In today’s world, smokers are becoming an outcast group, relegated to standing outside in all kinds of weather, and enduring nasty looks and comments from passersby. Laws are being passed to limit our ability to continue to smoke. Cigarettes are soaring in price, fast becoming out of the financial range of many of us.
The health risks are great for those who continue to smoke. Cancer claims many lives every year. Smokers suffer from breathing disorders, heart problems, lung problems and many other smoking related health issues.
I quit smoking due to breathing issues. I love to hike, and one year ago I had a terrifying experience when attempting to hike. I went to the mountains and began to hike up a trail. I hadn’t gone very far before I was gasping to breathe. My lungs just weren’t working at all like they should. I had to sit and rest before I was able to turn around and go back to my car. The fear I felt at that time was a great motivator for me to stop smoking. I put to use a plethora of tips that I had learned over the years and I quit smoking. I have been a non-smoker for five months now, and I feel confident to share the most useful tips that I found.
Set a date to quit smoking
You will see this advice over and over in your search for tips to stop smoking. The frequency of this advice only serves to underscore its importance. It would be nearly impossible to just decide on the spur of the moment that now is the time that you quit smoking. Setting a date allows you to become accustomed to the idea, and also to make plans on how you are going to achieve your goal of becoming a non-smoker.
I recommend giving yourself about three weeks to practice before your date. I use the word practice because that is what you will be doing. Use this time to train your mind to think of yourself as a non-smoker.
Get your reasons for quitting in order
Make a list of reasons that you want to quit smoking. It is very important that you want to quit. You must get to that point where you want to, need to, and must quit smoking right now. Make your list huge. Include all your reasons for wanting to quit. You need to make your list painful. Feel the pain that you will experience if you continue to smoke. You want to be there to see your kids grow up, right? What about your grandkids? If you continue to smoke, the odds are not in your favor of living long enough to see your grandkids grow up. Create lots of pain for yourself. Keep this list in a prominent place, where you will see it every single day. If you want your list to be private, like I did, then create the habit within yourself of taking out your list every day and reading over it. Don’t just skim it, allow yourself to feel the emotions that each item on your list gives you.
Tell your friends and family
Get the leverage on yourself that telling people of your plans will give you. Tell everyone that you know about your plan to stop smoking, and your quit date. Your friends will be supportive and proud, but they will also serve to give you one more reason for why you will succeed. You don’t want to let everyone down and go back on your word. If you are the type of person that a promise is very important to you, and the last thing you would ever do is go back on a promise, then make a promise to someone very important to you. A prime candidate for your promise is a child. Children are taught that when you make a promise you stick to it at all costs. If you make your promise to a child you will have even more leverage on yourself.
Use a crutch
Using an aid to stop smoking can be very helpful to you. There are many to choose from. I have experimented with a nicotine patch, and chewed nicotine gum. I tried lozenges, but they weren’t the aid for me. I found what I needed with an electronic cigarette. That allowed me to deal with my habit of holding a cigarette in my hand and puffing on it, while easing my nicotine cravings. I recommend that you experiment and find the product that works best for you. All smokers are different, and what works for one might not work for another.
It takes someone with extraordinary will-power to stop smoking cold turkey. I was not that person. If you are, then I applaud you. If you have attempted to stop smoking in the past and failed, then the use of a crutch might aid you.
Your preparations on the day before your quit date
Before you go to bed on the night before your quit date, it’s important that you prepare for the next morning. Get rid of all cigarettes; destroy any leftover cigarettes you have. Do not just put them aside in order to give them away to someone who still smokes. The temptation will be too great. Totally destroy them by breaking them into bits and soaking them in water. Then throw them away in your outside trash. Get rid of all ashtrays and lighters. Go to bed knowing that when you wake up the next morning you will be a non-smoker. Allow yourself to feel justified pride in yourself.
Show your pride in your accomplishments by giving yourself small rewards to commemorate each milestone that you achieve. When you have gone a week with no smoking, it is appropriate to give yourself a small reward. Save the bigger rewards for the bigger milestones, such as one month, or six months, and even look forward to that first year as a non-smoker. It is important to be proud of your accomplishment.
Ban smoking from your personal spaces
It’s best if you do not allow anyone to smoke in what are your personal spaces. Your family and friends will respect your wishes and support you when you kindly explain that you have stopped smoking and cannot have the smell of smoke in your home or car. If you should allow someone to smoke in your personal space, you will notice that the smell lingers for a very long time. Take the time to remove the smell, using air fresheners, or sprinkling baking soda on the floor of your car.
Don’t be that annoying ex-smoker
The chances are that most of your friends and family are smokers. It is recommended by most that you completely avoid anyone that smokes. You will read and be told that you cannot be around cigarettes and smoke at all. This is very good advice to some. Following this advice is becoming easier with the laws prohibiting smoking in public places.
I could not avoid being around people that smoke. Other than my husband, my entire family smokes. I believe this is a normal and common situation. Smoking tends to run in families. When parents smoke, it is more likely that the children will when they grow up. I could not avoid my family even if I wanted to, and I had no desire to write off all of my friends on the basis of a habit that they had that I no longer indulged in.
It is difficult to be excluded from the group when your friends or family goes to have a cigarette. I went outside with them, even though I did not smoke. I stood back a little distance, out of the smoke. I could join in any conversation that way, without being overwhelmed by the smell of smoke. If I felt bothered by the smoke, I would leave and go back inside. This did exclude me a bit, but my family and friends did realize how I felt, and were supportive of my feelings enough to not linger overly long over their cigarettes.
More by R.E. Roe