View Full Version : Any former smokers have any usefull advice?

04-22-2013, 11:51 AM
I've been smoking for about ten years and while I've tried to quite before, sometimes with moderate success( a little over a year ), I can't seem to kick the habit for good. Anyone out there have some usefull advice?

04-22-2013, 11:55 AM
Not trying to be a dick, but you just have to make up your mind and do it, and make sure that people close to you are willing to put up with your sh!t for a few weeks.

04-22-2013, 12:07 PM
Quitting cold turkey is HARD. I agree with mzer. You have to be committed to quitting.

I tried the patch years ago and didn't find it to be too effective. If you're going to do this, I recommend putting it on in the morning or it can affect your nighttime sleep. The gum was ok, but not fail-proof.

I found that identifying your habits, e.g. when you regularly smoke like with coffee, driving to/from work, and cutting it out of those specific times during the day, you can drastically reduce how much you smoke and get to a point when you can just quit completely. Years ago when I quit, I cut it out of my morning coffee routine, during my work breaks for a few months, and then quit completely.

I also think it's pretty much necessary to not be around smokers. It's too easy to bum a cigarette off someone or be tempted.

Also, there are prescription medications and different treatments available now, so maybe those are good alternatives as well.

Good luck!

04-22-2013, 12:07 PM
I'm not a smoker, but 3 different smoker friends have quit, successfully, in the last 4 years. 2 of them after trying all kinds of things for 5+ years.

Chantrix is what worked for all of them. HTH.

04-22-2013, 12:12 PM
Quite a few of my co-workers quite recently and they all just quit with no medication or anything, about 4 of them. Sounds like the best option to me

04-22-2013, 12:13 PM
Quitting cold turkey is HARD. I agree with mzer. You have to be committed to quitting.


Yes. Commitment is the key. Make the decision and mean it.

04-22-2013, 12:15 PM
I still miss my cigarette when I am sitting on the can.

04-22-2013, 12:25 PM
I read somewhere that the physical addiction to nicotine lasts up to 6 months, and the psychological craving never really completely goes away. If you're making it to a year without a cig, sounds like you need to grit your teeth and push past those times. I haven't had a cig for about 10 years (maybe longer), and I still get that urge every now and then.

labor of love
04-22-2013, 12:25 PM
i finally kicked tobacco 4 years ago after smoking for over 13 years...i recommend that you quit drinking temporarily and also coffee too. Those were my 2 triggers when i smoked, i couldnt have one without the other. I used the patch program for 2 or 3 months and i found it to really help. Also, when i had strong cravings to smoke, i simply smoked something else instead:biggrin:
sunflower seeds and sugar free gum helped with the oral cravings too...good luck k fed.

04-22-2013, 12:27 PM
K-Fed - you can do it, but it is honest to god brutal. I am in my 30's and started smoking as a teenager, and smoked for just shy of 10 total years of a pack a day habit. Forgive the soapbox rant below, but this cause is near and dear for obvious reasons, as you will read.

Quitting was the second hardest thing I have ever had to do. The first hardest thing was watching my mom slowly die from lung cancer (lifetime smoker). It took her a few months after being diagnosed to quit after a lifetime of smoking. I was her daily caregiver since my dad (also a smoker, and also deceased due in part to smoking-related issues) wasn't in the best of health. No cancer is good cancer, but lung cancer is brutal. Took her two years to die, and she was slowly dying the whole two years.

Lung cancer causes more deaths than the next three most common cancers combined (colon, breast and prostate). An estimated 160,340 Americans were expected to die from lung cancer in 2012, accounting for approximately 28 percent of all cancer deaths.

The lung cancer five-year survival rate (16.3%) is lower than many other leading cancer sites, such as the colon (65.2%), breast (90.0%) and prostate (99.9%).


Quitting smoking is brutal. For me and my wife, the biggest challenges were the anxiety associated with nicotine withdrawal and emotional removal of a crutch. I found that the more I learned about how much it sucks for other people, the less I felt like a &^$$% when it was hard. Also, talk to your doctor. There are plenty of good medications out there (beyond just patches and gum) that can help you with the quitting PROCESS. I highlight process, because it takes a long time to effectively quit. I don't think I was the same for a year.

