Standard responses

Careers in the field of smoking cessations:

I am going to attach a response I composed a few years ago to people who wrote me inquiring about pursuing careers in smoking cessation and also about getting trained by me to be able to do these programs. Since I wrote the original response here I retired from doing live programs, not having done any financially compensated work for a few years now. I actually could schedule a few if I wanted to, but just feel that it takes too much time and effort to run live programs that reach too few people.

I basically moved my program into free video lessons at www.whyquit.com/joel. These lessons along with the articles I have written for clinics over the years are allowing me to reach more people with more information in every month than I was able to reach in over 30 years of doing live programs.

I think if you go through the day by day video lessons and read the materials you will have a thorough understanding of what can be done to help people to quit. You will in fact know more than most smoking cessation experts in the world who are in some way accredited for running smoking clinics. The problem is, if you list your knowledge or experience as being based on my lessons, you will most likely be summarily dismissed by most people in the public health community.

The Clinical Practice Guidelines that almost any credible organization are going to abide by are going to follow state of the art advice on smoking cessation and if you are ever going to try to work with such an organization or even have them as a referral source you are going to likely have to work within these guidelines. Almost everything I advocate though will fly in the face of the advice given in these quitting guidelines. A cornerstone of the guidelines is how almost all people should be provided quit smoking medication and aids. Here is my standard response page that have most of my articles and videos that address why I do not believe these guidelines are the best mechanisms for helping people to quit:

I occasionally get emails from people inquiring why I have such a critical view on the use of nicotine replacement products. Being that it takes time to personally answer all of these emails, I have assembled a series of articles that address different issues involving the use of nicotine replacement products for smoking cessation.

Here is a link to my page addressing these issues: http://www.joelspitzer.org/limitations-of-nrt.html

Again, here is my general response from several years ago about working in this field. In a way I feel that prospects are even more dismal now for anyone wanting to provide programs that would really best help others wanting to quit:

I occasionally get requests from people wanting advice on pursuing a career in smoking cessation. I am probably not the best person to offer advice on how to turn this work into a money making proposition. If I told you what I make annually from my work in the field you would likely find yourself writing me a check as a donation. Just for the record, I don’t take any donations-I was just using the example to illustrate a case in point.

I left my 20 year full time job in a hospital based health promotion program over six years ago to just do my smoking cessation work independently. I basically went into this in a state of being semi-retired. Since I left the hospital I have just hit the six-figure mark of income for my smoking cessation work. That is if you combine all the money I was paid for all the work I did since I left the hospital six years ago. If you do the math I think you will see that I was never in it for the money.

I have never actually met anyone else who was really employed for any great length of time in true full time smoking cessation work. The only people who I have worked with in the past who did this as a full time job worked for the voluntary health agencies like the American Cancer Society or the American Lung Association. I am not sure that they even have these kinds of positions any more and if they did they are usually low paying organizations.

I would often get college students who would come interview me for ideas of working in the field of smoking cessation. I couldn’t in all good conscience steer them to this work if they actually needed a steady income. There are times when money becomes available, like when the first state settlement monies were released and I had contact with a few people who took jobs in the field. I think all of them were phased out within two years as the money was slowly diverted to other areas. Also, when some of this money is made available it will almost never fund a cold turkey approach to cessation. Funders only seem to back programs that work with pharmaceutical interventions.

With this being said, I would like to say that the work is one of the most rewarding things you may ever do if you get involved with it. Just be sure to get and keep another paying day job or win a lottery.

Related videos:

My work in the field of smoking prevention and cessation
Why I no longer conduct stop smoking clinics
“I liked my other clinic more”
How I started running quit smoking clinics

Allen Carr comparisons

If you check out my video “My work in the field of smoking prevention and cessation” and the links in it’s video description, you will see that I started in the field of smoking prevention in the early 1970’s and started conducting my Stop Smoking Clinics in 1976. My core program and philosophy were pretty well established by 1978. Allen Carr’s quit smoking in 1983 and I believe sometime shortly after that wrote his first book developed his program.

