Here's a sample. This one is for the chapter called "Just Keep Breathing."
My goal for each of these is NOT to repeat the same old messages, but to put a spin on the old or to say something new. Any feedback is welcome.
DOC IN THE BOX
Just Keep Breathing
I am not going to insult your intelligence by lecturing you about the dangers of smoking. If you don’t know by now that smoking is bad for you, you’re living in a cave. Bad breath, lung disease, ugly teeth, wrinkles, cancer…you’ve heard all that.
Nor am I going to tell you the best way to quit. That is up to you. Different strokes for different folks, and only you know what works best for you. Cold turkey, patch, pills, switching brands, gum…all are equally effective for the dedicated quitter. If you need more information, ask your doctor or go online where there are resources galore.
No, what I’m going to do instead is acknowledge you and salute you, the smoker.You are a functioning human being, and as such, you deserve as much honor and respect as the next person. Just because you made a choice to smoke cigarettes does not mean you are bad, or weak, or a hopeless drug addict. You have included cigarettes in your life for a reason, or reasons, which are your business. People have all kinds of reasons for smoking, and all kinds of reasons for quitting. So cut yourself some slack.
If you have decided you want to quit, I salute you. As a physician, I have to agree that this is a good choice. In fact, it is the single most important move you can make in the direction of health, and will clear up all kinds of current and future ailments, starting just twenty minutes after your last cigarette.
I also understand that quitting will not be easy. In fact, quitting smoking has got to be just about the hardest task a human being can undertake, and I’m including childbirth, which is saying something. I spent 20 years of my life watching my physician father quit. He knew the risks all too well (although, to be fair, he started smoking before the risks were known), and he is a smart guy. If quitting were as easy as “just doing it,” he would have done it on the first try. But I saw him quit, restart, and quit again, repeating the cycle many times. He finally succeeded, after his first grandchild was born. I think that finally got him over the hump. That and a change in office policy that sent smokers outside in the cold like huddled pariahs. He hasn’t smoked in 15 years now (which, by the way, puts him at the same risk of lung cancer as a lifetime nonsmoker) and he still goes skiing at the age of 74 without huffing and puffing. I’m very proud of him, and grateful for the lesson I learned watching his struggle.
Dad’s story is a very common one. I’ve seen it over and over in my medical practice. It’s like the old joke, “I can quit anytime! I’ve done it hundreds of times already!” The important thing to remember is that most successful quitters get a lot of practice first.
There are a few key things that accomplished quitters have in common that I want to share with you.
First and foremost, they are ready. By this I don’t mean they understand the dangers and tell themselves, “I should quit.” That doesn’t count as “ready”. What I mean is that, like my father, their reasons to quit have finally outnumbered their reasons to smoke. The balance has finally tipped and, at that moment, the battle is more than half won.
Second, these smokers have clearly-stated reasons for quitting. It doesn’t matter what the reasons are, but the more specific they are the better. “I want to quit because smoking is bad for my health” is not as effective as “I would like to be able to walk up one flight of stairs to my apartment without stopping” or “I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up” or “I want to smell the flowers in my garden.”
Lastly, good quitters pick a good time to quit. They don’t add “stop smoking” to the end of a long list of New Year’s resolutions, after “lose weight” and “become a better person.” They also don’t try to quit in the middle of a stressful time, like a family holiday or a final exam. They understand that their resolve and their reserves are going to be sorely tested, so they maximize their chances from the get-go. Some choose a weekend when they’ll be alone. If you have quit before, you know how unpleasant you can be. You might want to protect your loved ones from your werewolf self.
Smoking is bad for your health. You know it, I know it. It would be wise to quit when you can. When you are ready, you’ll do it. You’ll tip that scale and finally succeed. I have faith in you. Never quit quitting.