The Great American Smokeout
November 21, 2002 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Today is The Great American Smokeout. If you can't bring yourself to quit, though, then you can quit quitting smoking!
posted by thatweirdguy2 (58 comments total)
Had my 4 impacted wisdom teeth out yesterday, I'm still smoking. I'm a sick bastard...
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:07 PM on November 21, 2002

it has been 1 year, 4 months, 1 week and 3 days since my last cigarette in the bathroom on the cardiac unit. damn smoke alarm went off before i could finish it. i hardly ever think about it anymore. really. no, really.
posted by quonsar at 1:17 PM on November 21, 2002

Dry sockets are not even the tiniest bit funny, Dark Messiah. Be careful.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:19 PM on November 21, 2002

Dark Messiah: My New Hero.

Perseverance, dedication to his craft in the face of adversity... I'm tearing up here.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:29 PM on November 21, 2002

Dark Messiah, I did the same thing once, after having two wisdom teeth pulled. Kept right on smoking, figuring I could beat the odds by not inhaling too fast, or out the side of my mouth, or whatever. I even, in a moment of desperate panic, thought about trying to smoke through my nose.
I know, it's nasty. Tobacco addiction sucks.
Didn't help, however. Dry socket all the way. Believe me, it's not something I want to live through again. Be careful.
posted by bradth27 at 1:30 PM on November 21, 2002

quonsar that's really funny, particularly imagining it happening.
posted by four panels at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2002

its been about 2 years since I quit. I just stopped one day.

Dark Messiah, i'm with them, dry socket is nothing to fsck with.
posted by jbelshaw at 1:33 PM on November 21, 2002

Dry socket?

The patient develops severe dull throbbing pain two to four days following a tooth extraction. The pain is often excruciating, may radiate to the ear, and is not relieved by oral analgesics. There may be an associated foul odor and taste. The extraction site is filled with necrotic tissue which is delaying wound healing.

Good god. Learn something new every day around here.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:35 PM on November 21, 2002

Woon socket?

Hey Dark, I hope you don't think I was making light of your condition. Just sticking up for a fellow smoker.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:45 PM on November 21, 2002

Awww, come on, quitting smoking isn't that hard. I've done it dozens of times.
posted by sacre_bleu at 1:49 PM on November 21, 2002

Thanks for the tips guys, they don't go unappreciated, but I'm well aware of the dry socket phenomena. Suffice it to say, I'm being really freakin' careful. Rinsing with a lot of salt water after every smoke. It's better than dealing with the combination of extreme rage (from lack of nicotine) and weird sedation (from the codine).

Light inhilation through an open mouth (not sealed around the cigarette), and exhaling through my nose. Been fine, thus far. If I screw up, and I can bare it, I'll let you all say "I told you so". I'll deserve it. :)

Kevin: no offence taken. I'm fairly thick skinned. I like being a hero. ;)
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:50 PM on November 21, 2002

Awww, come on, quitting smoking isn't that hard. I've done it dozens of times.

Damn, just saw this when I posted. That's going in my black quote journal. Solid gold, in hypertext format! ;)
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:51 PM on November 21, 2002

Wait, you're supposed to quit during the Great Smokeout? What a misnomer!
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:52 PM on November 21, 2002

4 years since acupuncture. Walked out of the Dr's office and haven't thought about smoking since. Note that he used the acupuncture treatment for heroin addiction.
posted by mss at 1:52 PM on November 21, 2002

four panels, all kidding aside - it really happened, and worse - i yanked my IV's out of my hand in order to go down the hall to smoke in that bathroom. it had been less than 8 hours since the heart attack that put me there. the upside was, after the scene i made, the narcotics began to flow quite generously. they couldn't watch me every minute, they couldn't stand to LISTEN to me pissing and moaning, so they pumped in the happy juice until surgery time. nicotine addiction BAD.
posted by quonsar at 1:55 PM on November 21, 2002

posted by xmutex at 1:59 PM on November 21, 2002

wmutex, umm...if you're out, would you like to have one of mine? You seem to need it more than I do.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:06 PM on November 21, 2002

