How I Finally Quit Smoking Cigarettes
Has My Love-Hate Relationship With Cigarettes Finally Ended?
I sure hope so. Studies have shown that it may take several times before someone can kick the habit. For one person it may take only 5 quits to succeed; for someone else, it may take 10. For me, I quit counting after 9 quits, but I think it is closer to 30. So, if you are trying to quit smoking and relapse, don't give up hope. Just keep trying. Just hang in there and get ready for the next quit—as many times as you have to.
I really believe, at least for myself, that a tobacco addiction is mental more than physical. The next time you try to quit tobacco, I would highly recommend that you go ahead and throw out all your lighters and ashtrays. I started smoking at age 16 and was a pack-a-day smoker for years. I tell non-smokers not to take it for granted that they are non-smokers. Here are some of the reasons I do not miss smoking cigarettes.
- The Negative Effects of Smoking
It shouldn't come as a surprise that cigarettes are a killer when it comes to your health and your budget. Here are some facts to browse through.
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Reasons I Don't Miss Smoking
Today I am 2525 days Quit. As I am moving forward in my nonsmoking state I realize just how great it is not to cough all the time and I can tell I have a better attitude and more energy. Here are the things I surely do not miss about smoking cigarettes:
- Coughing in the middle of the night.
- Coughing first thing in the morning.
- Making special trips to the store to buy cigarettes when I ran out of them.
- Worrying if I have enough cigarettes to last today or this week.
- Paying high prices for cigarettes – it turns out to be an expensive habit.
- Home smelled stinky, like an ashtray. Same for clothes, purse, wallet. I especially noticed the smell when I was at the gym, where the air is clean, and the stinky cigarette smell would emit from my gym bag.
- Could not walk up a flight of stairs without getting flushed and gasping for breath (like red-faced and nostrils-flaring sort of thing). Note: At 683 days this is not an issue anymore. I still get slightly out of breath but it's wonderful not to deal with that red-faced, nostrils-flaring thing anymore.
- Less energy and motivation to exercise.
- No more distraction – I need a cigarette right now, stop everything to smoke.
- Lungs felt full of phlegm.
I have heard ex-smokers say that every now and then a craving to smoke a cigarette would hit them out of the blue. These are people that have quit smoking for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years. Only a smoker or ex-smoker can understand what a battle it can be, since will power alone is not powerful enough to beat the NicoDemon (the NicoDemon is a nickname for tobacco and everything in it and about it that gets a person hooked).
A Quit is different for each person. For some it takes only a few tries to quit. For others it may take 10-20 or maybe more tries to finally quit. I am in the last category. I quit counting my cold turkey quits after 9 tries, but I estimate it is probably around 30 tries before it stuck. I am, as of right now, at 2525 days NicoDemon free. This Quit has been the easiest for me so far.
I remember my very first Quit lasted 6 months, but the whole time it was very difficult because I kept thinking about those cigarettes and had the cravings for it. It was sheer will power until I gave in. My goal is to do a cold turkey Quit and get to the point that I don’t even think about cigarettes. I don’t even want to think about how nice it would be to go outside and have a cup of coffee on the balcony and have a smoke. No, I don’t even want them on my mind. I believe what has helped me was a lot of praying, and my journaling I did along the way during my other Quits and relapses. I wrote down everything I was feeling, noting the positive changes for me from not smoking, and also noting the negative changes after a relapse. Those positive and negative changes are noted in this article.
How many times did it take you to quit smoking for good?
Benefits of Not Smoking
Research has indicated that nicotine completely leaves the bloodstream in 72 hours. The physical effects of withdrawal occur within those first 72 hours. If you are trying to quit smoking forever, don’t get discouraged – keep on trying. Start to keep a journal during your quits. There is a ton of information on the internet on how to prepare for a quit, things to do to substitute for that cigarette in your hand, and other great advice. I personally did not want to use the Patch or chew nicotine gum because I did not want the drug in my system anymore and I also knew with me it was 99% in my head. It is psychological and mental stuff that caused me to relapse, not physical withdrawals. Write everything down in your journal and keep trying. The following information is what I wrote in my journal:
- Lungs /breathing feel better.
