Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Should rehabs have a no smoking policy?

Stop Smoking MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Department of Health in Vermont is considering making it's state funded addiction treatment centers tobacco free according to an article in the San Francisco Gate.  There are already several states doing this as recent studies have shown that people actually do better with both their addictions and smoking cessation if they stop everything at once.

Many take a triage approach to treating addiction.  If you got a guy on Meth who drinks and smokes, logically, let's handle the meth first, then tackle the booze and we can deal with the cigarettes later.  Logic clearly based on the greater or lesser of evils.

Makes since to me too.  However, if you're just an alcoholic and nicotine addict, then what?  My personal story will show I wasn't drinking when I stopped smoking, but 3 years later found myself, still not smoking but drinking heavily.  Why?  I never handled the reasons why I was self medicating in the first place.  I had some grief that needed to get worked out.  I wonder if I had truly tackled the underlining issues of addiction when I stopped smoking, if alcoholism would have reared it's ugly head a couple years later.

I wrote my book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone, to empower people to handle to root, the cause, the reason behind the addiction.  It wasn't about treating a symptom, but setting the method to handle the dis-ease.

For many, cigarettes go hand in hand with "recovery."  I'm now more of an all or nothing kind of rip the band-aid off in one shot guy.  For many, I don't believe it should be a triage type of drug treatment.  I believe their will be a greater opportunity for success by digging in, sucking it up and addressing the addiction aspect.  Why fight addiction more than once?  Seems silly to me and a waste of time.  If a person wants to be free of addiction, treat that.  Not just their "problem" with Meth or alcohol.  Treat the addiction, not just the substance they've chosen to to abuse.

Obviously, humans are different and unique but ultimately we all boil down to a very specific set of needs, wants and desires that motivate our every move and guide our decisions.  The effective treatment of addiction must come from treating the cause and not the symptom.  Alcoholism, nicotine, hard drug abuse are symptoms to a greater dis-ease.

Notice, I'm not calling addiction a disease but a dis-ease.  Addicts, myself included, have successfully met their basic human needs through an addictive behavior.  Enabling and then empowering the addict to recognize that he or she actually has a choice in the matter is the first step.  Next is healing the cause of the dis-ease coupled with introducing a new, positive, healthier alternative behavior.  These are the real keys to success with handling any addiction.  Replacing one addiction with another or allowing one to exist while the other get's handled seems ultimately ineffective at delivering any real and lasting change or increase in real quality of life.

But what's your take?  I want to hear it from you?  How do you want to get clean and sober first, then second, is that the most effective?  Who's answering that question?  Your addicted brain or the real you underneath?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Who does Jacob Sullum work for, really?
Stop Smoking New York - Jacob Sullum syndicated writer for the New York post and senior editor at
Reason magazine has decided that there's a lunatic war going on over e-cigarettes.  On October 23rd, Jacob and the NY Post published an article titled, "Lunatic War On E-Cigarettes."  In the article he asserts that people against e-cigarettes are seeing the issue "through a fog of prejudice."


The article goes on to talk about the current proposed regulations of e-cigarettes by the FDA and how they are looking to treat it as a tobacco product.

Sullum takes issue with this and is concerned that it will restrict information and access to these products which in turn will hinder cigarette smokers from making the switch over to e-cigarettes and consequently raising smoking related illness and death. He then goes on to point out the significant difference between cigarette smoke and "vapor" and that the e-cigarette clinically and evidently has less carcinogenic material.  Technically, the e-cigarette is the lesser of two evils and Jacob Sullum makes a strong case for that.

Moving forward Sullum talks about the more zealous of the anti-e-cigarette movement quoting Maria Azzarelli of the Southern Nevada Health District as saying “We’re very concerned that what [was] becoming passé — smoking — is now coming back.”

In the opinion of this smoker, who doesn't smoke anymore (or vape), this is straight up stupid.  Smoking is, was and forever will be sexy to some and disgusting to others.  Vaping will not have anything to do with whether or not people choose to smoke a dried up leaf rolled in paper and cotton.  E-cigarettes as a gateway drug, while plausible, is ultimately ludicrous.  Bottom line on that deal is you either succumb to an addiction to nicotine or you do not.  The reality of the e-cigarette is now consumers have one additional option to get their nicotine fix.  And this new option is all wrapped up in a nice little "healthy alternative to smoking" package.

