For the addicted yet brave, World No Tobacco Day, Tuesday, May, 31, is a golden midyear opportunity to invest time contemplating why the prospect of quitting is so frightening, how nicotine rewired their brain and took their mind's pay-attention pathways hostage, and why that next nicotine fix truly is their #1 priority in life, more important than food, health, money, family, friends, and, sadly, life itself.
World No Tobacco Day will bring thousands of dreamers to the Internet where they'll find it awash with every quick fix magic cure imaginable. But what most freedom seekers won't be told is that, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, nearly 90% of all long-term successful quitters quit smoking cold turkey.
And it isn't just here in the U.S. and Canada but around the globe. A study in the May 2006 edition of Addictive Behaviors found that a whopping 88% of successful long-term Australian quitters quit smoking cold turkey. Aside from almost all quitting nicotine cold, it also found that cold turkey quitters experienced success rates twice as high as achieved by those using the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler or Zyban (bupropion).
This year varenicline (Chantix and Champix) is the new kid on the block. Pfizer boasts that it aided 1 in 5 clinical trial users in quitting for a year. But aside from Chantix - Champix use, a number of study design factors may have heavily influenced outcome. More alarming, there's mounting user concerns that Pfizer has failed to adequately warn smokers [Internet Archive link] about "frequent" risk of significant muscle and joint pain (what Pfizer lists [Internet Archive link] as "arthralgia, back pain, muscle cramp, musculoskeletal pain, myalgia" - see page 14), without telling users how frequently, or that symptoms may persist long after varenicline use has ended.
Unique among Internet quitting destinations, WhyQuit is the only major quit smoking site that will greet World No Tobacco Day visitors by telling them to keep their money in their pockets. An education and support oriented cold turkey quitting forum, WhyQuit sells nothing, advertises nothing and steadfastly refuses to accept donations.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, WhyQuit offers visitors what may be the Internet's largest collection of original quitting articles, Joel Spitzer's free 149 page PDF quitting book entitled "Never Take Another Puff," more than 160 free video counseling lessons, powerful motivational resources, and the Internet's only nicotine-free quit smoking support group, Freedom, and Facebook's most active support site, Turkeyville.
Nicotine addiction is about living a lie. It's about brain dopamine pathways -- the mind's priorities teacher -- being taken hostage and compelled to falsely convince us that smoking nicotine defines who we are, gives us our edge, and allows to cope. Quality cessation programs destroy false fears and needless anxieties, allowing quitters to notice and appreciate the unfolding beauty as they journey home.
Smokers would be wise to ponder the question, what dependency or recovery learning takes place by swallowing a pill, slapping on a patch, chewing gum, sucking a lozenge, getting hypnotized, enduring acupuncture or laser therapy? Although knowledge truly is power, it's a quitting method too that can dramatically enhance success. Let World No Tobacco Day 2016 be a day of discovery. Just one rule determining the outcome for all: no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time, Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew.