Quit Smoking Lifestyle Changes

I just read this article whilst wasting some time ‘stumbling’ around the net. It makes for a useful set of tips to any smoker who is thinking about quitting or is in the process of quitting.

The way we start the day can have a massive effect on how we feel about ourselves and everything for that matter.

Where the article mentions coffee, just read ‘coffee and cigarette’ and you’ll know what I mean. Even though I feel much better for having quit smoking, I still start my day the opposite of how this article suggests. Give it a go – I will too!

Yet Another Unsolicited Testimonial

I do not make these up, they just brighten up my day when customers choose to let me know how they are getting on. This was received yesterday:

Dear Pete,

I had to take time to write and thank you for your EasyQuit System. Just as promised, your system opened my eyes and made me see how simple it is. I quit even before finishing the book! I believe my “A-HA!” moment was on page 62 when you “locked me in the room”. What a profound revelation! I have been a non-smoker for three months now, with no weight gain and no regrets whatsoever. I’ve never looked back and never felt better. I can’t thank you enough!

Eternally grateful.

Nancy Albea

Thank you Nancy, I appreciate the compliment but more importantly, I am really gald you have quit for good.

Another Stonking Great Unsolicited Testimonial

Pete, hello and thank you, I just bought your book 24 hours ago and I just smoked my last cigarette!! Your book is wonderful and I will absolutely recomend it to everyone I know!! Your book opened my eyes to what I have never seen before, I have tried everything and nothing worked untill now!! Again Thank You!! I’m 30 years old and have been smoking since the age of 16. You made it so simple!! I will always remember your wonderful words of wisdom and be a Happy Ex-smoker!!!

Kelly J. Ohio USA

Another EasyQuit System Testimonial

Dear Peter Howells

When I purchased your book I have to admit, I was not sure it would work! I have been wanting to quit and have tried before and have failed.

Knowing that smoking is very harmful to my health especially since I have smoke for 30 years and my children being very concerned having asked me many times to quit One day I told myself I have to find a way to quit!

I went to my computer mad; I typed in “stop smoking”. Of course many websites popped up. How would I choose?

To make a long story short I landed on your EasyQuit System™. I will be honest. I did not think it would work but it did!

I had to read the book two times before I understood all the points you were making. Being able to smoke and following your direction when smoking I feel was the key that let me out of my prison. So now I am free!!!

I did not tell my children what I was doing until I was sure it would work. But when I did they were so happy they cried happy tears. I have three girls and I thank God for your book and you taking the time to write it. It changed my life. I had my eureka moment, feeling “I am free!”

I want to thank you so much! My girls wanted me to say thank you for them too. This book was worth every penny I spent!

Helen Dunning

Quit Smoking Perspectives – “The System” Analogy

I discovered how to quit smoking three years ago and when I did quit it was as easy as falling off a log. One of the things that struck me so much when I did discover the secret, was the importance of your perspective on smoking. The importance of your relationship with smoking.

I am not going to be able to tell you how to quit smoking in this article – I haven’t enough time to so what I want to do is give you an analogy to explain how your perspective is so important on how you can deal with smoking. This is a cornerstone of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and it works differently to other quit smoking methods because it relies so much on getting your view of the world fixed.

To explain the importance of perspective, I want to tell you about a program I watched on TV a few months ago. Its topic was intriguing and what the program promised to deliver was incredible. The program was called “Derren Brown: The System” and it was advertised explaining “Derren has a system for winning at the horses and in this one-off special he tells a single mum from London which horses are going to win, again and again!”

“The System” started with her receiving an email telling her to look out for another email in which an anonymous tipster would tell her which horse would win a particular horse race. It stated that she should not bet on the tipped horse but just watch for the result. Sure enough, a few hours before the race in question, she received an email and it stated which race and which horse and sure enough, the horse won. Impressive!

A few days later she received another email saying she would be given another tip but again, that she should not bet on it. Sure enough, a few hours before the race, she received her email and sure enough the horse won! Great.

The process continued and she was told to bet $10 on the third tip, rather than not betting at all. She won about $50 back.

The next race she was told to bet $50 and sure enough, she won again. This poor, hard working, devoted single mum on a seriously limited income was getting a break. As a viewer, you couldn’t help but think this couldn’t happen to a nicer or more deserving person. I was genuinely impressed and happy for her as no doubt were many other viewers.

For the fifth race, she was again contacted by email and told to bet the winnings from he previous race on the next race. She did. She won. Brilliant!

Then for the sixth race she was told to go to a specific racecourse and that she would meet the anonymous person who had been providing the tips. She was also told to gather as much money as she could and bring it with her because once she had met the tipster, he would make this his last ever tip. He would explain how he had developed The System and that she could then go on and use The System as much as she wanted.

