Denial and Reality....

15 Denials

  1. It’s not really affecting my health That much.
  2. It doesn’t cost That much.
  3. It’s My Reward, it’s what I do on my breaks.
  4. I'll quit later -- I've already smoked so many one more won't make any difference.
  5. I'll quit later -- when my life is less stressful, when this current difficult situation is resolved.
  6. I’m young. I’m only going to smoke a few years, then I'll quit if it starts to affect my health.
  7. I'd be depressed without smoking -
  8. It Helps Me Relax.
  9. Everybody dies from something.
  10. Without my cigarettes, I’d get so upset that I might hurt someone.
  11. It helps me think better, concentrate, be more creative.
  12. I’m too old to change.
  13. Everyone in my life smokes. I can't quie when they're all smoking around me.
  14. It gives me Energy, keeps me alert.
  15. Its my personal choice.

It’s not really affecting my health That much.

It’s not really affecting my health THAT much.

Smoking adversely affects every organ in your body.  Everyone knows about the long-term harmful effects on the heart and lungs.  It also…

  • weakens your gums, yellows your teeth
  • makes your skin look unhealthy
  • makes your hands and feet cold
  • decreases your ability to heal
  • makes sleep less restful
  • makes exertion during sex more difficult, can affect erectile function
  • increases risk of cervical cancer, wrinkles skin
  • causes cataracts
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It doesn’t cost That much.

In the book Millionaire Next Door, Couple-A smoked cigarettes for 40 years while Couple-B took the money they would have used to buy cigarettes and invested it instead.  At the end of 40 years, Couple-B were millionaires.  (By the way, Couple-A probably had serious health problems so, even if they had all that money, they couldn’t enjoy it anyway.)

Even a relatively short-term smoker smokes the purchase price of a brand new car or the down payment on a house.

And that’s just the price of the cigarettes.  When taking into account health care costs, time missed from work due to smoking-related illness, and other factors, a study at Duke University determined that the actual “price” of a pack of cigarettes is really about $40.

How much more money will you spend on cigarettes?  $_________________

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It’s My Reward, it’s what I do on my breaks

Try convincing a non-smoker that a cigarette is a treat or a reward.  They will not believe you, but it will be an interesting experiment to try.

When I first quit, I was having such a hard time missing my cigarettes that I got hold of some non-nicotine cigarettes, thinking that it was the whole ritual (taking a break, the lighter, the smoke, the ashes, the instant friendship with other smokers) that I really missed.  I immediately smoked 3 of those cigarettes and never had the urge to smoke any more of them because they didn’t give me any nicotine.  That was the “lightbulb moment” when I finally realized “it's the Nicotine, Stupid."

Heroin addicts and other drug addicts like how they feel when they get their "fix" too.  It is a temporary relief and at that moment it is a good feeling.  If you observe a heroin addict getting her fix, you don’t feel happy for her because you know she'll just crave more later.  If you objectively observe yourself, it’s the same thing.

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I'll quit later -- I've already smoked so many one more won't make any difference.

How many times have you thought this?

How many more times will you think this?

Behold the power of irrational addictive thinking!

Of course, the rational thought is: I've already smoked so many that I refuse to subject my body to any more harm.

Would you tell a woman whose husband beats her daily that a few more beatings won’t make any difference?

The flip-side question to ask is: Have the 50,000 or 100,000 or 300,000 cigarettes you've already smoked improved your life today?

Will the cigarettes you smoke today improve your life tomorrow?  (Animals and small children can’t visualize much into the future… but you can.)

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I'll quit later -- when my life is less stressful, when this current difficult situation is resolved.

Many people have quit smoking during very stressful times.

On the day I quit smoking, everything in my life was out of control.  I just felt I had to take control of what I could, and the one thing I could control was if I continued to purposely harm myself or not.

Addictive behavior (like smoking) causes stress in your life. 

After quitting smoking, you will see your life more clearly (“the smoke screen will lift”) and you will therefore be able to create a less stressful and happier life for yourself and your family.

You may not believe this to be true now, so test it out for yourself: Ask a few people who have quit if their lives have improved (become less stressful) because they quit smoking.

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I’m young. I’m only going to smoke a few years, then I'll quit if it starts to affect my health.

Tobacco executives love young people who think like that.  They've spent a lot of energy to get you to think like that, because they know they have to get people to start smoking as teenagers in order to maintain their customer base.

Do this experiment: Ask old, sick smokers if they thought (when they started smoking) they'd still be smoking after experiencing the harm it’s done to them.

No new smoker wants to become addicted.  It just happens.  You don’t even know when you become addicted because it sneaks up on you.  And then you either live your life as a drug addict or take on the major undertaking of quitting.  Aren’t there better uses of your time?

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I'd be depressed without smoking.

You might or you might not.  Some people do start smoking to self-medicate depression.

But you would absolutely ridicule a doctor who told you to take an antidepressant 20-40-60 times per day, and that the side effects are damage to every organ in the body and thousands of fatalities every day.

If you are depressed after quitting smoking, there’s plenty you can do about it:

  • Make some positive changes in your life
  • Exercise, eat a good diet, get enough sleep
  • Connect with other people, talk therapy
  • Discover what you really enjoy when you’re not living your life as a practicing drug addict
  • Take anti-depressant medication, if necessary
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It Helps Me Relax

It does relax you.  But you know it is not a good way to relax.

