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Tuesday, 9 May, 2000, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Wacky ways to kick the butt
The anti-smoking device chosen by Liz Hurley
Tabloid-snappers happened upon an usual sight while staking out Liz Hurley over the weekend - the sunbathing actress had a baby dummy clamped firmly between her teeth.

Ms Hurley's spokesman revealed she had resorted to the pacifier in a bid to quit smoking. She found the remedy in a long-out-of-print anthropology tome, which put forward the theory that a cigarette acts like an oral comfort.

Liz Hurley's dummy had fashion pundits guessing

Spurning the dummy cigarettes favoured by members of the general public, Ms Hurley instead chose a teat substitute to wean herself off a 10-a-day habit.

She is not the first, and certainly will not be the last smoker to resort to bizarre means to stub out cigarettes for good.

Dr Adrian White, of Exeter University's complementary medicine department, tried the oral equivalent of a spring clean when he quit 13 years ago.

"I visited the dentist on the day I stopped smoking so I had a very clean, very fresh mouth. I also had acupuncture."


Although acupuncture - an ancient Chinese treatment in which needles are inserted into designated points of the body - is increasingly accepted, the procedure is not for the squeamish.

"A small, curled needle is put in the ear for up to two weeks," Dr White says. A tiny ball can be used instead.

"It's actually a very good placebo - the needle doesn't have any special effect on its own, but the niggling is a good reminder that you have quit."

The procedure was discovered by accident in 1973, Dr White says.

"A Hong Kong doctor who worked with opium addicts used acupuncture needles in the ear as an anaesthetic during surgery.

"It isn't so effective as an anaesthetic, but the patients didn't notice any withdrawal symptoms from coming off opium."


The typical office stationery cupboard provides rich pickings for would-be quitters looking for assistance.

One year on
1% of all quitters stay off the fags
Using nicotine replacements ups that to 10%
15% of smokers who quit because of pregnancy or newly-diagnosed heart disaease stay smoke-free

A favoured distraction method is to wear a very tight rubber band around the wrist. When the urge to light up takes hold, just give the band a sharp ping.

"The pain puts them off, and reminds them that they have given up," Dr White says.

Counsellors with Quit, a helpline for smokers, hear numerous wacky ways to kick the craving.

"There was a lady who used Blu-Tack - not eating it, just playing with it. Instead of picking up a cigarette, she would pick up a piece of Blu-Tack and roll it around," says a Quit spokeswoman.

digital smoking
Digital smoking system: No smoke, no fire

As well as distraction techniques and oral substitutes a la Ms Hurley's baby dummy, bribery appears to work wonders on the will power.

The World Health Organisation is backing an international competition that offers successful quitters prizes of up to $10,000.

The Quit and Win competition, now in its fourth year, is co-ordinated by the National Public Health Institute in Finland.

Smokers must give up tobacco for four weeks to be eligible for the cash prizes.

In Japan, home of the weird and wonderful technological innovation, scientists have come up with a way to smoke without actually lighting up.

The Digital Smoking system merely heats, rather than lights, a cigarette inserted into an electronic lighter.

The smoker then sucks in the aroma of the warmed tobacco.

Clearly wannabe quitters in the digital age need no smoke to fan the flames of their nicotine addiction.

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