Accept that you can try to "quit" and every smoker has likely "quit" many times. But until you are ready to commit to QUITTING, it will be hard. Quitting means permanently. As in, completely and forever. As in, not a single drag from a single cigarette after a night drinking, ever. As in throwing out not only your open pack, but your lighter, your ash trays, your carton in the car, and your smoking gear. This mindset will help you begin to grieve for your loss - which it most certainly will be - before you commit.

Just know that many thousands of people have successfully quit - and at the end of the day, as mzer says, you just have to make your mind up and do it, and then follow through with balls of steel. Quitting sucks, but the benefits from quitting are nearly immediate. From American Lung Association:

20 Minutes After Quitting:

Your heart rate drops to a normal level.

12 Hours After Quitting:

The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting:

Your risk of having a heart attack begins to drop.

Your lung function begins to improve.

1 to 9 Months After Quitting:

Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

1 Year After Quitting:

Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

5 to 15 Years After Quitting:

Your risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker's.

Your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a smoker's.

10 Years After Quitting:

Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker's.

Your risk of getting bladder cancer is half that of a smoker's.

Your risk of getting cervical cancer or cancer of the larynx, kidney or pancreas decreases.

15 Years After Quitting:

Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004.

04-22-2013, 12:49 PM
I found that identifying your habits, e.g. when you regularly smoke like with coffee, driving to/from work, and cutting it out of those specific times during the day, you can drastically reduce how much you smoke and get to a point when you can just quit completely. Years ago when I quit, I cut it out of my morning coffee routine, during my work breaks for a few months, and then quit completely.

This worked for me, too.

I started smoking at a very young age and smoked heavily all through college. When I graduated, I decided it was time to change. No smoking in my practical new "grown up" car, and no smoking at my new "grown up" job. These two decisions drastically reduced the number of cigarettes I was used to smoking each day. Soon thereafter I stopped smoking in the evenings after work, and only smoked when out for drinks with friends during weekends. In time, I was able to give that up as well (I found that I felt much worse the morning after a night out on the town when I had smoked a few cigarettes than when I had abstained).

I can't remember the last time I smoked a cigarette at this point. I never said to myself, "this is it, this is the last one." I just cut down, and then then stopped altogether. For a long time I missed the act of smoking, even after the physical urges were no longer there. It was such a part of my daily routine for so long. I don't want to live forever, but I don't want to be carrying around an oxygen tank (or worse) in my old age either. If you can't do it for yourself, do it for your family and friends.

If cigarettes were not quite so harmful (and expensive), I would never been seen without one in my mouth. Unfortunately, that's not the case!

04-22-2013, 01:06 PM
WC Fields, in a humorous way, to show the difficulties of quitting cigarettes, said, "Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it many times myself".

Will power only got me so far, then I'd run into a situation and before I knew it, I was smoking again. What I needed was a plan. There is no one size fits all plan. A person needs to find what works for them.

To expand what Michael said, what helped me quit was identifying the times, when I need to, or liked to smoke. I felt the need to smoke, when I was stressed, upset, angry, etc.... I kept hard candies around, so when I was stressed, I would suck on them, similar to the way I smoked. Friends of mine, cut straws, so they had something in hand, and could imitate taking a drag. I've seen co-workers with electric cigarettes. Instead of smoke they are inhaling steam.

After a meal with a cup of coffee, was a favorite time to smoke. I quit having coffee, after a meal.

From the previous times, I tried to quit, I knew I'd need something to burn all the nervous energy. Initially I joined a club, and discovered how badly I was out of shape. Later on I got into bicycling, because bicyclists got to eat all sorts of stuff on long rides.

A few other tricks that helped. When I felt a strong urge to smoke. I'd look at my watch and say, I can go 60 seconds without a cigarette. After a minute, then I'd say two minutes, and then five minutes.

When I reached a month of non smoking, I'd ask myself, Do I really want to undo a month of hard work?

