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The Not-Our-Fault, But False, Nicotine Notions, Denial of Health Risks,

Plus the Accurate Attitudes that Increase the Crucial Strong Subconscious Motivation to Safely End Smoking, Dipping, Chewing, Patching Without Getting Fat and Stressed and Even When Stopping Is Not Consciously Wanted

Along with and far more than physical craving for nicotine and frequent associations that create a learned urge to use, what causes adults to smoke (dip, chew or patch) is a previously unidentified group of nine untrue ideas they have and most will honestly swear they don't. Those nicotine notions are essentially the subconscious denial of risk that disables and destroys hundreds of thousands of adult Americans and their families by blocking the strong and persistent commitment or motivation required to safely and permanently end smoking (dipping, chewing or patching nicotine) without health-risking replacements.

The portion of the human brain that helps make better decisions and avoids needless risks isn't sufficiently formed until we're in our 20's. It is another part of the brain and some common specific thinking (nicotine notions) associated with it that start and keep people smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes (also dipping, chewing, patching) and make them relapse. That part is much less directed by personal experience and so sometimes causes adults to act like teenagers. That is the essential reason practically no one begins (takes the very first drag, dip, chew or patch) after the age of 25. None of us can afford to have a primitive part of our brain continuing to so strongly influence our health.

You are at the correct Web site when

  • you are looking for unique not-for-money-motivated information about what causes people to use nicotine by whatever method.
  • You want to know what can be done that's more likely to discourage children and teenagers from starting the "smoking habit."
  • You want what works to gain the strong motivation that lasts (willpower) required to get free of smoking (dipping, chewing or patching) and stay away from it without the nicotine addiction symptom substitution* that cripples and kills ex-smokers with obesity, dangerous chronic psychological stress, or dependence on another drug such as alcohol.

* Do a Web search and you will find references to research literature that challenge the reality of "symptom substitution." When you dig a bit to find what companies and organizations paid for that online content and the studies referenced, you'll find groups that make money or win converts to their "religion" by casting doubts on what they consider to be "the competition." This author has never been a psycho-dynamic or psychoanalytic psychotherapy practitioner and so would readily discount symptom substitution except it has repeatedly shown to be present and the valid, logical explanation for what has happened.

This author respectfully submits that based on his specialized clinical health care work with more than 17,000 adult smokers it is NOT

  • nicotine withdrawal,
  • habit,
  • stress,
  • weakness,
  • not caring,
  • heredity or biology,
  • peer pressure,
  • parental or media modeling,
  • advertising,
  • self-destructiveness,
  • not knowing the dangers or
  • low self-esteem that is the significant cause of smoking cigarettes. None of them is the cause to which we need to pay attention.

So what does make someone start, continue, and return to smoking besides physical dependence? It is the no-fault (deserving zero blame or criticism) thinking of people who smoke. What makes them start smoking, continue smoking and then relapse back to smoking after stopping are their ideas, attitudes, thoughts or notions that are entirely unknown when they automatically ring-out. They are nicotine notions or what I sometimes call "butt-attitudes" or "butt-atts."

What is the solution? We need to courageously uncover and truthfully counter those hidden attitudes. Until we sufficiently deal with those exceedingly destructive nicotine notions, there is little hope for a solution that's safe.

It is reasonable to wonder, "If these 'nicotine notions' cause smoking, why don't more people smoke cigarettes? Probably most folks have those attitudes; yet about 80-percent of Americans who could or might smoke aren't smoking cigarettes." There are at least four answers:

  1. As much as 10-percent of the 80-percent smoke cigars or pipes or dip or chew tobacco for nicotine.
  2. Some people grow up in homes where there is more unintentional encouragement to accept those "butt-attitudes."
  3. Folks with, or are likely to have, this considerable threat to healthy living have a higher sensitivity to the ongoing and common language that subtly but powerfully promotes those "butt-atts." See Step 2 of the "Simple-7 Steps" to getting and staying free of nicotine.
  4. It is nicotine addiction symptom substitution (most often overeating and abusing alcohol) or otherwise temporarily replacing cigarettes with nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and additional 'nicotine replacement therapy' (NRT) products. In other words, perhaps one-third of the approximately 80-percent who don't smoke cigarettes have no real choice but to replace with something else that's unhealthy or isn't a permanent solution.