Sullum wraps it all by saying, "It’s in the shift from the former category to the latter that the disease-reducing potential of e-cigarettes lies. Impeding that transition by imposing arbitrary restrictions on e-cigarette advertising, sales and flavors would be a literally fatal error."

Here's where I disagree.  There is a lot of  hype and fear mongering about the ambiguity of the long term effects of vaping.  Yes, clearly, based on cited ingredients the e-cigarette is safer compared to a traditional cigarette.

With that in mind, e-cigarettes also contain more than just nicotine, flavoring and propolyne glycol.  A recent study showed e-cigarettes had 10 different chemicals included on the California Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer.  The question is; is the amount of those chemicals in the e-cigarette, enough to cause any real harm over time?  If used responsibly, can the e-cigarette be used to reduce traditional smoking and aid in cessation?  Possible.  People have used the patch and the gum to stop smoking.  In a real world study, people showed a 9.2% success rate with the patch, 8.4% with the gum.  Cold Turkey's at 11% buy the way... [insert shameless plug for my book here]  What that means though is the other 90.8% and 91.6% respectively, went back to smoking after 6 months.  Also, the people in that study were on their 5th attempt.

Now, back to the e-cigerette, because here in lies the rub...

Who's making them e-cigarettes anyway?  Who just happens to be buying up e-cigarette companies left and right?  Who's also been know to chemically enhance the addictive properties of their product?  Who's in the nicotine delivery business?  Big Tobacco that's who?  They have, over the last 80+ years exhibited seriously questionable ethics or morals with their tobacco products.  And that's putting it lightly.  So if Big Tobacco is hedging their bets and looking to get a piece of the vaping pie, then I want the FDA, CDC, HHS, FTC, ATF and any other Government agency with initials to be keeping a strong eye on what is happening in that industry.  Big Tobacco is moving in on e-cigarettes and that should raise a MASSIVE red flag for anyone actually interested in getting off nicotine.

BOTTOM LINE:  Regular old school James Dean cool cigarette or new bitchen Stephen Dorff blu e-cigarette, it's still a delivery device for nicotine being sold to consumers by a group who clearly can't be trusted.  Ever.  People have every right to commit passive aggressive suicide by smoking tobacco on a regular basis and they have every right to self-medicate with nicotine as long as they're not hurting others in the process.  (i.e. Wanna get drunk and drink your life away?  OK.  DUI?  Not OK.)  Should the FDA regulate the crap out of them?  Absolutely.  Because, if Big Tobacco's involved, it will only be a matter of time before something fishy's going on.

While nicotine is (and should be) legal, it is still a drug.  It's addictive properties are as strong as heroin and it is lethal around 60mg.  The idea of weening off a drug has merit, however, it fails significantly more often than it succeeds.  Any company in the nicotine delivery business, can't afford to have you succeed in getting off nicotine and therefor should be watched closely.  Will the regulations restrict the information going out or just make sure it's real and accurate?  If you haven't seen cigarette marketing from the 40's and 50's go do a little research (or poke around this blog) and you'll see what I'm talking about.  Regulate?  If need be to keep these people in check, absolutely.

To answer Sullum's concern about the regulation of e-cigarettes causing unnecessary loss of life...  who's the real lunatic anyway?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Virginia health district to survey businesses and work sites about tobacco policies

Newsies smoking at work back in the day!
Stop Smoking Virginia!  The Central Virginia Health District is surveying tobacco and cigarettes in the workplace.  They're looking to businesses and work sites to determine where existing tobacco use policies can be found. The survey is designed to measure what interest there is from local business and job sites in implementing real tobacco-free policies. The survey is available for any agency, business, organization, or institution now through Nov. 30, 2013

It's available online at:

Tobacco-free policies in the workplace address cigarette smoking by employees and/or visitors. These policies may address use of smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes, plus other tobacco products.  It will also address the issue of secondhand smoke exposure.

