Kirk: Please tell me about your background and motivations for blogging at ciggyfree.org.
Bev: In the early 1990’s I watched my father-in-law die a slow and painful death of small cell carcinoma (oat cell cancer.) In 1994 I went back to college as a divorced single parent of three children. It was while I was attending college that I began researching the connection between smoking and disease.
From the time my father-in-law died until February 2004, I had tried to quit smoking hundreds of times. I would stop for a few weeks, only to fail a quit within a few weeks time and have to start all over again.
I did not quit permanently until February 2004. It was during a time that my life was in a grand state of chaos. I had moved 3,000 miles from my home in the Pacific Northwest to a small New England town and was working at a public college in New Hampshire. I was still doing research on the connection between smoking and disease. I came across this Bronchoscopy lung cancer surgery video and that cemented my reason to permanently quit!
I eventually found an online quit smoking support group and it was at this site that I met a project developer from IBM who asked me to help run a quit smoking repository.
That did not work out well for me due to a great deal of online bullying from some members who belonged to the initial online quit smoking group, so I launched my own site in August 2004 and the blog in June of 2006.
I consider the blog as a worthy investment that could help or redirect current smokers to a new lifestyle choice. For those who are maintaining their quits, the blog will hopefully be utilized as a reminder on why it is important to remain quit. As always, I maintain a firm stance against BIG Tobacco and you will see this as a constant thread throughout Ciggyfree. I feel if the site even motivates one smoker to consider quitting that the site is worthy of kudos!
Kirk: I’m confident your site and blog are helping a lot of people. Why do you think it’s so difficult for most people to quit smoking?
Bev: I think there could be any number of reasons why it is difficult for most people to quit smoking.
Some of the basic difficulties of quitting could be:
- Genetic predisposition *.
- Education: Learning how the human respiratory system works and understanding smoking related diseases –education is primary in making life style choices.
- a. Tobacco Addiction: pharmacological and psychological factors.
- b. Understanding and developing coping mechanisms in order to deal with nicotine withdrawal syndrome.
- Nutrition and fitness level.
- Motivation to quit.
- System of support: private life and social life.
Quitting smoking is like preparing to run a marathon race. You do not just jump into a marathon and start running or you will set yourself up for immediate failure.
If you have a club foot or some other genetic predisposition, running a marathon race will be very difficult for you. If you do not learn via education how to run effectively and how to breathe properly, your timing will be off. If you do not eat the proper foods and train daily, you will not be at a fitness level that is conducive to enhance your racing ability. Last but not least, the most important components of marathon racing would be your motivation to race and your system of support!
It may be difficult for most people to quit smoking because of genetic predisposition, lack of education, nutrition and fitness levels, lack of motivation to quit, and weak systems of support.
Kirk: There are many smoking cessation products and services in the marketplace. Are there any that you can personally recommend?
Bev: I have tried Wellbutrin, Nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and step down products in the past. None of them really helped me to stay quit. What I eventually had to do was try a combination of natural cold turkey-type processes and natural products.
The eleven processes I found beneficial were:
- Allen Carr’s “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking” (I took the parts I needed from his book to change my thinking about smoking)
- Lavender oil and lavender spray for calming the immediate environment and Bach’s Rescue Remedy for anxiety
- Mood music
- Rhodiola Root (Rhodiola rosea) loose leaf tea (brain health/mental performance)
- All natural and organic diet
- Exercise minimum of thirty minutes per day/Yoga/Meditation
- Vitamins/minerals/amino acids/herbs
- Internal cleansing plan
- Plenty of pure water (Poland Spring)
- Eight hours of sleep each night
- Introduce a new thought for the day **
The secret to keeping this quit 3 years and 3 months is having the knowledge that thoughts really can become things. The process of quitting smoking is not really as frightening as it is often portrayed. We all have the ability within ourselves to permanently quit smoking and to remain smoke free for a lifetime.
Kirk: I applaud your creativity in bringing together a number of methods to support yourself, along with your commitment to remain smoke free. Although everyone ultimately has to find their own motivation to quit smoking, can you share any words of encouragement that might inspire smokers to quit? Please also cover what happens when you quit smoking.
Bev: Thank you, Kirk! The words that I would share to hopefully inspire smokers to quit smoking, is to remember that your thoughts often dictate your actions throughout life. If you obsess over a desire to have a cigarette, then you will form this bond in your mind to carry through with the actual action and you will eventually smoke a cigarette.
When you quit smoking, physical addiction is over during the first week. What you need to remain aware of is that you are fighting a war for months, and sometimes years, on the psychological dependence level of nicotine addiction.
When I quit smoking over three years ago, I would rise in the morning and choose to not smoke for one twenty-four hour period. I did this over and over again for days, weeks, and months. The months eventually became years and today I can sit here and tell you that I am filled to the brim with gratitude and thankful that I am no longer victim to big tobacco.
Often during the early days of psychological warfare, you think that the battle is never going to end. This is why so many quits do end in failure. Don’t ever give up on believing that you have the power within yourself to end this horrific addiction forever! I believe!
Kirk: Wonderful inspiration, thank you. Is there anything else you’d like to share to complete our interview?
Bev: Do not let your fear of the unknown stand in the way of becoming a successful quitter. Once you free yourself from this self-medicated nicotine mask of deception, you will embark on a journey like none you have ever experienced before.
Kirk: Our warm thanks to Bev for sharing her wisdom with our HealthyNewAge.com readers.
* In many families there are generations of smokers, so that would imply to me that genetic predisposition of exposure to chemicals from smoke either in the womb or as secondhand smoke could skew certain genes. (The CDC states that there are 4,700 chemicals in tobacco smoke with at least 60 that are carcinogenic to humans.)
** We have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day running through our brains, with only 10% invested in new thoughts. In order to chip away at the remaining 90% of stagnant thinking, I introduce a new and positive thought each day upon waking! I generally write the new thought on an index card and carry it around with me.