Questions for Ex-smokers

Ok I did it.  NO I haven’t quit smoking, but I picked a day to quit smoking.  Before you think, heh big deal you picked a day, please let me tell you that this is more than I have ever done in regards to quitting.  In fact, just thinking about quitting smoking causes the emotions in my head to get so fired up that I end up lighting up another cigarette to ‘calm my nerves’.

I honestly don’t remember a time that I didn’t smoke.  No, I don’t remember my first cigarette.  I don’t remember why I started, as I said, it’s just something that I have always done.  It’s hard to find a picture of me without a cigarette in my hand.  I wake up, I smoke.  I drink coffee, I smoke.  I walk the dog, I smoke.  I drive the car, I smoke. Talk about a list of triggers?!?!?

I have been trying to make a list of reasons to quit smoking, and I keep coming up with more reasons not to.  (self sabotaging much?)

I made a promise that I would quit.   I picked a day.  August 15, 2018.

The things that I have been reading about quitting smoking say that some helpful tips are to:  make a plan, pick a day, tell friends and family etc.  I am working on the plan.

Would you mind sharing your story about quitting with me?

What were your reasons for quitting?

What tools did you find helpful in quitting?

What positives did you personally notice after quitting?

What was the hardest part about quitting?  How did you work through that?

Anyone want to jump on the wagon with me?

August 15, 2018 is my day.

49 thoughts on “Questions for Ex-smokers

  1. I quit September 2nd, 1989 – 100% cold Turkey. My last cigarette was at 11:30 PM on September 1st. I choose this date because it was going to be a three-day weekend and I knew I would be cranky when I did stop. Not wanting to dump this crankiness on my co-workers this was a good day to stop. I had my last smoke before bedtime knowing I would then have an 8-hour sleep period without smoking – I was on my way. I never looked back. Spent the three-day Labor Day weekend deeply involved in projects around the house. I avoided contact with anyone that smoked – back then you could smoke anywhere – restaurants – work – anywhere.

    It was a challenge for those three days – I concentrated on the projects and my new baby that would be coming into the world in a few days. However, my first day back to work on Tuesday was like walking through a mine field – 90% of the office smoked. Everywhere there were explosions of cigarettes lighting up. Yes, I literally felt like I was in a war zone. Fortunately, I had my own office back then – but, walking in my door the first sight was my 8-inch round (2-inch-deep) full ash tray (I was a three pack a day chain smoker). I remember taking it down the hall and tossing the whole thing in the trash – that is the moment I knew I would push through the quitting process. It was torture for those weeks up to the birth of my daughter. Being in a work place where smoking is allowed (break rooms. offices, cubicles, lunchroom). It made for quitting a very difficult process. How did I manage – well mainly hard candies, gum, coffee and focusing on my new baby girl. Even though I needed to stop for myself, my health, my finances – it is my baby girl that was my motivator. Did I mention the “Hell” in my work place?

    The first three months were hard – the constant need to smoke was always there. After the three-month period it became easier and easier to ignore that need. The need slowly started to fade away as each month progressed. Yet, it was almost two years before I was comfortable being around smokers – without the feeling of need for a smoke. Anyone that decides to stop today is lucky to have a variety of medications to help you get over the urges.

    Even during those two years my body changed. I became more mentally alert and functional; my breathing became easier (could hold my breath longer and longer when I went skin diving). I remember coughing a LOT – this was my body getting rid of the toxins in my lungs. I am sure we have all seen what improvements happen to the body when we quit. It does take 10 years for our bodies to recover from smoking.

    Quitting has made my quality of life enjoyable. I was able to do activities with my kids as they grew up. I am a person that lives with MS (Multiple sclerosis) and this condition alone drags a person down. People that I know that still smoke with MS – do not have the quality of life they could have if they stopped smoking.

