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The First 72 Hours




Why Prior Attempts Failed - Contrary to conventional wisdom, a permanent successful recovery is vastly less dependent upon "planning" than "understanding."  In fact, findings from two studies indicate that spontaneous attempts are twice as successful as planned ones (see West 2006 and Ferguson 2009). Although poorly understood, it seems to suggest that delay in getting started breeds needless anticipation anxieties that sap and erode determination, motivation and resolve.

Put another way, none of our prior attempts failed because we selected the wrong recovery commencement date. They failed because we failed to understand and master the principles underlying our addiction.   It doesn't take brute strength or raw courage to navigate the up to 72 hours of healing needed to rid the body of all nicotine and move beyond peak withdrawal.   Instead, it takes protected core dreams and desires that stay fueled and available within seconds, as the primary defense against challenge.

Discovering Online Support - When a smoker first discovers online support, with hundreds of quitters encouraging each other on message boards, it can be a pretty exciting time.  The support encounter and experience itself has fueled thousands of successful recoveries. But more often than not, the novelty eventually wears off, crisis arrives, and the uneducated quitter is left with little to fall back upon except words of hope on a screen.

Rule #1 - Put Your Recovery Education First - The below education links are intended as a roadmap of the basic knowledge, tools and skills needed to navigate the first 72 hours.  The last link is to Joel's Library, a collection of about 90 short clinic articles. 

Since 1972, Joel Spitzer has dedicated his life to nicotine cessation and prevention efforts. His last community position was as cessation and prevention services advisor to the Evanston and Skokie Health Departments in the Chicago area. Since 2000, Joel has served as WhyQuit's Director of Education where he freely shares his program's core content and decades of wisdom. One complete cover-to-cover reading of Joel's Library will substantially enhance the likelihood that you'll never again take another puff, dip, chew or vape of nicotine.

It's time now to go to nicotine dependency recovery school, and put education first.  There will be plenty of time later to post messages.  Keep in mind that the six-month nicotine cessation rate for ignorant uneducated school-of-hard-knocks cold turkey quitters is only about 10-11%.   Although horrible, according to a March 2003 study which combined and averaged the results of all seven over-the-counter (OTC) nicotine patch and gum studies, only 7% of NRT users were still not smoking at six months.

A quality dependency recovery education program should at a minimum elevate your odds over OTC NRT by at least 400%. None of us are stronger than nicotine but then we don't need to be as it's only a chemical with an I.Q. of zero. Our most effective weapon is a mind filled with understanding, truth, confidence, excitement, new skills, and relapse prevention wisdom.

Cessation Advice Warning - Please don't take offense, but serious drug recovery programs do not allow brand new quitters to share their personal quitting tips and wisdom with other new quitters. Frankly, for the most part, it reflects a failed nicotine addict pretending to be credible. Credibility is earned. Make sure the person giving you advice has proven the worth of their words by their recovery having been bronzed (3 months), turned silver (6 months) or gold (a year and beyond). Accept their wonderful words of encouragement but be cautious when it comes to relying upon their wisdom.


  1. Preserve your memory of your reasons for quitting

  2. Master recovery's only rule: The Law of Addiction

  3. Understand the basics of nicotine addiction

  4. Adopt each of these 20 basic quitting tips

  5. Develope recovery patience: Just one day at a time

  6. Focus on victory here and now

  7. Learn how to avoid blood sugar symptoms

  8. Know that you may need half as much caffeine for the same effect

  9. Use attitude to reduce recovery anxiety

  10. Don't expect your educated recovery to be difficult

  11. Master your mind's junkie thinking

  12. Understand the need to extinguish use conditioning

  13. Have at least three crave coping plans ready to go

  14. Learn to relax and embrace your subconscious healing

  15. Quit for yourself, not others

  16. Locate and destroy all nicotine delivery devices

  17. Develop a postive attitude about the healing that's about to occur

  18. Prepare your mind for being around users

  19. Withdrawal is just your stepping stone to comfort

  20. Create your own zero tolerance relapse policy

  21. Download a free quit counter, app or meter

  22. Spend as much time as possible in Joel's Library

  23. Explore WhyQuit's support groups: Turkeyville & Freedom

  24. Keys to navigating 72 hours and moving beyond peak withdrawal







WhyQuit's basic "how to quit smoking" video

Watch 200+ additional free video stop smoking lessons






Read our free quitting e-books

Click to learn more about Joel's free e-book before downloading it              Click to learn more about John's free e-book before downloading it.

Read both and watch knowledge destroy quitting anxieties!






Visit WhyQuit and learn more about smart turkey quitting


Learn More About Smart Turkey Quitting


  • WhyQuit.com's coffin bannerWhyQuit.com - WhyQuit is the Internet's oldest forum devoted to the art, science and psychology of cold turkey quitting, the stop smoking method used by the vast majority of all successful long-term ex-smokers. Left to right, WhyQuit is organized under three headings: (1) Motivation, (2) Education and (3) Support.
  • "Never Take Another Puff" - Imagine a free 149 page stop smoking ebook that's registered more than 4 million downloads and was written by a man who has devoted 40 years, full-time to helping smokers quit. Never Take Another Puff (NTAP) was authored by Joel Spitzer, the Internet's leading authority on how to stop smoking cold turkey. It is an insightful collection of almost 100 articles on every cessation topic imaginable.
  • "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" - Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit's 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine (FFN) is a free nicotine dependency recovery book that documents the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful cessation. Visit Turkeyville, Facebook's most popular quit smoking support group!Whether hooked on cigarettes, e-cigarettes (e-cigs), bidis, kreteks, a pipe, hookah or cigars, on dip, chew, snuff or snus, or on the nicotine gum, lozenge, spray, inhaler or patch, FFN provides a comprehensive yet easy to follow road-map to freedom from nicotine.
  • Turkeyville - Visit Turkeyville, Facebook's most popular quit smoking support group. The group's primary focus is the first few days and helping new quitters get started. Yes you can!
  • Joel's Library - Joel's Library is home to Joel Spitzer's "Daily Quitting Lesson Guide." The Guide walks new quitters through the first two weeks of smoking cessation, recommending daily videos to watch and articles to read. Joel's Library is also home to more than 100 original short stop smoking articles, to his free ebook Never Take Another Puff, and to his collection of more than 200 video stop smoking lessons.
  • Nicotine Addiction 101 - WhyQuit's guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
  • Freedom's small link banner Freedom - Looking for a deadly serious and highly focused education oriented support group? Home to Joel Spitzer, Freedom is the Internet's only 100% nicotine-free peer messageboard support forum. Explore Freedom's hundreds of thousands of archived member posts on how to quit smoking.
  • Nicotine Cessation Topic Index - An alphabetical subject matter index to hundreds of nicotine cessation support group discussions, article and videos.
  • 40 Quitting Tips - Key cold turkey nicotine cessation tips on how to stop smoking, vaping, chewing or sucking nicotine into your body and bloodstream.

Knowledge is a Quitting Method!


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© WhyQuit.Com 2014 - Last updated April 3, 2014 by John R. Polito