Thursday, September 03, 2009

Timed smoking cessation

Once I read about a means of quitting smoking that seemed really promising and ingenious, but that was a long time ago. This technique doesn't seem to be around anymore; I don't hear it talked about and don't see any references to it online (though it's hard to know what to search on). I wonder why. Maybe it wasn't very effective, and if so, I'm curious about why not.

The idea is very simple. You time the amount of time between your cigarettes, then you start not allowing yourself a cigarette until just a little longer than that. If you were having one every two hours on average, you increase it to two and a half. It might be hard to not take your next one, but it's not that hard to just put it off a little. After a day of this, you increase it again, maybe to three hours. Each day you extend the time a bit longer. After a few weeks you've significantly decreased your rate of smoking, and reduced the amount of the toxic and additive substances in your body; and both of these mean it'll be easier to take that last step when you're only having one a day anyway.

I've never had an addiction problem, not even to caffeine, so I'm perfectly willing to believe that this plan, which sounds really sensible and clever to me, wouldn't really work. But I would like to know why. At what point does it fail? Or does it work but it's too slow or something? Or to indulge the conspiracy theorists, is it suppressed just because no one gets to sell you an overpriced patch?

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