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I Wish I Knew How To Quit You

National Non-Smoking Week starts January 20—as most New Year’s resolutions to quit go up in smoke. It’s a shame that the National Non-Smoking Week website sucks. The layout is plain, the links aren’t updated frequently, and the only materials up for 2008 are a few fact sheets and posters with this year’s theme, “Taking My Life Back From Tobacco.” (The artsier French version is better: “Ma nouvelle vie sans tabac” or “My new life without tobacco.”) The lack of enthusiasm might explain why Toronto has nothing new online for planned 2008 activities. (Although you can’t flick a butt without hitting an article about how bad smoking is for you.)
So, Torontoist to the rescue with three helpful tips to celebrate National Non-Smoking Week!

Unleash Your Inner Oprah.

If you’re helping a friend quit, try to give positive reinforcement. Researchers have found that positive messages are more effective than negative messages in helping smokers quit. Remind the smoker that a life without tobacco includes increased energy, savings of $2,000 to $4,000 per year, and, if the quitter is a boy, a firmer penis. (Wouldn’t that image make an awesome National Non-Smoking Week poster?)

Lead Them to Emotional Support.

You can also guide the smoker to the Smokers’ Helpline Online. The site, part of the Canadian Cancer Society, provides information, a phone helpline, and even includes an online “Quit Buddy” to instant message for advice and quit support.

Tell Amusing Stories About Crazy-Addicted Squirrel Monkeys.

Remember that nicotine is highly addictive. (Quitting is tough and almost 75% of those who try will fail.) In 2007, a study was done on squirrel monkeys to test the addictiveness of nicotine. The squirrel monkeys could self-administer nicotine by pressing a lever and, with time, the researchers increased the number of times the lever had to be pressed to receive nicotine. By the end, researchers found that:

The animals would slap the lever for hours to get their fix, the researchers found, and some were willing to hit the lever as many as 600 times for a burst of the drug.

Slaphappy strung-out squirrel monkeys? Now that image should be on the National Non-Smoking Week poster.
Photo by mrpattersonsir.


  • Mark Ostler

    The image of a squirrel monkey having a nicotine fit and slamming a button to get another fix made me laugh like a madman.
    Maybe for national non-smoking week we should send hordes of these addicted monkeys to the corporate head offices of the major tobacco companies. Also a hilarious image.

  • Amanda Buckiewicz

    And to all the smokers who are trying to quit, the best thing you can do is break your habits. If you normally smoke after a meal, wait. If you normally smoke once you wake up, do it after your shower instead.
    That way, by the time you do cut cigarettes out of your life completely, it’s not that much of a part of your daily ritual.