Quitting smoking isn’t easy. But if you really want to give up cigarettes, for good, you can! With a little planning, some determination, and an understanding of nicotine addiction, you will find you don’t need any pills, potions, or patches! In fact, the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are intense for just about 3 days. Many people can manage to quit smoking long enough to get past the physical addiction. It is the mental part that is hard. Plan to conquer the mental addiction and the physical addiction will take care of itself.
The thought of not smoking forever can be intimidating! After all, cigarettes have been a large part of your life. Talk yourself into quitting for an hour. It is much easier to quit for an hour than for a lifetime. Of course you quit for one hour, then another hour, then another hour… I haven’t smoked in 169,492 hours. My next goal is 175,250 hours, or 20 years. I am sure I will reach it!
Cigarettes become a ritual in your life. You probably smoke to start your day, to end a meal, while driving in the car. Probably the last thing you do each day is smoke a cigarette. It is important to find a replacement ritual. Plan ahead. Think of all the times that you regularly smoke, and decide what you will do instead of smoking! For me, chocolate chips did the trick. Instead of a cigarette I would take a single chocolate chip, let it melt slowly in my mouth, and totally enjoy the rich chocolate taste. (I bought the best chocolate chips I could find!) In the car I would chew gum, and at the end of the day, a nice cup of tea and a long kiss from my honey!
Find your reason to quit. Quitting is hard! You are not going to do it because someone else wants you to. Find a reason that really matters to you. For me, it wasn’t for health reasons that I quit. Lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, those all seemed distant and unlikely. Second hand smoke, not a motivator, everyone around me seemed fine. Vanity was the key for me! I didn’t want to look like a smoker. I could see that smokers had more wrinkles, their fingers were yellowed, and their voices were hoarse and rough.
Money can be a great motivation. Smoking is expensive. When you don’t buy cigarettes you save tons of money! Giving up a pack a day habit will save about $5 in a day, $35 in a week, $150 a month or $1800 a year! And that is just the cost of cigarettes. Add in lighters and breath mints and you are talking serious money! Treat yourself with it! After a week, get a manicure to rid your fingers of those ugly yellow tobacco stains.
Remind yourself that life wasn’t perfect before you gave up smoking. One of the hardest times for me after I quit was when I got uptight about something. I just knew that a cigarette would calm me down and make everything all better. Of course, that wasn’t true. I would get tense and uptight while I was a smoker. So instead of a cigarette I would do some deep breathing, stretch, or take a brisk walk.
I f you are a smoker (now an ex-smoker!) chances are good that most of your friends are smokers too. Temptation will be huge when you are with friends. It wouldn’t be fair to have to give up your friends, so once again, plan ahead and come up with some strategies to resist temptation. You could try and get all your friends to quit with you. If that doesn’t work, then you will have to come up with something else! Find something you can do with your hands. Remind yourself of your reasons why you quit. Get a little silly. When I was out with friends I would smoke… without a cigarette! I would just pretend and go through the motions. Lighting up, a deep inhale and blowing smoke rings. If temptation got strong I would remind myself why I quit. I would notice the yellow fingers and wrinkles of the smokers, and count how many hours it had been since my last cigarette. Anything except smoke a cigarette!
Know that you will always be addicted to cigarettes. Even after almost 20 years I still have moments when I want to smoke. I know people who quit for over 20 years and then started right back up in a moment of weakness. It does get much easier, but remember, you are only “a puff away from a pack a day!”