Monday, June 17, 2013

I'll Try Hypnosis

This quit smoking business. We addicts keep pushing it further and further away. I'll quit when I graduate. I'll quit when I find a job. I'll quit when I find another job. I'll quit when I get married. I'll quit when my free time is taken up by my startup business. I'll quit when my wife gets pregnant. I'll quit when I have my first child...

Does this go on forever? My lungs have suffered. And now that I'm married, my wife's lungs suffer. We fight when I smoke in the room. And my kid sisters who so earnestly campaigned to have me quit have given up on me.

Free time is hard to kill when there are no cigarettes. Maybe I will quit when I move to a more developed country where there are more restrictions on smoking in public areas, and cigarettes cost an arm and a leg? Definitely shouldn't wait for my first child to be born before I quit.

I just need to figure out some way I can trick my mind into thinking cigarettes don't exist.

I'll try hynosis, if it helps me quit!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The War has taken to Facebook now

Join the War On Smoking on Facebook! Click here to 'like' us - like they often say - if you can't beat them, join them! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ex-smoker's diary

I take pride in the achievements of others, especially when it pertains to kicking the nicotine cancer stick. Here's a piece from DG (Usman), a good friend, eccentric colleague and a hard-willed geek.

DG (Usman)'s Quit Smoking Story:

You wake up with a shiver, the darkness takes it time to set in. You take a deep breath, smack your lips and get out of the sheets. You sit on the edge for the longest time waiting for the ringing in your head to stop. You try to breathe, only one lung seems functional, electric fucking jolts in your chest. FUCK. Breathe slow, breathe.

And so it begins. Today is the tomorrow of yesterday. And you fucking hate it.

Getting up, dressing up, going to wherever.

Greet people, meet people, put up a smile, wince at them, whisper vulgarities and the day is still young.

Go to the “smoking room”. Pat your pockets, feel the crisp packet of Davidoff’s, the lighter and a packet of supari, to kill the smell after the cigarette.

Comfortable on a sofa, pull the table close, the ash tray closer. Pull out a cigarette, pull out the lighter, fire it up, light it up.

Inhale. Deep.

Bitter smoke, bitter taste and you try to smile. Nicotine will make everything alright.

Tilt your head back and close your eyes.


You fall off a cliff, plunge hard into a black pool of filth, lungs fill up with acid and your attempts to scream are muffled by smoke.

Open your eyes again, pay attention to the chatter, try to smile, try to talk.

The bitterness seeps in from the bottom of your stomach and boils up like a volcano trying to lift the 10 ton iron block in your stomach. It fails.

You try to be fair, you try to be kind, you try to be nice to people. But you can’t. The chatter grows louder in your ears and the filth finds every vein, every nerve, every muscle and starts to strain it. An old unfamiliar pain. A blind man taking a walk in the forest, midnight unpleasantness.

Stub it finally. End it. Stop feeling like a 70 year old impotent douche bag.

Get back to whatever you were doing, smelling like a chimney,  everyone maintains a distance. Utilize the supari, munch it, chew it, roll it around for a long time without purpose or intent. Swallow the sickly paste and drink a glass of water.

Water. Burns through the gums, a stream of glass shards down the neck.

The phone rings and you jump. Blood fades away from your veins and the hammers knock on the heartbeat. So scared that you don’t even want to close your eyes. You can’t even close your eyes if you wanted to. Coz you’re just scared. Your eyes burn with pain. But you won’t give in. Coz you’re scared.
And then you go back “outside”, you go to the “smoking room”. You go anyfuckingplace where you would supposedly  find peace and solace for the 6 minutes you smoke.

But you don’t want to smoke. You know you will feel like shit. You know you will tumble into the filth pit and you know you the 10 ton block will fall hard at the bottom of your stomach.

But you can’t stop. You want to smoke. You don’t want to quit. WHY? Why the fuck would you torture yourself? Is this self injury? Is this rebellion? Is this hate? Is this an escape?
NO! NO! Please NO!

But you light up one anyway. Feels like kissing a shotgun. Get shot down with every puff. Every inhale fucks you up a bit more. Inch by inch, bit by bit an anxiety builds up and washes over you like a panic attack you don’t deserve.

Eyes swell up, throat tightens and the world seems to have come to an end.

Stub it. You’re done. Repeat this ritual 6 times a day. One after every meal, one after every cup of tea.

Better living through a Nine Inch Nails song. Better living being a Nine Inch Nails song.

I got my head but my head is unraveling
Can't keep control can't keep track of where it's traveling
I got my heart but my heart's no good
You're the only one that's understood
I come along but I don't know where you're taking me
I shouldn't go but you reaching back and shaking me
Turn off the sun pull the stars from the sky
The more I give to you the more I die!

But I don’t want to die. I just want to live.

