The millions of people who smoke know that the ritual of smoke breaks is relaxing and comforting almost as addictive as the nicotine itself. Those who make the decision to quit this unhealthy and expensive habit do not only have their nicotine addiction to contend with, but also lose the relaxing breaks that may help them keep perspective throughout the day. Due to this twofold loss, many people fail to maintain a smoke-free lifestyle, or go years without smoking only to pick up a cigarette when a particularly stressful situation leaves them desperate for a way to cope. In The Smoke-Free Smoke Break, Pavel Somov and Marla Somova present a gradual plan for quitting smoking once and for all by keeping the smoke breaks, but replacing the tobacco with mindfulness exercises and positive reinforcement techniques that work as well or better than cigarettes for calming and soothing readers in stressful times. First, readers practice mindful smoking to increase their present-moment awareness while using cigarettes. Then readers work on cutting down nicotine use, incorporating nicotine patches and other quitting devices, if they choose. Finally, readers quit nicotine entirely, while keeping the mindfulness exercises and breaks as part of their daily routine. The authors have used this program successfully with many smokers and have found that the key component of this program teaching smokers methods for coping withdrawal before they quit is essential to the success of the smoke-free smoke break method.
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Pavel G. Somov, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in Pittsburgh, PA. He received his doctorate from State University of New York at Buffalo. He is author of Eating the Moment, Present Perfect, and The Lotus Effect. He blogs on the Psychology Today, Psych Central, and Huffington Post websites.