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Radio Show

Quitline Extended 06-29-05:  Kim & Diego Tapering Down

Theme: Smoking
Air Date: 6/29/05
Producer: Janaki LeFils
Description: Kim talks with Quitline Counselor Diego about how it's working to cut down from 10 cigarettes a day to 5, in preparation for "Quit Day"


Host Intro:

Groups Featured in this report include:

Also in this Saga

Quitline Extended 06-21-05: Kim Diary-Thinking of Quitting Kim talks about why wants to quit smoking and what the change may be like.
Quitline Extended 06-22-05 Kim Diary-Tape 2 Kim Diary Tape 2
QUITLINE Extended 06-23-05 Thinking of Quitting 2.5
Quitline Extended 06-24-05: Kim & Diego Intake Call Kim makes her first call to the Colorado Quitline, to talk about a plan for quitting smoking with phone counselor Diego.
Quitline Extended 06-28-05 Thinking of Quitting 3
Quitline Extended 07-01-05 Tapering Down
Quitline Extended 07-02-05: Kim & Diego Quit Day Kim talks with Diego on Quitday.
Quitline Extended 07-05-05: Kim & Diego 3 Days Smoke Fee Kim's three days into being smoke free as she talks with Diego about how it's going.
Quitline Extended 07-5-05: Kim Diary (through August)
Quitline Extended 07-08-05: Kim & Diego 7 Days Smoke Fee Kim talks with Diego after going one week smoke free.

Full Text:

June 29, 2005
Kim and Diego?Tapering Down

Kim: Hi, Diego!

Diego: How?s she going, Kim?

Kim: Oh, it?s going OK!

Diego: How did your trip to Chicago go?

Kim: Oh, it was fun. So I?m in my cutback mode.

Diego: Oh, OK, great, yeah. That?s where we left off last time, you were going to start cutting back and the trip was going to be kind of helpful. Hopefully it was. How did it go?

Kim: It went really?it was really fun in terms of the smoking. You know, I was limited in when and how I could smoke. So that was good. In some cases, I would smoke two cigarettes just to make up for the others I couldn?t.

Diego: Oh, really? How many cigarettes are you down to now?

Kim: Six today. I?ve already had four.

Diego: OK, great.

Kim: And I?m going to do five tomorrow and five Friday.

Diego: OK, great, great, that?s a good thing. And then we?re going to try to shoot for July 2, right?

Kim: Yes.

Diego: OK, that sounds like a plan. And you?re really right within target, you?re really right where we like people to be, around five, six cigarettes a day. Like I said, it seems to be a lot easier to quit from five cigarettes to nothing than one or two a day.

Kim: Right.

Diego: A lot of times, you know, we say, ?Well, I?m going to cut down to four and only stay on four for a few days, and then stay on three for another few days.? It seems the lower we get, the harder it becomes to give those two or one up. So next thing you know, you?ve been trying to cut down for four or five weeks. And really, going from about five cigarettes to nothing is really not that bad. You?re not getting a whole lot of nicotine. Staying busy, drinking a lot of water will definitely help out. Once you quit and you may get withdrawal symptoms, they?re nowhere near as harsh as if you were to go from half a pack to nothing. What were some of the triggers out in Chicago, or some of the triggers even now?

Kim: Oh, it?s just, you know, my sister has three kids and they?re all ages and they want a lot of attention. Then it was my mother?s birthday, so she wanted and deserved a lot of attention. And then there?s just?you know, there?s four adult children, kind of acting out in their childhood tendencies. It brings back a lot of stuff. So it gets kind of crazy crazy.

Diego: Yeah, I bet. Do you smoke in your home now, Kim?

Kim: Not inside.

Diego: Well, that?s a good thing. Is there a particular place that you tend to smoke?

Kim: On my back porch.

Diego: OK. How about if from here to the 2nd, maybe we can start smoking somewhere else instead of the back porch.

Kim: That?s a good idea.

Diego: That way we start changing things up a little bit, changing up the routine leading up to your quit date. Another suggestion that I?ve found out works for people is, running up to their quit day, they change to a brand of cigarette that they don?t really like. It makes them smoke less because they don?t really like it. So that might be something we might consider.

Kim: OK.

Diego: I was going to say?withdrawal symptoms, let?s talk a little bit about withdrawal symptoms, how you might feel, some of the things you might go through. You might feel irritable. You might feel a little bit anxious. You might feel tired, too. You might experience concentration problems. You also might feel dizzy and have the need to have something between your fingers, or just the whole hand-to-mouth action. You also might experience a dry throat or a cough. You might start coughing up some phlegm. Some people cough up right off the bat. If that happens, it?s a good thing. It just lets you know that your lungs are kicking out the tars and chemicals. Some people get it, some people don?t. It really goes as far as how much you smoked, how long you smoked, and the brand of cigarettes. But if the coughing comes about, you might experience a lot of phlegm, even black stuff to go along with that. That just lets you know your lungs are kicking out the tars and chemicals. Some people get it immediately. It usually shows up around the two-week mark. We agreed that you?re not going to take any medications, right?