I didn’t see a copy of Allen Carr’s book until 2002. Up to that time his book was never widely distributed in the United States and  I had never heard of Carr until 1999 when I started using the Internet.

When I started seeing his name on the Internet I was curious if he had seem my materials but from the quick look I had at the book in 2002 I got the sense that he had pretty much came up with a similar philosophy in the same way I did—really watching smokers quit. If you listen to successful ex-smokers close enough and long enough you can pick up the similarities in their approach. Most long term ex-smokers have never heard of either of us or any other expert yet they have learned from experience or in some cases just seem to instinctively know how to quit and how to stay off. Many ex-smokers will say from time to time that they still have moments where they would “kill for a cigarette,” but at the same time know that in reality, taking a cigarette would kill their quits and that losing their quit would likely end up killing them. This self learned knowledge it what is keeping their quits going.

I always tell people that they should learn from the experts when it comes to smoking cessation. The experts who should be seen as credible are not the Joel Spitzer’s or the Allen Carr’s of the world, but the real people who you know in your real world who are long-term successful quitters. The more you listen to the real ex-smoker you know in your real world as well as to the current smokers you know who have lost long-term quits the more obvious it will be that they way to quit smoking and then to stay free is by staying totally committed to never take another puff!

Permission to use images

I’m sorry but I cannot actually give permission for people to use these photos. Here is my standard response as to why:

I got many of the photos I use at the site back in 1972 while I worked for the American Cancer Society. If I remember right we purchased a set of slides from a physician who worked at Heinz Veteran’s Hospital in Hinsdale, Illinois. At that time the doctor was the head of an agency called the Illinois Council on Smoking and Health. I think some of the pictures were actually some of his patients and I am not sure where he got the specimen kind of slides. The doctor died sometime around 1975, and I don’t think the agency exists anymore and all of the people who I worked with back at that time who might have known more about the background of the slides have also since passed away.

I’ve used the images in all of my presentations since 1972. I “personally” have no problem with you using them, but I can’t give permission or say for sure that someone won’t come out of the woodwork saying that they own the rights to the images–although after this great length of time for me not to have heard any complaints I suspect that this is quite unlikely.

For the record the name of the physician from who I got the slides for my use was Harold (Hal) Levine, M.D. and he was chief of thoracic surgery at Heinz Veteran’s Hospital in Hinsdale, Illinois.

I haven’t been overly concerned about my use of them because I have never charged for any of the materials where we use them. The PDF is freely distributed and there are no charges or monies being made for anything at the whyquit.com site. I figured that would limit the chance of anyone complaining about the images being used.

Sorry I can’t give you any more of a definitive kind of answer about the images.

Joel

Bogus smoking aids as seen on TV

I just saw where a new member brought up that she had a recent quit that she started by using SmokeAway. She was using the product before finding Freedom. She wrote that it was a good jump start for her to start her quit, although she goes on to say that she relapsed three times within a week or two after starting the product. I think the more she reads at Freedom the more she will recognize that this was not a particularly good start to a quit by our members standards. Anyway, I thought she would benefit from the email below I sent to a person who wrote me asking why we didn’t talk about SmokeAway at Freedom. That person wrote me back in April of this year. The person didn’t say how long he or she was off smoking, just that he or she was happy because he or she was able to quit and to still be able to maintain his or her sanity. I never got a reply to this email so I cannot report any further detail of how this person’s quit is going or whether he or she had any thoughts on my comments.

I know of SmokeAway only by their cheesy commercials that have been played around the Chicago Area. I actually think it has been around for many years, sometimes advertised more than other times and right now being advertised quite heavily. As far as its known effectiveness, I haven’t seen any published reports on the product. That simple fact doesn’t really mean much to me though, for I have seen tons of published reports talking about how great patches and gums are and I happen to know that they don’t work in the real world. How people quit in the real world is what I base my recommendations on.

