Non – Smoker Day to Day…

Well, well, well…I bet that you all thought I disappeared huh?  I kind of did for a while.  No excuses, but I am back Jack…or Jack-ie!  Haha!  Corny, I know.

I did quit smoking, not in November but at the beginning of the year.  Talk about easy?!  Haha!  Really though, not smoking is not difficult.  The hard part is to continue NOT smoking.  Especially if I have a drink but I can and have done it.  If I can do it then I know that you can.

Living life as a nonsmoker is different…in a great way!  I really didn’t notice how I was affected by smoking cigarettes until I stopped.  My ears popped and my hearing, sense of smell and taste is back!  I didn’t even know it was gone. Lol

My body has been going thru so many changes, both internally and out.  Most of them are internal.  Check out this cool timeline that I picked up from click here

Time Elapsed; Last Cigarette Body Reaction to Quit Smoking
20 minutes Heart Rate will begin to drop back to normal levels.
2 hours Heart and blood pressue decrease to normal levels; Peripheral ciculation imporvements and Nicotine withdrawl symptoms usually start to kick in: intense cravings, anxiety, tension or frustration, drowsiness or trouble sleeping, increased appetite
12 hours Carbon monoxide leveles in your body decrease and blood oxygen levels increase
24 hours Risk of heart attack will begin to drop
48 hours Nerve endings begin to grow back and your small and taste are enhanced
3 days Nicotine is completely out of your body; Withdrawl symptoms may peak
2 – 3 weeks Improved lung function; start breathing easier; Withdrawl symtoms should begin to dissipate
1 – 9 months Cilia (tiny hairs in lungs) begin to grow back in the lungs; Coughing and shortness of breath should decrease dramatically.


There is plenty more to look forward to living a smoke free life!  I will continue to not smoke and report how I’m feeling.  For those of you who don’t think that you can do it, it’s really about you wanting to.  I smoked about half a pack a day, some days more!  Once I just chose not to buy another pack of cigarettes, after the first couple of days I realized that I don’t need it!  It’s really not that hard to quit.  The hard part is to stay QUIT! Haha!

Allen Carr’s Easy Ways to Quit Smoking – Part 2

Alright peeps, to finish up my coverage of Allen Carr’s Easy Ways to Quit Smoking, there are 4 additional tips that he suggests. As discussed in my last post, these steps are supposed to be used only after reading the book. Per Carr, it is important to change the way of ones thinking about smoking cigarettes before these tips can actually help. The most effective way of doing that of course will be reading his book.

Anyways, here are the remaining tips:

  1. Don’t use any substitutions to perpetuate the illusion that you are giving up something, or making a sacrifice of some sort. Carr, uses any type of Nicotine Replacement Therapy as an example of a substitution. This includes, patched, nasal sprays, inhalers and gum. These substitutes don’t help at all because they help keep the addiction of nicotine alive.
  2. Do not keep cigarettes around you or on you “in case of emergency.” By doing this, it means that you regrest your decision. Non-smokers don’t need cigarettes. The moment that you put out your last cigarette you are a non-smoker from that point.
  3. Your life will go back to normal as a non-smoker soon but be aware and don’t fall back into the smoker’s trap. If you start mind tricking yourself to believe that maybe you can have just “one cigarette” remember that there is no such thing as one more cigarette. When these moments arise Carr suggests that you remind yourself that you don’t want to become a smoker because you made a conscious decision to be a non-smoker. Then congratulate yourself for being free and remaining a non-smoker for the rest of your life.
  4. The last tip is to contact Allen Carr Clinics for free advice.

Well peeps, there you have it! This method has worked for Ellen Degeneres and many other people across the globe who have read Mr. Carr’s book. I will make my commitment now and set my last cigarette date to November 30, 2015 at 8pm.

Whew.” That’s deep but I can honestly say that I am looking forward to being a non-smoker.

…and so the journey begins…”dun dun duunn..” lol

Allen Carr’s Easy Ways to Quit Smoking

I was hanging out with a friend at a Starbucks in Corona, CA and we were talking about my mission to quit smoking and he mentioned a book from the early 80’s that has kind of re-surfaced in popularity, Allen Carr’s Easy Ways to Quit Smoking.

Allen Carr is an author who was a heavy smoker for 30 years. When I say heavy, I mean heavy! In the YouTube video below he paints of picture of the intensity of his smoking habit. He says that he would wake up in the morning and smoke a cigarette before getting dressed and a cigarette would remain between his lips all day.

I thought that was pretty intense! Imagine waking up and smoking non-stop all day long?! This image terrifies me as a current smoker. I don’t want this habit to take over my life! It sounds dramatic I know but this is the reason that I am seeking knowledge and exploring different avenues to take in order to quit. In my mind, I know that it’s a disgusting habit but in that same mind I am fearful to let go.

Carr has an interesting method of defeating the smoking beast. It has nothing to do with the “habit loop” and doesn’t include using any smoking cessation resources, such as the patch or nicotine gum either. Carr’s method is geared toward advise and tips to quitting. He believes that in reality there is nothing to quit because smoking gives you no crutch or pleasure, therefore you’re not sacrificing anything so there is no reason to be fearful or feel deprived. Once you have your mind clear to the fact that there are no advantages in smoking than you will be release that habit and be free.