Keeping in mind the reason why I quit, family, also gave me motivation.

When I quit, I treated the first three days, like I had a bad cold. I drank plenty of liquids and got lots of rest. I felt it go me past the irritable stage of quitting.

There are times, when you least expect it, you will get hit with a craving. Somebody lights up, and it smells like the best thing in the world. Having dessert, the idea of a cigarette seems perfect. I'd use the watch trick to get myself through those times.

The unusual thing about quitting was how much I dreamed about it, especially the first few years after I quit. I talked to other smokers and all of them said, they had similar experiences.


Dave Martell
04-22-2013, 01:07 PM
I've never been a smoker but my Dad did my share for me - he was at 3+ packs a day and was doing that forever when he went cold turkey. He's a tough man, he just made up his mind and did it.

I'm sure it's not easy but I believe like anything else in life you have to be determined on what you want and never give up if you want success. Time passes by and the next thing you know you're where you want to be. You know how you get to the other side of town? One step at a time.

Good luck K - you can do it! :)

04-22-2013, 01:43 PM
sorry guys, i read this thread and it made me want to light one up, so i did. :D

labor of love
04-22-2013, 02:00 PM
unlike alot of people that quit i actually never miss it. i pretty much demonized everything about tobacco in my head, made it the enemy. now when i see someone smoking a cigarette all i think about is how bad my breath used to be, how bad my clothes would smell, how out of shape i was...yep, dont miss it at all!

04-22-2013, 02:09 PM
Quitting smoking is the hardest thing I ever quit doing. Once you are committed you can do it and get help if you think you need it. I used acupuncture to help quit and believe me once you get your sense of taste and smell back you'll wonder why you ever started in the first place. You can do it!!!

04-22-2013, 02:33 PM
Lots of good tips here. Not every single one might work for you, but the aspect of commitment is probably the most important one. Nicotine is the substance that accounts for the physical addiction, and nicotine has a very short half-life. This is why you crave a cigarette after a short while, the nicotine in your system has already been metabolized. This also means that the physical addiction from nicotine last usually between one and two weeks, depending on how much you smoke. While many smokers quit without them, the patch, gum, nasal sprays and medications out there have all been proven to work to some extent to get people over these first weeks of withdrawl, but not everything might work for everybody. So, if you find the patch doesn't do it for you, try the medication etc.

All the struggles beyond that first physical withdrawl phase are due to the habits you formed over the years. I especially like Jay's suggestions, because many of them show you how you can break these learned (or better: conditioned) habits. For example, you may routinely light a cigarette after lunch. If you do this a few times, your body learns to expect nicotine in this situation and you experience a craving if you don't. Identifying these situations, being aware of them, and having an alternative to smoking ready can be very helpful. What you could do is take a moment to sit down and make a list of the situations in which you typically smoke, and think of what else you could do and how to prepare yourself. Some situations will be easier than others. Especially surrounding yourself with smokers can make it very hard to keep up your commitment, so avoiding these situations at least for the first phase is usually a very good idea. And, as somebody else mentioned already, removing all the little things that trigger smoking in your environment is a good idea (like stashed cigarettes, ash trays etc.).

As for the commitment, there are a number of small strategies you can use, e.g. you could sit down and make a list of the pros and cons of smoking for you, and another list of the pros ans cons of quitting; once you quit, see what you can keep adding to the pros. The better you know why you are doing this, the easier it will be to commit to it. Calculate how much money you spend on cigarettes over a day, week, month, year - and what else you could use the money for. Set small rewards for yourself if you meet your goals, e.g. a new petty after you succeeded to stay smoke free for 3 months - 1 pack a day adds up to almost $3,000/year, you can even get custom knives with the money you save ;) Tell people around you that you want to stop and ask the smokers not to offer you cigarettes. Check out a quit line, many people benefit from the support they can provide. Even the government wants to help you with quitting, check out sites like http://www.smokefree.gov/ and just see if you find anything there that is helpful to you.

