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How to Quit Smoking - Free tips that work

Updated on March 19, 2012
Quit Smoking it only takes one cigarette to make you a smoker.
Quit Smoking it only takes one cigarette to make you a smoker. | Source

If you smoke, you know quitting smoking is hard to do. If you start again, it's even worse!

I started smoking when I was 16 years old. It was legal back then, but now the legal age is 18. My life had turned upside down and stress was overwhelming. Living in a children's home, many of the girls smoked in my dorm. I choked, coughed, gagged and even vomited from the smell as it permeated the air.

42 girls and 2 of us didn't smoke, one being myself. Sometimes 40 girls would smoke at one time. It was a chain reaction and I was at their mercy. I had several asthma attacks even though I never had one before. Time after time I ended up at the hospital for a breathing treatment. One doctor, whom I have trouble forgiving said, "If you smoked it probably wouldn't bother you so bad."

His words set off a chain reaction of my own. I left the hospital and when we stopped at a gas station I bought my first pack of cigarettes. I smoked my first one on the way back to the home. I gagged and coughed and worried I'd have another asthma attack, but the dear doctor told me..... (don't get me wrong, I don't think this doctor intended for me to go back and smoke, but his words led me in there. He should have been more careful.

I managed the first cigarette and chased it down with a soda to get the taste out of my mouth. I figured I'd quit when I got out of the home which I thought would only be a couple of months. Couldn't be that hard right? Wrong!

I got out. It's time to Stop Smoking! But how?

As predicted, I got out in just over 2 months from the first cigarette. I bought pack after pack without even considering quitting. I think I felt pretty cool among my friends. Here I am, 17 now big bad and I can smoke. Just watch me! Sometimes the old movies with the elegant women smoking would run through my mind. Strange justification, I know.

I even stopped for a year when we had our first baby. I thought I'd never start again. When I turned 21 there was a big party for the Indy 500. I grabbed some wine coolers and off to the party I went. Before the morning came, I'd bought a pack of cigarettes and smoked over half a pack. How easy it is to pick up right where we left off.

The next day, I had about 8 cigarettes left and decided to go ahead and smoke them to get the desire out of my system. Another big mistake! Can you guess what I did as soon as I ran out? You guessed it. I bought another pack.

I became a "closet smoker." I hid it from everyone and I became good at it. (No, I'm not going to tell you how to hide it.) I will tell you the people around me everyday, all non-smokers, had no idea. After they found out they turned to one another in disbelief. They found out because I got caught red-handed. Imagine it, legal to smoke and afraid of being caught.

I smoked for the next 13 years. I developed some nasty nodules in my lungs and got pneumonia a couple times a year. One day, I decided I didn't want to smoke anymore, but it wasn't that easy.

I created a plan to quit smoking.

I'd tried putting them down before. Just walk away and don't look back. By this time, I lived with other smokers. The challenge was far worse than previous attempts to quit.

Knowing I couldn't just lay them down any longer, I created a plan for how to quit smoking again. I'm sharing it with you because if I can help one person quit with my method, I will have succeeded in what seems impossible.

My plan to quit smoking. Willpower and Support!

  1. I bought all the cigarettes I normally smoked in a pay period. 2 weeks = 2 cartons.
  2. I told myself it would be the last time I ever bought cigarettes.
  3. I could take an entire year smoking these two cartons - when they were gone that's it!
  4. I could not borrow a cigarette from anyone else or take one if offered.
  5. Cigarette butts were fine so long as they were my own.
  6. I had to keep every single butt in a can. Gross!
  7. Each time I wanted a cigarette I went out and smelled the can first.
  8. I had to look at the can every single day when I woke up and before going to bed.
  9. I began only smoking outdoors. No smoking in the car, house or even someone else's home.
  10. I removed every ashtray from the house and asked the people in the house to go outside to smoke. Most of the time they complied, but at times they didn't.
  11. I washed everything in the house. Curtains, clothing, blankets, etc. and sprayed air freshener on the furniture.
  12. I totaled the amount of money I spent each pay period on cigarettes, $52.
  13. I went shopping for things I wanted of equal value. The idea here is to spend the money guilt-free because normally you'd buy cigarettes which does cause guilt. If you live on a budget like I did, you now won't have enough money to buy cigarettes too.
  14. I bought sugar-free suckers to curb my desire for a cigarette and when the sucker was gone, I'd chew on the stick for as long as I wanted.
  15. Create a person you call that will be proud of you for quitting smoking, someone you will feel guilty for lying to. Promote yourself and your achievements to this person and give them permission to call you and ask about your success. First start with once a day, then once a week and after the first month, every two weeks, then once a month. You'll be surprised how they will weigh in your mind when you're thinking of cheating. (Thanks Dad!) Set a reminder to call this person on a schedule and make yourself accountable to them. Tell them you need their undying support and they need to make you feel like a million bucks each time you mention not smoking. Trust me, most people are willing to give you major kudos!