Only after you have read his book that will take you through his reasoning for looking at smoking in the way that he does, then he suggests taking the following steps to stop smoking:

  1. Set a day and time to stop smoking. It’s important that you smoke as you usually would up until that day and time. Carr expresses this importance as to not make cigarettes more precious than they are.
  2. Remember that cigarettes do nothing for you, so you’re not giving anything up. Nicotine makes you its slave and you have to get it clear in your mind that you are not losing anything but making exceptional positive wins with every puff that you don’t take. Wins, not only in energy, money and health, but you gain confidence, freedom and a longer and better quality of life.
  3. Light your final cigarette and make a vow that no matter what obstacles come across your path in the future that you will never puff on another cigarette or use nicotine in any form again. Having made what you know is the right decision, you should never doubt your decision.
  4. Your body will go through a withdrawal from the nicotine but it passes quickly and there is no pain, so there is no reason for you to be miserable. People who don’t smoke don’t suffer and now you’re a non-smoker and will be free of the suffering forever.
  5. If you associate a smoke with tea, drink, coffee or a break, have your tea, drink break or coffee and instead of thinking that “I can’t smoke right now,” think, “I’m so happy that I can enjoy this moment without choking myself to death.”
  6. Don’t try to avoid situations that may include being around smokers. You shouldn’t opt of life because you are now a non-smoker. Instead of being envious of people who smoke you should feel pity for them because they are still a slave to the nicotine that you have managed to free yourself from. They are the ones being deprived of a healthy life filled with energy and money, self-respect, freedom and courage. If someone offers you a cigarette just keep it simple and say, “Thank you, but I don’t smoke.” There is no need for a drawn out conversation about how long you used to smoke and how long it’s been since you quit.

From the research that I’ve done thus far on bad habits and how to change them, in addition to the addiction of nicotine in general and how to overcome, I am more inclined to try and use a method like Carr’s. I say that because Carr is teaching how to train your mind to view cigarettes and smoking for what it is and truly accept that there are no benefits to smoking and so many more to not smoking. Very interesting stuff. There are 5 more tips to quit smoking that Carr suggests and I will cover in my next post.

The Addiction

Cigarettes.  Nicotine.  Addiction.

Nicotine is an addiction that is absorbed into the bloodstream when a cigarette is inhaled. Given that on average a smoker takes about 10 puffs on each cigarette, if a smoker smokes 1 pack they are 200 hits of nicotine. Once it enters the bloodstream it excited the adrenalin glands that release the adrenaline hormone.  Adrenaline, therefore increase blood pressure, heart rate and respiration.

Nicotine enhances the neurotransmitter dopamine levels in the brain which control pleasure and reward.  Addiction results in long term brain changes caused by continued nicotine use.

Thus far, I haven’t used the word “addiction” to describe my relationship with cigarettes.  “Huh.”  “Makes me wonder if I’m in denial?”

An “addiction” is defined by as a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.”

Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Once you restrict your brain from what it believes that it needs-your addiction- it basically freaks out and begins affecting many areas of your life and body.  Some withdrawal symptoms that you may experience during the process to stop smoking, include irritability, problem sleeping, increased appetite, difficulty paying attention and the powerful cravings for tobacco.

Of course, there are all sorts of products that smokers can buy to help manage these symptoms and help improve the probability of quitting.

“Yikes!”  “This is gonna be a blast!” 😉

Why Should I Quit?

Besides, the health issues listed below tobacco can also been linked to cataracts, leukemia and pneumonia.  According to people who smoke die 10 years earlier than those who don’t smoke.

“That is friggen scary!”

List of Health Issues Caused by Cigarette Smoking

  • Oral Cancers
  • Lung Diseases
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Risk of Stroke & Heart Attack

Effective Treatments to Quit Smoking

Per DrugFacts, most smokers make multiple attempts to quit before being successful.  They suggest although some smokers can quit cold turkey, others should use a combination of medication and counseling, as the combination method is more effective than either one alone.

Behavioral treatments attack from a mental state, using self-help materials and counseling.  If the addiction is severe, an intervention may be needed.  This is an activity when the people who love and are affected by the addict confronts them with a trained counselor, to implore them to seek help.

Nicotine replacement treatments, such as the patch and nicotine gum, nasal sprays and more recently, the vape.  These treatments dispense a controlled dose of nicotine to a smoker with the intent to relieve withdrawal symptoms during what is called the smoking cessation process.

Personally, I am going to try and quit cold turkey by replacing my smoking habit with other, healthier habits (ie walking and healthy snacking).  We shall see how it works out.  I am so nervous and a little panicky thinking about not being able to smoke.  Also excited to move forward living a long and healthy life!

How to Change a Bad Habit?

Now that we have identified the habit and how these bad habits, (smoking in my case) are formed, let’s talk about how to change these habits.