Whoa, I guess I gotta re-evaluate. I've been passing out green nugs to all my friends today.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:10 PM on November 21, 2002

...I quit smoking almost 6 weeks ago. Was up to 40+ per day (we could smoke in my office during work). It's great to be off...
posted by syzygy at 2:13 PM on November 21, 2002

xmutex, sorry that I fat-fingered your nick. Maybe I need that smoke after all.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:14 PM on November 21, 2002

hit it on the nose WolfDaddy
posted by Big_B at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2002

Four years come New Years Day for me, after 15 glorious years as a Marlboro Man.

I, um, have been known to chip a little.
posted by UncleFes at 2:16 PM on November 21, 2002

Mmmm . . . . codeine. I smoked more than I ever had (a little over half a pack a day) while I was in Germany. I felt like shit the last two days I was there, but still managed to fit in 3-4 smokes a day until I got home. I've been smoke-free Tennessee for a little over a week and I don't regret it.

Don't get me wrong, though. I really liked smoking a lot, and I have mad respect for unrepentant smokers, but I figgered I should quit while the quitting was good.
posted by mikrophon at 2:16 PM on November 21, 2002

It will have been 11 years since I quit, come New Years Day. I quit before my daughter was born, a great motivator.

I still miss it every day. I dream about smoking. I won't do it, though, because then I'll be smoking 1 1/2 packs a day, again.

Evil, evil drug. Killed my mom 20 years ago...
posted by jpburns at 2:24 PM on November 21, 2002

I quit smoking about 5 months ago... I slowly weaned myself down to 3 cigarettes and day and then one day stopped. The hardest parts were: when I stopped smoking after eating, when I stopped smoking and driving and finally, the most difficult, when I stopped smoking during the work day. It was tough, and I don't know if it will take, but I'm really starting to notice how much my smoker friends reek... The reason I quit was the fear that I'd never be able to quit. Only now, having quit, I have to avoid thinking: "I quit once, I can quit again"....
posted by Ms.JaneDoe at 2:24 PM on November 21, 2002

I can't recommend bioresonance therapy highly enough. The only reason I did it was because my g/f & I had decided to give up & she booked us into it while I was away. Having 'given up' a fair few times before, I can honestly say that this was the easiest by far. I just don't want to smoke anymore...weird.

I s'pose you have to want to give up to succeeed too. If you want to stay with it, go for it.

KevinSkomsvold: Boooring! ;-) Woonsocket, SD rules.
posted by i_cola at 2:35 PM on November 21, 2002

It was tough, and I don't know if it will take,

Its a strange affectation I have, but I get really depressed when someone who's quit goes back to smoking. I work with a guy who found out he had blocked arteries in his legs, went through major surgery and quit smoking after 40 years of that M brand of smokes (popular among cowboys everywhere, obviously). He'd been quit about a year, and he just decided one day that he didn't care, so he's smoking again. Hope fails ... depression sets in.

Good luck Ms.JaneDoe.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:41 PM on November 21, 2002

Good luck to everyone who chooses to quit. It's been about 10 years for me, and I admit I do still miss it. But it can be done!
posted by JoanArkham at 2:45 PM on November 21, 2002

Nicotine has never had much pull with me. I smoke socially, (more and more rarely, as time goes by), and have gone through month-long bouts of smoking about 10 cigs a day, but stopping has never been very difficult.

Part of it is that there are much, much better things to smoke for the same amount of damage to your body. Cigarettes (strong ones, like American Spirits or Marb Reds) give me about a 5 minute period of slight relaxation. That just isn't worth cancer, especially when (as a man) there is a "natural" remedy with the same result. And if you have to inhale smoke, why would you choose the 5 minute relaxation over the 3 hour relaaaaaaaxation? ?!?
posted by zekinskia at 2:47 PM on November 21, 2002

What about Moon socket?