A quick word about e-cigarettes: They supply you with nicotine to control the craving without giving you the 1000+ toxins that are in cigarette smoke. Overall, the jury is still out on them: Some people find they help them quit and get away from cigarettes, but they also don't really change all the habits you formed and may keep you on nicotine longer than a quitting strategy would. There is also not very much known about the additional substances that come with the steam. Personally, I hesitate to buy cast iron pots from China because of the potential toxicity in the coating - and I would hesitate to inhale something that is uncontrolled and unregulated and gets produced in China (like almost all the capsules are). If you do use e-cigarettes, just be careful with the capsules. Nicotine is a highly toxic substance, and the nicotine in one capsule could potentially kill you if ingested at once.

I know, it can be a very hard habit to break, but many people did it successfully, the smoking rates across the country have gone down dramatically over the years, so you are not alone. And don't be discouraged, many smokers need more than one attempt before they are successful. And I don;t think I ever met any former smoker who regretted quitting.


04-22-2013, 02:35 PM
Best of luck man. If you can live the life without losing your mind, then you've got the willpower to quit smoking.

Here's how I quit for good (after on/off for 2 years):

Found myself with 3 weeks off work, at home with the wife and kid 24/7. There was no way I was going to risk the wrath of the wife who'd actually quit cold turkey when she got pregnant, and thought I had too!!! After the first couple days I wasn't thinking about it because I was so used to only smoking at work. The kitchen is hard, but if you can find a few days away, start then and I think it'll be a little easier.

04-22-2013, 03:05 PM
First off, YOU REALLY CAN DO IT! You can quit smoking.

In October of 2001 I had my last cigarette. I smoked it while I was driving myself to the hospital having a heart attack at 36. If I can quit so can you, really! There are a lot of great tips on how to take the edge off already in this thread. What I can tell you is the very most important part. It is that you really have to WANT to quit smoking in order to be successful at it. Knowing you should quit and wanting to quit are not the same thing. You've got to want it.

We can know all these things and more and still not really want to quit smoking.

1. Smoking is bad for you.
2. Your smoking is bad for the people around you that you love.
3. It stinks and makes you look filthy to others when you do it.
4. It's the only product that when used properly will KILL you eventually.
5. Did I mention that it really is bad for you? ;)
.... And the list can go on and on. We all KNOW it.

The thing is this; even knowing all the bad stuff about smoking we can still not really want to quit.

The trick is getting to the place where you really want to quit smoking. For me the thing that got me to wanting to quit was a Friday night with my kids. I'd been divorced for less than a year at the time, the kids were with me for the weekend, ages 9 and 11 then. It was close to Halloween and we were going to go to the haunted house after I cooked dinner and we ate. As we sat down to eat I started feeling bad. Broke into a sweat and just felt bad in general. By the time we finished dinner I was having chest pain and pain in my arm. I told the kids I didn't feel well and was going to lay down and we'd go in a while if I felt better. I was thinking to myself "WOW if I didn't know better I'd think I was having a heart attack but I'm only 36 so it can't be that." I went to lay down for a few minutes and it was clear I wasn't getting better. In fact the pain was getting worse and moving up my arm and into my neck and head (classic textbook HA symptoms).

It was clear to me something was really wrong. I didn't want to freak out the kids so I just played it cool with them and said I had to run out for a while. I live less than a mile from the closest ER so I just drove myself there. Had a smoke on the way and I even said to myself, if this IS a heart attack I'm having this will probably be my last smoke, I better enjoy it. LOL! What a moron! :rolleyes:

I got to the ER, the triage nurse kind of rolled his eyes at me when I said I thought I could be having a heart attack. Before I could even finish telling him what I was feeling he had me in a wheel chair and was actually running behind me to the ER's "Cath Lab". About 30 minutes later there were two stents in the blockage in my artery.

