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Discussion, comments and links related to Joel Spitzer's cold turkey quit smoking videos

The Fallacy of "Good Cigarettes"

Video discusses how people often fixate on the desire to have "a good cigarette".

The Fallacy of "Good Cigarettes"

Most smokers will attest to the fact that they feel that there were some "good" cigarettes that they smoked over their lifetime. When I use the term "good," I don't want any confusion here that they were cigarettes that were good for them or even cigarettes that served a valuable purpose, like helping them get through a crisis.

If a person survived a crisis while taking a cigarette, it is crucial that he or she recognizes that he or she would have gotten through the crisis even if he or she had not smoked. Hanging on to the belief that a cigarette was the only thing that got them through is setting the person up for future failure if a crisis is ever big enough.

When I use the word "good" though, I simply mean there were some cigarettes that people truly enjoyed. One of the tactics I use at all my clinics is to ask for a show of hands of people who smoke two packs a day or more. I ask those people how many of them smoke because they like smoking. There are always going to be a number of two pack a day smokers who answer in the affirmative to the question.

I then go on to ask some very important follow-up questions. First I ask them to tell me which cigarettes stand out in their minds as being really great cigarettes on any given day. Usually they will offer up the first one or two they have when they wake up, the ones after meals and maybe one or two others that they have on certain breaks.

Then you can see that they are trying to think of other good ones but none seems to come to mind. I simply point out that we have a mathematical problem occurring here. They have come up with five to seven good cigarettes yet they are smoking 40 or more cigarettes a day. Where are those other cigarettes?

Some of them are nasty as they smoke them. Some of them are marginal, they don't even remember smoking them soon after they were out. So here we have a few good cigarettes, a few lousy cigarettes and a whole bunch of what now seem to be insignificant cigarettes. It is then a matter of convincing the person to remember all of the cigarettes and helping him to understand that while there may be some good ones, they have to be accompanied by all of the mediocre and miserable ones, and when it comes down to it all of them, even the good ones are killing them.

Sometimes the original question I ask, of which cigarettes stand out as being really great cigarettes, appears to backfire. For some people will respond with a clear and resounding statement of "All of them". But to those people I just have one simple follow-up question which is, "How much do you like smoking? Do you like smoking more than you like something like, oh, I don't know…something like maybe…breathing?" It is quite evident that this is not the case for if it were it is very doubtful that they would be sitting in a Stop Smoking Clinic in the first place.

Below are a few posts that we have that explore the concept of people saying they enjoyed smoking. They are by no means the only articles on the site that address this issue. I think that anyone who is hanging on to the belief that in some way they really miss smoking needs to spend time reading at the Education Forum which includes Nicotine, The First 72 Hours, Recovery Layers and Relapse Prevention.

Equally important if not more so would be reading the stories at When it really comes down to it stories like Byran's and Noni's and Kim's and Sean's and the countless others drive home the point that nothing that brings even some level of enjoyment is worth using if it brings on the kind of suffering and losses that accompanies using a product that is destructive and lethal. Smoking destroys the smoker and often goes on to devastate his or her loved ones left behind.

There may have been cigarettes that people think back to as good–but these good cigarettes were destroying tissue, overworking their heart and lungs and were keeping the addiction alive and well that was creating the need for tens or hundreds of thousands of cigarettes that would likely eventually have killed them. The only good cigarettes were the ones you tossed without lighting the day you quit, for they were the cigarettes that started you on your journey to become an ex-smoker–the cigarettes that you can vividly recall as the ones you destroyed when you finally committed to never take another puff!


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© Joel Spitzer 2018
Reformatted 07/02/18 by John R. Polito