Kim: Right.

Diego: OK. Do you exercise much?

Kim: Yes.

Diego: Great. That is a good thing. Exercise is a good way to relieve stress and to cope with any stressful situation, just feeling a little better. Also, another withdrawal symptom I forgot to mention, if you ever smoke a cigarette before you go to bed, or throughout the night, some people wake up and smoke?

Kim: I don?t do that.

Diego: OK, great, that?s a good thing. You may notice your sleeping pattern disrupted a bit. You might not be able to fall asleep as quick. And for that there?s a really good tea called Sleepytime?. Have you ever heard about it?

Kim: Oh, yeah.

Diego: You can drink that. It works really well. You can get it at any grocery store. That way you can sleep through the night. Have you thought about any activities that you might do during the first few days?

Kim: Well, I want to get out of the house, because it?s a long weekend. I?m taking the rest of this week off. So I?m hoping to go up and do some hiking tomorrow and Friday and then again on Saturday and Sunday and Monday, so I?m just gone out of the house, doing something that?s good for me.

Diego: That would be great, you know, because I assume that you?re going to be up in the mountains, with the high altitude. That?s great. That?s going to open up your lungs even more.

Kim: Oh, good.

Diego: So that?s going to be something great. You?ll definitely notice the difference from quitting smoking and then doing the hiking once you get back and you?ve got three or four days tobacco-free. You?re going to feel a lot better. One of the things to keep in mind is, like I said, let?s try to drink a lot of water if you?re going to be active. You might want to keep a bottle of water with you at all times. A lot of people like to do that. They get a craving, they drink some water, do some deep breathing. Also, people like to keep around baby carrots, celery sticks, pretzel sticks, cinnamon sticks, lollipops. Some people like to cut up straws the size of a cigarette and chew on that or just hold it in between their hands. You might want to keep things like that around your vehicle. You told me you smoke in your car, right?

Kim: I do, but I?m going to try not to. I?ve been trying not to since I did all this stuff.

Diego: OK, that?s good. Let?s put away, maybe the night before your quit day, put away ashtrays, cigarette lighters, anything that reminds you of cigarettes. Try not to keep any cigarettes around. A lot of times we say, ?Well, I?ll keep this one just in case of an emergency.? You know.

Kim: And then I?m just going to smoke it. I?ve done that before.

Diego: Yeah. And a lot of times we will do that. We?ll say, ?Well, I?m kind of stressed out, and it?s OK, so I?ll go ahead and have it.? Let?s try not to have any of them around. Let?s prepare ourselves for triggers situations, how you might handle?say, if you have a cup of coffee and you tended to smoke a cigarette with it, let?s stay away from the coffee, or change up the coffee, make it decaf, add some milk to it, just something different, where we don?t get a trigger right away. Some people like to write down the reasons why they decided to quit.

Kim: Oh, yeah, OK.

Diego: So you might want to write them down, keep them in your wallet, maybe a little sticky in the car or on the fridge. That?s definitely a good thing to keep in mind: why we?re suffering, why we?re going through this tough situation. Definitely treat yourself. Definitely treat yourself to something nice, a nice meal, something you enjoy. A lot of us started smoking because it was a fun thing to do, a cool thing to do. So quitting shouldn?t be a punishment. We have to replace?if the smoking was fun, let?s replace it with something else that?s fun. It could be that maybe at the end of the week, from the money you?re not spending on cigarettes, you might treat yourself to a nice dinner, a movie, a shirt, something you might enjoy, something you might like. Let?s try doing that. And definitely let?s believe in ourselves, Kim, that we can do this. It?s certainly doable. Thousands of people have quit. And I believe we?re going to quit, too.

Kim: OK.

Diego: Let?s make a firm commitment to ourselves and say, as I usually like to tell people, ?As of July 2, no matter what happens, smoking?s no longer an option.? Just kind of practice that in our minds, just say, ?What about this, if this happens?? You can call us. Have you talked to any friends or family members about support?

Kim: Yes, I have. With my family, I interviewed them this weekend about their?a couple of family members have quit smoking.

Diego: Oh, great!

Kim: They were encouraging me a lot. They all want me to quit, and have for a long time. So I?ll be able to call them and get that encouragement.