What are the nine attitudes that create the health risk denial that kills and cripples by blocking motivation to not start smoking, to stop, and to remain nicotine-abstinent without equally unhealthy and ineffective replacements?


Nicotine Notion or Butt-attitude # 1:    Return to List

"What I don't know or think is true can't hurt me."

“I can quit smoking tobacco and permanently any time I want. I just don’t want to.” Something like that is more likely said by a younger chronic or binge smoker. It is an unknown-to-be-untrue statement. The underlying message is that he or she already knows enough to get rid of smoking and successfully. Put another way, if someone doesn't think that nicotine notions are real and important, then they aren't

If you doubt that one or more of the attitudes reviewed here are present and hurtfully control you, I can understand. But I promise they are there in a subconscious stream of your thinking. Consequently, they regularly and often sound off without you realizing it. Until now, you've had no way to defend yourself from their influence.

More than anything else, I believe, that automatic thinking creates and maintains your willingness to smoke and return to doing it ... blocks the commitment or motivation you need to permanently and safely end smoking (dipping, chewing or patching nicotine) without fattening or mind-altering replacements. I am convinced that you will either cancel-out those notions  -- enough, not entirely -- or there will be no healthy solution that lasts.

Improving and protecting your health and so protecting all that depends on you easily deserve at least a quick test. All you need to do is -- for free and without any obligation -- take advantage of my Simple-7 Program for 3 or 4 days. Only if you find doing that useful, continue for a few days more. It stays entirely free and without any strings attached. If you choose to use the 21 minutes (2 tracks) of MP3 audio included, I strongly believe it is easier, safer and more truly effective than anything else now available.

Answer to the "what I don't know or think is true can't hurt me" nicotine notion:

  • "I get the proof I need to believe, to be and stay sure, this helps by daily doing this simple 7 program to make it my simple 7 program to be and stay free of nicotine."
  • "I keep the proof I need to believe, being and staying sure, this helps by daily doing this simple 7 program to keep it my simple 7 program to be and stay free of nicotine."

Butt-attitude # 2:      Return to List

"Smoking only hurts me."

If you have lived with a smoker, probably you've heard her or him say or imply something like, "My smoking only hurts me." Perhaps the person saying it was you.

I heard it from many of the thousands of smokers I treated over 40 years. Also while growing up I heard that "smoking only hurts me" attitude more than once. I recall riding in the car with my dad when I was about 10 years old. He was, I now suspect, attempting to defend his smoking. He identified a drunk driver and said that it wasn't like he was drinking alcohol and driving. Doing that would injure other people. My dad told me, "Son, my smoking only hurts me and not anyone else."

If I could recall what I thought after hearing that 60 years ago, it would be something like, "Daddy, but what about you? Don't you think you're important? You are very important to me!"

The "smoking only hurts me" notion is an untruth people rarely know they tell themselves. It is like the other smoking and relapse-causing thoughts: Smokers think them and understandably would swear they don't.

There is zero truth to this "smoking only hurts me" nicotine notion! You see, my dad needed to take an early retirement because of his poor health. He died not long after that ... I'm convinced because of his smoking. His smoking did hurt him, but others suffered too. His grandsons who barely got to know him were hurt not having him involved in their lives.

Like my dad, you are NOT a sucker. You are important. Even if you somehow or sometimes doubt it, you are now and will be needed more than you know.

It is entirely inconsistent for you to ever be sucking on dirty, stinking butts!

People don't actually puff on cigarettes; they suck. Puffing is blowing as in, "I'll huff and puff and blow your house down." Puffing sounds more agreeable and less health-risky than sucking, inhaling. Once a cigarette is lit, it becomes a butt.

The answer and replacement for the unknown when thought and blocking the required motivation "only hurts me" butt-attitude:

Even if you don't think you have this and other butt-notions, it is so important to regularly remind yourself that "only hurting" yourself doesn't make sense as a reason/excuse to suck smoke. You deserve better than being hurt.

