Stop smoking with lasers or acupuncture?
December 10, 2005 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Any of you stopped smoking (or not) after acupuncture or laser therapy?

After many years of smoking 30 or so cigs a day I went to a hypnotist, which helped me quit for a two weeks - which was the longest I'd gone before. The hypnotherapy helped a lot with resolve to stay quit but not for long. FWIW, I can't take bupropion, so Zyban is out of the question. Have done patches and gum. I hate to think a health scare is going to get me to quit cold turkey and by then it could be be too late. Help!
posted by nj_subgenius to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
I've done acupuncture. Last smoke going to Dr. office 6 years ago. No withdraw or cravings. Just stopped. Previous answer that links back to 3 previous posts.
posted by mss at 6:08 AM on December 10, 2005

You know what you're doing when you're quitting, right? You are not stopping the intake of nicotine; rather, you are changing the way you live your life. I'm no big success story, but after four years of smoking I quit, and I think the only way to quit is to want to quit.

Most people think about quitting, not unlike the way they hear a skilled guitarist and say, "oooh, I wish I could play the guitar," or will hear a bilingual person and exclaim, "how nice it must be to speak another language!" as though these skills were just handed to these people. No, everything that happens happens because you make it happen, nobody ever woke up and started jamming some stairway to heaven just because they pondered being able to do it.

Back to my original point, though: you not only have to have a sincere desire to quit, but you also have to realize that you are changing your habits. I set out to quit, but after the gung-ho sentiment dissipated, real life set in. I got into my car, where I would unfailingly light up a nice cigarette while I enjoyed the ride to wherever it was I was going, and felt absolutely fucking strange while having to think about not smoking the entirity of the time I was in my car. This was merely one aspect of my life. If you want to quit, you have to be prepared to face this over and over and OVER again throughout the whole day.

I actually quit for a small interval in that four years, to be honest. But the reason I started right back up, and I can guarantee this is the biggest hurdle, is when I started drinking more. Something about drinking and smoking just goes together, and you'll know this if you do both. Combine that with the depressed willpower/motivation that drinking offers, and you'll find yourself waking up with a fresh pack of Camels and a familiarly tart tasting mouth.

Another large hurdle: friends that smoke. I don't know why it is, but I SWEAR people who you are normally around who smoke, and who know you are trying to quit, have the most indulgent looking expressions on their faces while they smoke around you. This can work to your advantage though, as when you recognize yourself not smoking within this crowd, it can reinforce the separation you initially had to draw for yourself in diverging from them in this regard.

The idea that quitting is impossible without some sort of outside assistance (meds, patches, etc) is a fallacy. I attribute it to these "whimsical quitters" that I explained above. If it were me to go through it again I would go about it like this: Ask myself, "do I really want to quit?" I would find sufficient reason (there are plenty, take your pick: yellow teeth [whitestrips have to be exponentially more effective than nicotine gum as you have your reason to repeat to yourself rather than reliance on something that should be expelled from your life completely], the stink that just follows you around, health concerns, social regard, and more). I would then put myself in the situations I find more difficult while justifying my not-smoking with clearly established reasons I had previously come up with. This deliberate preparedness for diverging from my established habits would put me in control, rather than my falling victim to these pitfalls.

The message of this post is not just a freebie guide on how to quit. I really think that would have to be more persuasively oriented rather than informative. It is instead a self-check to determine whether or not you can quit. Everything you see a commecial for, a book about, a fad over, etc is only a marketing gimmick. If you cannot sit down right now and think of legitimate reasons to quit and conjure a sincere desire to quit based on those justifications, without looming recidivist inclinations that you could see yourself agreeing to in the future, you are simply not ready to quit.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 6:11 AM on December 10, 2005

Goose is right, of course, but FWIW I figure the only real reason to quit is Fear. If you're lying in bed, feeling a twinge in the chest and thinking "hmm ... I wonder what that is" then you might be ready.

Every time you stop, it's different (there are physical and chemical reasons why apparently). I can't comment on lasers or acupuncture but don't knock the power of a good Placebo ( Woman: [frantic] Where can we get these placebos?)

I quit finally with patches. What made the difference was being shown how to use them properly (wave it around a bit before you put it on - stops it itching) and giving them enough time to work. It was fine, in fact it was fun. I had loads more energy and got some really good stuff done. YMMV. Best of luck.
posted by grahamwell at 9:04 AM on December 10, 2005

I haven't used either. I used hypnosis.

Different tricks work for different people. I think the most important part for me was defining a moment when I was going to change my life for the better. I stopped thinking about my failed attempts. I've smoked about 20 cigarettes in the ten years since my single treatment, but I've never been tempted to smoke more than 1 per month.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:07 AM on December 10, 2005

Goose, of course, is completely right. Do not give these liars any of your goddamned money. You are the only one with the power to quit.