Diego: Good. The more support you can have, the better it?ll be. A lot of times just knowing people are right behind us makes all the difference, having somebody who calls to say, ?Hey, Kim, you?re doing great.? One thing that we might want to do the first day is say, ?OK, all I have to do is not smoke for sixteen hours.? Sixteen hours is roughly the amount of time that we?re awake. We could break it down and say, ?From this time to that time, I?m going to be hiking. Then I?m going to go out for a meal, maybe a movie.? Doing events that you know are going to keep you busy and you know that smoking is not going to come into play. That?s one thing we can do. And leading up to the quit date, let?s try not to smoke more than usual. A lot of times people say, ?You?re quitting Friday, you?d better smoke all you can, because once you quit, it?s all over.?

Kim: I know, I have that notion, like, ?Should I only smoke six today, or should I have ten? And then twenty tomorrow?? It?s like going on a diet, you know, you think, ?Oh, I?m going to go on a diet on Saturday, so I?m going to have a whole cake tonight.?

Diego: Right. Let?s try not to do that. What happens is, your body gets all this nicotine?

Kim: Yeah.

Diego: A lot more than it was used to, and it becomes a lot harder to quit come July 2nd. So definitely, let?s try to be prepared for that. And certainly, the day of your quit day, let?s try not to even have a puff.

Kim: OK.

Diego: Because a lot of times?you know, it?s kind of like somebody?s teasing you with a Coke. They just let you have a sip and then you want the whole Coke. So certainly let?s not try not to even have a puff. Any questions, concerns?

Kim: I think for me the stimulus is just watching other people smoke. Yesterday I didn?t have any cigarettes, I?d run out, I didn?t have a chance to buy them. I saw this guy smoking and I so wanted to bum a cigarette from him?and I just walked by. I thought, ?Don?t do it. Don?t do it.? So it?s going to be hard, I think, seeing smoking.

Diego: Right. And definitely keep in mind, Kim, that the craving will go away, regardless of whether you smoke or not. It?s just a small little window of a couple of minutes where we have to make that decision. If we have one, two, three days until our quit day, let?s keep in mind that it?s easier to keep it going then to start all over again. And let?s also think that having a puff here, a puff there?and we?re right back to where we were before. So we definitely don?t want to go through all the withdrawal symptoms again.

Kim: No, they sound horrible! I don?t want to do it at all! I don?t want to have withdrawal symptoms at all!

Diego: Things like drinking green teas and herbal teas will certainly help you relax. You might feel a little edgy. it?s a good thing to tell friends and family members, ?Hey, I?m quitting on July 2nd. If I?m a little irritable and anxious, give me a break. It?s withdrawal symptoms.? Try to stay busy, because it seems that the second we have down time, you know, the first thing that comes to mind is wanting a cigarette. So plan a lot of fun things to do. Keep our number handy, and definitely believe in yourself that you can do this and that the craving will go away regardless of whether you smoke or not. The more days you have under your belt, Kim, the further and further the cravings will be, and the shorter the span it?ll be. There?s going to be a day where you?re going to feel comfortable. Just like smoking became a habit, an everyday thing, it?s going to become that cigarettes are no longer a part of you.

Kim: Good.

Diego: So let?s keep that in mind. Any other questions, concerns?

Kim: How do you change your mindset? I think that?s the hardest thing.

Diego: Yeah, that is a tough thing. Probably the best thing for that is just staying busy. Some people like to write notes to themselves. I?ve had people who wrote down little notes: ?Cigarettes are evil.? ?Cigarettes are killing me.? I?ve had people write down on the pack of cigarettes, ?If I smoke this, it will kill me.? And just being conscious about what it?s really doing to you.

Kim: Right.

Diego: Then that way you can change the mind frame to where before it was, ?Cigarettes are my buddies,? ?Cigarettes will relieve my stress,? and all those false notions?that?s probably one way to do it.

Kim: OK.

Diego: But definitely let?s prepare ourselves mentally and say we can do this, and believe in ourselves. The reasons why we want to quit: We want to be healthier. We want to live longer. And we don?t want to spend money on something that?s?

Kim: ?I know, killing me!

Diego: Yeah, literally. And the great thing about quitting is, your body will go through some good positive changes almost immediately. Twenty minutes after you quit, pulse rate and blood pressure decrease; two to three days, sense of smell and taste improves. Around the two-week mark the coughing starts. You get your lungs clearing out. Circulation improves. And just within a year, the chances for a heart attack are down by fifty percent.

Kim: That?s good, to reinforce that.