- No yellow nails / fingertips.
- No smoker’s headache and coughing.
- No oily film on my face – skin looks better.
- Have more energy and stamina during hikes on the nature trail / gym.
- I still get out of breath going up a long flight of stairs, but I recover so much faster and I don’t turn red-faced over it any more.
- My mind is not distracted or cluttered with thinking about cigarettes.
- Saving a lot of money. Look out shoe store – here I come!
- No more puffy bags under eyes.
- No more dark circles under my eyes. The dark circles went away!!
- I smell better. There is no longer a lingering stink on my clothes and other belongings.
- I had my last cigarette on February 1, 2012. I have noticed another benefit of not smoking and I am so happy I must share it: MY TEETH ARE WHITER. I have not done anything to my teeth except regular cleanings at the dentist. My teeth are no longer that yellow-grey color. Now I can give a big smile with confidence! I will use Crest White Strips to make them even whiter!
- 12 Devastating Health Effects of Smoking | Lifescript.com
Every year, more than 400,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses – and according to a new report, even a single cigarette can damage your health. Here are 12 more reasons why you need to stop smoking now.
The Effects of Relapse
When I had my last relapse, the following thoughts and feelings were recorded during my journalling and I will share them here. Number 9 is what really stuck in my head during this battle to become a nonsmoker.
- Smoker’s headache.
- Sore lower back and Sore joints.
- Regular coughing returned along with coughing up the flem (I apologize for sounding so gross but this is one of the effects of relapse for me).
- Watery eyes after applying mascara / makeup.
- Right back to spending money on cartons of cigarettes.
- Hair not as shiny.
- Oily film returned on my face, and big pimples appeared on my jaw line. My eyes were puffy and there were circles under my eyes.
- Breathing is affected.
- I realized I was craving a cigarette real bad, that I wanted to inhale the cool menthol. I take puff after puff and it burns my throat and the realization hits me -- the peppermint breath mints are much better than the tobacco burning my throat.
- I feel "yucky". It's hard to explain, but I don't feel myself, like I have a "yucky" sick.
I am very grateful that this photo makes me want to gag.
Causes of My Various Relapses
- Kept craving and thinking about cigarettes (for me this was mental baggage). During relapse when I had that first cigarette, it burned my throat and it was nasty. There really is nothing great or comforting about having a cigarette. It doesn’t make me feel better. The menthol breath mints were much better.
- Boredom – need something to do with my hands. This is what I believe is the "psychological addiction". What do non-smokers do when they get bored? NOTE: I wanted to change my way of thinking. I wanted to do what non-smokers do when they get bored: talk to a friend, go bike riding, read a book, clean the house, go to the gym, walk their dog, paint a room. The positive fun things to do, instead of inhaling nasty chemicals, is endless. That is how I wanted to think. I didn't want those cigarettes on my mind at all.
- Job stress.
- Disappointments in life, such as expending a lot of time and effort into plans and goals and dreams only to have them dissipate into thin air. I would think smoking would make me feel better but it really does not (see negative effects above).
Number 4 is a real big one. Good luck to everyone out there trying to beat this tobacco habit. I still have disappointments, job stress and sometimes boredom. But I decided my way of dealing with those things is to spend energy focusing on either improving or accepting them.
I have a respect for everyone attempting their first Quit or their 30th Quit, and I won’t take mine for granted. I know non-smokers look at these symptoms and think, “why do you put yourself through this horror again and again? Why not just stop smoking and be done with it?” Well, that is a very good question. I believe smoking cigarettes is one of the more challenging addictions to overcome, so you have to keep trying over and over until it works for you. So don't give up if you are trying to stop smoking. If you are thinking about it, that is a start. I know it will be painful to throw out the ashtrays and lighters. Keep trying. Even if you fall off the wagon, keep trying and don't give up.
- Quit Smoking Without Using Drugs
This is a detailed plan how to quit smoking without using any drugs. The plan has been quite successful.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Michelle Dee