Tell yourself,

  • "I stay away from ... I am free of the smoke (nicotine) sucking that would seriously hurt and threatens more than me."
  • "I am a winner instead of a sucker and deserve much better than sucking smelly smoke."
  • "The people who or activities that depend on me, or will some day, also deserve far better."
Secondhand smoke and health risks associated with it

"We show diseased lung tissue taken from a deceased smoker to children who haven't smoked but never show it to smokers of any age. We found that with smokers they just get bothered or upset, leave our stop-smoking groups and continue puffing on cigarettes." That's the gist of just one tidbit of useful information district program professionals shared with me during nearly 30 years of contractual work with the American Lung Association-North Carolina.

I avoid using secondhand smoke harming others as a reason to get rid of smoking for much the same reason as not showing lung tissue. It encourages the upset in smokers that encourages smoking. Smokers have unintentionally taught themselves to smoke and smoke more when upset. Also, dwelling on the harm done by secondhand smoke delays the all-important recovery from nicotine addiction required to survive by promoting other ways to ingest nicotine, such as dipping, chewing or patching.

People who persistently suck smoke are substance-dependent, NOT dumb, and are in the denial that invariably goes with it. That denying includes the harm secondhand smoke does to others. Being in denial understandably they attribute the basic cause of their smoking to factors that are relatively non threatening and commonly useful, such as habit (notion # 8).

It is inconceivable that something other than addiction could put them so deeply in denial and make smokers chronically inhale dirty foul-smelling smoke while knowing to any extent at all that it probably will kill or disable them.

Nicotine Notion # 3:    Return to List

"Smoking in moderation or just some like before is possible."

Growing up, some people and for sure big tobacco told us to "do ALL things in moderation." "Eat, drink, maybe even smoke ... but in moderation." Later, smokers tell themselves, usually without realizing it, something like, "I should be able to smoke just some (in moderation) but not too much."

If you research the word "moderate" you will find it's another way people say "middle amounts" or something closer to average. In other words, to most of us moderation equals middle or closer to average. When folks told us to do whatever "in moderation," we more likely took that to mean we should do it in middle (whatever the heck that might be) or average amounts.

Isn't it a fact that with much of what you do that's important you at least attempt to do better than so-so or average? Consider this. If there are people who can always suck smoke "in moderation," perhaps they are somehow comfortable with average performance even when it's important to do better. That's just not true of you.

Besides, if you are talking to a youngster you care about and he or she asks, "Can I play in the highway, just some?" Do you tell her or him to go ahead? Of course you don't. Any time spent in the middle of a busy highway is too much! The "smoking street" is very busy and dangerous.

Nicotine is the highly toxic, poisonous, systemic insecticide also used to kill animals ... for instance, horses. Even if there aren't other reasons, and there are, that's a legitimate one to avoid the patches, gum, lozenges, cigarettes, cigars and other ways to deliver nicotine. Any deadly poison -- no matter the source or how its taken -- is too much!

The truthful belief needed to replace this unknown when thought and deadly "in moderation" attitude is contained in the following truthful suggestions:

  • "I am a winner rather than a quitter. Understandably I have trouble giving up or doing just so-so or average."
  • "Since I intend to and will do better than so-so, little wonder just some or moderate smoke-sucking was and will always be entirely beyond me."
  • "I deserve far better than so-so."
  • "I and people I care about deserve far better than 'middle of the road' or average futures."
  • "Any smoke-sucking is too much."
  • "Any playing in a highway is always too much."
  • "Sucking into my lungs, mouth or skin any insecticide, deadly nicotine, is always too much."
  • "Liking to play there or not, I refuse to play in the butt (cigarette)-sucking street."
Do smokers like being dirty and all over? I'm sure they don't. But a smoker is rarely dirtier than immediately after a warm shower or bath. The heat opens his pores and brings to the surface the filth from sucking smoke that collects in his skin. It's an orange scum that's so thin it's unseen.

Nicotine Notion # 4:    Return to List

"What's liked matters." It was important that you (someone) liked (enjoyed, believed it helped, felt deprived when not, etc.) smoking.

Respectfully, that's simply untrue. Probably you've noticed that even the most terrific teenagers behave recklessly ... as though life goes on forever and "bad things" happen to other people. Teens put-off doing what they know they need to do. They say, "I'll do it later."

