My Letter to the CDC Tobacco Department
I heard a PSA by the CDC regarding tobacco use. It prompted me to write them the below letter.
Comment and let me know what your thoughts are.
Long days and pleasant nights,
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is LJK2 and I started smoking 15 years ago. On May 16, 2014 I smoke my last cigarette. I’m coming up on one year smoke free. I do not have a hole in my throat, am cancer free and have no serious medical issues. I am writing you today to tell you how I was able to quit and what I found hardest to overcome.
First off, I had read a lot of articles online, read every flyer, seen every commercial, and heard every advert. I had “shock” advertisements thrown in my face. I faced public ridicule daily for 14 years. 14 years is a long time to hear that you are hurting yourself and that you are hurting those around you. It got to a point where I was so depressed from smoking that the only thing I could do to relieve that stress was smoke. It was a scary cycle to be caught in. I had tried many times to quit smoking. The patch gave me nightmares that were so intense I would wake up terrified and would need 2 hours each morning to finally calm down. The gum worked for a couple weeks, as did the lozenges. I went on the medication and ended up having to see a psychiatrist. I even tried acupuncture. The acupuncture worked the best. I was able to stay smoke free for 3 months. But none of these methods stuck with me. I always went back to my oldest friend, cigarettes.
All of these failed attempts were mainly because I was quitting because other people told me to quit, not because I wanted to quit. That is the kicker. I never wanted to quit before. I felt like I was a hopeless case. I had been smoking for so long and everywhere I looked I saw my fate. I would get so nervous about cancer and serious illness that I would need to step outside every time one of those commercials came on and have a smoke to calm me down. It was indeed a scary cycle to be caught up in.
I had heard that “dual use” and “cutting back” isn’t a healthy option to cigarettes. I was under the impression that in order to stop smoking you needed to purchase this drug or that product. I felt like it was hopeless to quit smoking. Then, one day, a friend and I decided that we wanted to get in shape. We recognized from the outset that our smoking habits would come into play down the line with our cardio so we decided to plan a quit date and come up with a plan. That plan? Cutting back and dual use. Our plan was to ration how many cigarettes we would smoke each day and how early each day our first cigarette would be. We were both heavy smokers so we started out with a daily ration of 10 cigarettes a day with the earliest being after 8:00am. The next week was 8 per day and earliest after 9:00am. It went on this way until we got to 4 cigarettes per day and we decided to keep it at 4 and move the first smoke of the day hour higher. The final two weeks, our plan was to ration 1 smoke per day, but only if you needed it. It was this final phase where I began utilizing e-cigarettes. It worked so well that the last cigarette day was a week earlier than planned. I did continue to use the e-cigarette for 3 more weeks, but only as an as needed basis.
Along the way I found an app for quitting smoking call “Kwit”. This app sends you alerts when you hit certain milestones. It was a huge help for me. This app tracked how much money you’ve saved, how many cigarettes you haven’t smoked and how long you’ve been a “Kwitter” for. This was the best tool for me. When I would get a craving I would browse the app and see how my quitting was helping me out. It was nice to focus on the positive instead of the negative.
I feel as if there are too many horror stories of people who were forced to quit after they lost everything and not enough stories of people getting out before it’s too late. It was the Kwit app, rationing and substitution that brought me to where I am today; a couple weeks away from one year smoke free. I wanted to let you know that even though my story isn’t tragic, the “bad” ways to quit are the ones that worked for me. I feel like the shock style of PSA has gone too far and there should be a softer touch. I started smoking as a way to rebel against those telling me not to smoke. It was that same rebelliousness that the shock adds made me feel. I knew smoking was bad for me. It was shoved in my face daily. But it was kindness and positivity that got me through.
Thank you for your time.
4** ****** Dr
*******, NY 14***