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41 Tips For Gaining Freedom From Nicotine

1. It's not as hard as you think. Once you begin to be honest with yourself and to look at the facts about smoking, it will become a pleasure to remove this addiction from your life.

2. Square off with your smoking habit. Look at it and size it up. Ask yourself exactly what it is doing for you; then ask yourself what it is not doing for you. You can begin with your hair and work your way down to the tips of your toes. It is a medical fact that smoking affects every organ in the human body in a harmful way.

3. Look at quitting cigarettes as giving yourself a gift-a very big gift. You are giving yourself a better quality of life and, very possibly, a longer life. You are giving yourself a healthier body. You are giving yourself more self-esteem. Wrap all this in a package and look at it for the gift it really is, then "Go for it!"

4. Set a date. Make a commitment. Give it a try. Remember, it is alright if you don't succeed at first. Just keep trying. The only way you can lose is by ceasing to try.

5. Don't look at it as if you are giving up something. This makes it seem too much like a loss. What you are really doing is tossing something out of your life that has done you harm and doesn't belong here anymore. You are throwing away pure garbage. No longer are you going to allow your lungs to be a resting place for nicotine and tars.

6. Always keep a positive attitude. After all, this is one of the most positive things you've ever done. Stay away from negative people and worrisome situations.

7. Quit for yourself. Even though your family and loved ones will benefit tremendously from your quitting, it is you that will benefit most.

8. Treat giving up smoking with the respect it rightly deserves. Become willing to go to any lengths to remove it from your life. If you are not willing, try praying for the willingness. This usually works.

9. Look up the word 'nicotine' in your dictionary and write down the definition in big letters: "A poisonous alkaloid used as an insecticide.' Put it where you can see it.

10. Don't say "I'll take my chances' and continue to smoke. They are not ours to take. We didn't give ourselves life and we don't have the right to "take our chances" on giving it away. That is up to God.

11. Don't fool yourself by saying you have too many pressures in your life right now to give up cigarettes. If you are smoking, this in itself is a very great pressure. Every day is a gamble and your life is at stake. By getting nicotine out of your life, other things will become easier to handle. You will feel better about yourself and you will have more energy. You will have accomplished something more meaningful than all the money and material objects you could ever acquire. You will have given yourself what no one else could give you. You will no longer have the pressures of being a smoker.

12. Don't use the excuse that you might gain weight to justify your continuing to smoke. Even if you do gain a little, the fact that you will be more active and will get more exercise should counteract any weight gain. Remember, overeating, not stopping smoking, causes weight gain.

13. Plan to do things that will keep your mind off smoking. Sometimes our minds can be our worst enemies. They will tell us that we need a cigarette for just about any reason that is handy at the time. By doing things like going to the movies in the non-smoking section, munching on corn or sucking on a lollipop, we can keep our minds occupied and get a break. Go to museums and other places where smoking isn't allowed. Swimming is a good idea, too.

14. Quit smoking one day at a time and think only about the part of the day you are in. "I am not going to smoke before noon." "I am not going to smoke before three o'clock." Sometimes just do it one hour at a time. This is a lot easier than trying to quit forever.

15. Don't subject yourself to smoky situations. If you do come in contact with someone who is smoking, just say to yourself "He is having the cigarette I might be having"; then, be grateful you don't have to have it.

16. While you are quitting. Look at it as an investment. Once you have quit for one hour, you have invested this hour in becoming a healthier person. Now, invest one more hour. Continue to add to your investment hour by hour. It will grow and become more valuable as the hours go by. You will begin to see and feel the rewards from this investment more and more. Protect and guard it just as you would a treasure.

17. Start being kind to yourself, It is the beginning of a new way of life for you and you are the most important one there. Treat yourself with respect and love and, remember, you are no longer filling your system with poison every few minutes. Breathe the clean air and breathe it deeply. Smell the different and wonderful fragrances. Begin to spend time outdoors close to nature. Many new sensations await you.