After the last cigarette, which was 21 days, I was desperate for another so I went out and smoked a couple of the butts in the can. GAG! That's desperation I tell ya. After 2 failed attempts at smoking the old, stale butts I poured water in the can. I left it on the porch as a stiff reminder. Have you ever smelled wet cigarette butts and ashes? GROSS!

How much money do you spend a month smoking?

See results

Benefits from quitting smoking and what I remembered when I thought of smoking again.

I reminded myself how nice the house smelled and my clothing too. I started tasting food differently almost immediately. I could smell things I never smelled before. Darned cat box apparently needed changing more than I thought. Flowers across a field would waft their beautiful smell and I had never noticed before.

Salt and other spices - How in the world did my children ever eat the food I'd prepared before? My new-found taste buds were repulsed at the amount of seasonings in the foods after I quit smoking. I remember tasting cheese after I quit and it was amazing! The robust flavor of sharp cheddar was a delight I hadn't even realized I missed while smoking.

I began breathing better in about 7 days and it continued to improve daily. My children were ecstatic and were no longer hesitant to hug me or make gross noises when they did.

My Mantra After I Quit Smoking

I would dream about stealing cigarettes or burying them in the back yard to hide them from people. I would wake up thinking I smoked an entire pack and felt terrible about myself. The pride was quick to return once I discovered it was a dream.

When I craved a cigarette, which did decrease each day, I would tell myself a couple of things. I called them my mantra.

  1. You made it through yesterday, you can make it through today.
  2. The only difference in me and a non-smoker is one cigarette, so smoking even one would make me a smoker again. (I read that somewhere online during my quitting phase. Whoever you are, thank you!) It really helped me when I thought I could have one cigarette and settle a temporary craving. We all know that's not true!

An interesting fact was presented after I quit, you may be interested in. I didn't know the day I quit smoking, but afterward my cousin told me she quit by the farmer's almanac and had remained a non-smoker for over 50 years. Little did I know, I had quit on the day recommended by the farmer's almanac too. You might try to make that a part of your plan.

I stayed a non-smoker for 5 years and 8 months! It was a joyous time. I gained about 5 pounds in the beginning of my choice to quit, but with the energy I gained and the spare time I had, I quickly lost the weight as I cleaned house more and began an exercise routine. I felt amazing and full of energy. I got to the point, I didn't even notice people smoking around me after a couple of months - other than the nasty smell. I even held someone's cigarette and it didn't phase me.

Don't Let Anything Cause You to Start Smoking Again

Don't lose faith in what I told you about how to quit smoking. I feel in the truth of disclosure it's important to tell you, I started smoking again in May 2010. I found out I had a few tumors and the doctors thought I had terminal cancer. The night before they removed the big tumor, I was so nervous and I decided it didn't matter if I started smoking. I mean, I was going to die anyway, right?!

I had made it through funerals, bad family situations, a car wreck and never started smoking. I had been so proud of myself. But this fateful day in May, I broke!

I told myself if I were to live, I could always quit again. A part of the reason I wrote this hub is to remind myself that it wasn't that bad to quit the first time and I can do it again. Now, I have to move to that mentality and get started. As you can see, I lived! It was benign and I ruined my 5 year bit of not smoking for nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Maybe your words of encouragement will swing me in the direction faster. I know it can be done! I know it's not that hard. I know it's better for me. I know!