Diego: Yeah. That?s all within one year. You should hopefully get your literature soon and you?ll get those materials. You?re going to get a pamphlet where it says the way your body?s changing almost immediately after you quit. Like I said, twenty minutes later, pulse rate and blood pressure decrease. Two to three days, sense of smell and taste improves. Around the two-week mark, your lungs start clearing out, nerves endings regenerate, and circulation improves. Within a year the chances for a heart attack are down by fifty percent. And your skin will actually look better, too. A lot of people?

Kim: Oh, good.

Diego: ?say their skin looks really a lot healthier once they quit. Tobacco does make people wrinkle. So certainly that?s one thing. That?s a good thing, too. None of us want to look old.

Kim: Appeal to our vanity.

Diego: Right! That?s another good thing. You?ll definitely be able to breathe a lot better, too. You?ll notice how you?ll be able to take deep breaths, and that?s going to be a nice, pleasant change. It might be rough for the first couple of days. Withdrawal symptoms are feeling tired, dizzy, irritable, anxious, moody, concentration problems. You might want to keep candy around, too, because you might experience, like I said, a dry throat or coughing up a bit, things like that. It almost seems like you?re going to feel a bit sluggish before you start feeling better.

Kim: That?s why I?m glad I took the weekend off, because I need some time to just kind of concentrate on that.

Diego: And that is great. That?s probably one of the best things people can do: take some time off and look at this and prepare themselves for it. You have to think it?s been a lot of years in the making. It?s a hard thing to change it from one day to the next. So I?m sure all this hard work is going to pay off, Kim.

Kim: It is. It has to.

Diego: We?ll get by craving after craving. Definitely you can have us on speed dial.

Kim: OK, I will.

Diego: We?ll do our best job to try to get you by that craving. Any other questions, concerns?

Kim: Not right now. I guess one of my big concerns really is the weight factor. I don?t want to start eating and have that be my substitute and put on weight.

Diego: I don?t think that?s going to be a problem with you, since you?re pretty busy. You know, all those horrible stories of people where they say, ?Wow, they quit smoking??

Kim: ?I know, and they gained twenty pounds.

Diego: Right. What happens with that, I mean, your metabolism is going to slow down a little bit, because nicotine is a stimulant. But on the average, a person might gain anywhere from five to ten pounds. You can surely minimize that by eating healthy, staying away from carbohydrates late in the evening, or a lot of sugars. Just eat healthy and you?ll be OK. If you?re active, if you?re going hiking and you exercise frequently, that won?t be a problem at all.

Kim: OK.

Diego: And we can do a little minor adjustments, like sometimes parking the vehicle?

Kim: ?farther away.

Diego: Yeah, farther away at the grocery store, taking the stairs. Things like that will make a difference. But a lot of times where you hear people gained fifty pounds or a hundred pounds, things like that, you know, if you tended to sit around and smoke all day?

Kim: Oh, right.

Diego: ?and then you replaced the smoking with eating, and not healthy food, you are going to put on a lot of weight. But if you?re fairly active and have a good decent balance in lifestyle, let?s not worry about that. And keep in mind, Kim, that we can always lose the weight.

Kim: Right.

Diego: That we can do. Just go on a diet, exercise a little more, and we?re there. But if we lose a lung, that?s a lot harder to replace. So I think you?ll definitely be OK.

Kim: OK.

Diego: Any other??

Kim: OK, well, thank you, no, not right now. I think when we get closer, Saturday?

Diego: I?ll be here Saturday. Do you want to??

Kim: Yeah, let?s. I think we should maybe plan to talk on Saturday.

Diego: OK, that sounds like a plan.

Kim: What time do you work?

Diego: I?ll be here from 8 in the morning till 4:30. So anywhere between there I?ll be free. I can just accommodate to that.

Kim: Maybe 9? Can we shoot for maybe talking at 9 that morning?

Diego: Nine in the morning? Oh, sure. Yeah, we?ll definitely do that. OK.

Kim: OK.

Diego: OK, great, Kim. I think you?re really ready to go and that?s great. Like I said, feel free to call us before then, and if not, I?ll go ahead and call you Saturday morning, the day of your quit date.

Kim: OK, great.

Diego: Always feel free to give us a ring. We?re right here behind you.

Kim: OK, well, I appreciate that very much, and your suggestions are really helpful. I?ve written them all down.

Diego: Great.

Kim: I?ll take this home to remind me.

Diego: Good. Well, you have a good day.

Kim: OK, thanks, Diego. Thank you so much. I appreciate your support.

Diego: You?re welcome.

Kim: Have a great night. Bye-bye.

Diego: You, too. Bye.


[Transcription prepared by Sandy Adler, Adler Enterprises LLC, Lafayette, Colorado]