Pat Gives Up Smoking After 38 Years of 2-Packs a Day!

(Posted 2/13/2003) - Pat has stopped smoking for the first time in 38 years! She has now passed through 43 days without a ciggie. I think it is worth sharing both her philosopy, and her methodology for smoke cessation.

What is lethal over time, is the typical delivery sytem for getting nicotine into the blood, which involves inhaling gasses and particulate by-products into the throat and lungs (i.e., smoking). Pat was becoming concerned about the long term effects of the act of smoking, not the nicotine, on her body.

Since nicotine patches have become non-prescription items, her thought was to first stop the act of smoking, while continuing on high nicotine dosages (via the patch).

She broke the problem of smoking cessation into two separate challenges. She needed to cope with the physiological impacts of nictoine on her body, and the psychological connection that had grown over the years, which coupled nicotine effects to the act of getting a cigarette out, lighting it, and inhaling.

We talked about this and decided to attack the root problem (smoke), while trying to keep everything else unchanged. Yes, keep all the habits, but don't smoke. A contradiction? Not if you go on the internet and look for .... did you guess it? Candy Cigarettes, in nice cigarette boxes that look just like the real thing.

The first 3-weeks, pat 'smoked' 750 candy cigarettes at the times and places she would have smoked real cigarettes, and used a 21mg 24-hour nicotine patch to avoid nictoine withdrawel symptoms. She kept waiting for the roof to cave-in, but aside from more vivid dreams (a side affect of nicotine in the blood while you sleep) she was able to do some really stressfull work assignments without the smoke.

At the beginning of the 4th week, she reduced to a 14mg patch dosage. Unfortunately, it appears the adhesive used for the smaller patch produced an itching irratation, which resulted in her stopping use of the patch in the 5th week. Yes, after less than 35 days, a 2+ pack a day life-long user was sufficiently weaned from the physiological effects of nicotine, that she has comfortably completed 6+ weeks without smoking.

What is interesting is that her use of candy cigarettes has not diminished. In 7 weeks she has consumed them exactly as she would have consumed cigarettes. The total is astonishing, over 1700!

Pat can now smell things better, has no cough in the morning (or any time), and has no intention of falling off the wagon based on experiences to date. I will gladly buy thousands of candy cigarettes going forward if that is what it takes (they are incredibly cheap).

(update from 5/9/2005 -- she's STILL NOT SMOKING!).