Sure enough, having seen 5 consecutive winning tips, our single mum borrowed money from her dad and from friends and emptied her account and raised all the cash she could. In total she had about $8,000 to bring and place on this final bet. It was her entire worth in life and it was all about to be laid down on this last final bet approved by the anonymous tipster.

On arrival at the racecourse, she met the tipster – Derren Brown, a TV illusionist who is well known in the UK for his ability to achieve the seemingly impossible. Upon realizing her tipster was Derren Brown, our single mum exclaimed how she wished she had sold her house and all her possessions and gone to a loan shark to get even more money, so certain was she that The System was failsafe.

Not only was her expectation heightened by the previous 5 flawless tips, upon realizing it was Derren Brown providing the tips, any underlying doubts she had were wiped out as she thought she had a rock solid, 100% guaranteed foundation for winning.

She handed over her life’s worth and Derren went off and placed a bet on Horse “X”. To add to the excitement, the program then showed the expressions on our single mum’s face as she watched Horse “X” come in last. The look of utter despair made for great TV.

Luckily, Derren hadn’t bet on Horse “X”, he bet on the winning horse instead! Our single Mum had just won several thousand dollars. This was great TV! The System worked! Or did it?

On the face of it, Derren had given her 6 consecutive winners in 6 consecutive races but that is only because of the way that we watched the program. Our single mum was actually one of 6 guests at the racecourse that day. The other 5 lost (and were given their money back).

On the fifth race, there had been 36 people involved in the filming and all but 6 of them won. The other 30 went home losers.

On the fourth race, there had been 216 people involved in the program, 180 of them lost that race and were no longer part of the program. There had been 1296 people at the third race but 5/6ths dropped out as losers afterwards. In the second and first races, there had been a total of 7776 and 46656 involved in the experiment. Every time, 5/6ths of the experiment didn’t win their race because of the way that The System worked.

Each race had only 6 horses in it and from the initial 46,656 people, they were divided into 6 groups of 7,776 and told to look out for horse 1 or horse 2 or horse 3 etc. Those that lost were dropped from The System and the remainder were then divided up into six groups and told to look out for horse 1 or horse 2 or horse 3 etc. in the next race and so on.

All this good TV was the result of perspective. Your perspective or my perspective as a viewer to be precise. Because we followed our single mum, we saw The System the way she saw The System; as a successful betting plan. In reality, she was the inevitable result of a carefully executed scheme.

Our single mum was the inevitable result of this experiment. She happened to be the lucky person who happened to be assigned each and every winning horse in each and every race. From her perspective and our perspective; Derren had an infallible system.

But what has this got to do with how to quit smoking? Well, everything when it comes to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) because CBT turns your view of smoking on its head.

Just because you hold a specific point of view or because you see life through a particular perspective, it doesn’t mean it is the truth. It is just your version of the truth and it is often completely wrong!

You have a perspective about smoking which includes your ideas about why you do it, how much you enjoy it and how difficult it can be to quit. The way you feel about these things is all a product of your perspective. It is your version of the truth.

CBT reviews and analyses all your perspectives about smoking. The big reveal at the end of the program which destroyed our perspecive of The System is what CBT does to your views about smoking.

Champix/Chantix Warnings

Champix is the trade name for Chantix in the UK.

There have been a number of reports recently regarding the safety of Chantix for patients operating machinery or driving. Chantix is known to cause some drowsiness and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued new guidance regarding its use. Specifically, they have suggested that people taking Chantix should not operate machinery or drive whilst undertaking the course of the drug.

Chantix treatment regimens typically last between 12 and 24 weeks. The drug works by interfering with the action of nicotine in the brain. The results of which lead to smokers having reduced cravings for nicotine and little pleasure from smoking.

There are more details regarding chantix side effects at the following website: http://chantixsideeffects.info

In another case in the UK, a man on a course of chantix to overcome smoking committed suicide, apparently out of the blue and there is growing evidence that suicidal thoughts should be listed as a possible side effect of taking the drug.

Over 4 million Americans, 500,000 Europeans and about 20,000 Brits have taken the anti-smoking drug which allegedly doubles a smokers chance of quitting.

The MHRA has had 46 reports of depression associated with the use of Chamtix and 16 reports of patients experiencing suicidal thoughts. It is well known that stopping smoking can exacerbate existing psychiatric conditions though.

The prescribing information leaflet already contains warnings that it should be used with care in people with a previous psychiatric illness such as depression.

It is thought that so long as patients are fully aware of the potential side effects of the drug, and are of sound mind, they should have no difficulty managing side effects and thus increasing their chances of becoming smoke free.

Smoking rates stop falling

The CDC has reported that smoking rates in the US have remained the same over the last few years after having fallen year on year for the previous 7 years (1997-2004).

