The topic of other nicotine (cigars, cigarettes, snus, nicotine patches, gum, etc.) and if they’re “allowed” for a quitter on KillTheCan.org comes up quite often on the forums and I wanted to put this post together so the next time it comes up I’ve got my response ready to roll. First, let me remind you that the founders of KillTheCan.org prefer and subscribe to the “cold turkey” method of cessation. This means that we strive to be 100% nicotine free… and that’s what we expect of our members.
Here’s how this conversation typically starts.
“Hey guys… I’m SO glad to have found this community and I’m LOVING being dip free! I’m definitely never going back to the can! Here’s my question. I’m going to my buddy’s bachelor party this weekend and when I get together with those guys we always have cigars and booze. Is this OK?
NOTE: it’s not always a bachelor party. Could be a golf outing, a camping weekend, a homecoming, etc. Feel free to replace “bachelor party” with whatever fits for your get together.
The short answer to this question is, “No”. The longer answer to this question is, “Fuck no… are you kidding me?” And the even longer (and probably more appropriate answer) goes something like this.
Allow me to set up a scenario…
Your best friend is an alcoholic. You’ve know him for years and for as long as you can remember, EVERY time you see him, he’s got Jack Daniels on the rocks in front of him. It’s become part of who he is. It’s become his persona. You refer to him as “Jack” and you don’t really remember what his real name is. He’s always the life of the party but you can’t help but notice that he’s always got his Jack Daniels with him. Then one day he comes to you and tells you that he’s given up the sauce. He realizes that he’s an alcoholic and he’s ready to make a change. He’s quit. And he’d like your support.
Would you toast him with a Miller Lite?
Absolutely not. And it’s the same thing with cigars and dippers. You know why? Cause what we’re ADDICTED to is nicotine. Period end of story. All you’ve done is changed the delivery method. The law of addiction states that when you reintroduce a substance it causes a reestablishment of dependence to that substance. This is why we strive for 100% nicotine free. Otherwise, you’re just not quit.
And please… I’m not going to get into a harm reduction discussion here. That’s not my point. Feel free to argue how much “safer” and “healthier” smokeless tobacco is than cigarettes and cigars elsewhere. I’m not going to indulge you here.
Still don’t understand how having “just one” may lead you back to the can? Here it is. I’ve seen it play out hundreds of times.
“YEAH… I’m quit. This is AWESOME. Fuck nicotine… I’m never going back.”
A few weeks later…
“Ah… I’m going golfing/fishing/camping (insert activity here) with my buddies. I’ve always had a cigar in the past. But I quit dipping… but a cigar isn’t dipping. I was a DIP addict. One or two cigars a year means I wasn’t addicted to cigars… I’ll be just fine.”
A few weeks later…
“Man… that cigar was fucking awesome. But I was able to have just one and that didn’t turn into more than one. I’m sure I could just have one dip and be just fine.”
A few weeks, moths, years, later…
“Day #1 – Sorry guys… thought I could have just one.”
It’s unfortunately just that simple. As a wise man has said, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”. Well, I can just as easily say, “Rationalization leads to craving, craving leads to cigar, cigar leads right back to addiction.” We’ve been referred to as “Nic Nazis” and while I never like be associated with one of the worst parts of human history, to being called a Nic Nazi, I have to respond with an emphatic, “Heil Quitler!!!”