18. Don't get too angry. If we are angry, our minds tell us we need a cigarette to cope. Until your mind learns that it doesn't need a cigarette to cope, try to avoid situations that might be setting you up. Avoid certain people that may bother you. If there is a lot of tension at work, try to get a few days off. If you can't get some time off, quit smoking on a long weekend. Avoid, as best you can, things like getting stuck in traffic. Use a lot of caution. Anger can be very destructive.

19. Don't get too hungry. It is amazing how our minds will tell us that everything's wrong when all we really need to do is eat.

20. Don't get too tired. If we are tired, it is easy to become irritated and when we get irritated our minds will tell us that a cigarette will help. Our overall resistance becomes weak and it is easy to say, "Oh well, I guess I'll smoke."

21. Don't get too lonely. It is good to know some people who are going through the same thing. By going to Nicotine Anonymous meetings you can get phone numbers of such people.

22. You can remember these four things by the word "HALT." Hungry, angry, lonely, tired. If you feel you need a cigarette, check. Make sure you are not experiencing any of these.

23. Don't get too bored. It is hard to just sit and not smoke. Keep busy. Find things to do that you enjoy. Bike riding, hiking, swimming, exploring new places, trying new restaurants. This is the time to indulge yourself.

24. Have something to fidget with. We are accustomed to holding a cigarette; being without one might leave our hands at a loss. Get a small rubber ball or a yo-yo. Play dough is good also, or a piece of clay.

25. Have something handy to put in your mouth. Life Savers are good, or any slowly dissolving candy. Beef jerky and lollipops help, too. Avoid fattening foods like cookies. They don't last long and they fill you up. Experiment while you are still smoking to see what will relieve the craving. If Life Savers work, then stock up. Just a note of caution: don't use this type of substitute on a long-term basis.

26. If you always have a cigarette with a cup of coffee, stop drinking coffee before you quit smoking.

27. Don't drink alcohol while you are quitting. Once alcohol is in your system your defenses will diminish greatly.

28. Remember that the discomfort you experience in the first 2 weeks will definitely come to an end and you will never have to go through it again.

29. Frequently give yourself a pat on the back. What you are doing isn't easy by any means. It takes a lot of guts to try to quit smoking.

30. If you are feeling pain from withdrawal, let it become a lasting memory to serve as a reminder of exactly how strong the drug nicotine is and how hooked you really are.

31. Remember, every minute you were sucking on cigarettes they were sucking on you. They were sucking the very life out of you. Don't let them have any more.

32. Avoid the self-pity trap. If we begin to feel sorry for ourselves, our minds will tell us that we deserve a cigarette to make us feel better.

33. Remember, if you just keep trying, you will win. It is good against evil and the odds are stacked in your favor.

34. Before quitting, plan your activities for the first few days after you quit. This way you won't have to make too many decisions while you are withdrawing. At first, making decisions may be hard without a cigarette.

35. If you are not going to quit right away, then start cutting down. If you smoke 2 packs a day and you cut back 1 cigarette a day for a month, you will be down to just 10 cigarettes a day. Some people, however, have found cutting back to be almost as hard as quitting.

36. Drink lots of liquids to help flush the poison out of your system. Orange juice is good because smoking depletes the vitamin C content in our bodies.

37. Remember, it is the first cigarette that gets you started. It takes only one. This is the one you don't have. You can always put off lighting that first one for a little while. Don't fool yourself and think you can start and stop at will. You can't. Many people have tried this and gone on to live the rest of their lives never to experience freedom from nicotine again.

38. Frequently remind yourself about the differences you have noticed in yourself. Things like: Your breath no longer smells like a dirty ashtray. Your teeth are beginning to lose their yellow color and look bright and clean. Your fingers aren't stained from tobacco. That sickly sounding smoker's cough is disappearing. Your senses of smell and taste are returning. Your complexion is beginning to Improve. Your general attitude about yourself is better because you are beginning to really care about yourself.

