It’s nearly a month since we laid down the gauntlet in the battle against cancer-sticks. In our last update, things were going well, and we were beating smoking 2.5 - 1.5, but some of us have started to falter...
JAMIE INGLIS (TEN A DAY), THE THIRD SPACE
I went to ‘The Third Space’, which is this snazzy gym and spa thing in Soho. It was in this amazing building that looked like the inside of a spaceship. All the equipment was super-fancy and looked like it cost more than your house. I wasn’t really sure what kind of treatment I was going to get. They sent me through to a room with a lovely lady called Belinda.
I thought she was just asking me some medical questions before the start of my real treatment, but then she started to talk about how hypnotism isn’t like what you see on the telly and I realised what was about to happen. It was all very relaxing apart from when she would ask me things like, “On a scale of 1-to-10 how anxious do you feel right now?” which would immediately make anyone’s anxiety jump to a good 8 or 9. After breathing in and out for a good while and trying not to laugh, I went all relaxed and spaced out while Belinda repeated to me how shitty smoking is.
Then came the acupuncture.
The man performing the thousand-year-old medical procedure was a nice gentleman called Steve. He was super laidback and talked about how the whole universe was made of “chi”. Then he got some needles out. I lay flat on a bed and he put some in my feet, some in my legs, a couple in my hands and four in my ear. I did space out a bit to the relaxing sounds of Chinese waterfalls or whatever he had put on the CD player but was a bit distracted by the sound of him noisily replying to emails on his 1994 vintage keyboard. After a while he took the needles out and put some weird ‘seed’ things in my ears, which he said I could press when I wanted a fag to make the cravings disappear.
Would you recommend it?
Although I don’t think the treatments really worked on me, I think that's mainly because I wasn't really committed to it. I can see how they could work for other people… maybe if you’re a bit susceptible to hypnotism and willing to believe in the power of ‘chi’.
All in all, it was a mostly pleasant experience; an afternoon chat with a nice lady and a listen to some panpipe tunes with a super-laidback doctor beats being in the office for a while.
In fact, it was so super-relaxing that the cigarette I had when I got out went down a treat.
TheThirdSpace.com’s quit smoking package is £280
FHM 2.5 - 2.5 SMOKING
GRANT HOWITT (FOUR A DAY), ‘STOP SMOKING IN TWO HOURS’ APP
This is an update. Read all about Grant's treatment here.
It's been two weeks since I quit, and it's becoming trickier. I used 'Stop Smoking In Two Hours', which is pretty solid and a fairly cheap, clean way of severing the connection with nicotine (in that there's no replacement therapy - it's essentially cold turkey mixed with motivational speaking hoodoo and a bit of hypnotism), but the very nature of it means that my coping mechanisms are limited.
I've not yet smoked, though, which is a source of pride. I came close on Saturday – I had a very stressful day dressed up as a zombie getting shot at with BB guns, which is what I do when I'm not writing for FHM.com – but I managed to battle through a hangover, organisational chaos, sleeping overnight in a freezing abandoned mall, and getting hit repeatedly in the neck with high-speed plastic pellets without resorting to the DEMON WEED.
My lungs feel significantly better. I can smell things, occasionally. I can run upstairs without coughing. But I still crave cigarettes. Mainly, I crave them between the hours of 10am and 1pm, where I sit staring at a blank white Word document, trying to will words onto the page. The 11am cigarette was a call to arms, a rallying shout to my brain to get moving and write some stuff.
But now, whenever I try to write, I lean back in my seat and search for an idea, and that idea is almost invariably “GOD I WANT A CIGARETTE SO HARD”. Which makes things a little difficult, as you can probably understand.
FHM 3.5 - 2.5 SMOKING
JESS COMMONS (THREE A DAY), Nicotinell patches and gum
What’s the deal with Nicotinell?
It’s not exactly a new concept, but I’ll explain it anyways. Nicotinell works like this: you get a patch, stick it to your upper arm and it keeps the nicotine levels in your system topped up so you don’t fancy a ciggy. There’s different patch strengths which you use depending on how many cigs you’re on a day and you use smaller patches as you cut down. Nicotinell also do gum and lozenges which you can munch on for extra help if you’re in a high-risk situation.
How’s it going so far?
In hindsight, I was probably the worst one of the group to use this method as I smoke very little and the only time I really fancy a fag is when I’ve got a drink in my other hand. This makes the (highly trained) amateur psychologist in me think I smoke out of habit instead of addiction. And in that case no amount of nicotine coursing through my veins from my handy patch is going to make a blind bit of difference.
Is it working?
Turns out I was right. As soon as I started supping on a beer, all I wanted was a cigarette, and it’s pretty much been downhill from there. Also, whoever came up with chewing gum as an alternative to smoking is insane. It’s not nearly the same thing.
Would you recommend it?
I think if you were a proper smoker this would be pretty good. The weird thing is, though, I think nicotine addiction is only half of why people smoke; I think the habit is a big part of it too and Nicotinell does nothing to deal with those sorts of cravings. You need something that you can do instead of smoking that feels that same, otherwise you still feel like you’re missing out.
In fairness to Nicotinell, I've just read on the packet that you shouldn't use these if you're just an occasional smoker. So we're idiots. And I now probably have an addiction to nicotine to deal with. THANKS FHM.
FHM 3.5 - 3.5 SMOKING
FHM READER HOLLY DYER (10 TO 20 A DAY), E-LITES CIGARETTES
How much were you smoking before we sent you these?
For the last six months I've been smoking about 10 a day. Before that, I was just a social smoker. I moved to Leeds to go to Uni about six months ago and started smoking properly as a way to make friends.
What are you using to help you quit?
They're called E-Lites. They're a snazzy kind of electronic cigarette. They're not actually meant to make you stop smoking, but they're healthier than normal cigarettes because they contain nicotine but no tar.
How's it going so far?
It's going really well. It definitely stops the urges to have a proper cigarette. I thought I'd actually end up smoking more, because I'd have these and the normal cigarettes, but I've really cut down. Even when my boyfriend is smoking or I'm out drinking, I nearly always have an electronic cigarette rather than a proper one.
I don't think I'll stop smoking completely, but I'm already smoking much less than I used to. I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to quit completely, and I'm not quite there yet.
Would you recommend them?
Definitely. All my friends thought they were weird but now they think they're amazing and everyone wants one. I don't feel self-conscious smoking them, and I no longer feel guilty about blasting my lungs with tar.
e-lites.co.uk Prices start from £9.99
FHM 4.5 - 3.5 SMOKING
Check out Part Four, revealing once and for all whether FHM really can beat smoking.