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Smoking Ads and Persistent Temptations

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Short short in my Globe this morning says that exposure to even one glamorous and cool cigarette ad can affect the desire to smoke a full week later.

I haven't smoked for 35 years, not one cigarette. Because I know that I am one cigarette away from a pack a day every day.

And yup, I still experience that desire to smoke almost every day. Especially when I see someone else smoking. Or one of those ads. Even though I (sorry, sounding both judgmental AND illogical) absolutely loathe being around cigarette smoke and avoid it assiduously.

Sometimes when I'm struggling hardest with the food addiction, it comforts me to recognize: I have been "successful" with the smoking addiction . Although not smoking is easier because I don't have to smoke and I do have to eat.

Something. The right things. And not too much of them!! And not eating success demands the same pragmatic recognition as not smoking success: I want to smoke but I can't smoke. I want to eat (too much) and I'm going to experience hunger every day and I can't eat (whatever I want whenever I want).

Wahhhhhhhh!! Poor baby!!!!

And so I also think to myself: how long does the effect of one exposure to an enticing food ad or temptation last?

Because yup: I'm still plagued over three weeks later by the thought of those baked Ruffle sour cream and cheddar cheese potato chips that were lurking in the vending machine at my gym!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Count me among those who must avoid temptation completely. If there's choc chip cookie dough ice cream in the fridge, I'll eat it until it's all gone.

    1455 days ago
  • KLONG8
    It's a battle, isn't it? You've accomplished so much. Take a bow and keep up the VERY good work. Temptation is every where - we just have to keep fighting the good fight!
    1458 days ago
    It's hard enough dealing with temptations which are live, right in front of us. (food being eaten by friends/family in my case, or food I know is in the cabinet.) WHY do we have to deal with the ads that put temptation in our brains, pull smells, tastes, and sights from our memories, and distract us from what we were doing? I've often thought how nice it would be to be able to drive down the street without seeing signs for products everywhere.

    With the money they bring in, we're not seeing the end of advertising anytime soon! I'd love to give it a try, though.

    Ever wish you didn't have an addiction to something you need a certain amount of to live? I do. Total avoidance would be easier, I think.

    1458 days ago
    I get your message loud and clear! I once quit smoking for about 4 years and then one night I just weakened and had one of my wife's while she was in the shower - then next night I had two. By the end of the week I was smoking again for another 10 years.

    Quit in 1988 and I still had feel the urge once in awhile but, like you, I'm only one cigarette from starting again and I know it! Not going to happen.

    As Travelgrrl pointed out - food is a little different in that we do have to eat!

    Great blog - but then you always have a great blog.


    1458 days ago
    Yeah, I hate that, when thoughts of a food, or an object I didn't buy haunts me.

    20 years ago I once saw in an antique shop a really cool violin covered with rosettes of beautiful mother of perl inlays. They wanted $2K for it and I was a grad student so I hesitated. I thought about that thing for a few days and it finally bothered me so much I went back to look at it again. And found that the stall owner had picked up and moved without leaving a forwarding address.

    I still sometimes think about that violin. It was totally unique. I can't even find a picture of one online that looks like it.

    I can totally understand hoarders, although I have fortunately somehow avoided that malady - except in the case of twirly skirts. You can never have too many twirly skirts!

    Seriously though, distraction sometimes seems like the only solution. Over and over and over.

    And food is the same way.

    And I know we're not alone, judging from how NELLJONES mentions Reeses, although she hasn't had one in decades.
    1458 days ago
    Yes, that pesky little need to "eat to live" makes controlling our food addictions much more difficult than controlling smoking, drug use, or almost any other addiction!
    1458 days ago
    Did you know that after 7, the ads on TV are specifically targeted with subliminal food messages? I am not making this up. A friend of mine who is a hypnotherapist told me and at first I didn't believe her. Then I tested her statement and she is right! She says that is why people eat in the evening when watching tv. Hmmmm!
    1459 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon
    1459 days ago
  • DALID414
    Ugh! I was stuck in traffic behind a Kettle Chips truck yesterday after work! It got on my nerves! I kept reading all the flavors on the bags pictured over and over again!
    This morning I was stuck behind a Silk truck, made me smile. Had just had some for breakfast emoticon
    1459 days ago
    As usual, you hit the nail on the head! There are forces out there that are "evil" and advertising can be one of them. Addictions are insideous ... no matter what the "sin" is.

    Now forgive yourself for eating the cheddar cheese potato chips, emoticon .
    1459 days ago
    A great blog and some great responses
    27 years for me. I can still stand in the slipstream and enjoy.

    Congratulations to all us ex smokers.

    At least with food one slip doesn't take us all the way down the slide.

    I've blogged before about my technique for getting rid of a particular food addiction, for me this was chocolate roughs which now have no power over me whatsoever. Unfortunately this involves eating them to satiety, which could incur temporary weight gain. But you will not want them again. Ask how if you want to know...