39. Give it away. Whenever you have a chance to give your experience, strength and hope to another smoker, use it. This act of giving will insure your chances for staying off nicotine and give strength to your program. There is much reward in helping someone else to gain freedom from this harmful substance.

40. Have a follow-up program. Don't assume it is over because you have made it through a couple of weeks. Nicotine is very cunning. Continue to attend Nicotine Anonymous meetings. If there are no meetings in your area, help to get one started. It is very simple. All you need are a place to meet and a few interested people.

41. When you want to smoke, read this list of tips.

Can You Hide Smoking From Life Insurance Companies?

By Lisa Karam Middleton, insure.com
Added 3/2004.

Summary written by Jim Larson

How long you have been quit matters for life insurance purposes - 5 or more years gets you a better rate than 3-5 years. 3-5 years gets you a better rate than 1-3 years. A non-smoking (for 5 or more years) healthy male, age 35 of 5 or more years pays $100 a year for $100,000 of life insurance, while a smoker pays about $300 a year. That's 3 times the rate!

Nicotine (and its metabolites) are undetectable (or so low that it is attributed to exposure to second hand smoke) after 72 hours -- According to a 1988 surgeon general's report, your body metabolizes, or breaks down, nicotine within 72 hours. ... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking says that there's such a small amount of cotinine present in your body after three days that it's either not detectable or attributed to second-hand smoke. Cotinine is a primary metabolite of nicotine and is the most common identifier for nicotine levels in the urine. Therefore, even heavy smokers who can abstain for three days could theoretically lie about their smoking and go undetected. ">Click here For more on this

Should you cheat and claim not to be a smoker, and quit 72 hours before the urinalysis? Insurance companies have sneaky methods by for example hiring survey companies to ask lifestyle questions. They may deny a claim if you died and it was determined that you were a smoker. Or pay a a death claim equal to the amount of life insurance you would have purchased with your money at a smoker's rate.

They don't say anything about forms of insurance other than life insurance such as medical insurance. They don't talk about other issues like pre-employment screening.

The article in full follows

The article was obtained in December 2000 from http://insurance.yahoo.com/lh/smoking.in.html. Its still there as of March 2003.

Can You Hide Smoking From Life Insurance Companies?

What if you lied about your smoking habit on your life insurance application? And what happens if the insurance company finds out? How much do you have to smoke to even be considered a smoker? The answers might surprise you.

Life insurance companies like their policyholders to be in good health. So much so that some companies have three different premium classifications: standard, preferred, or preferred plus. You're rewarded with lower premiums if you're super-healthy and haven't smoked in five years because that reduces your chances of dying soon. Being just "normally healthy" requires that you haven't used nicotine in the past three years and still gets you lower premiums. A standard rate requires that you have not used nicotine within the past year.

Then there are smoker rates.

Who is Considered a Smoker?

In the life insurance world, you're considered a smoker if you answer "yes" to the smoking question on your insurance application. If you're asked if you've used tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, within the past three years - and you have - your answer should be yes (likewise for questions going back two years and one year). If you enjoy a good cigar from time to time or smoke just two cigarettes year, you are a smoker by insurance standards, even though the nicotine traces won't show up in your required urine test. How should the occasional smoker answer that question? You should probably let your conscience be your guide.

Insure.com looked at both nonsmoker and smoker rates from an online insurance quoting service for a 20-year term insurance policy of $100,000 for a 35-year-old male in Connecticut. A preferred-plus person (a healthy nonsmoker) would pay $95 to $117 a year, while a standard smoker (who is healthy, despite the smoking) is charged between $288 and $308.

Since smokers pay nearly three times the premium of nonsmokers, it's easy to see what motivates some people to lie on their policy applications.

