While government health officials have effectively suppressed, banned and outlawed support for cold turkey quitters, the art, science and psychology of successful abrupt nicotine cessation has created its own field of dreams.
This Friday, May 31, is World No Tobacco Day. It's a golden opportunity to motivate smokers to consider ending their slow suicide and gradual self-destruction via smoke's hundreds of toxins. But how? The vast majority have given the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, Zyban or Chantix one or more tires but without success. Dying to quit, where else is there to turn?
During April 2013, U.S. health officials spent an estimated $16 million as part of an overall $48 million 12-week "Tips from Former Smokers" campaign having a short term goal of motivating smokers to either call the national 1-800-QUIT-NOW telephone quitline or visit www.smokefree.gov. Both quitline callers and those visiting the website are strongly urged to obtain and use FDA approved quitting products.
So how is the CDC's 2013 Tips from Former Smokers campaign going? The national quitline received a total of 101,634 calls during April 2013, the first full month of the campaign, more than double February's 50,410.
Although this year's campaign is still ongoing, a similar CDC Former Smoker Tips campaign last year spent $54 million. According to the CDC, the entire $54 million was spent between March 19 and June 10, 2012 and resulted in 207,519 additional quitline calls and 510,571 additional website visits. That works out to a whopping $75 dollars for each smoker who called or visited.
By contrast, the nation's most popular cold turkey quit smoking site (WhyQuit.com) spent $7.64 during April 2013 (annual web hosting charge of $91.68) and has averaged 194,238 monthly unique visitors during the past year, nearly double the 101,634 April calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Government health officials are fully aware that cold turkey annually generates more long-term successful ex-smokers than all other methods combined.
Ironically, the CDC is using successful cold turkey quitters in its bid to get current smokers to purchase and use approved quitting products (at least Annette and Suzy). WhyQuit has asked the CDC about the quitting method used by each former smoker in its Tips campaign via a Freedom of Information Act request. The CDC has yet to reply.
There is also growing awareness that while replacement nicotine clobbers placebo inside randomized clinical trials, it gets trounced just as badly by real-world cold turkey quitters in population level quitting.
How could that be? Most obvious, real cold turkey quitters do not want, seek or wear placebo look-a-like nicotine patches. Not as obvious, placebo-controlled clinical trials have not been blind as claimed. The more quitting attempts the smoker has made, the more expert they became at recognizing withdrawal's onset.
Since June 23, 1983, the very day that nicotine gum gained initial FDA approval, health officials have known about yet ignored serious study blinding concerns.
Instead, they've shown blind allegiance to findings of paid pharmaceutical industry consultants who 17 years later would grow so bold as to declare that the method that generated nearly 40 million American ex-smokers - cold turkey - was no longer science-based. How? Because since 1996 health officials have invited and allowed consultants to serve as expert Guideline panel members in authoring official U.S. smoking cessation policy.
The all-consuming policy coined in Recommendation 7 declared:
"Numerous effective pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation now exist. Except in the presence of contraindications, these should be used with all patients attempting to quit smoking."
The word "all" instantly and permanently transformed thousands of federal and state health workers into quitting product salesmen. Since then, U.S. health officials have openly discouraged smokers from attempting to quit smoking cold turkey.
More than 5 million U.S. smoking deaths later, with the CDC openly admitting that decline in the adult smoking rate has stalled, the burning question justifiably being asked is, has a national cessation policy that made pharmaceutical financial influence, defective studies and replacement nicotine its cornerstones cost millions of smokers their lives?
Is it possible for a nicotine addict's brain dopamine pathways to adjust to functioning without nicotine while it continues to arrive? Do smokers quit because of having toyed with replacement nicotine or despite having done so?
If we could ask Helen Bradford and Neil Curtis their thoughts on this question, two successful cold turkey quitters, you'd feel their anger. We can't. Both died in 2011 of lung cancer, Helen at age 50 and Neil at 53. But before dying they left us nourishing food for thought.
