Tales from the Practice of Medicine: Quit Smoking

Wang Lin

PureInsight | January 30, 2003

[PureInsight.org] It was a cold, cloudy and dark winter morning. With a tape recorder in his right hand, a box of Falun Gong materials in his left hand, and a mat under his arm, he was on his way to the practice site.

Since he started practicing Falun Gong, he has been doing exercises at the practice site everyday in all weather and in all seasons. Nobody knows that only one and a half years ago he led a degenerate life - three packs of cigarettes a day while spending his time in the casinos.

I remember the first time he visited my clinic. All other patients left within 15 minutes after he sat down in the waiting room because his body from top to bottom, even his breath, smelled like cigarettes. His breathing couldn't be called breathing but gasping for air. The smell of cigarettes from his nostrils made the other patients politely avoid him.

He came to me for help in quitting smoking. The following is a transcript from one of our sessions (reprinted with his permission):

The patient said, "One year ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The doctor said that if I did not quit smoking, next it would be lung cancer. I tried everything, but nothing seemed to work. I am a professional dealer in a casino and I have been doing this for several decades. People always smoke in my working area. So, even if I am not smoking myself, I am breathing in their smoke."

I have helped numerous people quit smoking successfully but this case looked like a difficult one.

I looked at him. He is in his sixties, medium height, and a little bit overweight. His eyes tell his kind, yet stubborn nature. I think even if he quits, he will still smoke passively, i.e., taking in smoke from the other smokers in his work area. As long as he keeps doing his job, how can he truly quit smoking? I believe, however, if one is truly determined to quit smoking, nothing is impossible. What I needed to know was what he was really thinking.

So I asked him, "Why do you want to quit smoking?"

"For health and for life," he said.

"Do you agree that your work and environment can no longer give you a healthy life?"

"No!" he replied. Then he said, "Do you want to help me or not? You are hard to see. Someone tells me that if you cannot help me, nobody can." With these words, he became agitated again. He then began to gasp, almost out of breath.

I looked at him. After a while, I told him slowly, "Do you want to help yourself? You can have acupuncture today and plan to quit smoking. Maybe tomorrow, after entering the casino and being surrounded by smoke, you will breathe it in anyway. What can you do then? In there, others will not smoke less just because you want to quit smoking."

He sighed and said, "That is the test I always failed to pass. I could tolerate 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, or I can go out to walk for a while. But one or two hours is very hard to endure, let alone an entire day. Not only did I fail to quit smoking, but I also gained weight. To prevent myself from smoking, I kept eating candy. I thought to myself, 'Everyone will die. What's the difference between dying from lung cancer, heart disease, gastrointestinal cancer or a car accident? Why is my life so hard? So I started to smoke again.' Doctor, please, if there is any way you can, please help me!"

Looking at his painful expression and despair, I thought, neither acupuncture nor medication could truly solve his problem. His illness needed to be cured from its root. So, I opened my desk drawer and took out a copy of Zhuan Falun. While holding the book in my two hands and facing him, I said, "Please read the book carefully, and think about it. If you have the determination to quit, I will try my best to help you."

He read the book and decided to practice Falun Gong. He not only completely quit smoking but also quit his job in the casino soon afterwards. Since then, he continued to study the Fa and do the exercises. Now, he is healthy, energetic and vigorous, and does not look like the same man as when I first met him.

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