We say it every day of the clinic, in every letter and in every phone call. Even so, I still feel I cannot repeat it enough, Never Take Another Puff! It is not that I am afraid that you will like the cigarette and decide how wonderful going back to smoking will be. To the contrary, it will probably make you dizzy, nauseous, and generally sick. You may absolutely hate yourself for having done it. Even this, though, is not the problem.
The real danger is the reinforcement of the nicotine addiction. It is a powerful addiction. One puff can send you back to your old level of cigarette consumption within days. We have had clinic participants who have previously quit smoking for periods exceeding 20 years. One day they decide to try just one. Even after this great period of time, the first cigarette is enough to start the whole addiction withdrawal process. They are again hooked on a drug, and within days the full habit returns. All of the physical dangers, psychological problems, and tremendous expenses return to their previous levels. If you do not believe this can happen to you, come into the first or second night of our next Stop Smoking Clinic. Listen to all of the new enrollees who are there to quit smoking. These are people who were once off cigarettes for a substantial period of time before, people who liked not smoking, people who loved not smoking, people who now need help to once again reclaim their nonsmoking status because of one tragic mistake. They were not immune to the first drag. The odds are, neither are you. Consider this the next time you have a passing thought for a cigarette.
Now you have a choice. You can remain an ex-smoker or you can become an addicted smoker once again. Consider both options carefully. Which way of life better suits you - a slave to a deadly weed or a truly free person? The final decision is yours. If you choose the latter, simply practice the following advice—Never Take Another Puff!
©1982. by Joel Spitzer