The portion of our human brain that helps make better decisions and avoids needless risks, according to recent studies, isn't sufficiently formed or connected until we're in our early to mid 20's. Another and more primitive part gets us to begin using nicotine and comes to "like" doing it. When we stop, that more primitive or inexperienced part mistakenly feels that something important is missing and makes us go back (relapse) to smoking, dipping, chewing or patching (using) nicotine. It makes we adults -- where nicotine use is concerned -- act more like teenagers. That's the reason hardly anyone begins (takes the very first drag, dip, chew) after the age of 25. The few who do very rarely continue.

Understand this, please. We cannot afford to have a too young and reckless part of us continuing to control

  • how clean we are,
  • what we smell like,
  • how healthy we look and feel,
  • how we feel about ourselves,
  • how long and comfortably we live and
  • the futures of all those who need or depend on us.

I have heard numerous people say in so many words, "But doctor, I like to smoke. Sometimes I love to do it. And I miss it when I'm not smoking." Hopefully I did it in a kindly way, but I usually asked, "Can we change the subject now and talk about something that matters? It didn't matter if you liked to smoke, loved it, or missed it. Smoking hates your guts and has no way of doing otherwise. Nothing that liked you would make you dirty and smell bad, make you look immature or foolish, and place at great risk your health and the security of people or animals you care for."

The following truthful suggestions contain the belief necessary to replace the "what's liked matters" false notion that kills:

  • "I refuse to allow the likes and dislikes of even this wonderful but too young (not childish) part of my personality to be in charge of my life this way!"
  • "With affection, I refuse to let the likes or dislikes of a teen-like part of me decide what my future will be."
  • "I wouldn't let a youngster dress me. I refuse to let one control my health and influence the futures of people I love or need me."

  • Butt-attitude # 5:    Return to List

    "Stress or some uncomfortable emotion makes me smoke."

    Although many folks honestly and understandably think so and the drug industry may encourage believing it, stress with boredom or uncomfortable emotions is NOT the essential cause of smoking (dipping, chewing) or doing more of it. If stress was, people wouldn't smoke about as much when they're the opposite of angry, worried, bothered, upset or bored ... for example, out socializing with friends.

    What really happened is that they unintentionally trained (conditioned) themselves to suck smoke more when stress with uncomfortable emotions or boredom occurred. They so often smoked, for instance, when feeling frustrated that having trouble completing some task encouraged sucking smoke.

    There is more:

    • Smokers repeatedly tell (suggest to) themselves and have for so long they no longer realize they do, "This (smoking) helps." It is an elementary form of hypnosis unintentionally achieved through the unknown (subconscious) repetition of a suggestion.
    • Smokers distract themselves by fiddling with cigarettes, etc.
    • Then they repeatedly put cigarettes to their mouth to take deeper slower breaths, called "drags."

    The subconscious suggesting (this helps), distraction along with deeper slower breathing give the helpful effect -- not the smoke. My free Simple-7 Program very intentionally uses this proven process to help end smoking.

    If smoke calmed someone, he or she could get the same effect by breathing smoke from a campfire.

    The belief needed to answer and replace the hidden when it hurts "stress makes me ..." false nicotine notion is contained in the following truthful suggestions:

    • "I can and will decide how to relieve stress without risking my health and the futures of people who need me or will some day."
    • "I can easily and repeatedly say ‘this helps,' distract myself and take consecutive deep slow breaths to relieve stress or any possible upset and without sucking smoke."

    Nicotine Notion # 6:    Return to List

    "But I'll get fat after I stop."

    Good news. The no-strings-attached Simple-7 Program gives a straightforward way to avoid adding excess body fat. It is something you've never seen or heard before ... at least not originating from another source.

    When unable to get their drug, heroin addicts can substitute with candy ... but only temporarily before using heroin again. Nicotine users do something similar. They stop smoking, feel deprived, have cravings and overeat, gain weight, understandably get discouraged, mistakenly blame their metabolisms and return to smoking. They keep the unhealthy fat or much of it. Later, when they cut back or try to quit again, they put on additional unwanted pounds. Unsuccessful efforts to stop or reduce smoking, or successfully staying quit, promotes becoming overweight or heavier than before. It is the accumulation of excess pounds that does the damage. Even if the average amount of weight gained after stopping is less than 8 pounds, smokers stop several times before staying stopped.

