What have we achieved?

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Wow! Time sure does fly when you are having fun!! So here we are at the end of the Chooseday journey. What better way to celebrate then to look back and see all that we have achieved! Over the last two months we have seen five separate Chooseday pledges, with each pledger taking a different approach to beating those choose day cravings. Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 3.14.29 PM

First up was @crackovina who took a walk instead of a smoke and was rewarded through meeting this cute little Aussie larrikin.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 3.14.41 PM@juddthestud46 aka Timothy took an interesting approach through actually breaking his cigarettes! Remind us of our profile photo!

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We saw a switch in platform with Francisco posting a photo of his e-cigarette. Coco decided to take the plunge after puffing it out on UNSW’s Basser steps.

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Next up was @yunggrlmel who like @crackovina took her cravings outdoors with a coastal walk leaving many of her instagram followers jealous.

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Our last pledger @hangalvin decided that she didn’t want her gums and teeth to look like her packet of winnie blue’s deciding to take the pledge with us.

Overall we are we pleased with what we have achieved over the last two months. We hope you have enjoyed the journey. And remember always make your Tuesday a day of choice. As Tuesday is Chooseday.

Chooseday pledger: Hannah

Hannah speaks with us about caving into social smoking, being asthmatic and how the 12.5% tax increase effects her.

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When did you start smoking?

I tried my first cigarette at 15, though I didn’t pick it up habitually until about 17.

 

How many cigarettes do you smoke a week?

It varies, though I’ve tried cutting right down so that I only smoke on the weekends. I may go through a pack or two over a week.

What are your smoking triggers?

Definitely being around fellow smokers. Also social situations heighten when alcohol is involved.

Do you cave in to these triggers?

Yes, almost every time.

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What made you want to take the #chooseday pledge?

A lot of people know me as a smoker, though they mightn’t know that I’m also asthmatic. No one should smoke, but us asthmatics especially are putting ourselves at a very dangerous risk. I also don’t agree with the 12.5% inclination being put on the annual tobacco tax.

How long have being doing #chooseday?

I’ve undertaken the Chooseday challenge for roughly three months now.

How has it been?

Honestly, I’ve caved a few times, but more often than not I’ve kept on track with the pledge. Chooseday’s social media presence has been increasingly influential, and I love reading about other people’s progresses!

Since beginning #chooseday has quitting smoking seemed like a more achievable goal?

Definitely! Chooseday is the reason I’ve cut right back on smoking throughout the week, and I’ve become quite accustomed to it. Quitting smoking altogether is the ultimate goal, and I feel like I can achieve that with huge thanks to the motivation that Chooseday has inspired!

Chooseday pledger: Francisco

Francisco or Coco to some, tells us why we decided to take the Chooseday pledge and makes a case for e-cigarettes. 

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When did you start smoking?

I started smoking when I was around 15. I’m now 26.

 

How many cigarettes do you smoke a week?

Buying normal packets of cigarettes was too expensive so I switched over to rolling my own because it was cheaper. Can’t really calculate how many but I smoke about 40 grams of tobacco a week.

 

What are your smoking triggers?

Being outside with other smokers and general social gatherings. Oh and when I drink.

 

Do you cave in to these triggers?

Once I get intoxicated there’s no stopping me.

 

What made you want to take the #chooseday pledge?

I ran up Basser Steps and found my breathing to be an issue, thought I should at least try to quit. For my health.

 

How long have being doing #chooseday?

Almost a month now

 

How has it been?

Really hard, I have cut back on smoking tobacco but I have replaced it with electronic cigarettes. I’ve been spending the same amount of money but I do feel a lot better.

 

Since beginning #chooseday has quitting smoking seemed like a more achievable goal?

Definitely

Chooseday pledger: Timothy

First cab off the rank, Timothy O’Brien. We sat down with this third year media student in week four of his Chooseday journey to discuss all things smoking, addiction and positive peer pressure.  Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 10.46.58 AM When did you start smoking?

I started smoking when I was about 16 years old.  

How many cigarettes do you smoke a week?

Initially I only smoked socially, but it progressed to daily and at home. At that point I was smoking about 30 cigarettes a week.  

What are your smoking triggers?

Whenever I see or smell cigarette smoke, if I see someone smoking on television, or if I have alcohol.  