So you stop. Don’t smoke. Just stop. Don’t smoke. Stay away from smokers.

Does it work?

You wake up with a shiver, the darkness takes it time to set in. You take a deep breath, smack your lips and get out of the sheets. You sit on the edge for the longest time waiting for the ringing in your head to stop. You try to breathe. Your lungs fill up with sweet cool air, every inch of your lungs comforts the air that goes in. and you let out. Feels good. This is going to be a good day. Lets go!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Obama kicked off his smoking habit, maybe I should too

Well, not really. But I made a promise to myself on this very blog many times over - to quit before I get married. And that gives me two months now... So here's what I've done so far...

I bought a carton of cigarettes. Yes, yes, I did. It doesn't make sense but it does to me. I'm a smoker. Maybe another smoker understands this. Apart from the obvious cost savings, my thought process said, "Okay, you wanna quit right? So let this be your last carton. You can start cutting back with a plan, with this last carton. OR! You can smoke all you want, and once the carton finishes, you can stop buying cigarettes. Either ways, when you finish your carton, you can't buy cigarettes. You can beg/borrow/steal but not buy. And then let's take it from there."

(Wow, I didn't know my 'thought process' had a personality!)

My oldest and closest friend is also in town, and he's as religious as I am not. And because he gives the Islamic month of Moharram a lot of significance, he told me he was going to quit starting the 1st of Moharram. Have yet to check on him to see how he's doing. But it's cool that I have a partner to quit with.

Anyway, so I'm down to my last two packets, and it's Saturday night. Every Saturday morning, I always leave home with two packs of cigarettes, because it's usually a long night, and I always run out of cigarettes. So what now? I didn't cut down at all ever since I bought the carton, but my consumption did vary (on an hourly basis, depending on my mood). And now these are my last two packets.

Sure, these aren't exactly the ideal conditions for me to quit smoking, but still, why NOT take the chance if I can?

What will happen next? Let's find out. Stay tuned.

Btw, click here to read about Barack's latest quit attempt (he's been at it since 9 months and going strong!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why the War on Smoking Will Fail

Steven Yates

Why the War on Smoking Will Fail

Steven Yates has a Ph.D. in philosophy and recently received a master’s in health promotion and education.
Everyone knows that smoking is a risky business, health-wise. Cigarettes have been linked to many diseases and conditions, from lung cancer and heart problems on down. One of the first bits of advice a doctor gives a patient who smokes is to quit. Although not everyone suffers ill health from smoking—there are cases of people who chain-smoke for decades with few if any apparent health problems—the preponderance of the evidence is that cigarette smoking damages one’s health over the long run.
Does it follow from this that governments ought to declare war on smoking? Should those who manufacture and sell cigarettes to willing customers in an open market be sued for billions of dollars?
Before answering this question straightaway, let us make an obvious point. If smoking damages one’s health, then it does make sense to work at encouraging smokers to quit and to discourage teenagers from starting. How do we do this?
The first thing to note is that no one ever kicked the habit permanently who was forced to do so. This is equivalent to attacking the symptoms of a disease while leaving the disease’s causes untouched. Government- suppressed behaviors will simply go underground where their dangers actually increase, not decrease (the situation with illegal recreational drugs in America). Making smoking illegal is obviously not a live option, as it would provoke a mass rebellion: the Prohibition-era crime wave would look tame by comparison! But expanded government can use the legal system in other ways. The most popular at present is to file suit, ostensibly to cover the costs of treating smoking-related health problems. Hence the “tobacco war.”
If the aim of this “war” is less smoking, it is likely to fail.
The person who successfully quits must want to quit. No one can be forced to quit. Not really. Quitting smoking can be hard even for those who want to kick the habit. Many people try to quit many times. A number of approaches are currently used in smoking-cessation programs. The best involve carefully planned, systematic behavior-change efforts that make use of devices such as careful self-observation, diary-keeping, and so on. The would-be quitter may be asked to record the circumstances in which he smokes, or the moods that tempt him to smoke, the people he tends to be around, where he is when he smokes, and so on. The point is to understand as thoroughly as possible the situations that prompt him to smoke and then to address those situations. He may be encouraged to arrange new situations that don’t involve smoking, find new friends if all his friends smoke, avoid the establishments where he smokes. He may be told to get rid of ashtrays and all other visible reminders of his habit. There may be actions he can take that are incompatible with smoking and can substitute for it. He may be asked to record his successes in his journal and what led to them. If he lapses—as most who quit cigarette smoking will do from time to time—he may be asked to record as many details as he can remember of what prompted the lapse. Where was he? Who was he with? What was he thinking about? And so on. In this way people can learn to control their behaviors instead of allowing their behaviors to control them. To be sure, there are people who quit “cold turkey” and never look back. But this is not the norm. Millions of people have quit smoking once they learned the health risks. For most, the process was arduous and strewn with lapses into the old patterns of behavior.

