Quasi-quit smoking technique with a harm reduction attitude

The four of us are still reflecting on much of what went on in Beirut at this year’s International Harm Reduction Conference. Carl has already reported on some of what went on and I am sure there will be quite a few conference follow up posts over the next few weeks. We all had presentations as well as conducting very well received demonstrations of various cigarette alternatives but part of the point of going to these things is to run up against some new ideas.

Here’s both a new and very old idea. Old in that it comes from Buddhist sources but new in its application. Mindful Smoking.

The quite affable John Williams from Australia described this not so much as a quit smoking method but as approaching smoking as authentic experience. The challenge is to really smoke a cigarette and do nothing else. He said that once people really concentrate purely on smoking that cigarette many find that it is not that enjoyable once divorced from the noise that usually accompanies it (by noise, I mean doing other things while smoking). He also said that for a few people, the report back was that it was the most enjoyable cigarette they had ever had.

The reason I characterize this as tempered with a harm reduction attitude is that he does not see the happy smoking as a failure but a success of another kind.

The point is to enrich life, to strip away the extraneous and to experience the totality of whatever you are doing. If that ends in quitting smoking then it ends in quitting smoking. If it ends in a new appreciation for the joy of smoking, then that is also coming to a greater involvement in the here and now.

Presently there has been little quantification to this but he is starting on that path and hopes to be able to report on those results in the near future.

-Paul L. Bergen

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