James Clear wrote a great article on the 3 R’s of Habit Change.  As discussed in my previous post, the 3 step pattern of all habits’ are derived from the following:

  1. Trigger (Reminder)
  2. Routinewoman-smoking
  3. Reward

Mr. Clear, refers to these as the 3 R’s.  After discussing the breakdown in my previous post, hopefully, you have a good understanding of the “habit loop” and are ready to move forward with a change.

According to Clear, self-control and willpower is NOT the key to changing a behavioral habit.  Instead he focuses on the reminder or “trigger” of the “habit loop.”  He says that a good reminder doesn’t rely on motivation or your memory in order to do your new habit.  The best way to begin a new habit is to basically piggy back off of a current, good habit.  Clear uses the example of beginning a new habit of flossing his teeth.  These new habits can piggy back off of the habit of brushing his teeth.  Brushing his teeth will now be the reminder to floss.  In order to make it even easier for him to floss he added a bowl in the bathroom with dental floss in it as a second, more visual reminder.

Clear’s strategy seems to make sense.  My issue, however, is that there are so many reminders for me when it comes to smoking; driving in my car, drinking coffee, even eating all trigger a smoke for me.

Not to mention drinking.  I think that will be the absolute hardest reminder for me to manipulate.  Take this weekend, for instance.  It was my girl’s birthday and we rented a limo from an amazing limo company (  Really professional and the limousine itself was top of the line.  It looked, felt and even smelled great!  Anyway, so we go to dinner to which I ordered a glass of wine…and so the smoking begins!  LOL  After dinner, the driver chauffeured us to the club where, I continued drinking and smoking.  I had a great night out but in the morning, I had smoked an entire pack of cigarettes within hours.

“Yeah, I didn’t mention that I opened the pack after dinner”…smh

“Is there hope for me?!”

Choosing a Reminder

Clear suggests making 2 lists in order to identify the best reminder to help adopt the good habit.  The first list should reflect the things that you do every day without thinking.


  • Shower
  • Brush teeth
  • Flush the toilet
  • Sit down for dinner
  • Washing your face
  • Morning coffee

The second list should include the things that happen to you every day without fail.


  • Stuck at red light
  • Get a text
  • Song ends
  • Sun rises and sets

These 2 lists should give you a wide range of options of things that you already do or respond to every day.  These will be great reminders or triggers for new habits.

I guess I need to figure out what new habit I want to use to replace my bad one.  I was thinking that instead of smoking on breaks and at lunch, maybe I could take a walk.  I may give up coffee for a little while, instead of smoking with my coffee in the morning.  Possibly eat sunflower seeds during the in between time.  Sunflower seeds aren’t great for you but it won’t kill me like cigarettes will!

I’m going to go thru this exercise and report back once completed.

Cherrie-Ann…over and out!

How Are Habits Formed?

Picture Credit: Christ and Pop Culture

The word habit is defined by as “an aquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.”

This definition made me think of an example of an involuntary habit. Brushing your teeth in the morning, a twitch or grinding your teeth; I would call these involuntary patterns. However, when I saw the word “involuntary” in the definition, I thought, “Smoking is not involuntary.” “I choose to have a cigarette” and I knew that. I honestly feel like I made the choice to buy and light up every cigarette that I have smoked in my life. Needless to say, it makes sense that the word “almost” is in front of “involuntary.”

According to Charles Duhigg, the author of the best selling book The Power of Habit, all habits start with a 3 step process, called a “habit loop.”

Habit loop 3 part process:

  1. Trigger which reminds the brain that it need to let the habit unfold.
  2. Routine which is the actual performing of the act.
  3. Reward is something that your brain likes about the habit and reminds it of the “habit loop.”

Applied to smoking habit:

  1. Trigger: Stress, after eating, break and lunch time at work, drinking alcohol, driving in the car
  2. Routine: Smoking
  3. Reward: Calm feeling from the nicotine

Without getting too technical, one part of the human brain makes memories, patterns and habits. Another part of the brain makes decisions. When a habit becomes automatic, the decision making part of the brain goes to sleep. This allows the habit to continue.

In my case, I would have to disagree. As expressed earlier, I do believe that I am making a consious decision to smoke each time that I light up. Sometimes I choose to ignore it and kind say “F it!” Other times though, I feel really bad about smoking. I know that I’m paying the cigarette company to kill me. I curse myself and talk out loud…to myself, asking me, “Why am I doing this to myself?” In prayer I ask God to make me strong. I really feel like it is mind over matter and my mind is just not right. Maybe I need to mind f@#$ myself in order to stop?! Lol

Back to the experts…”

According to Charles Duhigg studies have shown that an automated habit will stay the same as long as the environment doesn’t change. This happens because once the trigger changes, patterns are broken or interupted.

I have a perfect example of this. I went on a family vacation with my parents and siblings last year to Europe. When I was there I smoked ten times less because of my environment. We were staying active with tourist activities, not to mention tha the fight against cigarettes is REAL in Europe. No smoking everything, everywhere over there! Also, you have the option to buy 10 cigarettes versus 20. They may even sell 5 packs. This is why Duhigg says that changing a habit on vactaion is giving yourself the best opportunity for success. Becuase your old triggers and rewards aren’t on vacation,

Well, there you have it…take a vacation to quit smoking!”

Think about that and I’ll expand on that thought in the next post.