March 11 is the annual health awareness day “No Smoking Day,” on which everyone all over the world is encouraged to either quit completely, or “cold turkey” as it were, or to take a break from the debilitating habit for the day. First started in 1984 in England, it has since taken place every second Wednesday of March.
Though we don't need a day to dictate when we choose a healthier lifestyle since quitting smoking is something that should and can be done every day of the year, it can be encouraging to know that you will be in good company on “No Smoking Day.” And, if you happen to be in Turkey, there are a number of innovative ways to seek assistance for what may undoubtedly be a rocky ride. Whether you choose to quit “cold turkey” or gradually, or are even just at the stage of pondering the thought, there are a number of truly helpful resources in Turkey that can help you get started and make sure you stick to this healthy new start.
Alo 171: Turkey’s very own quitting smoking lifeline
Did you know that Turkey literally has a lifesaving Alo 171 “Quitting Smoking Counseling Line” (in Turkish, "Sigara Bırakma Danışma Hattı")? By simply dialing 171, you can access 24/7 assistance provided by counselors very willing and able to talk you through a crisis, dish out advice and offer guidance on how to follow a personalized program for quitting smoking.
When you call the number, a counselor will pick up and ask you what sort of assistance you are seeking. Your reason for calling could be anything from trying to stop yourself from lighting that next cigarette to finding out what sort of resources are available to kick the tobacco habit for good. If yours is the latter, they will ask you a series of optional personal questions to determine your level of addiction. Accordingly, a plan of action will be advised, which could range from encouragement and suggesting methods to try and quit on your own to redirecting you to one of the many polyclinics throughout the country so your own personal program and course of action can be determined by a physician.
In fact, there are accessible polyclinics devoted to quitting smoking throughout Turkey. Some are stand-alone buildings, while others are housed in public hospitals. Each is open and available to everyone regardless of whether you are insured or have been a patient before. What route is taken next on your path to stop smoking will be determined by a doctor and can include a variety of methods of support, ranging from therapy to medication.
Take Allen Carr’s Easyway in Turkey
If you haven’t heard of Allen Carr, then you must not be a smoker. This British author’s books have become the definitive method for quitting smoking worldwide. Having helped 30 million people quit addictions, including vices like smoking, gambling and drinking, Allen Carr’s Easyway has become an immensely popular method in Turkey for smokers to finally end their addiction. A famed 100-a-day chain smoker for 30 years, Allen Carr detailed his method for breaking the habit in his 1985 bestseller “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.”
Carr’s main message is that smoking does not actually give the smoker any relief but instead relieves the nicotine withdrawal symptoms from the previous cigarette. According to Carr, what smokers are perpetually doing is simply trying to reach the neutral state of feeling good, which is inherently present for nonsmokers, through constantly lighting up. This, he says, is because one of the main side effects of nicotine withdrawal is a feeling of emptiness and insecurity. Thus, a cigarette is lit to repel this feeling, and the vicious cycle continues. The way to break it is to conquer the doubt and fear behind the concept of quitting.
Though Carr died in 2006, his method and books have been implemented and translated all over the world. Turkey is certainly no exception. In fact, there is a stellar branch of centers devoted to his method called Allen Carr’s Easyway Türkiye. With centers located in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Adana, Allen Carr’s Easyway Türkiye centers have become the aficionados in helping throngs of people conquer their fear of quitting. In general, there are at least two seminars on quitting smoking held each week in different cities led by professional experts in the method, albeit in Turkish. There is also the possibility of organizing seminars for groups, such as for friends or coworkers, as well as to arrange personal one-on-one seminars. In addition to seminars on quitting smoking, there are also seminars on stress management. For introverts or those too busy for a seminar, there are also a number of audiobooks and online seminars available, including the main four-hour seminar, for those trying to quit smoking as well as one geared toward close friends and family members of smokers.