NOTE:  There is no real "safe level" of tobacco exposure and comprehensive policies can and should be put in place to support and help smokers to stop.  

Results from the survey will be used to help business and companies who are looking to implement a real and effective tobacco-free policy for the workers and the customer base.  Topics are going to include helping businesses provide employees and their dependents with access to free or reduced-cost cessation supports, make work environment completely tobacco-free, and ensure help compliance issues in regards to restrictions on the selling and promoting of tobacco products.

For Amy Trent's whole story from News Advance, click here!

For more information on the survey and policy for your company, contact Leslie Hoglund at (434) 944-5116 or

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lorillard Hedge Fund #2 Buys Sky e-cigs

Stop Smoking Greenbsboro - Lorillard Tobacco has closed on a deal to buy Skycig, a British e-cigarette
maker, for $49 million according to the Los Angeles Times.  The North Carolina-based tobacco giant has expanded more aggressively into the newest nicotine delivery trend than its larger rivals. Last year Lorillard paid $135 million to buy Blu eCigs.

“It has been Lorillard's mission to be first and best in the electronic cigarette category,” Chief Executive Murray Kessler said in a news release. “Our mission is now a global one.”

While from a pure business perspective, this makes total since.  Tower Records wasn't creative enough to solve their mp3 problem.  Big Tobacco has a viable hedge fund in the e-cigarette market.  Unfortunately, when you consider who is now in charge of manufacturing, advertising and marketing and stack that on the fact that Big Tobacco has functioned without any real ethics since the beginning, all that's really happened here is the music changed, but we're still dancing with the Devil.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

E-Cigarette in Arizona found to contain tar

Stop Smoking Tempe, AZ.  Mesa police arrested a Tempe man for using an electronic cigarette to smoke heroin.  Danika Worthington from the Arizona Republic discovered a court document showing how police found Mark Patrick Newman, aged 24, outside his home in Tempe.  Patrick was sitting in a BMW in the driveway.  Police said it appeared as if he had been smoking.  The cops found black tar heroin in Newman’s sock and an electronic cigarette with a melted black tar substance inside the center console, according to the court document.

The officers also discovered some pot and paraphernalia in the car.  Newman told police he smoked marijuana earlier in the afternoon and was smoking heroin when police arrived, the document says.

Newman was then arrested on multiple charges of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia AND they hit him with the use of an electronic device in drug transactions.

This little incident occurred on July 2, right after Mesa police pulled Newman over for switching lanes without using his signal   Police found 30 bucks worth of black tar heroin in Newman’s sock. After a K9 smelled around a bit, they found drug paraphernalia used for smoking heroin..

BEST PART:  Newman told the police in July that he smoked three to four times a week but was not addicted to heroin.

CHIEF CONCERN:  The original article uses his full name, Mark Patrick Newman, which leads me to wonder if he will ultimately wind up being implicated in any local serial killings or assassination attempts.  Having a name like Mark Patrick Newman, should be probable cause.  Read this sentence like a news reporter:  "Multiple bodies were found buried in the back yard of a one Mark Patrick Newman."  Or they this one:  "The alleged gunman is one Mark Patrick Newman."  Feeling me on this one?  Either way, I hope Mr. Newmen gets the help he needs!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

E-Cigarette WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

10 chemicals identified so far in e-cigarettes vapor that are on the California Prop 65 list of carcinogens and
reproductive toxins:

In the state of California exists Proposition 65.  It is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.  It was enacted as a ballot initiative in November of 1986.  What the Proposition was designed to do was to protect Californians and their drinking water from chemicals already known to cause things like cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm.  It was also set up to inform citizens when and where they may be exposed to these chemicals.

One of the requirements of Prop 65 is that the Governor is to publish, at least once a year, a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or have reproductive "toxicity."

For products that contain these chemicals on the Prop 65 list, they are required to carry the following warning in California:

"WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."

