I have so many pleasant memories of smoking. How can I create unpleasant memories about it?

A form of conscious reprogramming is needed to replace the automatic pleasant memories with unpleasant ones. This is part of how cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works, in replacing the automatic negative thoughts associated with one's depression with positive thoughts (see Questions 71-73). However, this is especially challenging because it is replacing automatic pleasant memories associated with one's smoking with negative ones. Here is a list of unpleasant memories that one can attempt to conjure up whenever confronted with a positive memory. Obviously the list is neither comprehensive nor specific to every individual. It is important to write down your own list and practice them by reading the list out loud in addition to recalling as vividly as possible the sights, sounds, and odors associated with them.

Struggling to hide the odor to avoid discovery and chastisement.

Smoke seeping into everything, leaving its telltale signs including the grungy yellow tinge wherever it touched.

The extra time and energy it took to buy cigarettes and smoke them.

Running out of cigarettes in the middle of the night, running to the store to buy some.

Smoking butts that tasted terrible because you ran out of cigarettes.

Coughing when you first get up in the morning and periodically throughout the day.

Holes in your clothes.

Stains on your fingers.

Burns on the furniture.

Foul-smelling breath.

Complaints from family, friends, and colleagues.

Reminding yourself that cigarettes actually taste bad.

Reminding yourself that smoking makes your body toxic, shortens your life, and can kill you with a terrible disease.

Joseph's comment:

The good memories were so long ago that I have a hard time recalling them. I enjoyed having a cigarette with my coffee in the morning, and when I was younger, I loved fitting in with the smoking crowd of my friends. It was the "adult" thing to do! The bad memories; my health was declining with smoker's cough in the morning; the price of cigarettes, consuming more and more of my monthly income; it becoming less and less the "cool" thing to do; and personal experience of loved ones dying of smoking-related ailments.

Lisa's comment:

With the help of my smoking cessation leader, I calculated that I was easily spending $50 a week (back in 2002!). After quitting, I soon justified buying a new stove and a new refrigerator! I got new clothes and "toys." I've been nicer to me ever since.

What is the Master Settlement Agreement?

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) awarded billions of dollars to the states in November 1998. The largest four tobacco companies made a cash settlement and agreed to amend other corporate practices in response to lawsuits brought by the Attorney Generals of 46 U.S. states and 5 U.S. territories. These tobacco companies also agreed to finance anti-smoking campaigns. This agreement occurred over multiple lawsuits alleging that the tobacco companies had been deceitful in their advertising campaign claims that smoking was safe and non-addictive. These allegations included illegal marketing campaigns directed to children.

The MSA specifically bans:

The use of cartoon characters in advertising, promoting, packaging, or labeling of cigarettes;

Billboards, stadium signs, and transit signs advertising cigarettes;

Brand-logoed apparel and other merchandise (such as caps and T-shirts);

Free-product sampling anywhere except for a facility or enclosed area where the operator ensures or has a reasonable basis to believe that no minors are present;

Payments for use of cigarettes in movies, TV programs, live recorded performances, videos, or video games;

Use of non-tobacco brand names on cigarettes (unless such use predated July 1, 1998);

Licensing of third parties to use or advertise any cigarette brand name in a manner that would constitute a violation of the MSA if done by the participating manufacturer;

Agreements that prohibit a third party from selling, purchasing, or displaying advertising discouraging the use of cigarettes or exposure to secondhand smoke;

The use of a cigarette brand name as part of the name of a stadium or arena.

The MSA limits tobacco sponsorships to one per year and prohibits:

Brand-name sponsorship of events with a significant youth audience;

Sponsorship of events where the paid participants or contestants are youth;

Sponsorship of concerts (unless events are age- restricted);

Sponsorship of athletic events between opposing teams in any football, baseball, soccer, or hockey league.

With respect to any brand-name sponsorship allowed by the MSA:

Advertising of the brand-name sponsorship event cannot advertise any cigarette;

No participating manufacturer may refer to a brandname sponsorship event or to a celebrity or other person in such an event in its advertising of cigarettes.

The MSA requires that:

Tobacco-industry documents be publicly available through a Web site paid for by the companies;

Tobacco companies disclose payments to lobbyists and other major donations.

The MSA disbanded the Tobacco Institute, the Council for Tobacco Research, and the Council for Indoor Air Research, and provides for regulation and oversight of any new trade organizations. In addition, the MSA restricts participating manufacturers from:

Supporting diversion of MSA proceeds to any program that is neither tobacco related nor health related;

Opposing legislation prohibiting the sale of cigarettes in packages less than 20;

Opposing the passage of certain kinds of state and local legislation relating primarily to youth access to tobacco.

Over a 25-year period, the states will be receiving approximately $246 billion from tobacco companies through the MSA and four other individual state settlements that can be used to support anti-smoking efforts. Future annual payments, based upon inflation and cigarette sales, will continue in perpetuity. The MSA provides industry funding specifically earmarked for anti-youth-smoking education programs and a national health research foundation. As part of the $246 billion MSA, the participating tobacco companies agreed to pay approximately $1.45 billion to the states over 5 years for the creation and execution of an anti-smoking advertising and public education campaign designed to reduce and prevent teen smoking; and make contributions of $250 million over 10 years to a research foundation, which will be dedicated to the study of programs to reduce youth smoking as well as the study of and educational programs to prevent tobacco-related illnesses. Compliance is enforced by each state's attorney general. Failure to comply with these rules and restrictions can result in broad, court-ordered injunctions and civil penalties.

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