How to Stop Smoking - Part Three
by Ray Fowler, MD
Copyright Jan 1, 1988

(Time in Space Home)

            In the two previous papers in this series I have outlined a general method for understanding the risks of smoking as well as covering the beginning of my professional method for quitting. This final paper in the series will lay out the final, crucial elements for controlling the smoking habit.

            The seventh part in quitting smoking is controlling the number of cigarettes that you smoke. After you have gotten used to an ultralight, then slowly decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke. A pack a day is a cigarette every 45 minutes during your waking period. Absolutely do not smoke one more often than on the hour, to start with. You might time this with your watch, smoking ONLY on the hour. After you have made the change to an ultralight cigarette, your NEXT goal is to smoke one no more often than every second hour. This will be a half a pack per day. ONCE YOU REACH THIS GOAL, LET SMOKING ONLY EVERY OTHER HOUR BECOME PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.

            The eighth part is to smoke only three or four puffs of the cigarette and put it out. Get used to doing this. "But it's such a waste of a cigarette!!" you may say. "Right!" is my reply to that. Get in the habit. 3 or 4 puffs, then put the cigarette out.

            Please realize that if you are smoking a half pack per day of an ultralight cigarette and are smoking only three or four puffs of each cigarette, your risks of cancer, heart disease, and emphysema are much, much lower. If you STAY there and CONTROL your habit, I will categorically state that you have done so much good for your health already that the final move to stopping only matters a small amount.

            Stopping completely can be accomplished at this point by simply increasing the time interval between cigarettes. Try three hours, then four hours, then only with or after meals, then every other day. Eventually don't carry a pack at all. Finally, try quitting for periods of time, but ONLY START BACK WITH AN ULTRALIGHT CIGARETTE FOUR TIMES DAILY.

            Never give up, smokers! For goodness sake don't do what so many smokers I have seen do, which is to just throw up their hands and go back to two packs a day of Luckies. You CAN do this, believe me. Your doctor can help you.

            Finally use good sense. When you make the move to seriously try to stop, get the ash trays and cigarettes out of the house. If your husband or wife smokes, it will be much harder for you if he or she doesn't try to quit also. A carefully applied exercise program will also cut the craving for nicotine.

Dr. Fowler's Stop Smoking Plan:

1. DECIDE TODAY to make a difference. Don't wait!

2. Determine how much you smoke so that you will know where you are starting.

3. Decide what change you want to make.

4. Set the length of time during which you will make each change in your smoking habit.

5. See your private physician for the nicotine patch, especially if you are a heavy smoker (optional but useful).

6. Change to an ultralight cigarette but do NOT increase the total number of cigarettes per day you smoke (patches help here).

7. Control the number of cigarettes you smoke, cutting down gradually to one every other hour (patches help here).

8. Smoke only three or four puffs of each cigarette and then put it out (patches help here).

9. Gradually increase the time interval to a cigarette every three hours, then every four, then with meals only, then morning and night only, then every other day. PATCHES REALLY HELP WITH THIS PART.

10. If you start back, start with ONLY ONE ULTRALIGHT CIGARETTE FOUR TIMES A DAY. Then cut back down again.

11. Never give up!

It's for your health, folks, and for the health of your family and those around you. Give it a try! Remember, the cigarettes don't smoke themselves. YOU have to reach out and pick them up. YOU can control yourself!