“You should quit smoking. It’s really bad for you. You smell like an ash tray. Those things’ll kill ya.”
If there is anything in the world that annoys smokers to no end, it is other people telling them they should quit or the health hazards those little sticks hold. Guess what? They know. How? It says it on the box. The only person who can make someone quit smoking is the smoker.
Now, smokers, that being said, every person is different. Some of us can do cold turkey, some of us have to cut back, some use patches or gum, others turn to vaping. It’s all about what works for you. I, personally, quit smoking 140 days ago – October 30th was the last day I had a cigarette – and let me tell you, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. What finally got me to quit was being in our pickup, I had a drink that I sat down on the center console. I whipped around, completely forgetting about my drink, and it spilled over onto the floor. However, it didn’t go onto the floor, it went into my purse. 95% of it landed in my brand new pack of cigarettes, filling it to the top, ruining every single one and hardly getting a drop anywhere else. What are the odds? I finished the cigarette in my hand and never bought another. I took it as a sign from the universe that I needed to be done.
Here are some things that have helped get me through the last few months:
- You need a motivator. Write down things you would rather have than a cigarette: the ability to see your kids/grandkids grow up, being able to run without getting tired so quickly, more energy, a healthier life, more money, etc. I had written down multiple things and one of the biggest was being able to spend a full life with my husband. I have seen too many people be limited or taken as a result of cigarettes and I don’t want to lose any time with him.
- You need something visual. Now, obviously, you can see when you don’t have a cigarette in your hand but I mean you need something that can show you your progress. Remember what I’ve said before: if you don’t see your progress, you won’t feel like you’re making any. For me, that was downloading the app “SmokeFree”. It’s completely free and completely amazing. Why? The first thing you do is put in your age, how many cigarettes you smoke per day, how much that pack lasts and then:
- It logs:
- How much you’ve saved. In 1 year, I’ll save about $840. I’ve already saved $323.45 to date. That’s a round-trip plane ticket home, a car payment, multiple date nights with my husband, about 100 tanks of gas.
- How many days you’ve been smoke-free. According to my app, it’s been 140.63 days. How cool?!
- How many life hours you’ve regained. In 4 1/2 months, I’ve regained 843.47 life hours.That’s about 35 days. An entire month extra I’ll have regained with my loved ones.
- How many cravings you’ve resisted. This is more on an honor system. Every time I have had a real urge to light up, I log it into my app and tell it whether or not I caved. I only logged three and really only caved with a few puffs the night of the election, but I think everyone can forgive me for that one.
- Health progress. It tells you when your health gets closer to that of a non-smoker with things like: pulse rate, oxygen levels, carbon monoxide levels, nicotine expelled from your body, your ability to taste, smell, and breathe, energy levels, bad breath, tooth staining,your gums and teeth, circulation, gum texture, coughs and wheezing, as well of your risk for heart attack and lung cancer. My risk of a heart attack has decreased by 7.71% and chance of lung cancer is down 3.85%.
- Number of cigarettes not smoked. In my opinion, this is the best, yet most disgusting and motivating counter on this app. In 140 days, I have not smoked 1,406 cigarettes. How. Nasty? I had never really thought of it that way but the fact that I could’ve lit up that many times? *shudder*
- It logs:
- You need some support. Now, I stopped telling people that I was quitting this last time because everyone was constantly asking “How’s the not smoking?” “Have you caved?” And if I had one, I heard, “I thought you were quitting?” “I thought so.” Blah blah blah. It stopped becoming about me doing something healthy for myself and more about not disappointing everyone else. I don’t think I told anyone other than my husband until after the first three days because I started getting REALLY crabby. Instead, I turned to a Facebook group for people quitting. It was really cool to see all of these other people supporting one another in their journey. I’m still a part of that group, mostly to act as a continual motivation and to help others who are struggling, like I did. It’s okay to stumble once in a while, we’re human. It happens. Just dust yourself off and start over.
- You need to understand what is happening. A lot of people treat quitting smoking like it’s supposed to be this super easy thing, like spitting out a piece of chewing gum. It’s an addiction, just like any other addiction, there are withdrawal periods sometimes a relapse, your body is detoxing. This is where the support and the visual come in. Look up what’s going to happen to your body while it’s detoxing. Probably the best advice I got was from my father-in-law who quit I don’t even know how many years ago and he told me, “If you can make it through the first three days, you’re set.” Those may seem like the longest three days of your life, but you can make it.
- Find an alternative. Some people say they continue to smoke because it’s an oral fixation or they like having something in their hands. For me, every time I had a craving, I chewed on toothpicks. Some people use jelly beans or chewing gum or straws. Find something to keep your mind busy.
- Don’t give up. Like I said, we’re human. It’s okay to fall off the horse, as long as you get back on. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said I was going to quit over the last 6 years and I always had an excuse to pick it back up. And guess what? That’s what they were. Excuses. Being stressed or going through a tough time is an excuse. You know how I know? Because there are people going through a tougher time than me who are dealing with their stress without cigarettes. Take it one day at a time.
Like I said, the only person who can convince a smoker to stop smoking is themselves. So, if you make that decision, find the way that works for you. Light the fire…just not on the end of a nicotine stick.