Psychological Self-Help

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entirely. There are a host of educational/commercial self-help methods
Smoking (,
SMOKENDERS (, Quit Smoking
Forever (, Nico News
(, Self-Help Resources
(, M.D. Anderson
cancer and smoking, and several articles are in Self-Help Magazine
( A few of the many books for
reducing smoking are: Maximin & Stevic-Rust (1996), Rogers (1995),
Rustin (1996), Brigham (1998), Fischer (1998), Baer (1998), Shipley
(1998), Krumholz & Phillips (1993), or McKean (1987). One or two will
help you develop an adequate plan for a behavioral change and for
coping with the psychological needs smoking may have concealed from
you. In general, self-help literature and advice alone have a success
rate of 10-20%, although some programs or books claim a much
higher success rate. One more educational program worth mentioning:
the University of Minnesota developed a highly regarded Smoking
Prevention Program for adolescent students. 
Convincing evidence indicates that working together with a helper
or group, being watched, and encouraged helps many of us make
changes in our behavior. Doctors find that a call or two every week by
a nurse helps the patient take his medicine faithfully. Support group
members feel that their group, acting as a cheering section, is a real
boost. Follow ups by phone after self-help programs have significantly
increased the final success rate (Lichtenstein & Glasgow, 1992). There
are self-help groups for people quitting smoking: Nicotine Anonymous
( offer local groups and
QuitSmoking ( offer online
groups (there are several available, including the Quit Net). Getting
support from your friends or family or a "buddy" might substitute for
Support Groups and follow-up calls. It is not impossible to kick this
habit alone but if you can get help, please take it. 
One common excuse for continuing to smoke is "I don't want to
gain weight." The evidence on this matter is mixed. Smokers under 30
are not less fat than non-smokers, which suggests smoking doesn't
help weight-wise. A life-time of smoking may reduce your weight by 5
to 7 pounds... and your life by 5 to 7+ years. Yet, there are plenty of
reports of gaining 15 to 20 pounds after stopping smoking. Research
confirms average weight gains after quitting smoking of from 5 to 15
or more pounds, if no attention is paid to eating. Actually, later
research shows that the weight gained goes away in a few years.
Obviously, a struggling smoker might begin to eat more to make up
for the highly missed cigarettes; this may be okay for a few days as
the strong smoking habit is being fought, but any new unwanted
eating habits need to be attacked before they become established.
Check your weight every couple of days and if you gain more than two
pounds start an exercise program right away; you probably need more
exercise anyway. If you need something in your mouth, try sugarless
gum or hard sugarless candy... or the old celery and carrots routine.
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