How to Overcome Two Major Problems when Giving Up Smoking

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Gemma Grapple (not her real name) started smoking when she was 12 years old. “I did it to look cool but realise now that I must have looked like a real prat” she admitted.

Gemma Grapple (not her real name) started smoking when she was 12 years old.

  • I did it to look cool but realise now that I must have looked like a real prat” she admitted.

It is now more than thirty years since Gemma’s first “drag” (inhalation of tobacco) but she has now stopped smoking… again. In these articles Gemma gives an honest account of her past attempts to stop smoking, the reasons she started again and how she finally stopped for good. If Gemma can do it – so can you!


When I was a smoker I had no problem with constipation. I was as regular as clockwork. My daily routine was: wake up, have coffee and a lovely ciggie, then hurry to the toilet for my first dump (bowel evacuation) of the day. I didn’t realise how lucky I was in this respect until I quit smoking for the first time.

The first time I ever had constipation was the first time I quit smoking and it was no coincidence. I soon realised that it was my first cigarette of the day which kept me regular. How? My first cigarette of the day acted like a trigger – a plop herald – call it what you will. I discovered that as soon as I started smoking again – the constipation would miraculously disappear. A couple of drags and I’d be running to the nearest facility – the massive relief was indescribable – fabulous – kind of like a dog who has just got out of the bath – a wonderful sense of relief

Sleep Deprivation

I’d always slept like the guiltless. The moment my head hit the pillow I was off. Then I gave up smoking for the first time and everything changed. I was tired but couldn’t drop off and even if I did I’d soon be awake. My tired eyes would refer to the digital clock at least twice an hour. “If I go to sleep now I can still get five hours!” followed by “if I go to sleep now I can still get four hours and thirty minutes” followed by “four hours and ten minutes…three hours and twenty”.

Constipation AND Sleep Deprivation

You give up smoking for health reasons mainly but I found myself in a situation in which, I reasoned, was bad for my health. The discomfort of five days without a movement, coupled with sleep deprivation was too much for me. It was as though my evil smoking half was organising a coup against my would-be clean-living non-smoking half:

Smoking Half: I’m telling you now, if you want a good sh*te and sleep you’ll have to have a cigarette.

Non Smoking Half: But I’ve not had a cigarette for a week!

Smoking Half: Just have the one – I promise it will be “bombs away” and you’ll sleep like a contented baby tonight…

The Smoking Half was right and once I’d had one – “I might as well finish the pack” my Smoking Half and Non-Smoking half called a truce and all was well with the world.

Perhaps a few days later – after I’d coughed my guts up at an inappropriate time or remembered the anger I felt against the tobacco companies who had encouraged my early age addiction – I’d detest myself for not holding out and overcoming the evil weed.

Gemma Grapple’s Advice to Anyone Considering Quitting

Be prepared for constipation and sleep deprivation. Senna and prune juice did the constipation trick for Gemma and rigorous exercise and lettuce tablets overcame the sleep problem.

Have you quit smoking?

Offer your advice in the comments section below.

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