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    • thejeffriestube profile image

      Dave 5 years ago from United States

      I'm trying to quit too and it's very hard. Thank you for your Hub; I had been fighting a craving and this helped me out!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      I voted in your poll but I am a cheater because I dont smoke anymore :) It has been a little over a year since my last smoke and I can honestly say I dont ever think I will do it again! I love that you presented this Hub with its various ideas to help and support others.

      Jeffrie - stay away from the cigarettes!

    • thejeffriestube profile image

      Dave 5 years ago from United States

      I will Ardie! :-)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Wow! You had quite a journey and I would say someone with your determination and built up will power will quit again. Don't give up the ship Tams. I am trying to get myself psyched to quit. Hopefully you and I can join jeff!

    • smzclark profile image

      smzclark 5 years ago from cheshire

      i know the feeling, i've tried everything! and have quit a few times---why do we go back? i've thought about writing a hub about it, because it's probably no.1 on my list of things i think about throughout the day!!! i bought a small ear magnet thingy :-p online ...very cheap acupressure! it hurts a little, but i have cut down while using it.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Great idea! I'm sure I will do it again too. I'm focusing now on how bad they really taste.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Every little bit counts smzclark. I'm interested in the "ear magnet thingy." I think we go back because we find ways to justify how we will quit again. I mean to start again means we had the courage to quit in the first place right? So we're big and bad we can do it again.

    • Tams R profile image
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      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      That makes my day! If one person succeeds and I'm part of that success, I'm a happy person!

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Ardie I don't mind if you cheated the poll. I just love that you added, "anymore" to I don't smoke. I'm glad you liked my approach.

    • CrazyGata profile image

      CrazyGata 5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I quit 20 years ago. Congratulations!!

    • Nils Visser profile image

      BOOK REVIEWS 5 years ago from The Low Countries

      I quit one year, ten months and three weeks ago after smoking for 22 years.

      One of the hardest things I ever did.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Congratulations Gata and Nils!

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 5 years ago

      Hi Tams! I am a smoker now but did quit once for 15 years by attending classes put on by the American Lung Association. I started again while going through a very stressful divorce and its been 12 years since then. I hate to say it but I enjoy a cigarette now and then. I am a 1/2 pack a day smoker. Will I quit again? Yes, when the time is right. Great article!!! I'm praying for you. And by the way, thanks for the fan mail and the follow!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Hey Tams -- you can absolutely do it. Must admit I smoke and have for years -- is it healthy (no) -- do I want to quit (no) -- and until I decide I want to I know there's no way it'll happen. I admire your "try" girl -- you did it once and it's a fact -- YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN! Best, Sis

    • Sunshyne1975 profile image

      Sunshyne1975 5 years ago from California, US

      This is a great hub, I have never smoked but my mom did and I hated it. My kids can't stand it and it's embarrassing sometimes if we are out in public and someone is smoking around them they make a big deal out of it by coughing and hacking and covering their noses with their shirts. lol. I tell them to stop and to be respectful, but it's hard for them sometimes. Thanks for sharing this with everyone. I hope it helps lots and lots of people stop smoking.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks for your comment. I think respect is important, but at least your children aren't as likely to smoke if that is their reaction to others who smoke.

    • Tams R profile image
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      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Wow CrazyGata! Congratulations goes to you! Great job.

    • Tams R profile image
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      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Awesome Nils. My mother in law quit after about 55 years. Threw them across the room and said, "that's it." Hasn't touched them in 8 years.

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 5 years ago

      Tams, I grew up inhaling second hand smoke. My dad always smoked in the house. I did too, even when my 3 oldest kids were young, back in the 70's and early 80's! They, however, never smoked!

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      I smoke and I really hate it. I try to quit, but somehow it never works out, as something always pops up to get in my way.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Lucybell, I think one thing that helped me was stopping to think about smoking while I smoked. Focusing on the things I didn't like about it helped me get to the point of wanting to change it. Bottom line, you'll do it when you're ready.

    • jennjenn519 profile image

      jennjenn519 5 years ago from Cocoa, Fl

      Tams and Lucy Bell-let's do this together!

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Jenn I'm think about the time I'm ready you two would have already been quit for a month. I'm trying to set it in my head to do this again. I'm concentrating on how gross they are now.