So, guess what?  The compounds listed below are on the Prop 65 list AND have already been identified in mainstream or secondhand (sidestream) e-cigarette vapor:

Acetaldehyde (MS)
Benzene (SS)
Cadmium (MS)
Formaldehyde (MS,SS)
Isoprene (SS)
Lead (MS)
Nickel (MS)
Nicotine (MS, SS)
N-Nitrosonornicotine (MS, SS)
Toluene (MS, SS)

The take away is this, E-cigarettes do not deliver just "pure nicotine" and "harmless water vapor."  Just consider this.  In the first half of the 20th Century, cigarettes were smoked by doctors.  Tobacco as a product in cigars and pipes was used and people rolled their own cigarettes, but it wasn't until the late 19th and early 20th century that mass production of cigarettes made it incredibly easy to smoke and since no real long term effects had been seen or observed, people just assumed cigarettes were "OK."

You know the old saying, those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.  Look at the history of the cigarette and the roll advertising and marketing played in the explosion of death that followed and consider what's happening now in the highly unregulated world of electronic cigarettes.  Watch how many people are blinded by their addiction and then follow the money.  Big tobacco is in a relentless attempt to hedge themselves and they are following the exact same pattern that worked so incredibly well once.

Please good citizens of planet earth, don't fall for it a second time.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice...  you know the rest!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Top 5 Deathbed Regrets - Are any of these yours now?

What are the top five deathbed regrets?  Bronnie Ware wrote a book called "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying:  A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing."  Bronnie worked as a pallitive nurse who noticed that people in transition had a lot in common.  From the book and multiple sources on line, allow me to share them with you.  While you're looking these five over and since this is a blog dedicated to helping people kick the habit, consider how these regrets play into your own life.  Is there a way you can leverage them into extending your time on this planet by not smoking anymore?  Can you use this to help yourself stop smoking and quite literally buy yourself the time you need to rid yourself of the possibility of these five regrets... 

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

Challenge:  Are any of these your regrets now?  Right now?  If your time was up, on a scale from 1-10, where are you on the level of regret with each of these?

I'll wrap this up with a little Thoreau, "Most men lead lives of quite desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jack Wilshire in bed with Neo E-Cigarettes: Please don't get all Stephen Dorff on us!

Stop Smoking U.K. - Is soccer player Jack Wilshire about to hop into bed with Neo and Ballantyne Brands, LLC?

Neo is an electronic cigarette brand offering itself as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking.  Neo, however is taking a cue from Big Tobacco giants like Lorillard and going after celebrity endorsements.  Blu e-cigs has captured endorsements from Jenny McCarthy and Stephen Dorff.  Now, according to The Mirror, Neo, owned by Ballantyne Brands, LLC has made a substantial offer to Arsenal team member Jack Wilshire to "officially endorse the product as a healthy alternative to smoking."

The main reason for this substantial offer is Jack got caught puffing on a real one recently.  Football, which is Soccer in the states, is a big sport in the UK.  Professional Football players in England are as huge as American Football players and consequently they get paparatzied as hard as US celebrities.  Jack says he doesn't actually smoke and that the photo opp was all fun and games.  Who knows really, but I'm inclined to believe him.  It does seem crazy that any athlete, especially in this day and age would willfully give themselves such a major competitive disadvantage like smoking.

No wonder, Neo would swoop down on our boy Jack so quickly.  Almost shark like...  all I can say to old Jack here is:  Don't do it man!  I don't care how much money they offer you!  You're bigger then they are.  Don't get used by a "legitimate" drug dealer, pimp like Ballantyne.

E-cigarettes are nothing more than an evolution of the delivery device of a highly toxic and addictive chemical, nicotine.  Any company who willfully sells nicotine is in the addiction business and has blood on their hands.  Period.  Jeffrey Wigand's website offers a chilling question, "Is a cigarette a natural product?  Or one engineered for only one purpose: to deliver the addictive drug Nicotine?"  Consider this carefully Mr Wilshire as you are being watched.  Not just by the media, but by children who will make decisions about what is and is not cool.  You have a tremendous opportunity before you sir and I trust you will take the higher road!