"How does your program compare to hypnosis or acupuncture?" "Do you know anything about the single session treatment program advertised on the radio?" "I hear they have an inpatient treatment program at another hospital, what do you think of that for quitting smoking?" "My doctor said I should try nicotine gum, do you agree?" "I hear there are programs which promise no withdrawal or weight gain." "How about the shock treatments with money-back guarantees?" "Why should I choose you over the free program offered at...?"
Almost daily we will receive calls asking at least one of these questions. It seems everyone wants us to compare what we do with that of other "treatment" strategies. While the specific questions vary, my advice is inevitably the same. If you are considering us or another program, go to them first.
People seem to be surprised at this advice. I think some wonder whether or not I am receiving a kickback from the other organization. But money is not the factor influencing the advice to seek help elsewhere before attempting us. Or maybe they think I can't defend our program over the other "proven" method. This assumption is also incorrect. Why then, am I willingly turning away potential customers to the local competition?
Anyone who has gone through our clinic will attest that participation in our program requires a 100% effort and commitment to attempt quitting. That is not to say that every participant must know before hand that he is going to stop. The person must be resolved to the fact that he will try as hard as he can to stop for just two weeks, a day at a time. Then, once past the initial withdrawal syndrome, he can decide whether or not he truly wishes to smoke. We want him to reach the point where he has a free choice. But he must base his decision on his true options, smoke nothing or everything, there is no in-between.
Anyone coming into our program with a backup method in mind, is not normally willing to give the 100% necessary to break the initial grip. When things start getting tough, which they almost inevitable do, the person just throws in the towel and takes a puff with the idea that it is no big loss, he will just try the other program next time. But his assessment is grossly mistaken - taking that first puff may very well be the biggest mistakes he ever made in his life - one that may in fact cost him his life. He may never again have the desire, strength, or opportunity to quit again.
What of his hypothesis that the other program will probably work better for him? Well, let it suffice to say, that when I suggest that a smoker goes to another program to quit before coming to ours, I am not really worried about losing potential income. I am just postponing when I may actually meet and work with the individual. In fact, the odds are, our price will increase significantly by that time and they are usually willing to pay. In the interim, they spent hundreds to thousands of dollars trying all these magical programs or feeding their addiction.
But money is not the major factor which needs to be considered. Smoking an extra five years, 10 months, or even a few weeks carries a potential risk. You just don't know which cigarette may be the one to initiate an irreversible process, such as cancer or a fatal heart attack or stroke. Every day you puff these risks remain high. But the day you stop, you begin to reduce your risks, and eventually, they can drop to that of a person who never smoked a day in his life. Then, to keep your risk as low as possible and to never again have to go through the quitting process, simply - Never Take Another Puff!Joel
© Joel Spitzer 1989
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