    So, stop – it is worth it – longer life – more fun with the kids – less sicknesses. Even food taste different. I will not push stopping on anyone (it is not easy) – but, I will recommend it for everyone that wants a healthier more active life and future.

    Oops almost forgot bringing up “POT” “Marijuana” – if you smoke it can you keep smoking it? If you are going to quit smoking, then you should quit all smoking. There is much controversy about smoking pot. Yes, it is “not” as harsh on your lungs as tabaco – however, you are still putting a foreigner substance into your lungs. So, if you are going to stop smoking – stop it all!

    What! What! – I need my pain relief / high from my Pot!! Well I use eatable products these days (no smoking) – the products I use can get me feeling better in minutes – the varieties these days are amazing. Wish I would have had a Relaxing (Marijuana) THC mint (5mg) back when I had the urge to smoke. I could take those all day and not feel the need to smoke.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I have a feeling that I will be reading this over and over Gary. Thank you for taking the time to type it all out, and for sharing so much of yourself. I did talk to the doctor about chantix and decided to stay away from that drug. He did write me an rx for wellbutrin though which I am having filled through mail order.

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  2. I was never much more than a casual smoker and it got hard to be even that as more and more people objected to my giant novelty cigars. When I quit I did it cold turkey, and also smoked turkey, which was fine because I never could figure out which end of the turkey to light. About a week after quitting, though, a friend offered me a cigarette. I took a few puffs and said, “Hey, this is disgusting.”
    So picking a specific date is a brilliant idea. It’s like a breakup, and if you can make it past a certain point there’ll come a time when you bump into cigarettes on the street and wonder what you ever saw in them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never been very good at break ups either…staying in a bad relationship a lot longer than I ever should have. So much has happened this year that has made me feel powerless and I am tired of feeling like the victim. I need to focus on things that I can control (no matter how hard that may be) instead of the things I can’t

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  3. Having never smoked, I’m not qualified to give advice on how to stop….so I’ll give you someone else’s advice: “No one gives up smoking without substituting something for it.” I would suggest chewing gum, which is a lot easier to give up once you no longer need a substitute (at least I assume so, having recently given up a long chewing gum habit).

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    1. I over eat and over smoke and and and, to be honest, since being diagnosed with MS (20 years) ago, I haven’t really thought about my health (it was always in the back of my mind that I was going to die anyway, why bother) I am hoping to substitute physical activity, looking for sugar free candies, and I will add gum to the list. Thank you!!!!

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  4. When I quit I started running. I only got a few blocks, if that, the first day. After a couple of months I was at three miles. I was burning calories, getting in shape, and could eat whatever I wanted. And I lost ten pounds. I also resented the tobacco companies selling me their addictive product and doing it legally. When I figured how much money they got out of me I got even angrier. Taking control of an aspect of your life is also empowering. Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think more activity is the best thing I can try to add. I am limited in things I can add due to MS balance issues, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just means I have to look harder. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay!!!!! This is awesome Grace; it is all about taking the steps. You should be super proud of yourself. Smoking is like being shackled to something you know is bad but can’t get away from. I smoked for about 20 years and while I was smoking, it was like a part of me, not just a habit. I did it the way I do everything, compulsively and all in. It sounds like you are similar, and you can be all in with the quitting! To be honest, when I finally quit, I did it because I just felt done with it; done with spending the money, done with having to excuse myself from dinners and gatherings so I could satisfy the whims of the captor that is Benson and Hedges, done with full ashtrays and a stinky apartment. I wanted to be free of all of it and I realized I could be, more easily than I thought. We mind fuck ourselves into thinking things are going to be so hard. One thing I did actually go out and do in regard to quitting, was to get hypnotized. I think it helped!

    Being a non smoker is awesome, and now, I can’t believe I ever smoked. Not only do I not crave it, I can’t be around it. I felt like chains had been removed from my life when I quit and realized how much I had been missing. I felt more vibrant and I know I smelled better. I have never looked back and I don’t think you will either. You have oceans of support and love!!!! You are going to rock this quitting thing!!!!!