(sorry, had to do it.)
posted by monkeymike at 2:47 PM on November 21, 2002

4 impacted wisdom teeth out yesterday, I'm still smoking

I find stacking patches on top of another after surgery does the trick.
posted by victors at 2:55 PM on November 21, 2002

Here in NY, my friends and i are all going to have to stop soon, whether it's from the exorbitant price(taxes) or our mayor's weird fixation on banning it....
posted by amberglow at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2002

Aside from a few cigarettes I fired up after watching my apartment building become overrun by flames (an understandable impulse I won't repeat), I have not smoked a single cigarette in the past six months.

The results? I can smell, taste and breathe better than I did the nine or so years I was a smoker. Sex is much better. I can run to a subway car that's about to take off and not feel as if I've just participated in a triathlon. I have more energy than I did before (though I'm still slightly more spacey upstairs than I was when I chainsmoked Luckies). And, above all, I no longer smell like a leaking diesel truck.

I am no longer consumed with the notion of when my next cigarette is, of watching a movie in a theatre only to think about the next cancer stick, of racing to a store just so I can buy a pack, and of watching five hard-earned dollars disappear each day.

In a year that offered some personal misfortunes, the absolute good that came from stopping smoking far outshown the blight. And it's probably one of the best things any smoker can do for herself. (It saddens me to know that two very sweet people I know are STILL smoking when they're suffering from a fairly severe illness. But I can't make the choice to quit for them.)

Don't listen to the fools who say it's easy. They wouldn't know a handrolled cigarette from a doobie, even if it barked to them. It's tough work. I was climbing the walls. But if you stick it out, keep saying no and remain determined not to smoke another stick, then the rewards are limitless.

The biggest problem with campaigns like The Great American Smokeout and is that they concentrate on the negative. Well, there's too many positive things that come from a smokeless life. Smokers are not the irresponsible children or low-class deviants that antismoking activists make them out to be. They are, in most cases, addicted to a life-shattering substance. Nearly every smoker I've ever known has wanted to quit. It's about time that we encouraged them to quit in a responsible way, rather than a disparaging one.
posted by ed at 3:12 PM on November 21, 2002

i quit a year a half ago. sure makes life boring.
posted by alkupe at 3:22 PM on November 21, 2002

I just thought I'd mention that I have the utmost respect for all you people who have been tough enough to quit. You're of stronger will than I. The respect I have for that defies words.
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:23 PM on November 21, 2002

sure makes life boring

I dunno. I wasn't experiencing a thrill a minute when I was standing around smoking either (though the shit I'd cough up in the morning was a real adventure.)

I quit three years ago, though really, I cut down to about five a year.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:26 PM on November 21, 2002

I quit February 4th, 2002. I quit for political reasons. I refuse to give any more money to tobacco companies.

Still, I think smokers may not live as long as non-smokers, but they enjoy life just a little bit more.
posted by culberjo at 3:30 PM on November 21, 2002

Dark Messiah: Unfettered rage? Boy, was I having a bit of that the first few weeks I quit. :) But the question you have to ask yourself is whether a few weeks of emotional tumult is worth the price of a quit?

The jar was the extra bonus part of quitting. I put in the money that I would have spent on cigarettes. After about a few weeks, I blew a sizable chunk of cash at the bookstore for books I had wanted for some time.

Of course, every person is different. But I found incentives to be the best way to keep on going. I also substituted water for a cigarette every time I had a craving. Probably a good thing to do with all the cilia growing back in the throat.

As for willpower, my then roommate and I were not exactly what you would call exemplars of that particular human quality. Quite the opposite actually. But both of us remain nonsmoking monkeys.

As for a boring nonsmoking life, it's worth noting that my apartment building was on fire months after I stopped smoking. While this completely transformed a lot of things for me, one thing it could not be called by any reasonable person was "boring." Unless, of course, you're one of the rare human beings who aren't fazed by such personal conflagrations.