    • breffoo profile image

      breffoo 5 years ago

      This was a great hub. I'm happy for you, that you never give up. It isn't easy and I'm glad that everyone is applauding you for your efforts. Smoking is bad and I hope that very soon I will be able to quit, as well. Thank you for this hub, it has made me pay attention to what is important.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Breffoo, I'm glad you stopped by and found my job useful. Here's to all the smokers putting them down and walking away.

    • profile image

      leann2800 5 years ago

      Congratulations on your success! I am sure this article will be very useful to others who want to quit smoking.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Thanks for commenting Leann. Every little bit helps when it comes to this evil habit.

    • profile image

      Mtbailz 5 years ago

      Thank you for an inspiring hub. I have been looking to quit this habit but everytime I finish the pack I go straight to the gas station. I am going to try that can trick- it sounds like something that would work for me. Hang in there and good luck Tams!

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Mtbailz, I'm telling you the can is disgusting. It will definitely make you feel accountable for your habit. I think most smokers don't even realize how a hundred or more cigarettes look in one place. It's alarming when you realize you are the one who smoked every one of them.

      Best of luck! Glad I could help you on your mission to quit smoking.

      Please come back and let me know how it works for you. Or, write a hub about it. :)

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 5 years ago

      Tams that is a really powerful hub on smoking. Some great advice and it was an amazing achievement to give up for five years. You have done it once and you can do it again.Best of luck Sean

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Seanorjohn, you are so right. I did it once and I not only can but WILL do it again. It is my personal mission right now and I feel it is coming quickly for me. I've already dropped over half of my daily smoking and it feels good. Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      Veronica 5 years ago

      Everytime I buy a packet of cigarettes I reassure that it is my last packet. When I grow tired of smoking, as I often do, midway through a packet I tell myself I may as well finish the packet or it will be a waste of money. I have this constant inner to and fro battle wih myself about smoking. After reading your post and am determined to stop as the mentally energy that I am applying to smoking is really draining. Wishing you and everyone the very best in quitting this addictive habit! Thank you for sharing!x

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Veronica, I think the inner dialogue you mention is that of nearly every smoker. I do know at least one smoker who says they'll never quit because they like it, but I think even they have given in to the dialogue so much that they refuse to attempt it anymore.

      I truly hope you are successful in your mission to quit. I've significantly reduced my habit since writing this article.

      Thanks for commenting and come back to tell us how you are doing.

    • A Jessie Flowers profile image

      A Jessie Flowers 5 years ago from Elkhart, Indiana

      hi new here and i read your story thanks for sharing. My mom quit smoking mothers day this year and well here i am in her hospital room for the 3rd time and ths Dr just told us she has lung cancer We don't know the type yet but i am scared and have been for 2 days now i put down my last Cigarette on monday my mom had a lump my grandma had a lump so i said to my srlf are you waiting to have a lump to be smart.. i am telling you all this beacuse i guessi just neede to.. but i wanted to say thank you

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Jessie, welcome and thank you for sharing. Hang in there you can do this. I will keep you in my prayers. Hugs!!!!

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Tams - congratulations on your 5 year 8 month quit. I know how difficult it can be to stop smoking. Oh, how I remember those days of putting the used butts into a can. I remember those days when I would run out of cigarettes and then rummage through the can looking for some butts to smoke. Gross. I am very glad I don't have that bondage any more. I quit Feb 2012 and wrote a hub about it.

      You are onto something when you say you focused on all the things you don't like about smoking cigarettes and that I believe is a great idea - it helped me as well. Keep thinking and planning your next quit and that may be the one that sticks forever. Keeping a journal helps to so you can refer back to it. For example, when I relapsed because of a craving, the smoke burned my throat and it was nasty. I keep that in mind now and suck on a lot of spearmint breath mints.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 4 years ago from Missouri

      Efficient, Keeping a journal is an awesome idea. Then one would have the ability to go back and look at the progress and perhaps that would be another deterrent from starting again. Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image

      Joanna 2 years ago

      I quit smoking 10 years ago and have never had one since and tlotlay agree with you chloe when you say everyone who does those nasty habits should quit them today.

    • Tams R profile image
      Author

      Tams R 2 years ago from Missouri

      Congrats Joanna! The decade is an awesome achievement. Keep it up.

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