Friday, June 29, 2007

How to not quite quit

So, according to this news item I heard today, the number of calls to the New Zealand Quitline are up. Trouble is, said the news item, nobody knows how many of the quitters calling the Quitline actually quit. (A good thing, said one New Zealand minister - it shows the anti-smoking health campaigns we have running are working.)

I love the logic of that: don't bother getting the callers to quit, that way you'd be out of a job. Just make them feel really, really guilty about their smoking so that they call again and again and again. If the caller actually quits cigarettes and therefore quits the quitline, it might be actually time to send operatives out again to get the quitter to unquit cigarettes. And feel really bad about it at the same time.

As a matter of fact, I think instead of a Quitline, smokers should also have the option of a Not Quite Quitline. You know, this is how the conversation might go:
- Hello, you've called the Not Quite Quitline, how can I help you?

- Hello. I want to not quite quit cigarettes, but I'm not sure where to stop...

- Well, you've taken the first step, which is a bad sign.

- I've tried to give cigarettes up so many times, but...

- They just taste so smooth?

- Yes.

- And it feels so good?

- Yes.

- And that deep, rich, tobacco-ey aroma just surrounds you and makes you feel at peace with the world?

- Yes! Yes! Oh, God yes!

- Do you still think you're in danger of quitting?

- Jesus, no!

- You're welcome.

- *Weeps* Thank you! Thank you!

- Addict.

(As the caller hangs up, he lights up a cigarette and takes a breath with a huge sigh of satisfaction)
Yep. I think I'll just call Bracks with this idea tommorrow...


Gempires said...

It's well known that addicts of any kind, when attempting to jettison their habit, often switch to something else as a replacement addiction, thus the alcoholic drinks more coffee, the smack addict heads for prescription pain killers, and smokers become...Quit Line Junkies. Hence the Quit Line workers are less in danger of being out of a job than you might think. In fact, once the smoker has been successfully cured of the desire to smoke, the next challenge is to be weaned off the Quit Line, which opens opportunities for a quit Quit Line, to which the original Quit Line training could no doubt be conveniently transferred. Etc.

Steve said...

Funny post, Tim. Gempires comment is good too.

Karen said...

I like the ad where people ask for the various diseases depicted on the warnings, because you actually see people in shops asking for particular warning labels- the ones they think don't apply to them (eg- men ask for the pregnancy one). In Canada they had (don't know if they still do) a label which said "Smoking causes impotence", with a picture of a bent cigarette- a similar logic behind that to the current speeding ads.

(Militant anti-smoker, get very cranky when people light up near me).

nailpolishblues said...

Oh dear, it's the last weekend for smoking in the pub too. How very irritating.

Still, the icy weather will be a nice preventaive measure.

TimT said...

Some people, I hear, collect the whole set of smoking packs. Treat them like trading cards!

Karen said...

I don't know why, but I get the distinct impression that you might have a few collections of trading cards (the nerdy ones, not the smoking ones). Just last week I was made privy to a rather extensive collection of Star Wars trading cards assembled in the early nineties. I was staggered, to say the least.

TimT said...

No, not I. At school everyone was crazy about Bruce Lee trading cards. I had no idea who he was and hence missed out on that craze - as I did on all the subsequent crazes.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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