I hope you can get to the place where you WANT to quit before this happens to you. Up until this I knew all the reasons I should quit and it didn't matter, I just didn't want to quit. I got out of the hospital a few days later, I finally wanted to quit and never looked back. As time has gone by it is much easier to still want to be a non smoker. Very rarely now do I get the idea that a smoke would be a good. When I do it passes really fast. More often I cringe when I see others smoking though. It was still hard to quit even though I really wanted to quit, there were a lot of times in the first months that I would have gone back to smoking but I wanted to quit and that made the difference. I was a carton a week smoker for many many years, the son of two smokers. If I can do it, anyone can. I know you can and you will when you really want to. The hardest part is getting to the point that you really want it.

04-22-2013, 03:14 PM
Having a daughter worked for me. I really didnt want my newborn to be smothered in it when I was holding her so after smoking about 10 years more than a pack a day I quit. The day she was born. Cold turkey and now she's gonna be 2 an I haven't had one yet. My prob was I had to cut out some drinking too that's when I smoked a lot. I did have a lot more productive time at work without the smoke breaks

04-22-2013, 03:17 PM
Posted something similar to this on another cooking forum, my heart genuinely goes out to anyone trying to quit. But its a bit of different story for everyone so I hope that you take away that there are many different ways to put them down, and the only right way is what works for you. I smoked heavily for about 6-8 years, pack and half to two packs a day, more if I was drinking, which I generally was. I tried quitting five or six times using most over the counter methods, and cold turkey a few dozen times, for the time I smoked I never went more than 24 hours without a cigarette. I finally broke down and used Chantix, it worked great for me. I haven't smoked in 5 years. I had one relapse where I smoked very lightly for a brief amount of time about 3 years ago, noticed how bad they made me feel and since then haven't had one. I think that what helped me quit for good was developing the will power to say no to cravings. I walked around for a year with a couple of packs of cigarettes on me at all times, in my car and in my backpack. I think this gave me a bit of steely resolve about it. The other thing that was just as important was developing a physical exercise routine. It might sound hokey but running is like a new addiction for me now, if I don't do it I feel like **** and get more moody than I was without a cigarette, or a drink, or a bump. I guess there are ways to focus the bad into something good, and I'm much healthier all around now.

04-22-2013, 03:25 PM
I quit 8 years ago, it was my second time, the first lasted a couple of years. This is what worked for me:

1. I really wanted to quit, I was feeling really crappy, short of breath, cough, the works, and I wasn't even in my thirties yet.
2. Patches, they helped me a lot the first weeks
3. Exercise, absolutely essential, gym and cycling worked for me.

Good luck!

04-22-2013, 04:00 PM
Move to Hawaii, you won't be able to afford smokes

04-22-2013, 06:10 PM
i smoked cigarettes for years, and quit cold turkey about 4 years ago. one of the better decisions i've made. i have an addictive personality, so i was quite surprised to find that it wasn't all that hard. it was much easier for me to not go buy a pack than it is, say, to not sharpen a knife that needs sharpening.

04-22-2013, 06:47 PM
i quit almost 7 years ago after smoking for 35. yeah, i'm that old, and hard-headed. 2nd heart attack impacted me. i just threw them away and haven't lit one up since. you want to quit? just don't smoke another one.

04-22-2013, 08:56 PM
After I got my lung shot out I smoked off and on for a few years. The chronic bronchitis didn't help much, butt I just kept trying to not smoke so much and eventually got off tobacco all together. When my dad decided to quit he just stopped.

04-22-2013, 10:41 PM
I've got nothing for you. I can't think of anyone in my life that's quit smoking while I knew them but if you can do it, my hat's off to you. :thumbsup:

04-22-2013, 10:58 PM
Me and the wife were in a meeting in January a few years ago and the teacher asked what our new years resolutions were. I thought that I was being funny when I raised my hand and told the teacher that my resolution was to not smoke, having never smoked. It embarrassed the wife and she gave me a hard elbow in the ribs.

I now know that karma is real because shortly there after I caught my left leg on fire while forging (I was smoking), and for an encore I caught my right leg on fire a couple of weeks later, both required skin graphs. After years of forging this was the only time that I caught myself on fire.

I've never smoked in the regular sense and now I'm trying not to catch myself on fire again.

Good luck.