Stop acting like you are helpless and just suck it up and DO IT. You are not a victim. That's the only thing that will work.
posted by zerolives at 9:59 AM on December 10, 2005

Best answer: I quit with acupuncture after years of trying. It only took six treatments, and by the time I was done, I had no cravings at all. It's been a year now, and cigarettes disgust me and I know I'll never go back.
posted by gokart4xmas at 10:29 AM on December 10, 2005

Do not give these liars any of your goddamned money.

oil companies lie
pharma lies
politicians lie
media lies
military lies
food industries lie

there's lots of institutional failure to go around. why only site tobacco companies?
posted by brandz at 10:43 AM on December 10, 2005

I'm not sure that fear really helps at all. I'm always frustrated by how people beat themselves into a state of self loathing. Quitting is a positive step that feels great after a short period. I would never go back, and seldom miss it at all.

I also think ex-smokers hype the pain of quitting. For many people, it's just not that bad. I gained about 5 lbs, which I took off within a year. I didn't bite my nails, break up with my boyfriend, or pine. I was edgy but not for that long. I was able to go to a smokey bar in a couple of weeks. A few years on, I don't even mind the smell of smoke that much. (I had smoked pretty heavily for about 12 years, tried to quit a few times, but never really did it).

Acupuncture, hypnosis and the patch all lessen the pain of withdrawl. But it is up to the quitter to gain a sense of resolve.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:05 AM on December 10, 2005

P.S. regarding acupuncture. Get a good referral. There is a world of difference between a merely good and an excellent acupunturist. (I used acupuncture for back pain, but I am sure the same is true of smoking).

Shiatsu is also helpful, if you find the right person.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:12 AM on December 10, 2005

I smoked a pack a day for 15 years. I quit cold turkey, seven months ago today (yay me). Honestly, it really wasn't that bad. I read a great book called The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr, finished my last cigarette, and haven't smoked since then. The jist of the book is that we've convinced ourselves that quitting smoking is painful and excruciating, when, in reality, it isn't that bad, and it certainly isn't as hard as we tell ourselves it is. The book has worked for me and it's worked for several other people I know.

Prior to reading this book, I'd tried using the nicotine patch, gum, Zyban/Wellbutrin -- the longest I'd go was a few weeks, and then I be back smoking. This time, I feel great, and I never even have a tiny urge to smoke. Ever.

If you'd like to read the book, send me an email (address in my profile), and I'd be happy to send it to you.
posted by discokitty at 11:49 AM on December 10, 2005

I smoked 1 to 1 1/2 packs a day for about 10 years. I tried quitting a few times over the last 4-5 years. I tried : Gum, The Patch (3 times) and the lozenges.

Each time I would end up quitting for about 3-4 months and then starting again.

I finally stopped, cold turkey 10 months ago and haven't had a smoke since. I ended up quitting by just "wanting to". I didn't use anything the last time. I just got fed-up with it.

I would suggest just keep trying. If you start again, that's ok. Regardless of what people want you to think: Quitting smoking *is* hard. Just keep trying until you finally get it right.

Good luck!
posted by punkrockrat at 1:06 PM on December 10, 2005

May I suggest my method?

Stop smoking habitually - but DO smoke when the nicotine urge comes. But STOP when the urge is sated - usually three or four drags. Put the cigarrette out, clean the ashtray. Relight the used smoke when the nicotine urge strikes again.

I was able to quit after 36 hours using this method. I started again 18 months later, but that's another story.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:51 PM on December 10, 2005

I've posted about quitting before. The key for me was to psych myself up for it for like 30 days. I stopped smoking for all of my trigger activities. I didn't smoke in the car, at my computer, while watching tv, after I ate, etc. I forced myself to get up and go to another room to have a cigarette. That *really* helped me stop associating smoking with specific activities before the actual quit date.

But you don't need acupuncture, hypnosis, gum, lozenges, drugs, or even willpower. I didn't even quit when I was diagnosed with cancer. I smoked for another couple of years afterwards. Health scares don't even work. You need to believe that quitting smoking is a positive step for you, something that you deserve to do.

I quit about 14 months ago and I am loving it. I don't have to run right outside after a meal out to light a smoke against the biting wind, my head inside my jacket. I don't stink anymore. My house isn't yellow with nicotine. I don't have to annoy other people with my disgusting habit. I can exercise. I haven't used my inhaler in a year. These things are all things I am grateful for, and they were the things I thought about when I was quitting. I didn't think about how bad I felt then--I concentrated on how good I was about to feel when I kicked the habit.
posted by xyzzy at 2:56 PM on December 10, 2005

I just want to say best of luck and good for you for doing this now! My mom smoked for 40 years. Accupuncture and Zyban didn't do it; finding out that she had a class 1A (early stage) cancerous lesion on her lung (which she was VERY lucky to find early) did, though she still uses gum or patches a bit.

She has said that going about life without cigarettes is an entirely new experience, as if she's experiencing things for the first time/in a totally different way--she used to punctuate each experience with a cigarette, cigarette breaks used to interrupt any long activity she was doing, etc, and the change rather fascinates her.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:49 PM on December 10, 2005

Response by poster: Too much static from some, but thanks to those who stuck with the question posed.
posted by nj_subgenius at 5:05 PM on December 10, 2005

if I may - the 'static' is insightful. don't dismiss it outright.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:21 PM on December 10, 2005

« Older Website that shows TV listings, done by volunteers...   |   A simple DVD authoring program? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.