Indeed, smoking is a habit formed from loneliness and boredom. And if we're going to start using silly generalizations, riddle me this. Have you ever seen a smoker smile while taking a drag? I sure as hell haven't. Even if they're having a great conversation, you can witness the corners of their mouths turn down. The face is preparing itself almost as if it's about to get a giant sausage crammed up their nostrils. Call me crazy, but what with all the addictive, energy-sapping components, smoking was never what I would call a happy-go-lucky moment.

Plus, I can now sing a flawless karaoke reproduction of Stories's "Brother Louie," something that I could not do before without coughing a stanza into the song. Beat that, mofo! :)
posted by ed at 3:44 PM on November 21, 2002

BFHD. Just enjoyed some glorious Latakia, Perique and a little Oriental blended in my favorite meerschaum. Now that's the way to smoke.
posted by alumshubby at 4:17 PM on November 21, 2002

Ooo, alumshubby, I can almost smell that! *mmmmm*
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:19 PM on November 21, 2002

Congratulations, Mefi, on having a civil discussion about smoking without accusations and trolling. I mean, that, seriously.

('Course, I prolly just put a jinx on the whole damn thing.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:21 PM on November 21, 2002

I quit 4 years ago, the day my son was born. I can't wait until I am 80, at which point I am going to start again.

My grandfather, who has since passed away, told me that he quit smoking in 1933 (my grandmother made him), and that every night after dinner, he wished for a cigarette. He was 91 when he told me that, and I tried to convince him to start again, but my grandmother wouldnt let him.
posted by stupidcomputernickname at 4:35 PM on November 21, 2002

Go snus! (What's the english word for that? My dictionary says "moist snuff", is that acceptable?)
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:49 PM on November 21, 2002

ed: I'm taking all your suggestions under advisement. And yes, I too miss my old singing voice. Aside from my aspiring death metal vocal skills (no, seriously), I used to have a very decent singing voice, and I miss it dearly.

Although, I challenge your idea that no one ever smiles taking a drag from a smoke. I do, when I've had to wait 4 hours for a break at work. But that's more a smile of relief than enjoyment -- "finally, some time to sit down" as opposed to "bring hither the carcinogens". So, I guess you're still right. :)

I have a little saying.

"No one needs a cigarette. You may, however, want a cigarette. Remember the difference." It helped when I quit for a month, cold turkey.
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:55 PM on November 21, 2002

Nobody smiles while orgasming either.
posted by TimeFactor at 5:04 PM on November 21, 2002

"I had never known what I was like until I stopped smoking, by which time there was hell to pay for it. When the haze cleared over the charred landscape, the person I had always assumed to be behind the smoke was revealed to be a tinny weights-and-balances apparatus, rapidly disassembling on contact with oxygen." -- Deborah Eisenberg, Days (excerpt)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:08 PM on November 21, 2002

Plus, I can now sing a flawless karaoke reproduction of Stories's "Brother Louie," something that I could not do before without coughing a stanza into the song

I know, I am singer, I quit smoking about two years ago, and I am absolutely positive that my singing voice has deteriorated as a result. Cigarette smoke seemed to somehow loosen up my vocal cords. It's definitely a small price to pay considering how much healthier I feel, but it's still a little demoralizing.

Also, for those of you thinking of quitting, I for one really don't miss it at all anymore. At first I was craving cigarettes pretty much every day, but now I don't even think about them unless prompted. The one exception is after I've had a few drinks in a smoke-filled bar. But since I'm not really tempted outside of that situation, it's fairly easy to muster the willpower to resist when I'm there.
posted by boltman at 6:54 PM on November 21, 2002

I know
dough! I meant "You know,"

posted by boltman at 6:58 PM on November 21, 2002

that list of proofs that cigarettes are unhealthy is the longest list of bullshit i think i've ever seen in my life, besides right winged propaghanda.

this woman who makes the list is assuming correlation means causation. for example.. proof # 4

i could actually go on and on about each proof, but i don't want to bore anyone any more than i already have.
posted by prescribed life at 7:05 PM on November 21, 2002

Calm down, prescribed... it's called satire.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 7:36 PM on November 21, 2002

When's the Great-American-Bitchout?
posted by RavinDave at 8:05 PM on November 21, 2002

If you live near Boston and you smoke, and you think you can never quit, remember this name and address: Yefim Shubentsov, Brookline, MA - google to get his phone number.