The government’s target is to have only 12% of the adult population smoking by 2010 but the figures suggest that they will miss the target by a long shot.

Statistics show that 20.8% of the adult population smoked last year representing a total of 45 million adults. The statistics also show that a total of 91 million Americans have been smokers at some point in their lives (defined as smoking over 100 cigarettes in their lives).

The report indicated that 80% of smokers smoked every day and 44% of smokers had tried at least once to quit smoking.

Evidence suggests that quitting smoking is the single most advantageous change a smoker can make in their lives to improve their health and lower risks of smoking related disease, such as cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease and stroke.

The Great American Smokeout

The third Thursday of November is coming and so here comes the Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and a huge contributor toward overall cancer rates in America and Europe so it is noble that the American Cancer Society run this event to help people get off the smokes. However, there is a side point about being a smoker and being told a specific day is the day when you should try to quit.

In the UK, there is the national no smoking day and do you know what? It makes not the slightest difference to most smokers because smokers do not try to quit smoking ‘en masse’ because anti-smoking organisations want them to. Smokers quit (successfully) when they are good and ready and prepared.

On national no smoking day in the UK, the office blocks still have the smoking hoards outside them, shivering in the cold. Being told ‘today is the day’ isn’t going to wash it, particularly on any old day in November when there isn’t a reason to quit. What’s more, smokers smoke because they are addicted to nicotine and going a whole day without it is a tedious and irritable experience for most smokers. Quitting smoking for one day is a bit like getting a hangover. It is uncomfortable, unnecessary but at least the next day you feel normal again!

Your best bet are to attempt a quit on a day when there is a significant reason for you to quit such as your birthday, new year, your wedding anniversary or your child’s birthday or Armistice Day or the 4th of July or Thanksgiving. Quitting on a random day in November is not a poingnant enough reason to stop.

What’s more, trying to quit without having learned how to quit is quite a futile process and leads to 95% of quitters failing which erodes confidence and hope. My advice is to quit when you are good and ready and have mustered up the reasoning and determination to quit. Also, make sure you have planned how to go about it, or learned from a process such as the EasyQuit System how to make quitting easy and painless.

If you are going without a smoke on the smokeout, good luck and if you are going to try and quit, even more luck to you! Never stop trying to quit.

EasyQuit System mp3 – what do you think?

If you haven’t bought and read my book, the EasyQuit System yet, I would like to know if it would be more appealing to you if it were available as an mp3 audio book?

I know a lot of people don’t like reading a book from the screen (I can cope with it but that’s just me!) and printing out a 100 page book is a bit daunting. To that end, I am in the process of recording the book for my customers so they can just upload the mp3 files to their mp3 player, ipod or listen to them straight from their computer. It will be about 3 hours of audio and will can be burned onto 3 CDs.

Either way, let me know what you think.

Cheers, Pete

Unlocking the secrets of cot death

Exclusive: A major new report seen by the IoS has revealed that smoking holds the key to a mystery that has baffled doctors and brought heartache to thousands.

Nine out of 10 mothers whose babies suffered cot death smoked during pregnancy, according to a scientific study to be published this week. The study, thought to be one of the most authoritative to date on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), says women who smoke during pregnancy are four times more likely than non-smokers to see their child fall victim to cot death.

The comprehensive report will make a strong case for the Government to increase the scope of anti-smoking legislation. It even suggests a possible move to try to ban pregnant women from getting tobacco altogether.

The study, produced by Bristol University’s Institute of Child Life and Health, is based on analysis of the evidence of 21 international studies on smoking and cot death. The report, co-authored by Peter Fleming, professor of infant health and developmental physiology, and Dr Peter Blair, senior research fellow, will be published this week in the medical journal Early Human Development.

The report urges the Government “to emphasise the adverse effects of tobacco smoke exposure to infants and among pregnant women”. It also warns that this year’s ban on smoking in public places must not result in an increased exposure of infants or pregnant woman at home – smoking in their presence should be seen as being “anti-social, potentially dangerous, and unacceptable”.

The study points out that many mothers and mothers-to-be have not heeded warnings about smoking and may need to have their access to tobacco restricted. “Given the power that tobacco addiction holds over its victims, there is grave concern as to whether it will be a successfully modifiable risk factor without fundamental changes in tobacco availability to vulnerable individuals,” it states.

Scientists are working to the theory that exposure to smoke during the pregnancy or just after birth has an effect on brain chemicals in the foetus or in infants, increasing the risk of SIDS.

The Government is considering whether it should change its advice on smoking. It recommends that pregnant women should not drink alcohol at all, but simply recommends that mothers and fathers “cut smoking in pregnancy”.

