I quit smoking February 5, 2007. As of the writing of this article, that is 20 days ago. On September 1, 1990 I quit. I didn’t smoke for 7 years and 12 days. I was in Greece and thought “Gee, I should try a Greek cigarette.” So I did. And that was that – I was smoking again.
In June of this year my father had a heart attack and two strokes. He didn’t die, thank God. However, it wasn’t enough of a reason for me to quit smoking then. It was the beginning of the ‘I’m thinking about quitting stage’. Then February 2, I heard a news article about the state I live in is raising the taxes on one pack of cigarettes by $1.00. That was the last straw for me.
Here are my suggestions for how to quit smoking. Good luck!
Choose your quit date – make sure to give your self at least 3 days to smoke all the cigarettes you need to smoke. Buy just enough cigarettes to get you through until your quit date. I chose a Monday at 10 a.m. to quit. I wanted to have at least 6 cigarettes on Monday morning before I really quit.
Figure out the reasons why you want to quit. Because if you don’t want to quit, don’t waste your time. You’ll make a couple of days, maybe a week and then start with just one. Everybody thinks they can have just one. You can’t. In for one, in for the rest of your life.
Contemplate the reasons you want to quit. You’ve got at least 3 days to smoke and contemplate. It’s probably the most important three days of your life. If you can’t find at least one reason to quit, you just won’t quit. And it has to be your reason – not someone else’s reason.
Determine if you are going to get some help quitting. Or are you going to go cold turkey? What’s the benefits of cold turkey, the patch, nicotine gum, hypnotism, acupuncture? Will any of these work for you? Does something about one of them appeal to you? I chose the patch, because I tried it in 1990 and it worked great for me. This time I only used the patch for 10 days and then went cold turkey (with no cigarettes in between).
Tell everyone you know – hey, in 3 days I’m quitting this disgusting habit. Then tell them again. Make sure the world knows. If you can’t do this, you are not serious about quitting. You are giving yourself an out. If you don’t tell anyone and you pick up a cigarette again – you won’t be embarrassed. They didn’t know anyway.
Realize that smoking cigarettes is an addiction. A nasty, disgusting, dirty habit of an addiction. Know that after you quit, you will have withdrawal symptoms. Physical and emotional withdrawals. Be prepared to deal with the withdrawals. I got very depressed and was fatigued all day and then could not sleep at night. But I knew it was coming and was prepared for it.
Some Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are:
- Cravings to smoke
- Irritable, cranky
- Inability to Concentrate
- Sore throat
- Constipation, gas, stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Sore tongue and/or gums
- postnasal drip
- Tightness in the chest
Be ever vigilant. Don’t give in. Know that just about every hour for the first 15 days you will want a cigarette. Know what your smoking habits are. Mine were I wanted a smoke when: I was on the phone, when I worked on the computer, after eating, driving the car and just before bed. In other words, all day long I wanted to smoke. I still want to smoke – but the physical addiction is gone. Now it’s the mental game I’m fighting.
Assume you will gain 10 pounds. You will put something else in your mouth instead of a cigarette. For me, it’s licorice sticks. They are hard to chew and I can fake smoke them. Once and awhile I’ll have gum. After 48 hours your tastebuds start to come to life. Food is tasting great now!
Know what will happen with your body. Go online and look at those pictures of lungs before and after. See what emphysema does to your body. Here’s some other things:
after 8 hours:
carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to normal
oxygen levels increase to normal
after 48 hours:
nerve endings start regrowing
ability to taste and smell improve
after 2 weeks (and up to 3 months):
walking becomes easier
lung function increases
after one to 9 months:
improvement in coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath
Finally, be proud that you’ve quit. My work involves setting up accounts for people to purchase non-toxic, environmentally friendly products for their home. I no longer feel like a hypocrite when I talk about detoxifying your home. I’ve never been a big one to exercise. I just started belly dancing – and love it! I also walk about ½ mile each day. Because now I can breath again. My complexion has really cleared up. I don’t look gray anymore. I’m finally able to get back on the computer again – I took a two week sabbatical because I just wanted to smoke!