    Perhaps one in five ex-smokers has occasional nicotine craving for several months and even longer. People understandably don't expect to have prolonged cravings. Consequently, they confuse craving for nicotine with hunger for food. Also in "stressful" situations where they smoked nicotine for its illusion of a calming effect people compensate by eating "comfort foods" or drinking alcohol. Sometimes feeling deprived, they "reward" themselves by eating.

    The belief needed to answer and replace the unknown when thought and blocking willpower "but I'll get fat after I stop" nicotine notion is contained in the following truthful suggestions:

    • "Craving for the drug, nicotine, is false hunger for ‘body fuels' (food and drink)."
    • "I have, if needed, my Simple-7 Program that healthfully deals with false hunger and excess eating."
    • "I avoid substituting the drug, alcohol, for the drug, nicotine."
    • "Real deprivation or loss is going without the health required to care for someone (or a pet) I love now or will some day."
    • "Real deprivation (going without) is going without looking healthy and feeling better."
    • "Real deprivation is keeping the guilt and bad (untrue) feeling about myself ... from sucking smoke."
    • "A true reward has a rewarding effect now and later."
    • "A real treat treats me well."


    Nicotine Notion # 7:    Return to List

    "Stopping smoking makes me jittery, irritable, maybe sad or keeps me awake."

    Not that many recently-free ex-smokers experience those conditions. That suggests something other than a "natural" reaction to getting rid of nicotine is happening.

    Smokers often combine smoking with consuming caffeinated drinks – usually coffee or soda. Nicotine may take the edge off caffeine or people who are recently rid of nicotine temporarily compensate (without realizing it) for the absence of nicotine stimulation.

    It is the increased potency or consumption of caffeine, once free of nicotine, that makes some people temporarily jittery, irritable or sad. (Why sometimes sad? With folks who weren't already depressed, their irritability comes out as brief sadness.) Reducing, by about one-half, the amount of caffeine used will give enough relief. Reducing the daily amount of caffeine consumed doesn't need to last more than the first couple of weeks.

    The belief needed to answer and replace the hidden when harmful "stopping smoking makes me jittery ..." butt-attitude can be said this way:

    • "Temporarily reducing caffeine ensures staying calmer and more comfortable."

    I believe the more accurate response to being told we're addicted is to take it as confirmation we are human. Our goal needs to be to limit what we are dependent on to things and activities that don't threaten our lives and the futures of people or pets we care for.

    Nicotine Notion or Butt-attitude # 8:    Return to List

    "Smoking is a habit or bad habit I must quit." This untruth tells us – even when we doubt it does – that smoking isn't all that dangerous ... not any more than many things that are done daily or often.

    Using the word "habit" is a cover-up and key element of health risk denial. Saying or thinking the word makes light of what's being thought or talked about. Using that word – even when smoking is said to be a "bad habit" – profoundly interferes with realizing the smoking (dipping, chewing or patching) that's health and life-risking is done because of addiction to the drug, nicotine. Most everyone understands that addiction is dangerous.

    Nicotine addiction – absolutely not tobacco and smoking it – is the leading cause of preventable U.S. deaths ... 435,000 each year or four times more than alcohol and illicit drugs combined. No one is a chronic or binge cigarette smoker unless he or she suffers from nicotine dependence, addiction.

    Many of the thousands of smokers I saw said "habit" once to several times within the first few minutes of talking to them. And they said it without realizing they did. Those soon-to-be ex-smokers would have sworn they hadn't used the word when talking to me.

    The reason they said "habit" without realizing it was because – this is important – it pointed to an unknown nicotine notion: "Smoking is a habit or bad habit I must quit."

    Smoking isn't a habit, bad or otherwise! What people understandably confuse with and call "habit" is conditioning like what Ivan Pavlov did when he rang a bell each time he fed his dogs. Actual habits and unintentional self-training (conditioning) that does harm are different. Folks typically create true habits on purpose and to help ... as when saying, "I'll make it a habit." Or, "It takes 21 days of doing something regularly and purposefully to make it a habit."

