Chapter 9 - “Free at Last”: Divorcing Lady Nicotine PDF  | Print |  E-mail


“Free at Last”: Divorcing Lady Nicotine

Arthur Weaver, MD

According to statistics from the U.S. Surgeon General, smoking kills 259+ thousand men and 178+ thousand women annually in the United States, and results in $92 billion of lost productivity. It is estimated that another 38+ thousand lung cancer and heart disease deaths occurred as a result of second hand smoke. It would seem that statistics like these would be incentive enough for anyone to want to quit smoking—and if the truth were known, they probably are. The problem is, many people addicted to tobacco have tried to quit, but have failed, once, twice, perhaps three times, or three hundred times—and frankly have about given up.

Perhaps the program outlined here by Dr. Arthur Weaver will change all of that. Dr. Weaver, a surgeon who has spent years operating upon cancers of the mouth and throat, has probably helped more people break with “Lady Nicotine” than any other person on earth. The program he has developed is tried, tested, and proven effective. You too can quit smoking. You too can divorce Lady Nicotine. (Editorial comments)

Chapter Contents

A) Principles enabling thousands to shed tobacco habit

B) Quit day

C) Days two through four

D) Weeks two through four

E) For the long term

F) Avoiding and managing risks

G) Additional assistance

It was January 11, 1964 when Surgeon General Luther L. Terry, MD, shocked America and the world by releasing the report of the Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health that concluded that smoking was the major cause of lung cancer.

Though the evidence against tobacco that had been growing steadily since the first published article in 1939 by Doctors Alton Ochsner and Michael DeBakey, it had been largely ignored. Even when in May 1950, Ernest L Wynder, a medical student at Washington University in St. Louis, along with his professor Evarts Graham, published their research results in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluding that cigarettes were the main cause of lung cancer, there was still advertising for cigarettes in the same journal. Their findings were not particularly troubling to the tobacco companies or their consumers.

In 1952 British physicians, Hill and Doll, after reviewing the records of 5000 patients, published their deduction that cigarette smoking had a causal relationship to the rapidly increasing incidence of lung cancer. The cancer advisory committee of the British Departments of Health suggested that people shouldn’t be frightened into thinking that smoking might cause cancer. Now, it is estimated that only military action killed more Britons during World War II than those killed by smoking.

Following Dr. Terry’s well-publicized report the number of smokers began to slowly decline, with physicians leading the way. It wasn’t until 1980 however, that smoking began to be banned in medical meetings. The number of smoking induced deaths, however, has continued to rise even until the present time. While lung cancer deaths in men are now slowly decreasing, they are still on the rise for women. A smoking woman is nearly three times more likely to die from lung cancer than she is from breast cancer. It is now estimated that nearly 500,000 Americans die prematurely each year from smoking associated diseases. Nearly one in three cancer deaths are smoking related—but heart and vascular diseases kill more smokers than cancer. Smokers do more poorly in practically all disease processes. This is doubtless due to the profound effect of nicotine on the small blood vessels that constrict, and thereby reduce, blood flow to vital body organs and tissues.

Smoking is now recognized as the number one modifiable health risk factor. So friend, if you smoke, now is the time to finally leave this risky, expensive, destructive, and socially unacceptable habit behind!

Over the past 40 years I have been actively involved in helping individuals free themselves from this life-threatening habit. It is remarkably rewarding to see even the most addicted celebrate a smoke-free lifestyle. At one of my smoking cessation clinics a five-pack a day smoker shook my hand and said, “For the first time, I have this habit on the run”. I learned that he was still free of his tobacco addiction eight years later.

A) Here are listed some of the principles that have enabled thousands to shed the tobacco habit

1. Set a Date!

Choose a time when you will not be under great stress, but don’t postpone this important decision until the distant future.

If there is a local group withdrawal program you might wish to set your date to correspond with the program.

Your local Seventh-day Adventist Church may have a “Breathe-Free” program.

Many hospitals, as well as the cancer and lung associations, also sponsor smoking withdrawal programs.

Most persons, however, are able to quit without group therapy.

I do not recommend hypnotism.