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  6. Picking a date is a good first step. One thing that helped me quit was to keep an ecig on me when I was doing something that was a big trigger for me (driving my car, breaks at work). It helped as a first step substitute for the times I REALLY wanted a cig.

    Another thing that helped me was researching the negative health effects my smoking could have on my dog. I love my dog like a child, so I got him a tag that had a red X on it to remind me that second hand smoke is the leading cause of cancer in dogs too!

    The biggest thing that helped me quit was being diagnosed with MS and talking to my doctor about all the risks and negative impacts on my health and my disease progression that smoking has.

    I wish you luck, quitting smoking cigarettes is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. But I feel so much better now! Especially mentally, it’s so freeing not to be at the beck and call of needing a cig!

    Sending good vibes your way!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I stopped smoking eight years ago. I spent six weeks in a hospital and when I got out the cravings were gone. I wish I had ways to help you. I know that praying and asking God and Our Lord Jesus Christ for help in stopping is a mighty push to stop

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    1. I have checked myself out of the hospital AMA to smoke…long stories….but I don’t want to be that girl anymore…. I wish there was a time limit on the cravings….like it will be hell for 4 weeks and then never again….Thank you for sharing your story and your advice

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations, Grace! Pulling for ya; I know how tough it is!

    I smoked from the age of 18 until my early 30’s, quit for a few years, then picked it back up for a few years, before finally having my last cigarette in 2007. For the last year and a half I smoked I had approximately one cigarette a day, right before bed. My motivation was knowing what it does to our health and my date was “before I’m 40.” In 2007 I was 39 years old. Set the intention, give yourself time, know the consequences, and follow through. I’m betting you got this.

    Go, Grace, Go!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I quit smoking at least a dozen times, therefore I am an expert. I broke the habit for good about thirty years ago. What finally worked for me was to simply reduce the number of cigarettes I had in a day. I got it down to two cigarettes a day, then two a week, then…I was done. No patch. No e-cig— they weren’t invented.
    Many of my cigarettes matched a certain habit or ritual. There was a wake up cigarette, an after breakfast cigarette, a mid-day cigarette, an after lunch cigarette, etc. This meant it wasn’t like quitting one habit, but more like quitting multiple habits. That’s hard. I suggest you quit one habit at a time. Give up one ritual cigarette habit (or one of your many daily cigarettes) for a week. Live through it. Then chose another daily cigarette to drop. You know your triggers. Defeat them one at a time. After a while, you’ll become an expert at defeating your triggers. And an ex-smoker.
    I also suggest you give yourself something to replace the habits you are losing. If you currently take smoking breaks, replace them with non-smoking breaks. Breathe deeply, meditatively. Just don’t breathe toxic smoke. Breathe the air.
    With this plan, you can keep that target date, either as the day you start reducing your cigarettes (people will laugh) or as the culmination of your cigarette reduction campaign. Also, private message me with your full name and email address. I want to nominate you for a WeGo Health award.

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    1. First of all thank you so much for sharing your story!!!! Today I left the house without cigarettes. I told myself that I could smoke when I got home. I know that this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I have NEVER left without my cigarettes, in fact I always carry an extra pack in my purse, and my car and well you get the point. I won’t say it was easy, but in the time I would have smoked 8 cigarettes I smoked zero. So CHOOSING not to have cigarettes will be a part of my plan! I’ve heard people talk about how smoking had become inconvenient for them. For me it is not, I smoke in my house, my car, on the hospital property…etc instead of figuring out HOW to quit, I made it my mission to figure out how to beat the system? Bad bad habit!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I believe in you Grace and know you can do this! You have already picked a day to quit and that is the first step! I made the stupid mistake to start smoking when I went through a divorce. Now before that I would smoke when I drank but not daily, after the divorce I was drinking more and smoking more. I quit smoking about 9 years ago when I was going through a terrible relapse! I was on HIGH doses of steroids and had massive PMS. I had many evil thoughts, but did not act on them!! I always had jolly ranchers in my mouth. It really helps to find a hard candy you like and just buy LOTS of them!! I was scared to death that the cigarettes were causing the MS to be worse, so in my opinion I had no choice. You are strong Grace and you can do this! We are all here to support you!!

