- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Experiences quitting smoking cigarettes
No one can make you stop-It is up to you
Cigarettes and me
I first tried smoking when I was about 12. Shocking I hear you cry. Let me just point out that this was back in 1964 and not in these notoriously wild times. I was caught with a packet of ten Park Drive tipped, in my school satchel, and was so terrified of the consequences at home, that I stopped immediately.
However, I guess I was destined to be one of those children who must try what they should not.
By the age of 16 I was smoking again, but a little heavier. My Mum and my older brother did not smoke, but my Dad did. When I was 17 my Day died suddenly, at the age of 55, after suffering cancer for a short time. He probably had the illness for a while, but he only lived a few weeks after it was diagnosed.
For a few weeks I stopped smoking but then started again. I was still at school and would save up my lunch and pocket money to buy a few fags (cigarettes). I left school not long after that time, at the age of 18, and smoked heavily until I was 36.
During this time I tried to stop smoking twice.
On the first occasion I lasted three months and the second time seven months. Both times I started smoking again, as I had put on more weight than I wanted to.
Eventually, I realized that it does not matter how gorgeous the outside of your body looks, if the inside is full of cancer inducing agents and nicotine filled smoke. Not that I ever was gorgeous but you know what I mean.
After a couple of periods of ill health, during which time I seriously thought I had cancer, I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid gland. Smoking would inevitably make this condition worse. My smoking ceased just before the diagnosis came through. I lit a cigarette one day coughed a lot, felt quite sick and thought "what the hell am I doing",Twenty one years later I have never had a single drag of a cigarette. I will have as a passive smoker, though, but have tried to avoid even that.
That does not mean that occasionally I have not wanted to smoke. My hubby still smokes and most of the time the smoke smells awful. Thankfully, he usually indulges his nicotine habit, begrudgingly, outdoors these days.
The outdoors is one of the few places that a cigarette still smells nice to me and could almost tempt me to have a drag. The sort of outdoors I mean is, sat on a beach in Summer or on the edge of a river front.
I will never have a smoke though, not even a little drag.
The reason is that, it was so hard at times beating the pull of cigarettes, that I would not want to have to try again. Each time I stopped I was instantly hooked again and would smoke more than ever. I guess I have a compulsive personality and could never stop at the occasional cigarette. I wish I could. In some ways I miss smoking.
One thing is for sure though, times have changed.
My hubby finds these days that he and his fellow smokers are ostracised at parties and functions, destined to a corner somewhere with just each other. Since the ban on cigarette smoking in public places, in England in 2007, smokers do not have an easy time.
Years ago I worked at places which were full of smoke all day, as we workers who were smokers merrily puffed away on our cigarettes, choking the poor non-smokers. I remember cinemas so full of smoke that even we hardened smokers could not see, as our eyes watered so much. These days smoking is not allowed in such places or on public transport and so getting a quick fix of nicotine can be difficult.
When I stopped smoking I simply decided that day, threw my cigarettes away and went Cold Turkey. Below is what I did, and hopefully includes some hints and advice, which may help you become a non smoker.
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Are you a smoker?
My experiences, hints and advice
Firstly let me say that there are no miracle cures that will stop you smoking. There are many support structures, treatments and products that may help you to stop but it will be up to you. Whatever course you decide to try to follow, in your quest to become smoke free, will need some WILL-POWER.
Secondly let me say that you cannot make someone else stop smoking, no matter how much you love them or want them to. The smoker will need to want to stop smoking, for whatever reason.
Some of the reasons for stopping smoking are:-
- To be healthy
- To live longer
- To save money
- So that you do not smell of smoke.
- To make you more attractive.
- To support a loved one, who is stopping smoking.
- As you are pregnant
- To stop your teeth looking yellow or even brown.
- Because of a health condition or health scare
- To set the right example to your children
- To improve your family's life in so many ways
- To be fit enough to play with your children
Obviously it does help if everyone in your household stops smoking but you cannot make them.