Do you cave in to these triggers?

In most cases, yes.  

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What made you want to take the #chooseday pledge?

Well, some of my friends encouraged me to do it. I had been meaning to quit for a while and seeing the facebook campaign encouraged me to take the final step. So I would classify it as social pressures.  

How long have being doing #chooseday?

About 4-5 weeks now.  

How has it been?

It has been very helpful and rewarding, I am able to interact with other who are smoking as well as learn some interesting things about the damage that smoking can do. I am also reminded every Tuesday of why I am doing this, which further motivates me.  

Since beginning #chooseday has quitting smoking seemed like a more achievable goal? Absolutely. It has been an ongoing process as I am constantly reminded of my mission on social media. It’s a campaign that I can interact with daily, and I can understand that my goal is realistic and definitive.

Ways to help: Alternative methods

Here at chooseday we are all about personal choice and creating sustainable goals, tailoring your life decisions to your life. No quit journey is the same as we all do live differing lives and experience addiction differently. Where one individual can quit ‘cold turkey’ another can battle with cigarettes for a lifetime. Alternative methods of quitting have been around for decades, so we have decided to review some of our personal favourites.

Meditation

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Pragito Dove believes in a technique called ‘smoking meditation’ where the forced awareness on smoking effects makes a smoker more in tune of their true wants and needs, subsequently leading them to a path away from nicotine addiction.

Whenever you think about smoking a cigarette, become aware of taking the pack out of your pocket slowly, with full awareness. Then take the cigarette out of the pack with full awareness, slowly – not in the old hurried way, unconscious and mechanical. Start tapping the cigarette on the pack very alertly. Listen to the sound, then smell the cigarette and enjoy the beauty of it…just as in the Zen tradition when the tea kettle starts boiling and the aroma of the tea reaches your senses.

Then put the cigarette in your mouth with full awareness, light it, inhale with full awareness, slowly. Savor the taste, the smell, the sensation of the smoke entering your lungs. Enjoy every small action, every part of it and you will become more and more aware. As you release the smoke from your lungs, relax, enjoy the sensation and feelings in your body, be aware, go slowly, then take another puff.

The secret, I found, of breaking a habit such as smoking is to bring awareness to it. To deautomotize yourself from a mechanical habit brings great liberation. Once you bring it out into the light of conscious awareness, and SEE what it is, sooner or later, it simply drops away.

Hypnosis

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Hypnosis for smoking cessation has been a popular method for the last two decades, with dozens of hypnotherapy centres and specialists in Sydney city alone. If this is something that appeals to you WebMd runs as through exactly what happens when you are under the hyno-spell…

During hypnosis for smoking cessation, a patient is often asked to imagine unpleasant outcomes from smoking. For example, the hypnotherapist might suggest that cigarette smoke smells like truck exhaust, or that smoking will leave the patient’s mouth feeling extremely parched.

Spiegel’s method is one popular smoking cessation hypnosis technique that focuses on three main ideas:

  • Smoking poisons the body
  • You need your body to live
  • You should respect your body and protect it (to the extent you’d like to live)

The hypnotherapist teaches the smoker self-hypnosis, and then asks him or her to repeat these affirmations anytime the desire to smoke occurs.

Guided imagery

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A similar form of alternative therapy is visualization, which involves the controlled use of mental images for therapeutic purposes. National Standard Research Collaboration explains this evolving form of therapy:

Visualization involves the controlled use of mental images for therapeutic purposes. It has been proposed that the use of imagery in visualization may correct unhealthy attitudes or views. People who practice this mind-body technique call on memory and imagination. In some regards, visualization is similar to hypnosis or hypnotherapy. The technique is usually practiced alone. Visualization audiotapes are available.

The theoretical basis of visualization is that the mind is able to cure the body when visualized images evoke sensory memory, strong emotions or fantasy.

Acupuncture

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Acupuncture as an alternative approach to smoking cessation has a growing number of converts. This ancient form of therapy has proved to reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine addiction. Diane Joswick explains how acupuncture helps beak the cigarette habit.