    Soon-to-be and truly successful ex-smokers counter, undo, cancel-out that killer "smoking is a habit or bad habit I must quit" butt-attitude by purposefully and regularly changing the words they think and say aloud. Rather than calling smoking a habit or bad habit, they call it what it is: an addiction. They think about it in ways that clearly say smoking is dangerous and unpleasant.

    "Sucking smelly smoke" and "butt-smelly suckers" -- Making smoking (dipping, chewing, or patching) more clearly unpleasant is the reason I urge thinking of and talking about cigarettes as being "butt-smelly suckers" or as "smelly butts." Think of and describe smoking as "sucking smelly smoke."

    Also, "quitting" something subtly suggests (denies) that whatever it is being "quit" not only isn't dangerous it is or might be valuable. Is work valuable? What about school? Those are commonly "quit" and they are good for us.

    I urge folks who are serious about saving lives and futures by ridding themselves of nicotine to "avoid quitting smoking. Get FREE of it instead." I strongly encourage understanding, "People quit what's supposed to be good for them. Adults get and remain FREE of what hurts them."

    The belief needed to answer and replace the unknown when thought and blocking strong-enough commitment or willpower "smoking is a habit or bad habit I must quit" false notion is contained in the following truthful suggestions:

    • "I am free of the insecticide, nicotine, that also threatened everyone I care for or will love."
    • "I am in recovery from addiction when free of ‘sucking smelly smoke' and any unhealthy replacement for ‘butt-smelly suckers.'"
    • "Addiction is deadly and something other than a habit or bad habit."
    • "I am an adult and stay free of the ‘sucking smelly smoke' that hated me ... made me look foolish and made me stink."
    • "I am more likely a winner. Little wonder I had trouble quitting or considering it."


    Butt-attitude # 9:    Return to List

    "I'll show you by not quitting." Continuing to smoke to defy or resist the considerable and commonly disrespectful pressure to stop.

    What has been termed the "big push" to get Americans to stop smoking began 40-plus years ago. Politically powerful health and public policy officials and organizations failed to approach unhealthy chronic smoking as being symptomatic of addiction. Smokers were pressured and hardly ever helped to safely become abstinent and achieve recovery from nicotine. Smokers perceived the pressure to make them "quit" as disrespectful and fostered anger and resentment. Pushing also fostered the nicotine addiction symptom substitution that made people fat or abuse alcohol rather than enabling improved health.

    The expected reaction of anyone who is pushed is to resist. Smokers say, through their continuing to suck smelly smoke, "I'll show you by not quitting."

    So little real progress has been made toward improving lifestyle health through taxation and other means to pressure smokers it's reasonable to question if there is genuine intent to help. Smokers are mistaken when they think some authoritative group or some individual who acts like an expert pressures them to stop "for their own good." Pushing is done to try and control people or for profit.

    The belief needed to answer and replace the unknown when thought and blocking willpower "I'll show you by not quitting" nicotine notion is contained in the following truthful suggestions:

    • "Rid of the deadly dope, nicotine, I do what's in my better interest even if it might please some person or group that pushed me to stop."
    • "By staying free of butt-smelly suckers without harmful replacements, I avoid my pushing back that hurts me and people who do now or will depend on me."
    • "People and groups who truly care and deserve my attention treat me with respect. Now I give myself the caring and respect I truly deserve."
    • "A teenager-like, inexperienced, part of me would defy those who pushed or punished instead of offering real help. Now, another part of me that does care protects my health and happiness – free of the most deadly dope, nicotine."
    • “I keep control by taking responsibility — focusing on what I can do now or soon — instead of on the past or future I can do nothing about ... blaming myself or anyone or anything else.”

           

    Richard Terry Lovelace, Ph.D., MSW, is retired but maintains a professional relationship with Winston Clinical Associates - Winston-Salem, North Carolina USA

    All information you obtain on this site is for educational purposes only and is not medical, legal or other advice or services. If needed, please consult a licensed professional regarding your situation. See the complete legal notice.

        Copyright Richard Terry Lovelace. All Rights Reserved. You have permission to reproduce materials available on this Web site for your personal and non-commercial purposes.