This is the office of the world famous "Mad Russian." Thousands of people flock to his office from all corners of the globe. You generally have to wait 6-8 weeks for an appointment. He has an incredibly high success rate with longterm hardcore smoking junkies.

I walked in his office three years ago desperately wanting and not wanting to quit at the same time. I can't explain what he did - not hypnosis, not acupuncture. I walked out thinking "scam, scam" but curiously have never had another cigarette. And except for the first few weeks, really haven't wanted one.

If you are sick, or desperate or a new parent or watched someone you love die of cancer or whatever, just save this name. I can't explain why he can help so many hardcore smokers, he just does.

Here are a few articles about him that make him sound rather annoying and new-agey. He really isn't new-agey, but he is rather annoying. Nevertheless, he works for a lot of hardcore people. Celebs go 'mad' to stop smoking and The eraser.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:20 PM on November 21, 2002

I am absolutely positive that my singing voice has deteriorated as a result. Cigarette smoke seemed to somehow loosen up my vocal cords.

Cigarette smoke actually abrades the vocal cords slightly, which tends to lower the overall pitch and cause very slight harmonic tones to occur, sort of like you're singing chords as opposed to pure notes. Both contribute to an overall "smoother" vocal tone (think the difference between vinyl record albums and CDs - CDs are a purer, less adulterated sound, but records sound better), which is not all that good for singing but is GREAT for speaking.
posted by UncleFes at 11:05 PM on November 21, 2002

I've been smoke free for two and a half weeks. I made the decision after I climbed two flights of stairs and found myself panting as if I had climbed mount Everest.
I have found nicotine gum (and chewing gum in general) to be very helpful, I don't know if I could have pulled through without it. But of course I miss it a lot, especially after a meal and when I go out with friends (nearly all of whom smoke)... I can truthfully say that I feel fitter already... on the minus side: I eat more now.
The hard part of quiting (for me at least) isn't so much the physical addiction to nicotine but the psychological addiction, the relaxation associated with the act of lighting up and the nervousness of not "knowing what to do" with your hands and your mouth.
posted by talos at 3:25 AM on November 22, 2002

I'm cutting down with a view to quitting eventually. This time last year I smoke 20-30 Marlboro Reds per day. Now I'm down to 5-10 Silk Cut. I stopped smoking during the day this week, which seems to be going OK...
posted by prentiz at 5:46 AM on November 22, 2002

Only now, having quit, I have to avoid thinking: "I quit once, I can quit again"....

Yeah, tell me about it. Just make sure, when you do, to retroactively tell me 12 months ago, before I started again ...
posted by walrus at 6:20 AM on November 22, 2002

What finally worked for me (a little over a year ago) was a combination of the patch and this little mantra:
"This sucks. I want a cigarette. I need a cigarette. There is nothing in the world that sucks as much as not smoking. I hate this. I hate everyone. This sucks. I want a cigarette, etc."
over and over and over.
During previous attempts I had tried thinking positively and about all the good things that happen when you quit smoking. Didn't work. But maybe I'm just perverse. For whatever reason, my will/body reacted better to confronting withdrawal than on concentrating on the final goal.
Quonsar, you have serious style, man. Batshit style, but style none the less.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:40 AM on November 22, 2002

Don't listen to the fools who say it's easy.

I'm not a fool: It was the easiest thing in the world to do. Four months or so now it's been. Not a single drag, not a longing glance, not an impulse buy at the counter. I only think about it when people ask me for a light. I quit alcohol while I was at it. It was all very, very easy.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:31 AM on November 22, 2002

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