Love and respect


04-22-2013, 11:00 PM
Walking the same road, and it's a long one. Smoked for 23 years, but knew that either when I became a father, turned 40 or in reality became both in the same year, that I will not be doing so as a smoker. That is my conviction And motivation, that and I've pretty much put aside the drink for now...
Good luck man!

04-22-2013, 11:20 PM

My wife and I quit smoking 9 years ago using this treatment. Never looked back. It's like we were never smokers to begin with.

04-23-2013, 01:51 AM
Check out the ecigarette thread here before. Switching over to them is simple and so smooth for many people. Then if you wish to quit nicotine all together after that (not everyone does), its very easy.

04-23-2013, 09:32 AM
Best of luck--be the man and make it happen! It took me a trip to the hospital and a scare while there to make me finally quit. I had smoked for almost 30 years (~1-1/2 packs a day) when that occurred and still have occasional cravings. If I smoked one today, I would be full time by tomorrow.


04-23-2013, 01:51 PM
This is a great thread.

My advice as a guy who never smoke...cigarettes...is to either quit the restaurant industry, or to just flat out not smoke! My brother smoked for years and one day realized he felt like crap. He has a very addictive personality, and he applied that to his determination to quit. He essentially became addicted to quitting. It's gotta be 7 or 8 years later and he hasn't smoked since. Not even a cigar with me...dick!

Troy G
04-23-2013, 02:52 PM
All my friends who ever legitimately quit did it cold turkey.

04-24-2013, 12:31 AM
I use nicotine lozenges. Like them way better than ecigs. I am hooked on the lozenges now but as far as I can tell they aren't killing me. No smell, no standing out in the cold and no guilt aside from money spent.

04-24-2013, 12:45 AM
No help here, I still enjoy smoking... But my mother and father did the gum, worked for them. It took them, my dad the longest, a good six months with nicorete gum to quit. Friends of mine tried the inhaler deal, and worker too. The main thing is you have to have the want. If you don't want, you wont

04-24-2013, 12:51 AM
Ever thought of electronic cigarettes? That's what worked for me and my wife. Can't even smoke real cigarettes now, and even the smell of them sort of gets to me in this day and age.
I used to smoke Kool greens. Been doing it for three years, and gradually bringing my nicotine levels down from the juice I order.

If you're interested I can go more in depth about them, but either way DO NOT buy the crappy ones from grocery stores/malls/gas stations. They are pieces of crap.

04-24-2013, 11:16 AM
Thanks guys/ gals for all the advice and words of encouragement. I wore the patch for a couple days and nothing for the last two though I did slip last night after a couple drinks with the girl. She still smokes, and between that the drinks it was really tough to resist the crave. We did however have a good long talk and she's going to do her best to not smoke around me, and or try to stop all together. Jury is still out on the latter.

04-24-2013, 07:34 PM
Your gonna feel so much better. I loved smoking. I really enjoyed it. I still wanted to smoke after the first couple of weeks when the cravings went away just because I enjoyed it. After a couple of months then I just lost interest and kinda forgot about it. Good luck.

Burl Source
04-26-2013, 07:47 PM
Good luck with quitting.
An e cigarette has been helpful for me with cutting back.

04-30-2013, 09:59 AM
If you drink, you should resolve not to drink for a month while you try to quit. Drinking and smoking are strongly associated. It took me many years to quit, after trying dozens of times and being a pack-a-day smoker. It's true that you really have to want it and be ready. I also used the patch and, as I said, stopped drinking. GOod luck! YOu can do it!

05-01-2013, 12:15 AM
coffee and cigarettes too. feels great to drink coffee and smoke at the same time. i agree with cutting down on the drinking. being in a pro kitchen also gets me smoking to get some stress relief.

05-03-2013, 06:50 AM
I worked out how much I spent a week on smokes and then financed a new motorcycle with repayments that matched my tobacco expenditure. If I felt like a smoke then I would go for a ride knowing I couldnt afford both.Bikes provided me with more satisfaction. Everyone else is right about staying away from booze for as long as possible.If I drink a lot and am around smokers I still sometimes feel like one and sometimes have a drag or two but the next day I have zero cravings.