The clipping below is from 1976. The "Five-Day Plan" discussed has stood the trials of time and is widely accepted now: Introduction to Five Day Stop Smoking Plan.
For tobacco smokers tired of the nagging fears of the continual harm they do to their bodies, but who feel they cannot give up their nicotine habit, Chaplain Willis Graves has some suggestions.
Graves began helping folks stop smoking in 1960 in Massachusetts when he became involved in an experimental program to help people quit smoking. The program, called the Five-day Plan, is now used by clinics and hospitals thruout the nation. Graves is in charge of the program at the local hospital.
The body develops an addiction to nicotine, according to Graves, and suffers withdrawal symptoms. "The withdrawal symptoms usually last about five days," he says. "Most physicians realize this and admit that nicotine is addictive. Those who deny it call it an 'habituation.' They don't want to admit that so many people in this country are actually physically addicted to something."
"It doesn't take long to become addicted," he says. "It could take as little as a week in some cases. Nicotine is one of the most powerful drugs around. Immediately, it stimulates; later, it depresses or relaxes the person."
"The most common withdrawal symptom is a headache," says the chaplain. "Other common symptoms are sleepiness, nervousness, and irritability. The symptoms are bizarre."
Graves does not advocate the use of nicotine substitutes or tranquilizers. "We advocate willpower." "Exercise the power of mind over body, and keep repeating, 'I choose not to smoke,' You must make the choice yourself."
According to Graves, "Tapering off your smoking won't work well because, so long as the nicotine is in the body, there will be a physical craving for more nicotine. We also suggest that a person avoid caffeine during the withdrawal period because caffeine can have effects on the body similar to the effects of nicotine. It's almost as if the body is getting nicotine, and that causes the body to crave nicotine."
To beat the nicotine craving and to successfully withdraw, the chaplain suggests drinking "lots of water, liquids, and fruit juices the first few days. The extra liquid will help flush the nicotine out of your system. It really doesn't take long to get the nicotine out of the body."
"Another gimmick that works," according to Graves, "is deep breathing. It helps relax the person. Also, you can subside the craving by determining not to smoke for three minutes. Usually, after that, the immediate craving will have passed."
He says proponents of the "Five-day Plan" have been accused of using scare tactics at times, "but we don't consider them scare tactics. They're the facts of life that we present. We use no exaggeration at all."
Those "facts of life" for smokers tell the damage smoking can and does do to a person's body. Smoking effects the circulatory system, the lungs, the heart, and the reproductive system.
According to medical facts presented by Graves, smoking constricts the blood vessels in the heart and automatically increases the blood pressure and the heart rate. In addition to constricting the blood vessels, smoking also impedes circulation by accelerating the formation of cholesterol deposits in arterial linings, a condition called arteriosclerosis.
According to the chaplain, a seldom discussed effect of impeded circulation is male impotence.
Graves explains that there is a second effect that smoking has on the lungs that is less widely known than lung cancer: Pulmonary emphysema. With emphysema, the air is able to enter the air sacs in the lungs more readily than it can exit. "The air is trapped in the air sacs, and it becomes suffocation by inches."
"Pregnant women who smoke tend to produce premature and underweight babies," says Graves. "Also, nicotine constricts the flow of blood and as a result reduces the oxygen that gets to the baby. There's a higher degree of birth defects among babies born to smoking women."
"If a person quits smoking because of fear," says the chaplain, "that's not the best reason. The best reason to quit smoking is for your own health and to feel better. Anyone can quit smoking if he wants to. The key phrase is, 'I choose not to smoke.'"
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