I’ve been smoking cigarettes since I was four. My parents were both smokers, and they thought it was cute when I took my first puffs in imitation of them. I was addicted by my fifth birthday. Now I’m 23, and I want to quit. Not only am I old enough now to fully understand the health hazards of smoking, but I also want to break free from the psychological hold that cigarettes have on me. Addiction has dominated the early years of my life. “No more!” I say. The problem is that I’m willing to quit, but not able. Sometimes I give up cigarettes for a couple days, but something always draws me back. I guess I’m just too weak. How can I quit smoking forever?
Dear Quinn Quitter,
Have you ever heard of Pavlov’s dog? Ivan Pavlov was a crazy Russian scientist who did some psychological research on behavior modification. This weird bearded dude rang a bell and simultaneously fed his dog a treat (because that’s a totally normal thing to do), and eventually the dog became conditioned to expect the treat whenever it heard the bell. By linking the two events, Pavlov was able to change the dog’s behavior.
We’re going to perform a similar operation with you. We’ll link the taste of a cigarette to several physically distressing experiences. If all goes well, you won’t be able to put a cigarette anywhere near your mouth without suffering horrific pain. Science!
First, stock your refrigerator with several gallons of spoiled milk. I’m talking thick, chunky, three-weeks past its prime nauseating milk. First thing every morning, light up a cigarette, take a couple puffs, and gulp down a glass of rotten milk. Hopefully the milk will make you vomit. Do this every morning for several weeks.
Next, during your after-lunch smoke break, begin sticking the lit cigarette up your nostril. Be sure you make contact so that it burns your mucus membrane and any hair growing there. Not only will this be extremely painful, but it will also smell awful. Again, repeat this exercise daily. (It’s ok to switch nostrils each day to give yourself a chance to heal.)
Finally, go to an auto parts store and buy a car battery and some jumper cables. When you smoke your last cigarette of the night, clamp those cables firmly to your nipples. Let the electric current flow through your sensitive points as you try to enjoy your bedtime smoke. Make this painful practice a nightly routine.
After a few weeks of this harsh treatment, your body will begin to subconsciously cringe at the mere thought of a cigarette. When you put a cigarette into your mouth, you’ll feel the intense urge to vomit, the stench of burning flesh will infiltrate your nose, and a painful shockwave will radiate from your nipples. You won’t be able to smoke it. You will have conquered your addiction. Congratulations!
Peace, Love, and No More Nasty Cigarettes,