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Archive for January 29th, 2010

They've been smoking a while.

I have smoked more and smoke longer than just about anyone I know. I started smoking the cigarettes I filched from Mom’s purse more than 40 years ago. My daily consumption was measured in packs, not cigarettes. Yet I recently quit “cold turkey” with no problems at all.

I have quit many times in the past but always went back to smoking in a matter of days or weeks, at the most. I’ve use nicotine replacements like the patch and gum. Didn’t work because I still wanted to smoke. This time I have no desire to smoke again because I know the secret of how to quit.

Quitting is a three-step process involving –

  1. Life-style change.
  2. Relocation.
  3. Financial incentives.

A life-style change could involve school or work. Graduating from college or getting that dream job qualify for life-style changes, as would getting fired or going to prison. What the change is isn’t as important as long as it has a major impact on your every waking moment for the foreseeable future. A little something to take your mind off that next cigarette is what you are looking for.

Relocate. Pull up roots and move to another state or country. Someplace far enough away you can’t possibly go back without plane tickets and a week off. Move far enough away you have to learn a new language and this could double as a life-style change.

Financial incentives to quitting smoking have to be real to be effective. Just because cigarettes are now 25% of your budget isn’t enough. When you have to make a choice between feeding the kids or feeding your habit, you are in the right ballpark.

Following these steps, I haven’t smoked in over three months. My life-style change involved retirement (at about half of what I was earning), upon which I relocated to a country where cigarettes cost about $7.50 per pack.  Both these factors went a long way toward the financial incentive step.

I was going to market this three-step process. After all, if it worked for me it would work for anyone and I certainly could use the money. Then my wife pointed out what should have been obvious. I had had any number of life-style changes in the past and continued smoking. I have relocated several times and have lived on both the east and west coasts before, as well as Europe. I continued smoking. I remember paying $1.80 for a carton of cigarettes in 1972, and more that $7.00 for a pack of name brand smokes in Maine recently. I continued to smoke.

Quitting smoking is easy. Every smoker I ever knew has quit smoking at one point or another. Hell, every smoker quits every time he or she finishes a cigarette. The trick is not to start again. I quit smoking on November 1, 2009. The only real difference is I haven’t started again because I don’t want to. If I ever figure out how I came to not wanting to start smoking, I’ll be be back with a marketing plan.

Of course, if  we can convince kids never to start smoking in the first place my business plan won’t be worth much. And that would really be wonderful.

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