This worked for me, too.
Originally Posted by mhlee
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!
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.
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!
sorry guys, i read this thread and it made me want to light one up, so i did.
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!
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!!!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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