These findings will add weight to calls from doctors earlier this year for a ban on parents smoking indoors where children are present. Professor Robert West, of University College London, the Government’s most senior smoking adviser, said: “We can apply powerful social pressure on parents not to smoke in the house.”

Speaking about the new report, Dr Blair said: “If smoking is a cause of SIDS, and the evidence suggests it is, we think that if all parents stopped smoking tomorrow more than 60 per cent of SIDS deaths would be prevented.”

According to the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), at least 300 babies in the UK each year die suddenly and unexpectedly, mostly between the ages of one month and four months. SIDS is the biggest killer of babies over a month old, claiming more deaths than traffic accidents, leukaemia and meningitis put together.

The issue has prompted a number of high-profile criminal convictions against mothers such as Angela Cannings and Sally Clark. Mrs Cannings suffered the deaths of three babies who died in their cribs. Mrs Clark had two infants who were taken by SIDS. Both women were jailed but later had their convictions overturned and were released in 2003. Mrs Cannings, whose family smoked, was too upset by personal matters to comment yesterday on the findings of this latest study. Mrs Clark, a non-smoker, died last March.

Although scientists are still trying to understand precisely why babies die so young, medical research is providing effective steps that parents can take to reduce the risk of it happening.

Anti-smoking messages have provided some benefits: in the past 15 years, researchers found that the proportion of smokers among all pregnant mothers in the UK has fallen from 30 to 20 per cent.

Nevertheless, according to another study, in 1984 57 per cent of babies who died from SIDS had mothers who smoked during pregnancy. This had increased to 86 per cent by 2003. It is thought that the huge rise in the proportion of SIDS mothers who smoke is at least to some degree a result of the Back to Sleep campaign which was launched in 1991, and which appears to have had a dramatic effect in reducing cot death.

The key message of this campaign was that parents should put their baby on its back to sleep. Since then, the number of SIDS deaths has fallen by three-quarters. The proportion of SIDS babies found lying face down has fallen from 89 per cent to 24 per cent.

The campaign has also changed the social profile of parents whose infants have died from SIDS. Before the Back to Sleep campaign, fewer than half were from lower socio-economic classes, considered to be “deprived”. Now, this proportion has risen to 74 per cent.

The researchers now believe that laying babies face down has been largely removed as the main reason for SIDS. The remaining primary dangers are exposure to tobacco smoke and other factors possibly linked to deprivation.

“The risk of unexpected infant death is greatly increased by both prenatal and postnatal exposure to tobacco smoke,” said Dr Blair. “We should aim to achieve a ‘smoke-free zone’ around pregnant women and infants.

“Reduction of prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke, by reducing smoking in pregnancy, and of postnatal exposure to tobacco, by not allowing smoking in the home, will substantially reduce the risk of SIDS.”

There are a number of theories to explain how smoking could affect the baby. Babies exposed to tobacco could have breathing problems. Lung development in the growing foetus could be hindered. Another theory is that levels of brain chemicals are affected by smoke exposure.

“Exposure to tobacco smoke, either prenatally or postnatally, will lead to a complex range of effects upon normal physiological and anatomical development in foetal and postnatal life, together with an increased incidence of acute viral infection that places infants at greatly increased risk of SIDS,” says the Bristol University study.

Deborah Arnott, the director of ASH, the anti-smoking charity, said that this report should provoke a strong government campaign to highlight the risks of women smoking while pregnant, and of parents smoking in the home.

“Because of other advice on avoiding cot death, smoking has become an increasingly important trigger and we are very concerned that there is a lack of understanding of how important it is,” she said.

A YouGov poll commissioned for ASH at the end of August showed only 17 per cent of respondents thought second-hand smoke had a big impact on cot-death risk, and 26 per cent that it had “some impact”. But Ms Arnott does not believe the public ban will necessarily increase smoking at home. She added: “About 85 per cent of smoke is invisible and people think it isn’t having an impact if they smoke in a room where the baby isn’t, but it moves around the house. Our advice is, if you have a baby and cannot give up, don’t smoke in the home or car and use nicotine gum or patches for cravings. Being realistic, banning smoking in the home isn’t something we can do.”

Catherine Parker-Littler, a midwife and founder of midwivesonline.com, said that her confidential service has received emails from smokers who lost infants to cot death. “In our ‘Ask a Midwife’ service, we have definitely had emails from a small number of parents who smoke about their experience in terms of a cot death,” she said. “Some are about feelings of guilt.”

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said: “This is an interesting report which we will study carefully and consider whether we need to change our advice. At the moment, our advice on how best to reduce the chances of cot death is based on the best available scientific evidence. We advise parents to cut out smoking in pregnancy and not to share a bed with your baby if you are a smoker.”