"When the doctors, nurses and media kept telling me that the patch doubles my chance of quitting I believed them," wrote Helen. "These guys are the professionals so they must be right. I'm the dropout so it must be all my fault that I can't stop smoking. So instead of jumping up and down and complaining that their product is faulty, I went away resigned to having to smoke for the
rest of my life."
"The second time I used NRT was when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She really got on my case. She was constantly reminding me, 'Helen, smoking causes cancer!' This time I wasn't able to stop smoking even while wearing the patch. Each week the quitting nurse I was working with would tell me to not smoke while wearing the patch, but I just couldn't stop. In the end we just gave up on each other."
"I originally named my first post journal "4 Decades Of Lies" because I have been smoking for over 40 years," wrote Neil on February 9, 2011. "The lies I was talking about was aimed at the tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, and the government for letting
them do all that lying to us."
On April 9, 2011, Neal wrote an article documenting his recovery. He entitled it "The Real Me vs. The Junky." There he stated, "The Real Me still wanted so badly to surface and be free from the deep, dark, jungle. I tried and tried and even enlisted the help of gums, lozenges, patches, inhalers, e-cigs, and dip. I found myself in worse shape then when I started. Not only was I still buried in the jungle, but now the lozenges were growing vines around my legs, and I could barely move."
Excerpts from an April 4, 2013 National Cancer Institute counseling chat transcript evidence the lengths government health officials continue to go in discouraging smokers from making a cold turkey attempt:
Smoker: “My mom quit cold turkey.”
NCI Agent: “That's great to hear about your mom quitting successfully! The patches and gum can certainly help you quit as well. They can actually double a person's chances of staying quit by addressing those physical withdrawal symptoms, but they are only one piece of the puzzle.”
Smoker: “So you think the patch would be better than cold turkey?”
NCI Agent: “It's a personal decision, but again they have been shown to double a person's chances of staying quit by providing a low amount of nicotine without the thousands of chemicals that come along with smoking cigarettes. More information on nicotine replacement therapies, like the patch, can be found in the following link:
“Smoker: My mom keeps telling me to go cold.”
NCI Agent: “Cold turkey can mean different things for different people. When cold turkey means quitting without medication or developing a quit plan, fewer than 5% of people are able to successfully quit by that method.”
Prior to being diagnosed with lung cancer Helen became a zealous cold turkey quitter. Constantly trying to find new ways to help smokers quit, she came up with a brilliant idea. Why not change our Facebook profile picture for World No Tobacco Day, using an image that encourages smoking friends to visit and explore WhyQuit.com?
Why WhyQuit? As Helen put it, "I really, really wanted to quit so I started looking on the Internet. I went to a New Zealand site and someone there was talking about
WhyQuit. So I went and had a look. I downloaded Joel's book. It was about a week before I started reading it. But once I got going there was no looking back."
Helen realized that while WhyQuit had created a quitting "field of dreams," that our smoking friends could very well smoke themselves to death before discovering it. It isn't that they don't want to quit or can't, but that they don't know how.
This link is to an updated image (changed 2011 to 2013) of the one Helen suggested we use as our profile picture for World No Tobacco Day. http://whyquit.com/WNTD2013.jpg
WhyQuit is also the parent of Turkeyville, Facebook's most popular stop smoking support group, and Freedom, the Internet's only 100 percent nicotine-free support site.
While WhyQuit served 2,331,405 unique visitors during the past year, you will not find WhyQuit's link on any government quit smoking site so long as industry consultants are writing national quitting policy. The only way for your smoking friends to discover WhyQuit is if someone cares enough to point them in the right direction.
We've lost Helen but still living is her dream of helping your smoking friends achieve their greatest dream, freedom!
Read both and watch knowledge destroy quitting anxieties!
Learn More About Smart Turkey Quitting
WhyQuit.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. 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.
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.