Acupuncture is successful with smoking cessation and has turned a growing number of cigarette smokers into permanent ex-smokers. Treatments take all of your symptoms into account and aim at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health.
The acupuncture treatments focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness; all symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.
In one study conducted at the University of Oslo, Norway, acupuncture was found to significantly reduce the desire to smoke up to five years after the initial treatment. Subjects of the study also reported that cigarettes tasted worse than before treatment and that the treatments had effectively reduced their taste for tobacco.

The acupuncture needles used are hair-thin. They are superficially inserted into various points in the ears and body to assist with smoking cessation. In between treatments, small pellets are often taped to the acupuncture points on the ear. When a cigarette craving hits, gently pressing on the pellets stimulates the acupuncture points to calm the mind and eliminate the craving.

Acupuncture is not a panacea or a magic cure in the treatment of any addiction, including smoking. But, acupuncture is effective in making it easier to quit and remain smoke-free for good.

Ways to help: Support

Online and offline support can really help when trying to quit smoking. Since primary school we have been warned against the dangers of smoking and provided with reasons to quit from the cost of a single packet to the endless amount of health reasons. Despite knowing the various reasons to quit, when smoking addiction is at its peak it can be hard to comprehend these reasons. It is in this time that the smoker needs support. Support can come in all forms whether it be reading a quit story to attending a cessation workshop, no matter how big or small these all help and work as a stepping stone towards a smoke free life. Here at Chooseday we have listed some support networks for those considering cessation.

Online

Online support directory – WhyQuit is a great directory for all forms of addiction support. Their nicotine addiction section directs you to all types of sites list the type of forum, midyear cessation rate and membership requirements. Check out if you are unsure where to start or if you are quitting with a certain method e.g. cold turkey, lozenge.

ICanQuit – Our Aussie readers this ones for you. ICanQuit is an online service of the Cancer Institute of NSW, the website hosts application My Journey which allows you to set goals, track your progress and share your experiences. The site also provides helpful support on ‘Staying quit’ stating that “every attempt to quit smoking takes you one step closer to being smoke free“.

Offline

Speak with a loved one Although this may seem hard to admit that you are addicted, trust me you will feel better. Talking with a trusted friend or family member helps as there is a guarantee that this person knows you better than you know yourself. Through discussing your addiction you with them you are better able to work through methods to quitting. Speaking with a loved one also has a level of accountability as they can hold you up to your promises and keep you on the right path when strayed.

Attend a quit workshop – A more old-school approach to addiction support, a group workshop could be exactly what you need. The purpose of a cessation workshop is to create a forum of both education and support, with individuals and experts together sharing their experiences with nicotine addiction. For our NSW readers The Cancer Council hosts a free one-day Smoking Care Intervention Workshop, click here for more information.

Engage in alternative therapies – There are a number of emerging support therapies which in conjunction with other forms of support can assist in achieving a smokefree goal. Hypnotherapy and visualization are becoming increasingly popular within quitting circles. These therapies occur on a one-on-one basis meaning that it is a tailored program, designed specifically towards your cessation journey. These therapies also appeal individuals as it is a confidential practice, revolving around you and the therapist. If this is something that appeals to you keep an eye out for our upcoming ‘ways to help’ post on alternative methods to battle nicotine addiction.

Reason to quit: Social

Societal values and personal appearance play a massive role in deciding to quit smoking. With the majority of quitters admitting that what others thought of them smoking, was a residing factor in their decision to quit. This links heavily into individual appearance as cigarette smoking has the ability to alter ones external features from yellowing fingers to causing permanent skin damage.

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This is the basis for Queensland Government’s ‘If you smoke, your future’s not pretty campaign’ which aims to curb smoking addictions within the female population. By appealing to inward vanity the campaign encourages individuals to upload a photo to the Future You Smoking Booth and see how your appearances ages when smoking. Our Chooseday writer, Lucy road-tested this fun app and found the results scary, see below.

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What we love about this initiative is that plays on the vulnerabilities of a smoker by talking about the future effects smoking will have on your appearance. More importantly, the campaign works towards seeing a reduction in female smoking in Queensland, where one in five women smoke whilst pregnant. Queensland readers make sure you check out the ‘If you smoke, your future’s is not pretty’ roadshow.

Here’s where you’ll find the roadshow next week:

Thursday October 23 (9am-5pm): Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore

Saturday October 25 (9am-5pm): Brisbane, Westfield Garden City, Mt Gravatt