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Friday, June 16, 2006
Evanston, Illinois

Are you smoking more
and enjoying it less?

by Joel Spitzer

Rachel, an 18 year old College of Charleston student, shares a message about being hooked on smoking nicotine.

This creative slogan was once used by a cigarette advertiser trying to entice smokers of other brands to switch to their product. The slogan was a brilliantly conceived advertising tactic. Almost every smoker who had indulged for a significant period of time would instantly recognize him or herself in the slogan. He or she may even have tried smoking the other brand to recapture the pleasure and joy of earlier days of smoking. But to his or her dismay, even this cigarette failed to deliver that special feeling once derived from smoking.

Why do cigarettes seem to lose that special appeal for the veteran smoker? Have cigarettes changed so drastically over the years? No, that is not the problem at all. Cigarettes haven't changed, smokers have. For the longer an individual smokes, the more dependent the smoker becomes on his nicotine fix.

In his early days of smoking, the smoker derived much pleasure from the pharmacological action of nicotine. It made him feel alert, energetic or maybe even had a calming, relaxing effect. It helped in studying and in learning. Sometimes it made him feel more mature, confident and more social. It pretty much did whatever he wanted it to, depending on the circumstances surrounding him while he smoked it. In these early days, he smoked maybe 5 to 10 per day, usually just when he wanted the desired effect.

But gradually, something happens to the smoker. He becomes more dependent on cigarettes. He no longer smokes to solve a problem, to celebrate or to feel great. He smokes because he NEEDS a cigarette. In essence he smokes because he is a smoker, or, more accurately, a smoke-a-holic. No longer does he get those special smoker highs -- now he smokes because not smoking makes him feel withdrawal.

Not smoking means feeling nervous, irritable, depressed, angry, afraid, nauseous, or headachy just to mention a few effects. He grasps for a cigarette to alleviate these symptoms, all the time hoping to get that special warm feeling that cigarettes used to give him. But, to his dismay, all that happens is he feels almost normal after smoking a cigarette. And 20 minutes later the whole process starts up again.

Once he quits smoking, life becomes nice again. No longer does he go into withdrawal 20 to 80 times per day. He can go anywhere any time he wishes and not have to worry about whether he will be able to smoke at his needed intervals. When he gets a headache or feels nauseous, he knows he is coming down with an infection, not feeling the way he does every day as a smoker from too much or too little smoking. In comparison to his life as a smoker, he feels great. But then something insidious starts to occur.

He begins to remember the best cigarette he ever had in his life. It may be one he smoked 10, 20 or maybe even 40 years earlier. He remembers that special warm feeling of that wonderful cigarette. If he thinks about it long enough, he may even try to recapture the moment. Unfortunately, however, the moment will recapture him. Once again he will be in the grip of an addiction which will cause him to be smoking more and enjoying less. This time he may not get off.

This wonderful cigarette will cost him his freedom, his health and eventually his life. Don't make this mistake when you quit. Remember how cigarettes were the day you stopped, for that will be what they are like the day you go back, no matter how far apart those two days are. Remember the way they were and - Never Take Another Puff!


© Joel Spitzer 1989, 2000

Last updated June 16, 2006 2210 EST

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Written June 16, 2006 and page last updated December 27, 2013 by John R. Polito.