Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quiting smoking and NTAP

NTAP stands for Never Take Another Puff.

Almost everyone who quit smoking after 3-4 months of success will wonder what if i just tried one puff. This thought usually is dismissed at first. But as weeks passes by the thought becomes stronger and sooner or later that first purchase is made. It usually is an expensive cuban cigar or a pipe, or something different something that is about pleasure and not the original 20pack paper smoke that we worked so hard to get rid of.

And then you light up. Well that wasn't so bad was it? The cravings wont come back after one smoke. The thought that you are in control is very strong. But from this moment on you are in a battle that almost everyone looses. Being in control requires a lot of effort, which is just to hard to put up, each time we dont have the strength we get one step closer to being a smoker.

After the first drag you might wait a few days for the next one. After all we are not addicts, but merely enjoy a puff now and then. If a person could limit thyself to one puff a week maybe that would work, even twice a week would still beat the nicotine buildup in the blood as it's a generally known fact that 48-72 hours is what it takes for the blood to free itself of all traces of nicotine.

As a person who has quit you wont inhale you wont smoke a pack so the nicotine buildup should be minimal.

This could go on for a long time, months with very controlled smoking. 10 Cigars could last a month or more. But for how long... the danger signs are clear but I'll write them here so if you are experimenting a smoke now an then this will confirm if you are on the fast-track to becoming a smoker again. Also it's important to note that either this experiment you are conducting disappears over time or you will become a smoker again.

a) If you started with a very low dose smoke which was mostly flavor and you have bought something with more kick in it to smoke now and then this is a danger sign!

b) Watch out the frequency. When you first started experimenting it was once a week, or maybe twice. If this frequency has increased you are in moderate danger. One-a-day is when we feel control is slipping. Think about all the health benefits you are about to loose.

If it has become twice a day then you are practically a smoker now. Pull back throw the garbage out wait a week a day at a time till you can return to the non-smoker zone. And if you don't do this think about your next puff. Will you be able to resist the next one, most likely not.

c) excuse to smoke is an important danger sign. The first puff was a curiosity puff, or maybe you had a child. Or someone got married. maybe it was you :) If these were the only occasions we took a puff maybe it would be OK. But if as time passes you start telling you today was a hectic day I deserve a puff once at home, or I had this terrible pain a smoke will make me forget etc.

This is the zone when we are fabricating reasons to smoke. As smoke can not make us relax or forget pain anyway, it is a sure sign of returning addiction.

So think of why you quit. Think of the freedom of quitting. Think of the health you gained. Are any of these benefits worth throwing out the window to be replaced with all the unhealthy and dangerous side-effects of smoking.

Even though I strongly want to disbelieve the NTAP rule. If smoking is an addiction, which it unfortunately is. It requires very little to rekindle an addiction into a full-blown fire.

If you still plan to experiment being a non-smoker smoker you should know you are playing with fire and that "the house always wins".

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