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!

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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

hypnosis

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.

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

Ways to help: Apps

Our reliance on smartphone technology has been highly criticised by the mass media with fears that the apps, websites and social networking sites we rely are leading to forms of addition and antisocial behaviour. Although we are spending hours on consumed by these platforms, there is increasing evidence that this addictive technology may be helping curb other dangerous addictions. There  thousands of apps designed to help curb smoking addictions, with the majority focused on creating sustainable goals for quitting. Here at Chooseday we have categorised our top five apps, reviewed by Erica Roth.

1. My Last Cigarette – Stop Smoking Stay Quit

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My Last Cigarette is one of the original smoking cessation apps, and it’s easy to see why it’s stuck around. The program has helped thousands of people quit smoking by pointing out the positives. The app calculates the money you’ll save by not smoking, but more importantly, it tells you how much longer you could live smoke free. Daily motivational messages and medical facts help keep you on track.

2. Quit It Lite

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Quit It Lite is a motivational program that helps you track your smoking cessation goals in a different way. Instead of tracking your nicotine consumption, Quit It Lite focuses on what you haven’t done. The app tracks the cigarettes you didn’t smoke, the tar that didn’t absorb into your bloodstream, and the money you didn’t spend on tobacco products. The physical benefits of quitting are displayed, based on how long you’ve gone without smoking.

3. Craving to Quit

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Craving to Quit is a free trial of Craving Quit Pro, a 21-day smoking cessation program developed by and tested at Yale University. Using group-based training principles, Craving to Quit’s customizable features help you develop goals and remind you to check in daily in order to track your progress. Playlists provide audio and visual instruction, nightly reflections, and exercise tracks to keep you moving and motivated. You can also upgrade to Craving to Quit Pro in order to access all 21 days of instruction.

4. Quit Smoking with Andrew Johnson

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Clinical hypnotherapist and stress management expert Andrew Johnson is known for his self-help programs. Johnson’s inspirational messages help people with many kinds of addiction. Now his confidence-boosting program is available to people who want to quit smoking.

For many people, it’s not just the act of smoking that makes quitting difficult, but the situations that make you want to smoke. Quit Smoking with Andrew Johnson teaches you how to break habits that you’ve associated with smoking. The lessons make you relax your mind and body until you’re ready to let smoking go.

5. LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach

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LIVESTRONG’s MyQuit Coach app can help you quit smoking your way. The physician-approved app lets you personalize your journey and make quitting smoking fit into your lifestyle. Choose to quit “cold turkey” or reduce your nicotine use with a step-down approach. Features include analyzing your nicotine consumption, tracking your cravings, and making resolutions that are meaningful to you.

Read more great reviews here.

Do you use apps? If yes, is it one above or another?

Reason to quit: Economic

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A smoker may have hundreds of reasons to quit, from wanting to improve their general health to stopping for a loved one. Since mid 20th century the Australian government has sought to prevent smoking related illnesses and diseases, through means of increasing tobacco taxes. This has seen a steady increase in the cost of cigarettes with a 20 pack of Marlboro currently selling at around $19 with prices set to soar 12.5% over the next four years. If this tax is passed, it will see Australia become the most expensive place to smoke in the world. In order to further explore the correlation between the cost of smoking and the prevalence within society, we have listed the most expensive cigarette prices against the lowest (based on a 20 pack of Marlboro or equivalent).

Most expensive

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Australia – $18.56

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New Zealand – $17.56

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Norway – $17.50

Least expensive

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Pakistan – $1.17

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Vietnam – $1.19

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Nicaragua – $1.26

The Australian Government believes that by increasing tax prices of tobacco products will help curb smoking addiction. With tobacco-related diseases costing more than $31 billion to the national economy annually and causing over 15,000 deaths each year, the Federal Government has faced pressure to increase these taxes.

Recent predictions have indicated that the recent tax haul introduced will see around 800 million fewer cigarettes will be smoked in Australia and around 60,000 smokers will quit. Despite this, a current pack-a-day smoker will spend approximately $6,775 a year. Conversely, a pack-a-week smoker will spend just under a $1000 a year.

Blog 3

The choice is there. Make this Tuesday a day of choice.