff tell you herself:

This is a place to start! Self Compassion has helped me in so many ways! I hope if you are suffering either physically or mentally that you take the time to listen to these short videos and contemplate the ideas. Perhaps you will find that you are stronger than you imagined!

  Webster says that   become means to   begin to be something specified. Thus, BecomeanEX doesn't mean that you only join if you already have the mindset of an EX. It doesn't mean that you will be somehow zapped into EX-dom because you enrolled. It means that we enter and we begin to become. We don't have to be flawlessly anything when we get here. We only have to have a curiosity about what being an EX might mean to us individually. 
  As we read the Blogs, again and again, we see folks at all stages of Quititude. Some are searching for it, some are glimpsing it, some are testing it, some are growing with it and it with them and some own it fiercely! That can't be found in any device.
   It starts with openness toward learning more. Too often I see folks who bring their "My Way" attitudes rather than openness. If you already have the Successful way - then what are you doing here?  
    We're told to FOCUS on the positive side of quitting, to count our blessings and benefits of Smoke FREE Living. Some of us do that and we move forward with amazing smoothness, leaving others to think that they had it "easy" for some unEXplainable reason.  
    In fact, it isn't any more difficult or complicated for one of us than for another. We are all Nicotine Addicts! But when you FOCUS on the FREEDOM of Recovery rather than on the "sacrifices" of quitting it is not only more understandable - it's more desirable. That makes it easy to maintain DETERMINATION! Focus and Determination - 2 very important ingredients of PERSEVERENCE! We can all persevere even when we think we can't.  
    Here are some ways to maximize our motivation:  
    (1) Draw inspiration from others  
    Be they certain individuals here who EXemplify Quititude or the general fact that:   
    Percentage of smokers who want to quit altogether     70%  
    Percentage of smokers who will try to quit this year     40%  
    Percentage of smokers who will succeed at quitting smoking without relapse     6%. Make up your Mind right here and now that you will be one of the 6%! There's absolutely no reason that you can't! NO EXCUSES!  
     (2) Don't think; just act   
     Thinking is vital and much of human folly happens because we don't think. We can think ourselves out of problems, around situations, into solutions - but also out of doing what we should. "I can't go on" is a thought that may be useful or it may be self-deception. If you have to keep on, then start to ignore these kinds of thoughts. When times are tough, sometimes we need to just keep on without thinking until the 'nose down to the grindstone' times have passed.   
      (3) Strengthen your Quititude by EXercising it    
      Quititude, like a muscle, gets stronger the more you use it. So remember that even when it feels tough, it will get easier. The more you EXercise your Focus and Determination, the more naturally motivated you will begin to feel.    
         (4)  Think about what you really want       
         Really think about what your Values are. Make a list of the values most important to you: life, family, love, work, fun etc. Recognize that there's no right or wrong answer - these are          your values! Then ask yourself if you are living these values. How is smoking enhancing them? Think about this -        
         Suppose I select Family as my value. In what ways does smoking help my Family Life? In what ways would quitting help me invest in my Family rather than my Sickerette?       
         (5) Never give up!       
         If your intentions are good and you keep working, something will happen - even if it's not exactly what you had planned. If you do nothing, nothing happens.       
         "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."       
         - Thomas A. Edison        
         Be patient with yourself! How many years was your Brain hijacked by Addiction? It will take a few comparatively short Months to recover your FREEDOM! But it can be done and we can show you how! All you have to do to get started is show up with curiosity and a willingness to learn!       

The CHEST Foundation of the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) recently launched a new chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) campaign with the slogan “Take Control. Live Well,” as part of National COPD Awareness Month, which is taking place in November. The campaign is designed to encourage patients to live better and improve their symptoms with a healthier lifestyle, as well as by working in collaboration with healthcare providers and monitor their condition daily.


The campaign is being launched to not only help patients, but also their families and caregivers to provide information as a way of improving understanding and management of COPD. The foundation has made available a ”Lifestyle Management Tool” and “Living Well With COPD” booklet, comprised of steps and practical tips for COPD patients to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Educational materials and more information on the “Take Control. Live Well” campaign may be found at

“COPD is a serious illness that can strongly damage one’s quality of life, but it doesn’t always have to be that way,” explained the Medical Director of CHEST, Mark J. Rosen, MD, Master FCCP. “Beyond practical health management steps, we encourage people with COPD to talk to their doctors about action plans to live well with COPD. They should also seek advice for continuing their quality of life activities, such as exercising, traveling, and participating in leisure activities, all of which are possible with a good plan in place.”

Even though COPD is the third-leading cause of death among Americans, half of the 24 million people living with the disease in the United States are not diagnosed, according to the American Lung Association. It had for years been considered a disease specific to men, however, 37 percent of the patients have been found to be women, and since 2000 the disease has killed more women than men.

The life-threatening lung disease causes cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing, as well as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. The most likely way to develop the disease is through smoking habits, but other behaviors like having a profession exposed to smoke or harmful vapors may also cause it.

CHEST has been working for years to advance patients’ outcomes through innovative chest medicine education, research, and care. In addition, the foundation has been focused on supporting  patient and public education programs, community service and humanitarian programs, as well as youth tobacco prevention programs.

“Take Control. Live Well” is sponsored by biopharmaceutical company AstraZena, and its vice president of medical affairs, Chris Blango, believes that “when COPD patients are informed, they can be more empowered to make decisions towards managing their condition.” “We are pleased to be involved with an initiative that provides these patients with resources they can use along their journey,” he added.


It's November!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 1, 2014

What an inspirational Month this is for me!!!!

November is National COPD Awareness Month!

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month!

November 1ST is Shawn's Birthday!

November is the November to Remember Group's Anniversary including my Dear Friend Sootie and so many more!

November 1ST is Jordan's Anniversary! Congrats Jordan!


November 1ST is JOJO from New York City's Anniversary!

November is a Month of Thanksgiving and Awareness!

If you haven't met these folks I suggest that you visit their pages and you will be inspired too!

Today I want to talk about my Friend JoJo!

JoJo quit smoking on November 1ST, 2010 just after her Dear Mother passed away from lung cancer - May she rest in peace!

She had late stage COPD at just 53 Years young after smoking 2 packs a day for 40 Years! On May 16, 2012 she was listed for a lung transplant and June 28 she got her new lung! Yes, just one but still a huge miracle!

If you don't know that she struggled just like you and I have, go to her page and read her blogs! Tissues are required but smoking is NOT!


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