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  11. Smoking for you is an unconsciousness habit. You never really thought about if you really needed the smoke or not. Now you are beginning to question your need to smoke – this alone will make it easier for you to quit. Glad you did not take the pack with you in the car and you realized you survived the trip without smoking. Good Luck we are all with you!!

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  12. I quit six times… and started right back up so I don’t know if the advice I have is good. I just loved smoking. Everything about it EXCEPT the way it made my hair and clothes stink! I only have a vape pen now, 1mg nicotine in a bottle, don’t even know if there’s even that cause hubby buys the oil. (1mg per real cig so that’s pretty good) I was a pack and a half smoker since I was 14-15 years old. I tried all the quit smoking aids. The only thing that worked was chewing on straws and tootsie pops. Then the almighty ecig! I still use today but I can take it or leave it. Best thing about quitting? I don’t smell like one! Good luck Grace!!!

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    1. lol the funny thing about smelling like a smoker, I wouldn’t know since I am a smoker…. I’ve tried the vape pens and they actually make me cough and make my throat hurt ( something that smoking is supposed to do)….oh well…. I am told that it’s time to quit, but more on that and the whole brain rewiring thing at another time. I hope you are having an enjoyable weekend!

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  13. Woohooo – I think getting that desire to quit is the first big step towards it. I think for me, it’s that I don’t ‘want’ to quit. In comparison, my father, for instance, always says he hates smoking and wish he could quit (he has in the past, then gone back to it, so he’s now a yo-yo quitter from one day to the next). I should be jumping on the bandwagon soon before surgery to slow it down then quit (though with stress and worry comes more smoking!) It’s a tricky one… Hopefully the experiences of those who have quit will be of more help to you than I will in this regard..! 🙂
    Caz xx

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    1. I absolutely agree with the desire being the first step. That’s the one that was troubling me. I DO enjoy smoking, but I said I would quit and keeping my promises is important to me, so that promise is the first item on my list of why’s. The second is the cost. I have been so consumed with “crap” in my own life lately, I didn’t realize you were having another surgery. If you have time and want to talk, please send me a message. In the meantime though, I am wishing you the best!

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      1. Don’t be silly, my surgery is like a drop in the ocean compared to the other ‘crap’ in my life I’ve got going on anyway, and you have more than enough on your own plate! I can see that making a promise to quit would be a driving factor; do you want to cut down and quit on that day, or just cold turkey on your chosen day? I’m just trying to catch up a little today after feeling I’ve missed a lot of the week with migraines, but I’m also here if you want to chat lovely. Also just thought of that book my Alan Carr, have you come across that? I know a lot of people swear by it being a supportive resource in quitting… xx

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      2. No I have never heard of the book or the name Alan Carr, but I will check it out. I hope to be completely smoke free by the 15th. I have talked to a dr about wellbutrin and am trying to keep track of my triggers as well as not smoking in my car anymore ( which is a big trigger)

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  14. Yes! You can do this! I was exactly like you, smoked my whole life and couldn’t imagine life without it. I tried quitting many times, and obviously quit each time I was pregnant but I would always start again. I tried the gum and the patches but really, what made the difference for me was my mindset. I finally realized that cigarettes weren’t calming me or relaxing me, they were CONTROLLING me. As soon as I thought of it that way, I decided I was taking back control of my life and the cigarettes were gone. Seems simplistic, I know, but the mind is powerful thing. Good luck and bravo to you for announcing it to the ‘world’. You can do this!

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