    1459 days ago
    I guess that's why most of us end up finding that the best thing to keep temptation at bay is to not be around it. Period. Unfortunately for many things, it's almost impossible to just stay totally away - without sacrificing other things or relationships as well.

    When I quit smoking cigarettes the hardest times were when I went to the bar, after I finished eating, and if I was feeling really emotional - regardless of what those emotions might be. And yep, I haven't smoked cigarettes for over 25 years and once in awhile I still get the craving. Odd, I still have cravings here and there, but like you, I now hate cigarette smoke.

    When I was quitting, I used to sit beside smokers so I could inhale their smoke to get a quick fix.

    When you're drawn to something, anything, that you deem not healthy for you, I think it's important to surround yourself with everything BUT what you're drawn to. Because each time temptation presents itself, the thought of it lingers far longer than the temptation itself.

    1459 days ago
  • _LINDA
    That is fantastic you beat the smoking addiction and have managed to not be tempted for 35 years! The best thing you could have done for your health!
    One more good reason to ditch the TV -exposure to all those food ads. Don't see it, don't want it. I hate ads which is why I only watch movies as some channels don't have commercials. I like going to movies for the same reason except now they are putting ads on before the show :((
    Here is to successfully resisting temptation where ever it appears in our lives!
    1459 days ago
    Interesting, while I did smoke for a couple years in my late 20s, I have no desire to light tobacco (marijuana for pain perhaps, but I'd rather not inhale anything). The difference may be I never thought it was glamorous (I started to get my DH to quit - like that would happen...) Women in my family smoked and I remember as a child watching their skin quickly aged with vertical wrinkles emanating from their mouths. Teeth were yellow and clothes (not to mention whole houses) smelled stale.
    My 'addiction' has to do with inertia and I 'decorate' my environment, home, office, yard to promote 'a body @ rest'. Will have to see if the furniture, art and gardening magazines keep me 'craving' for a week...
    1459 days ago
  • NANCY-
    I totally understand.
    The only think that helps me is that I am lazy, My favorite rule from Micheal Pollan's "Food Rules" :
    Rule #45: Eat All the Junk Food You Want as Long as You Cook It Yourself.

    My hubby still smokes, but thankfully he rolls his own cigarettes. I won't. Occasionally a waft of smoke comes my way when I am out and I inhale deeply, then remember why I quit in the first place. Those reasons for being smoke-free keep me from lighting up.
    Recently I read the ingredients on a bag of chips... and was blown away by the ingredients listed in those flavored chips. Yes I say I will make my own... but when it come right down to it my desire lies elsewhere. This is how I deal with temptation.
    1459 days ago
    Temptation is everywhere. Calling our names.

    Sometimes we have to mentally put on headphones and crank up some music to drown out the voice of those temptations. Or chips, as the case may be.

    You are Odysseus! Wax and cotton in the ears! Row by those Sirens calling you!
    1459 days ago
    GAZILLIONS of dollars are pumped into advertising and companies aren't in the habit of throwing their money into something that doesn't bring a big return on the dollar. Advertising in all media is an extremely powerful current to swim against!

    My constant pet peeve is: why can't we harness such technology for GOOD?!?!

    1459 days ago
    Well said. Thanks for sharing!
    1459 days ago
    I quit smoking for about 5 years, then I had one cigarette when out with some friends at a Jazz place and was back to a pack a day by the next day. I smoked for about a year after thatt, then I quit for good. That was about 30 years ago. I'm not tempted anymore, but I don't know exactly when that happened. I have an addictive personality - I'm glad I don't like alcohol! And BTW, I also believe in never say never - any temptation can come back on you.
    1459 days ago
  • KANOE10
    In Refuse to Regain, the author talks about the effects of being around food as 2nd Hand food like smoking. Studies show that the nearness of easily available food can stimulate eating. I myself can start thinking about pizza after watching those ads.
    Here is a quote I love which I might blog about.

    “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside."
    I love this concept of the bigger yes, burning inside.
    So each time you say no to cigarettes or food, you are saying yes to a healthier you. Each time you eat moderately, you are saying yes to a healthier you. Each time you say no to skipping exercise, you are saying yes to staying healthy.

    Think about how successful you are maintaining and how many foods you have said no to over these years. Those are strong yeses.
    With the 3 billion spent on advertising food products and the millions spent on researching how to created the optimum chip to make it seductive, it is no wonder that you still have that bag lurking.
    That is a great that you kicked the smoking habit and continue to do so.

    1459 days ago
    We're both in this together. I too get tempted by such things.
    1459 days ago
    I notice that, when I am handling one habit/addiction well, I'm handling them all well. And the opposite holds true. Congrats on beating the smoking demon.
    1459 days ago
    If I ever get to that point (where the ads are no longer tempting), I'll let you know.

    That first bite is a mistake, for some of us, including me. I just have to fight harder to pull myself back out of the pit if I succumb.

    emoticon Good for you being smoke-free!
    1459 days ago
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