You may be someone who will plan your "stopping smoking" day well. Some smoker's like to plan ahead, select a particular day and be very organised. Others will just say "right that's it I'm not smoking anymore". There are no rules, though, and it is to you. You should know yourself, better than any other person does, and know what will work for you.
Here is what I did when I stopped smoking, many years ago.
I was not working at the time, which in some ways made it easier. However, it did mean that I could have a cigarette when ever I wanted to. I decided that I would keep busy. If I sat for too long or got bored the temptation to smoke would niggle away at me.
As an experienced smoker there were many jobs that I could complete whilst I had a cigarette in my hand. However there were many that I could not. So, I:-
- Baked almost everyday. Money was tight when I was at home and so I made pies, homemade jam, home brewed beer, pastries and more. All of these meant that I was smoke free. Well, at least, while I was busy baking and the like.
- I did gardening. We had only recently moved into our home. The garden was fairly large and rambling. Never one to be afraid of a little hard work, I dug this garden, back and front, in fits and starts. If I sat for a while and started to crave a cigarette I would head out into the garden. I had stopped smoking on the 1st April and so I had all of the summer to get to grips with my withdrawal. I planted potatoes, strawberries and tomato plants.
- I went out for regular cycle rides. Once I had exercised a little in the fresh air
- I exercised my dogs more than ever. They loved it. If I had no cigarettes or money with me there was no way I could indulge in a fag when I was outdoors.
- I decorated the home. Admittedly in the past I had smoked occasionally whilst decorating but not this time. Painting and wallpapering need both hands anyway.
There were also lots of other ways that I avoided the smoking urge. I did not use any replacement therapy, hypnosis or other products but if these will work for you go for it. I just used sheer determination. I decided that if I did not give up then I never would. Each year would just get harder.
Here is what you can try:-
- If you want to use nicotine replacement therapy get a supply ready.
- Have a hypnosis session if that will be within your means.
- Try Allen Carr's tapes or book.
- Stock up on some healthy nibbles or gum
- Decide a date or simply stop NOW
- Assess your smoking habits. For example, some people always light up first thing in a morning or after a meal. Get to know your vulnerable times and decide how you will address this. Initially I would reach for the biscuit barrel straight after a meal, as I still felt hungry. Avoid such antics. Try instead to crunch healthy raw carrot sticks or eat an apple. Try to to go out for a walk after your meal.
- Alternatively try a jog, bicycle ride or a walk with your dog. Anything that gets you out of your routine and away from temptation.
- Keep a diary if it helps. Perhaps writing down your feelings about smoking may help to strengthen your resolve.
- Keep reminding yourself of why you want to stop smoking.
- England has Stop Smoking Services provided by the NHS which may be appropriate for you.
- Try to save the money you would have spent on cigarettes and reward yourself every so often with a treat. A new CD or shoes. Something just for you.
- See if you can get people to sponsor you to stop smoking, with the money raised going to a favourite worthy cause of yours. This may make you more determined than ever.
- Get friends and family on board. If you can stop smoking with a close friend or partner it may help
- Take each day at a time. Do not think ahead to a month or years time or especially the prospect of never smoking again.
- Avoid places and people that will make it difficult for you not to smoke.
- Keep busy
- Accept any help offered
After a short while of being nicotine free you will notice that you smell much nicer, your skin and hair are in better condition and that you do not cough or get out of breath as much as you used to.
Deep down we all know smoking is not good for us but we either choose to ignore the horrible statistics or simply assume it will never be us.
NOW THAT YOU ARE A NON SMOKER.
Please try and be a little tolerant to those who still indulge in cigarette smoking. There is nothing worse than a reformed smoker laying down the law.
One thing that you will notice is no longer smoking sets you free. When you are an addicted smoker you always need to have cigarettes, tobacco or money. The thought of being deprived of your smoke can be really scary. Once that habit or addiction is broken this need will disappear and boy will your bank balance improve.