During my last blog I discussed the commitment it takes to make a change. I think that quitting smoking is an appropriate follow up to that article especially considering that smoking is a health issue that directly or indirectly affects all Americans. Most people are aware that smoking causes disease. Most smokers would like to quit. In order to quit smoking, one’s commitment must be great enough to overcome the physical and mental cravings associated with cigarette smoking. This is a great challenge. Even the President of the United States has not successfully committed to overcoming this addiction.
Recent statistics suggest that cigarette smoking and the use of other tobacco products cause approximately 500,000 American deaths each year. Almost 50,000 of those deaths are caused indirectly from second hand smoke. From this amazing statistic it is fair to say that if you are a smoker, you will die from your habit. And again, statistics show that most smokers want to quit. However, the statistics do not quantify or measure one’s desire to quit. In order to quit, your “want” or commitment to quit has to be stronger than the physical and mental addiction.
I began to be aware of how strong the smoking addiction was as a child. My mother was a smoker. Have you ever driven down the road and noticed someone smoking in the car next to you? You then see three children securely fastened in their car seats in the back. The front window is opened slightly to allow the smoke to exit the vehicle. Do you question, how much smoke is really getting out of the car and how much is going into those children’s lungs? Will those children be a part of the 50,000 to die from second hand smoke? Will those children become smokers and consequently one of the 500,000 to die each year? Do you wonder if it would be safer to hang those children from the roof of the car rather than be exposed to the insidious effects of toxic, cancer causing cigarette smoke? Well, like many of you reading, I was one of those children in the back seat. And my mother was at the time in the 1970s ignorant to the deleterious effects of smoking. Once she learned that smoking caused harm, she quit immediately – cold turkey. How did she quit? In her case, the emotional guilt associated with causing harm to her children was stronger than her mental and physical addictions.
I also had an experience with a patient that profoundly shaped my understanding of how strong the smoking addiction is. A few years ago I was treating her for upper back pain. She reported that she was a smoker and had been for thirty years. I took X-rays and those X-rays revealed no disease. Her back pain resolved, but not completely. She discontinued treatment and then returned a year later with more pain. She was losing weight and did not know why. I suggested she get some blood work analyzed. It turned out that a grapefruit-sized malignant tumor had grown in one of her lungs. She had it successfully removed. She continued to work with me through the process for supportive wellness care. I provided her with a massage type treatment and gentle chiropractic care to help her with the pain. During one of her treatments with me, with fresh scars on her chest and back, I could smell smoke on her. I asked her how the smoking cravings were, assuming that she quit but now questioning my assumption. She looked at me and said: “Doc, I am ashamed to say it, but I am still smoking. I can’t quit. It is disgusting and I know it’s bad, but I can’t stop.”
At that moment, I fully realized how incredibly strong the smoking addiction and craving can be. I made the commitment at that time to do what I could as a holistic physician to help people quit smoking naturally by changing the cravings and addictions. I found acupuncture to be a very successful modality to help people quit smoking.
Monmouth Spine and Rehabilitation Center has been treating smoking cessation very successfully with acupuncture. Our success rate is approximately 75%. And this statistic factors in all of our cases. We recently had success with a person that smoked three to four packs daily. This included waking up a few times each night out of her sleep to smoke. She cut down 90% in just two treatments and is now sleeping through the night.
Acupuncture helps with the withdrawal symptoms of headaches, irritability and restless sleep. Acupuncture helps curb cravings and helps your body detoxify more quickly. Overall, acupuncture helps your body return to a natural balance.
Our Quit Smoking Now program includes the recommendation of going “cold turkey” after the first treatment. The recommended treatment plan is built on an individual basis but typically includes five treatments over a period of two to three weeks.
By the way, do not be afraid of the needles. They are so thin that most people do not even feel them and they do not cause you to bleed.
Please contact Monmouth Spine and Rehabilitation Center now for a complimentary consultation to determine whether you are a candidate for the Quit Smoking Now Program we offer.Contributed by Dr. Thomas Dandrea
P 732-345-1377 | F 732-936-9493 | Email Dr. Dandrea