People Are Different

What makes serious smoking-cessation efforts more complex is that what is needed for success differs somewhat from person to person, because people are different. A technique that works well for one person might be totally ineffective for someone else.
Moreover, while millions have quit, millions more have also started during the same period. Despite government-imposed warning labels on every cigarette pack, cigarettes continue to sell briskly. Despite age limits for legally purchasing cigarettes, they continue to fall into the hands of teenagers who want them, whether they believe it will make them more “adult,” more acceptable to their peers, or for whatever other reasons, which again vary from case to case. They aren’t thinking about the long-term health risks. Although everyone knows about these, they just aren’t a priority for everyone.
Many libertarians openly defend a person’s right to smoke if that is their informed choice. The challenge is to the unstated premise that if X is unhealthy behavior, then X ought to be fought by the government to the greatest extent possible, and banned if possible. Accepting this premise is what separates “health nazis” from genuine health promoters. The latter have some insight into human complexity. They know that many factors can motivate people to smoke, and that quitting is rarely a matter of sheer will power. They also recognize that laws, lawsuits, and top-down mandates have a poor track record.

Reforming Oneself

All the science we have on smoking cessation points in a single direction: it must begin at the bottom—where the individual smoker is, in the situations the person actually confronts in life—and proceed upward. It must begin with the person’s sincere desire to quit and willingness to do, on a personal level, whatever it takes.
Force doesn’t work. It will only exacerbate the problem by encouraging resentment and rebellion, and not addressing those factors that lead people to smoke or doing what needs to be done for them to quit. Ironic as it sounds, the government’s war on smoking may well be a stumbling block to serious anti-smoking efforts.
The message (lest there be any doubt) is sound: don’t smoke! If you don’t smoke now, don’t start. If you do, consider quitting. But this message can’t be forced on anyone. It cannot be the basis of a workable and effective top-down policy. It is remarkable that the best findings in scientific health promotion are very much in line with the conclusions of those who believe that decisions, transactions, and so on, within society should be voluntary and not coerced.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

'R' rating for movies with characters smoking?

*crisp sarcasm oozing out of this post*

Knowing that nothing turns kids into pleasure seeking, nicotine craving, carcinogenic-sucking zombies more than seeing a film character light up, the good folks at the Centers for Disease Control are suggesting that film makers give an R rating to all films that depict tobacco imagery.

Fortunately kids don't find gunplay, martial arts, explosions, car chases, dirty jokes, and laying some length to a hot babe cool, or we would have quite a quandary on our hands. Then again, the CDC could be onto something.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Man's Weakest Moment

Seeing a man in his weakest moment is not a sight most of us would want to witness. It has been a typical Monday work-day, and I was taking my second smoke break of the day around 5 pm when a co-worker from another department joined me in the empty smoke room. He was wearing sneakers, dark blue denims and a striped shirt. He must be in his early 20s, with long hair and a beard – typical rockstar look. We shook frail hands and he asked me for a light. He sat down and lit his cigarette. I took my lighter back and secured it in my pocket.
Me: So how was the weekend?
Him: *silence*
A few seconds passed, so I said, “never mind,” and smiled at him warmly. He took a deep puff and shook his head. At this point I assumed he must be having one of those days, and decided it was best not to pay any attention to him. Just then, I heard a slight whimpering sound coming from his direction. I opened my eyes and raised my head to look at him.
I saw no tears, but I could tell he was crying or about to cry.
Crying, as I could tell by his voice and facial expressions, he wailed, “I b-broke my fast… be-because I needed to smoke so bad!”
Not sure what to say, I stayed silent. He stopped after a few long moments.
This person was addicted to nicotine – perhaps even more than I have ever been. And his faith required him to fast in the month of Ramadan, and he was trying – but he was weak, perhaps. Or maybe his nicotine urge was stronger than his will power. I can relate to him though. Working a 9am to 5pm shift and fasting from 4am to 7pm must be tough.
As I try to categorize, I ask myself, what is the problem here? What is the lesson? Addiction is bad? Nicotine is bad? Or faith is not faith unless it is strong enough to pass the qualification of being faithful? Or maybe it is lack of ‘knowing thyself’? He should be able to assess if he is fit to fast in order to make sure he doesn’t end up breaking it mid-way.
Whatever the case, I saw a man in his weakest moment today, and it was not pleasant.
I’ve been thinking that it has been a while since my last attempt, and I have made a promise to myself that I will quit smoking before my marriage, and marriage prospects loom in the air these days, so I decided I need to pick one of these days when I won’t smoke a single cigarette – the whole 24 hours. Let’s see if I can do it. I’ve been smoking way too much these days.