If your little daughter came to you, upset about something that had happened at school that day, would you give her a cigarette or would you listen to her, talk to her, give her a hug?

Better ways to relax are:

  • breath deeply
  • cut back on caffeine and sugar
  • get a hug, give a hug, talk to a friend
  • pray, meditate
  • exercise, dance
  • read, do a hobby, create

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Everybody dies from something

1200 Americans (imagine 3 full jet planes packed with passengers) die every single day from smoking.  If you knew that 3 jets were going to crash each day, would you still fly?

Do you lock your door at night?  No need -- You’re much more likely to die from smoking than from being murdered.

Think Iraq is a scary place for soldiers?  The percentage of them who come home fine is much higher than the percentage of smokers who escape death from smoking-related illness.

And death from smoking is neither quick nor painless.  It is also not attractive.

5,000,000 people worldwide will die from smoking this year.  To put that in perspective, that’s about as many people who died in the Holocaust of World War II, so it’s like a Holocaust of smokers every single year.

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Without my cigarettes, I’d get so upset that I might hurt someone.

You're already hurting someone – yourself.  And let’s face it, you are the most important person in your life because, without you, you have no life.  J

During the withdrawal period (and sometimes for a while afterward) many ex-smokers feel angrier than normal. Remember this: Feeling anger is a very common part of recovering from Nicotine Addiction.  It absolutely does get better with time.

If you feel like you're in a situation that demands immediate radical action on your part, that's a great clue that you should probably do nothing.  In other words, when you feel like you must fix something now, instead do nothing.  You can always fix it later.  (If someone has harmed you or treated you unjustly, remember you can always punish them later.)

Your most important task is to rack up days of smoke-free living and “let the smoke screen clear.”

You absolutely can control your behavior.  You know you can because on your worst day if you got pulled over by a cop, you're still not going to punch him in the face.

Ultimately, in the long run, feeling any emotion is good information.  If you consistently feel angry in a given situation, that gives you information about that situation.

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It helps me think better, concentrate, be more creative.

Every smoker knows that "perfect storm" moment when he has just the right amount of nicotine in his system and he's working on solving some problem or a project, and a brilliant insight strikes him…or…

how, with the aid of multiple packs of smokes, an evening magically evaporates into a blissful blur.

But look at his life as a whole.  How's his concentration and thinking when he doesn’t have the right amount of nicotine in his system?  Is he able to think well (or at all really) when he doesn’t have the right amount of nicotine?  Can he think about anything other than how to get his next fix?

Perhaps there are moments of creativity caused by smoking, but there are just as many potentially creative moments that are sabotaged (not experienced) because you’re in the cycle of nicotine addiction and focused on your fix or discomfort or making your plans so you can smoke next.

If you rely on a drug (and that’s what nicotine is, a drug) for creativity, your true creativity will dull.  What a delight it will be to find out how truly creative you (without any drugs added) really are!  Many ex-smokers – after a time of transition – notice that their overall creativity is greatly increased.

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I’m too old to change.

No, you’re not.  You’re changing every day, and will continue to change your entire life.

Do you want to take some control over those changes?  Then do what you can to point your health in a positive direction: Quit Smoking.

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Everyone in my life smokes. I can't quit when they're all smoking around me.

If all your friends jumped off a bridge (or worshipped the devil, or pierced their tongues, or moved to Antarctica) would you do it too?

It’s important to avoid as much as possible the temptation of being around someone smoking but many people have quit while living with a smoker.

Ask for on-going support from at least one non-smoker – someone you can call instead of smoke.

As a side benefit of you quitting smoking, you may inspire others in your life to quit too.

Sadly, you may find that some of your friendships are based on “drug sharing” and so, after you quit smoking, the friendship naturally disappears because it was never truly a friendship.  (Think about how few recovering cocaine-addicts remain friends with the people they did cocaine with.)

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It gives me Energy, keeps me alert.

It’s only temporary though, and then there’s the other side: “the crash.”

Overall, non-smokers have much more energy than smokers.

How long does it take a smoker to get his body and mind going in the morning?  I never thought of myself as a Morning Person when I was a smoker.  I had no idea, really, that my morning fogginess and grumpiness was caused by my smoking hangovers.  Now mornings are an enjoyable, productive time of my day.

Let’s look at another drug for comparison: “Meth” temporarily gives people the ability to stay awake a long time.  But the pendulum always swings back, and then the meth-user has to sleep many extra hours.  So, the advantage gets washed away.

The energy advantage of smoking gets washed away too.

Practically all ex-smokers – after a time of transition – notice that their overall energy and drive are greatly increased.  I promise you that, as an ex-smoker, you’ll have more energy, not less.

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Yeah, sure it may kill me, but that'll be years from now.

How old are you now?  Do you remember when you thought people that age were old!

Do you want to stay healthy next year?  Perhaps 80 seems old to you, but for a 79-year-old, that’s just “next year.”

How old do you think people are when they stop hoping to be as healthy as possible?

“Years from now” will be when you’ll have precious time with your grandchildren OR “Years from now” will be when those grandkids are wishing you were still around.

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It's my personal choice.

Yes, that’s true. 

You can also eat lead paint, pull all your hair out with tweezers, and legally change your name to Rover if you want.  It’s a free country. 

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

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