2. Get mentally and physically prepared

Talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you will “love being free from smoking.” Assure yourself that even though this will perhaps be the most difficult thing you have ever done “This time I will succeed.”

Eat the most nutritious diet.

Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day.

Get 7-8 hours sleep each night.

If you not already on an exercise program, begin one.

Wean yourself from any caffeine containing beverages, and substitute water and fruit juices for soda-pop.

Avoid all alcoholic drinks (Other chapters in this book will give you all the necessary details for any required changes in these lifestyle practices.) (Section VI, chapters 110).

3. Select a support person

Choose someone who is a non-smoker or former-smoker, but not your spouse. This should be someone who will provide firm, but kind support and be available for at least a couple of weeks following your quit date. Inform them that you will need to talk with them each morning and afternoon while you are going through withdrawal.

4. Inform yourself

Check the Internet for smoking cessation benefits. Get literature from the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and/or your local or state health department. Your state medical society may also be a good source of information.

5. Check with your family physician

Check with your doctor if there is any question regarding a safe exercise program.

I have discovered that most persons are able to quit smoking without medication. For some persons who have tried everything to quit without success your physician may be able to prescribe medication that may help.

6. Change your smoking pattern

A week before the quit date change your brand of cigarettes to those least pleasing and begin smoking only those absolutely necessary and in different settings than usual.


B) Quit day

Go to bed early the night before quit day.

Before retiring destroy all remaining smoking materials.

Arise early and change your day’s activities. For example: Immediately head out for a walk.

For breakfast have a whole grain cereal with skim or soy milk and glass of fruit juice. For the rest of the day restrict you food intake to fruit and fruit juice only.

Avoid all caffeine-containing and alcoholic beverages. This will help to reduce the first day’s urges. Remind yourself that the physical withdrawal urges will only last three days (four at the most). You have suffered the “flu” longer than this.

Get a drink of water or fruit juice and go for a walk. (Note: Controlled studies suggest that a five minute walk, or similar exercise, is as effective as a nicotine patch at reducing the urge for a smoke!)

Call your support person.

Take several deep breaths (Many find this quite relaxing).

Chew some sugarless gum.

Brush your teeth with mint toothpaste.

Take a shower.

Do calisthenics.

Work in the garden, or do your favorite hobby.

Floss your teeth or chew a toothpick.

Pick up and read your favorite non-smoking literature.

Most people can continue their usual employment activities while going through the withdrawal pains. Others have just gone to bed and slept. Do whatever is necessary to ride out the pain!

There will be urges! But by God’s grace you can whip the problem. Remember that prayer works!

When the urge comes, here is the plan: Place a good heavy-duty rubber band on your wrist. At the onset of each urge repeat your decision—(the firmer the decision the fewer the urges)—“I have chosen to quit smoking, I will love being smoke-free, this urge will not last long.” Then to discourage these urges give the rubber band a good snap! (This form of aversion therapy has proven very effective. Several have said that they found it most helpful.) Since all these urges come in waves and are self limited, any of several stalling techniques will get you through each attack:

We have found that it is easier to have no cigarettes than one or two cigarettes. Each cigarette will keep the habit alive and prolong the withdrawal process. Part-time smoking never succeeds.

Be sure and communicate with your support person at least twice each day.

There are numerous and various symptoms that may make the first smoke-free day troublesome. I will not list these for fear of suggesting some that you may not otherwise discover. I can assure you that anything unusual you encounter on the first few days is probably only indicative of the addictive nature of tobacco. When you encounter these unpleasant symptoms, remember they are caused by the habit that you are now successfully defeating. Tell yourself “If these cigarettes make me feel like this, I am sure glad to be quitting”.

If you find yourself getting antsy or crabby assure your family and friends that you are in a winning battle with tobacco and shortly you will be your sweet self again. Exercise is a great tranquilizer!

At the end of the first day, take a warm shower or bath.

Relax with a good book and go to bed early. Sleep disturbances are not unusual the first few days and will soon go away.

C) Days two through four

Remember that the physiological withdrawal is definitely self-limited.

Congratulate yourself at the close of each day that this spaced out feeling will soon be gone.

