Quit Smoking with the Breathe-Free Program
The Breathe-Free Program teaches you how to stop smoking (and other addictions).
The Breathe-Free Program was developed with Daniel Seidman from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia as well as the Cleveland Clinic team. Before you leave this story because you’re a nonsmoker, understand this breathe-free program isn’t only an anti-smoking plan. It serves as a prototype for the way you can address any kind of addictive behavior or substance.
So read on, subbing in your own addictions to get the idea for how you can address them. One of the most powerful addictions isn’t bridal reality shows; it’s cigarette smoking.
Step 1: Assess Yourself
Answer the following questions to see if you’ve lost control of your smoking behavior and it’s turned into a dependence.
- Have you smoked every day for the past several weeks?
- Do you experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms after you stop or reduce your amount of smoking (withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours of cessation)?
- Depressed mood
- Irritability, frustration or anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased heart rate
- Increased appetite or weight gain
Do you experience significant distress due to the symptoms in question 2? Do you avoid social or work obligations, or leave in the middle of these obligations, due to distress or discomfort from not smoking?
If you answered yes to question 1, yes to at least four symptoms in questions 2, and/or yes to question 3, then you may meet the definition for nicotine addiction. Knowing this can help build your commitment to learning how to breathe free.
QUIZ: Are You Feeling Stressed?
In the past year, was there a day you didn’t smoke at all—not even a puff? If you said yes, think about how you did it and how you then went back to smoking. Try to learn from this experience.
If you answered no, don’t despair. The movie in your head about how impossible it is to break free of smoking is exaggerated. With proper use of medicines and a good behavioral plan, it’s possible to break free of smoking. We’ve helped more than 700 people individually and more than 80,000 using our web-based programs (oprah.com or realage.com). If you follow our plan and have a buddy to help, we believe your chance of success is over 60 percent each time you try—so three tries will get you to over a 90 percent chance of success.