Six years ago, when I was 17, I started sprinkling tobacco in my joints because it’s scientifically proven to be best way to consume pot. Within a couple months I was smoking 5 to 10 hand-rolled cigs a day, then 10 to 15 by the year’s end. Eventually I switched over to Marlboro Lights to look cool as fuck, and in the years since, smoking has definitely taken a toll.
I get winded after a few pushes, I get sick more frequently, and my urge to smoke only continues to grow. I tried to quit cold turkey but that only lasted about a month before I was sucking down stogies again.
Since I don’t want to look like old Andy Roy after I hit 30, I decided now was a good time to give quitting another shot. But instead of quitting with no plan, I tried some dumb self-help methods to make it happen. As Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy… I’ve done it hundreds of times.”
METHOD 1: BAKING SODA COCKTAIL
What: Drink baking soda + water twice a day.
Why: Anything with the word cocktail in it seems worth a shot. According to some medical websites, baking soda is highly alkaline, which means it “neutralizes toxins and reduces acidity”. Acidic bodies are more prone to addiction, so if I stuff my self full of alkaline that basically means I won’t want to smoke anymore, right?
How: Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with an 8 oz glass of water. Wait until the baking soda is fully dissolved and drink it. Do this twice a day for one week, then once a day for the next week. I did this once in the morning and once at work during lunch since those are the times I smoke the most throughout a weekday.
Results: During the two weeks I tried this method I did end up smoking a little less than normal. I smoked around five cigarettes a day, or 1/3 of my usual intake, but I don’t know how much I credit that to the “cocktail,” which tasted like flavorless and flat seltzer water. Maybe it was the boring drink that cut down my craving, or maybe it was because this was the first method I tried and I was deep in the “you can do it” mindset of quitting/content creation. But I am proud of smoking fewer than 10 cigs while getting drunk off real cocktails at a party.
METHOD 2: DOG TREAT
What: Eat a dog treat every time you smoke a ciggie.
Why: I’m going to go out on a limb and say some really sick fuck came up with the one, and I guess that makes me a sick fuck since I tried it. The rationale here is that the mind will start to equate smoking with something that tastes bad. Since I’m easily grossed out by certain foods, I figured that if I was forced to eat something nasty when I smoked it would teach me a lesson I wouldn’t soon forget.
How: Allow yourself to smoke cigs whenever and however much you want, but make sure you’re diligent about the consequence–eating a dog treat for every cig. For an extra bit of discouragement, I bought ones that were shaped very obviously like little bones so that when someone saw me about to munch down on one of these puke-flavored delights, the confusion and judgment would throw in some extra social disincentive.
Results: I almost threw up multiple times during this trial because the odor and taste of these treats were so potently disgusting. My girlfriend made sure that I was eating them after I smoked when we were together. And if we weren’t together, it was so awkward taking the dog treats out by myself in public that I would save them for later and eat them like a meal when I got home. This sucked. I was definitely smoking less during this week of the trial.
METHOD 3: PARTNER SHAME
What: Have someone you care about shame you every time you smoke.
Why: I guess I chose to do this method. By that I mean I chose to be with my partner, and she chose to shame me for smoking. Ideally, this method will inevitably lead to an ultimatum: a lonely life of cigarettes, or loving affection and companionship. Real smokers know this ain’t as easy a decision as it sounds though.
How: Find someone that doesn’t want you to die and isn’t afraid to tell you you’re going to get cancer, and make sure they’re dedicated to a lifestyle of smoking shit talk. Here are a few key phrases my girlfriend has found particularly useful: “You smell like shit now,” or, “Wow, so you’re just going to die of cancer and leave me here?” Also, there’s the extra rule of no kissing or anything if you’ve recently smoked.
Results: This method was good for when I was around my partner. If we were laying on the couch and I had the urge to smoke, I wouldn’t do it because that would ruin the pleasant time we were spending together and replace it with death threats, guilt trips, and no kisses. But if I wasn’t with her for a prolonged amount of time… spark up those Marb lights!
METHOD 4: THE JUUL
What: Hit the Juul instead of the tobacco.
Why: Replacing the age-old cigarette with the sleek vape pen cuts down on the amount of tobacco you’re taking in and makes you look fucking stupid as hell in the process. So I decided to give the Juulio a go.
How: Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, just whip out the Juul. Keep that sucker charged and your pocket full of flavor pods and substitute one addiction for the other. At first, I was hesitant to hit it in public, but then I realized that everyone’s doing it everywhere, even kids at the skatepark are Juul’in. So yeah, you might look really lame, but the dude that just front smithed the handrail at the park also Juuls, so it’s “cool.”
Results: This did not help me, at all. My nicotine intake probably doubled because of this. I can’t smoke cigs in my apartment, but I can Juul. This means that while I write, read, play FIFA, take a shit, or hit my bong, I can also suck down that sweet, sweet nicotine. The habit was not broken, it was just transferred and amplified.
The lack of research on vaping’s long-term effects is also something that makes me nervous. For all I know I might be better off inhaling real smoke out of the classic cig than take a hit off Zigram’s dick.
METHOD 5: Hypnosis
What: Get hypnotized to cancel your craving for cigarettes.
Why: After giving all the other methods a try, this was the last and most intensive means I attempted. I realized that addiction hides in your subconscious, and the only way to fight it is to have a middle-aged Eastern European man tap into your mind with some old Svengali shit.
How: Do your research and find a reputable and affordable hypnotherapist in your area. I visited a local New York guy I found on Google, who quizzed me on my habit and why I wanted to quit, and then tried to put me in the trance. He told me to stare at a spot on the wall and really focus on it, blank everything out and find an imaginary point between consciousness and unconsciousness. The rest is kind of hazy, and all I really know is that my eyes shut, my body felt light, and this man talked to me for 40 minutes, but it only felt like a few minutes.
Results: I felt more spacey than usual as I left this man’s apartment. My body felt loose and my mind felt clean, and somewhat surprisingly, I haven’t had the urge to smoke tobacco or nicotine in a couple of days. I even went home and tossed a couple cigs in the trash. I don’t know how long this will last, but I think it has had the most alleviating and immediate effect on me. This is the only method that I would whole-heartedly recommend out of this short and pain-staking trial.
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