Avoiding all smoking will bring quick relief. Even one or two cigarettes will prolong the agony. If, however, you should slip, don’t abandon ship. Pick yourself up, and renew your decision. Tell yourself that you are not a bad person, but you have a very bad habit that by God’s grace you are going to eliminate from your life.

Usually the first day’s withdrawal is the worst. For some, however the second or third day is even worse. You can be assured that by the fourth day the pain of withdrawal will begin to ease.

Remember again that the firmer the decision, the less the pain.

Keep reminding yourself that you are no longer a smoker. This is something in your past. You are now smoke-free and soon you will be able to go days without even thinking of smoking.

Keep in twice daily contact with your support person for the entire first week.

D) Weeks two through four

While the physiological withdrawal will be complete by the fourth day, the psychological associations will last much longer. In situations and locations where you previously smoked the brain will tell you that “it’s smoking time.” The urge will come even though there is no physiological need. It is necessary that you identify these triggers and develop alternative behaviors that will re-educate the brain and block these triggers. The alternative behaviors should continue for at least 3-4 weeks until new habit patterns are developed.

Below are listed some often mentioned triggers and possible behavioral changes that many have found helpful. It is important, however that you determine your own triggers and develop your own strategies.

Talking on the phone: Move the phone to a different location—to another room if possible. This gives the mind a different picture and turns off the urge.

Driving the car: Carry a pack of sugarless gum where you previously kept your cigarettes. Open this and chew a couple of sticks.

After meals: Eat light, nutritious meals. Then don’t sit at the table after eating. Immediately get up and go for a walk, or start a hobby. Come back later to clear the table.)

Coffee Break at work: Get a drink of water and go for a walk. Avoid smoking areas and smoking associates. Hopefully you are continuing your caffeine-free lifestyle.

You get the idea! Changing the picture will retrain the mind and block those psychological “smoking triggers.” Be sure and identify all triggers and develop alternative behaviors. Write these down as easy reminders.

E) For the long term

Make a list of the reasons you decided to quit smoking and post this in a prominent place.

Start placing all the money you spent on your smoking habit in a safe place and plan to use this as a reward system.

Give yourself a reward at one week, one month, and one year. Just think! You could spend a week in the Caribbean next winter using your cigarette money getting healthy sunshine rather than self-destructive smoking!

Be sure and avoid all situations where you might be tempted to smoke. If there are truly unavoidable situations that you know you might find difficult, make certain that you have a pre-prepared plan so that you can visualize yourself handling the situation while remaining smoke-free.

Share with your friends your joy of now being a non-smoker. If they express a desire to quit smoking, become their support person. This will reinforce your decision.

Volunteer your services for some charitable cause. When one feels valuable they are much less likely to self-destruct.

Reinforce your spiritual roots. Your body is the temple of God and staying close to him will make your smoke-free lifestyle meaningful.

Each time that you defeat a smoking urge you reinforce your non-smoking status, and those urges will come less and less frequent.

F) Avoiding and managing risks

Our surveys show that the greatest risk to one’s smoke-free status is Alcohol. More people return to their smoking when they allow themselves to indulge in alcohol. I have seen this happen years after one has quit smoking. The best advice is to stay alcohol and smoke-free.

The second greatest risk of recidivism is a stressful situation. While alcohol is easily avoided, stress is part of life. Stress can be managed, however, and I would recommend that you find a good stress reduction book or clinic (Section V, chapter 12).

Good nutrition and an effective exercise program are great stress reducers.

It is important to realize that whatever the stress, smoking will not solve the problem. Smoking will only complicate the situation, and if you return to the habit you will not only have to solve the stress inducer, but you will have to go through the miserable smoking withdrawal again!!

When encountering a stressful situation—Stop! Ask yourself, “Will smoking solve this problem?” Then say out loud, “Smoking never solves problems. Smoking causes problems!” “I am not going to complicate the problem by losing my non-smoking status.”

G) Additional assistance

There is a 5 hour video set available from one of our smoking cessation programs. Many have found this aid to be very helpful in their smoking withdrawal process. This is available through KSBN/Safe TV, 3556 Liberty Ave., Springdale, AR 72766. Phone: (800) 522-4234 or (888) 777-9392.

© Copyright 2010 by A Place of Healing.