When it comes to quitting, I am a pro! Having successfully stopped smoking more than 4 times since adulthood, I find the challenge to stop smoking relatively easy, however, the problem after that is to STAY smoke-free! That little voice inside your head, just like that of a drug addict, will try to reason with you. It will attempt to justify the “one won’t hurt”, or “it’s better than killing someone”, or “come on, you’re having stress, who wouldn’t smoke…one will make you feel better”.
That little voice is to be ignored at all costs. That little voice is just a nicotine receptor asking for something it wants, much like your children do. We must learn in this case, that we are the ones in control…don’t give that little receptor what it wants!
Let’s talk about my experiences with smoking cessation….I have tried and successfully quit smoking with the cold turkey method, experimented with the nicotine gum, and the nicotine patch, the nicotine inhaler, and the “herbal” methods…I felt the herbal methods at best turned out to be a way to get my money, and although that darn inhaler works for some people, I cannot get past the horrible burn in the throat it causes. I will say I tried the patch and it worked very well, however, I could not get past the immense itching it caused…probably due to the adhesive.
My first two successful attempts to quit smoking were cold turkey attempts. I simply cut back until I smoked only a few cigarettes a day, then just tossed my ashtrays, the remainder of the pack, the lighters, and everything into the garbage. My substitute were suckers…dum-dums to be exact, however they discontinued my favorite flavor. Suckers really don’t have that many calories, and although you might look stupid walking around with one in your mouth all day, people appreciate the motive for your weird behavior! The cold turkey method works best when you have a very important and specific reason for quitting.
For myself, the first time was pregnancy, and the second time was due to being on a volunteer fire department and finding that there were many things I could not do unless I quit smoking, due to lack of lung capacity. You really have to be able to breathe with 80 some pounds of equipment on your back, fed by a hose through a mask hooked to a tank. Very difficult for a 98 pound woman who smokes….so I chucked the habit.
Things went well for five years or so….I gained some weight, which I liked, and found immense pleasure at the newfound ability to fill out a bra! I felt better, I got more exercise, and I really didn’t look stupid while riding my bike on the recreation path with a smoke hanging out of my mouth. Things may have continued to go well, with the exception of that one little thing…..stress, which triggered a relapse. Remember that little voice inside your head??
My children grew up and moved out….stressor number one. I refrained from smoking. My father became ill, and it became apparent that he was not going to get better…stressor number two. My mentally ill sister involved in the care of my parents, my mom’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, all stressors. It was only a matter of time before I would break, and break I did! I’m actually quite surprised that it didn’t happen sooner. It started with those “no nicotine” cigarettes…..and went straight downhill from there. Don’t even try those things, they only lead you down the path to destruction.
I then began to think of the cost of smoking….you can check on http://www.healthcalculators.org/calculators/cigarette.asp to calculate the cost of smoking, and how much you would save. www.quit.net can give you smoking tips, explain the different smoking cessation products available, and you can get information about the risks of smoking at http://www.americanheart.org/
I again used the patch, then tried the inhaler, then tried again to use the dum-dums. I was doing pretty well until I ran into another stressor. I am now beginning the smoking cessation routine again if anyone is interested in joining me.
As for what works? All of the methods I have mentioned work, but different interventions work for different individuals, and you must find another method to manage your stress. You must be motivated, and you must be quitting just for YOU. Put the money you would spend daily into a high yield money market account and let it grow for a while. Use it for a cruise, to start your own business, to buy something special. Blow it on lottery tickets, at least you won’t be damaging your health, and you MIGHT win, but I think the money market account is a much better idea.
You can quit, you have the power to quit, but you have to want it. For those of you that think you need something more than the methods I have mentioned, there are medications such as Wellbutrin, Chantix, or a quit smoking aid called TBX-FREE which reportedly works very well. There are even laser therapy treatments which friends have used successfully. I may even try one of these methods this time around, but I think I can do without…..just pass the dum-dums, and please don’t look at me as if I grew a third eye when you see me walking around with one in my mouth!
The costs of these medications and treatments far outweigh the cost of smoking, given that one normally pays about $3.50 for a pack of cigarettes. Not to mention the fact of healthcare issues in the future for those who don’t quit. It’s worth it!