You Can Sneak Through

With rates as competitive as they are, life insurance companies try to find out as much as possible about your health. Understandably, a nonsmoker's application is likely to be examined a bit closer than a smoker's, especially the results of the urine sample. However, it is possible for the nicotine level in a smoker's urine to be low enough to escape detection. In fact, according to a 1988 surgeon general's report, your body metabolizes, or breaks down, nicotine within 72 hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking says that there's such a small amount of cotinine present in your body after three days that it's either not detectable or attributed to second-hand smoke. Cotinine is a primary metabolite of nicotine and is the most common identifier for nicotine levels in the urine. Therefore, even heavy smokers who can abstain for three days could theoretically lie about their smoking and go undetected.

Is It Worth It?

So, if you "pass" your urine analysis, where do you go from there?

It goes without saying (but we'll say it anyway) that you should not lie on your insurance application. The application you sign becomes part of your policy (you'll find it attached somewhere near the back), and the policy is a legal contract between you and the insurance company.

Some insurance companies we spoke to say they have caught smokers who claimed to be nonsmokers during the underwriting process. When this happens, the "proposed insured," as you are known, is simply given the smoker rate when the policy is approved. None of the insurance companies admitted they would automatically reject you if they caught you lying.

As an extra precaution, The Horace Mann Cos. of Illinois performs random phone calls in which applicants are again asked, among other things, about smoking. They hope to weed out liars through the one-on-one conversation or by spotting inconsistencies on the policy application. On the other hand, Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Co. in Connecticut is confident it could finger a deceptive smoker during underwriting, pointing out that urine testing is required of applicants over the age of 16.

Lie, Die . . . Deny?

Let's continue the scenario: Your urine sample doesn't show enough nicotine to prove you're a smoker, so your life insurance policy is issued at a preferred and/or nonsmoker rate. Then, the unthinkable happens: You die.

Most life insurance policies carry a two-year "incontestable clause" that allows the insurance company to challenge a death claim. If you die within the first two years as a result of, say, a car accident, and it comes out that you were, in fact, a smoker, your insurer would have the right to "rescind" the policy or simply deny the claim.

If you lied about smoking to Hartford Life and you died after two years, the company would pay the claim. However, a spokesperson emphasizes that the insurer's underwriting is so stringent that it doesn't expect to have a problem with dishonest smokers.

If you die three years after your policy is issued, underwriters would take a closer look to see if anything on your application and medical exam could be linked to smoking. A smoking-related illness, such as lung cancer or heart disease, would send up red flags, but a fatal car accident clearly would not. Underwriters we spoke to agree that there must be very solid reasons for denying a death claim. Another option for the insurance company is to pay a death claim equal to the amount of life insurance you would have purchased with your money at a smoker's rate.

All the companies we contacted stated flatly that after a long period of time, such as 10 years, they would pay the claim. Once your policy is this far past the two-year contestability period, linking your death to smoking is less important to them than not reneging on a death claim.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

It's statistically unlikely - but not out of the question - that an adult will take up smoking (most smokers start as teenagers). That said, insurers generally don't care if you begin smoking after the policy is issued and, in the event of your death, would simply pay the claim. The companies we spoke to stressed the importance of being truthful at the time you applied for the life insurance; they don't expect you to let them know that you've started smoking after your nonsmoker policy is issued.

For example, Hartford Life says that you do not have to notify them if you start smoking after your policy is issued - your claim would not be jeopardized, even during the two-year contestability period. Golden Rule Insurance Co. in Illinois also says it's not necessary to inform them of a "new smoking habit."

Insurance Companies Aren't The Tobacco Police

Despite insurers' diligence, there are undoubtedly smokers who can slide through the underwriting process undetected. If you're caught, the worst that can happen is that your policy will be issued at a higher rate. Insurance companies are not the tobacco police, after all. And the longer your policy is in force, the less likely a death claim would be denied.

Even so, do you really want to put your family's security at risk just to save a few bucks on a premium? Would they want to possibly battle out a contested claim after your death simply because you tried to pull the wool over the insurance company's eyes?

By Lisa Karam Middleton

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