I have worked full time in smoking cessation for 30 years. I personally deal with thousands of people a year. People who know of who I am and of my work come up to me all the time to share their quitting experience and stories. Tonight I will be meeting with 300 people alone. I will bet that not one of them will come up to me and tell me that they have quit smoking and are now long-term ex-smokers because they used SmokeAway. I feel safe in saying this because to this date I have never had one person come up to me and tell me that they have quit by using SmokeAway. That’s right, not one. Not only do I meet people live, but also I have kind of a big Internet presence. I get people writing me regularly sharing their success stories with me. If I add up all of the people who have written me about their great success stories with using SmokeAway, and I add yours to the total, I have a grand total of one. That’s right, you are the first. Congratulations.

As far as quitting in a week, by my standards it took you six days too long to quit. My people quit in a day. As far as for their cravings, some people I deal with have minimal cravings too, some have a miserable time, but all of the people who ever quit smoking in my programs found it manageable. I say this because they quit smoking so of course it was manageable. Most people find quitting will be better than they think it will be though if they have the right motivation and understanding of the quitting process. As far as still having your sanity, understand that we have over 40 million ex-smokers in this country. An infinitesimal small percentage of these people quit with SmokeAway. It is not like we have 40 million ex-smokers out there who are insane. The vast majority of long-term ex-smokers who quit without this product or any other product are just as sane now as they ever were. More sane in fact considering they are not participating in an addictive and self-destructive behavior like smoking.

Now with all that being said let me say I am glad you are not smoking. You quit by a method that likely has a pretty lousy success rate for most people who use it. But that is neither here nor there now, the important thing is that you have quit. Now your focus needs to be on staying off of smoking. I will tell you right now that there is no product that you need to buy or any product you need to take to stay off cigarettes now. Read the materials at www.whyquit.com/joel and focus on the relapse prevention materialsat http://www.whyquit.com/joel/Joel_Index_04_Relapse.html

I am going to attach a few other suggested articles below. They are not really that important to you now. You are off, the trick is working at staying off now. But since you thought that I didn’t address your product I thought I would show you where I have my blanket recommendations about quit smoking products. After reading the relapse prevention materials if you are ever bored and just want to do a little reading you can read the section on How to quit smoking at the site, but again, this information is no longer important to you and will never be important as long as you always remember now from this point on to never take another puff!

http://www.whyquit.com/joel/Joel_03_19_compare_magic.html

http://www.whyquit.com/joel/Joel_03_09_easy_way_out.html

http://www.whyquit.com/joel/Joel_03_02_cold_turkey.html

http://www.whyquit.com/joel/Joel_03_23_every_quit_different.html

Related videos:

“Miracle” aids for quitting smoking

Hey, I’m talking to you

 

Use of the phrase H.A.L.T.

One common phrase used in many drug recovery programs is use of the term or more accurately the acronym of H.A.L.T.

H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired

The way the phrase is generally used is that a person should not let themselves ever become too hungry, angry, lonely and tired or they may very well risk putting their quit’s in jeopardy. We don’t generally abide by this philosophy at Freedom, because we feel that there are times when people cannot avoid encountering one or more of these situations.

The idea that you cannot allow yourself to get too hungry, angry, lonely and tired is an impossibility under certain situations–like at times of natural disasters, famines, times of war, and a host of other conditions that people may find themselves in throughout their life times.

People need to accept that there will be times because of external circumstances that they may become too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. What ex-smokers have to realize is just because they find themselves in one or more of these situations, there is no reason that these feelings are going to automatically put their quits on the line.

We have a few strings that address this issue in different

Life goes on without smoking

There is no legitimate reason to relapse

We understand why you relapsed

Life is going to go on after quitting and there will be times when you may very well find yourself in situations that leave you feeling too hungry, angry, lonely and tired. You should just be aware that none of these times will leave you having to once again feed an active nicotine addiction as long as you remember when under these tough times as well as under all good times that you made and are sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel