Going cold turkey is not for everyone. That’s why I developed the SNAQ plan to help a friend quit smoking for good.
SNAQ = Stop Nicotine and Quit
So, you want to quick smoking? Going cold turkey is not for everyone.
cold tur·key: The abrupt and complete cessation of taking a drug to which one is addicted.
That’s why I developed the SNAQ plan to help a friend quit. This plan is simple, does not require expensive smoking cessation aids, and allows you to quit naturally by tapering off.
Why SNAQs? And All Those Statistics That Make You Feel Bad
If you’re reading this article, you have already decided that smoking is not good for your health—so I could spare you the lecture on how an estimated 40 million people die each year of tobacco-related diseases including cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, kidney, cervix, and stomach. I could also spare you the fact that smoking elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and insulin resistance, as well as creating wrinkles (CNN.com).
So now that we got that over with, don’t feel bad if you have tried to quit before and failed. You are not alone. According to WebMD, “Most smokers don't succeed the first time they try to quit. This is called relapse.” They go on to say, “For some people, nicotine is as hard to quit as heroin or cocaine.” The American Cancer Society says, “Only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking on any given attempt without medicines or other help.”
Hence a plan needs to be in place, and this plan is SNAQ.
How SNAQs Works! Reduce Nicotine, Reduce Craving
SNAQ is an organized tapering off method. Most people can’t go cold turkey, that’s why there are so many smoking cessation aids on the market. SNAQs handles smoking cessation naturally, by gradually cutting back on the amount of nicotine in your body and therefore reducing or eliminating side affects.
According to the American Heart Association, "From 85-90 percent of nicotine in the blood is metabolized by the liver and excreted from the kidney rapidly. The estimated half-life for nicotine in the blood is two hours. However, smoking represents a multiple dosing situation with considerable accumulation during smoking. Therefore, it can be expected that blood nicotine would persist at significant levels for six to eight hours after smoking stopped."
Preparing to SNAQ!
How many cigarettes do you need to smoke a day to not go crazy. 40? 20? 10? 5? Think of whatever number it is that you can comfortably smoke without panicking. This is your SNAQ comfort number for week #1.
For the sake of brevity, we are going to use the number five. June cannot quit smoking 5 cigarettes a day - this is her comfort number.
So June prepares seven (one for each day of the week) SNAQ bags. June utilizes snack size plastic bags and a magic marker to begin her journey. She writes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the bags.
Loading up Your SNAQS
June then places five cigarettes in each bag. This is week one. At the end of week one, June loads her SNAQ again, but reduces it by one. The idea is to gradually wean yourself off the nicotine. So the SNAQ method will potentially take June five weeks. For a 40 pack a day smoker, this process could take 40 weeks depending how much the smoker chooses as his comfort number and how much he chooses to reduce his SNAQ bags each week. The idea is to keep this manageable and and as free from panic as possible.
DO NOT CARRY ANY CIGARETTES WITH YOU. All you carry now is your SNAQ bag. If you are tempted knowing that you have extra cigarettes at home - give them to a family member or friend to hold until you load your bags again.
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Quitting With Your SNAQs
June may choose to leave her SNAQs with a friend or family member and request a new bag each day. How she chooses to smoke her SNAQs is up to her. The best idea is to make the bag stretch the day which could mean smoking just 1/2 cigarette at a time.
Down the final stretch, the SNAQs are reduced weekly and finally, June comes to her final week. But she doesn't throw the SNAQ bags out, she fills them instead with other snacks that will help alleviate the habit she has developed by replacing one item for another.
For her SNAQ bags after she finishes her final week of cigarettes, June chooses, gum, lollipops and an electronic cigarette. Be careful that you only use the kind of electronic cigarette that contains NO nicotine. You don't want to undo what you have just completed. June must now work on the behaviors associated with smoking watching triggers and time of day.
June would now be wise to participate in some kind of support group to keep herself free from nicotine. Here are two online groups that may be helpful.
Nicotine Anonymous offers online support groups.
Facebook also offers communities like, "Quit Smoking Community"
In the end, with her body free from nicotine, it is up to June to continue on her path to health. She can feel good about her accomplishment knowing that she has rid her body of the drug and that she did it naturally.
- "A word about quitting success rates." American Cancer Society | Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Lung, Prostate, Skin. N.p., 11 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/guide-to-quitting-smoking-success-rates>.
- CNN, Andrea M. Kane. "If smoking is so bad for you, who still does it? - CNN.com." CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/09
- "Quitting smoking: Helping someone quit." WebMD - Better information. Better health.. N.p., 6 July 2011. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/quitting-smoking-helping-someone-quit>.
- "Why is it so hard to quit?." www.heart.org. N.p., 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/QuitSmoking/QuittingSmoking/Why-is-it-so-hard-to-quit_UCM_324053_Article.jsp>.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on February 04, 2013:
Well, not everyone can go cold turkey or afford the sessation aids, so I started thinking in terms of psychological addiction and habit. I appreciate the comment. Cjbehr
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on February 04, 2013:
This is a great plan for those who have tried other ways that didn't work- will pass it along, carlajbehr! Well thought ought my friend.
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on February 03, 2013:
JOel on February 03, 2013:
British researchers have ranked tobacco in the top 5 most dangerous drugs--worse than weed or acid
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on January 29, 2013:
Thanks Teaches, it's shocking that it can be as addictive as some of the harder drugs. I appreciate the comment.
Dianna Mendez on January 28, 2013:
I can only imagine how hard it is to quit a habit such as this. Good to know there are aids out there to help someone through the decision to quit. Also good to know there are support groups for those who need the encouragement.