Congratulations! You’ve decided to quit smoking! Prepare for one of the most difficult things you will ever do! But don’t worry–the benefits will be worth it.

Getting Started

Make a conscious decision to do this. Have confidence in yourself that you can do it. Be assured that you won’t be perfect in your quest. It is a life change, so it may be best to take it slow. Set up a timetable to reach your goal. Perhaps you need some kind of incentive for each milestone reached. Treat yourself, but not with a cigarette!

Set up a smoke-free environment.

Get rid of the ashtrays in your house. Scrub it top to bottom so that it is clean and smells good. It will be more appealing to keep it that way.

Clean out the ashtray in your car. Consider getting rid of it. The next time you are in a market for a car, consider looking for one that does not have an ashtray as an option.

Insist that people visiting your house or riding in your car follow suit with the no-smoking policy.

Identify your weaknesses and common triggers. Strategize how to avoid them.

Often the craving is strongest first thing in the morning. This is because your body has been without a nicotine fix in several hours. Nicotine is addictive, thus your body craves it. Curb the “nic fit” by trying nicotine patches or nicotine gum.

Many people crave nicotine after a good meal. Try eating at restaurants that are smoke-free. Again, use a nicotine substitute. Play with your napkin or suck on ice cubes instead of going outside.

It’s relaxing to smoke a cigarette while you are on the phone. Try chewing gum, instead. Occupy your hands so that they do not reach for a cigarette.

Smoking is very social. Try to avoid going outside with your friends on a “smoke break”. Let them know that you are trying to quit smoking. Chances are they will be very supportive and wish they were able to do the same. 

Coffee and beer go well with a cigarette. You may need to take a break from your caffeine and alcohol consumption until you can get your nicotine cravings under control. Be careful to not replace one addiction with another to alleviate stress. Vape is still something uncertain. Some experts believe that it is a good alternative to traditional smoking. However, some experts also believe that vape can also be an addiction for smokers who are trying to quit and is not helpful at all. 

Stressful situations incite a desire to have a relaxing cigarette. Try to find other ways to de-stress. Use a stress ball. Take up exercise, even as simple as walking. You will find yourself less stressed and feeling healthier.

  • Form a support system.
  • Let your friends and family know that you are trying to quit smoking. They can keep you accountable.
  • Quit with a friend.
  • Join a support group. Look for a meeting in your area by going to www.nicotine-anonymous.org.
  • Call a smoking cessation hotline. In the state of New York, it is 1-866-NY-QUITS.
  • Choose one of many available products.
  • Visit the pharmacy area of your favorite store. Try the nicotine patches. You will also find nicotine gum.

Some stores carry a cigarette brand called Quest. Quest cigarettes are used to step down your level of nicotine in your cigarette, much like a nicotine patch system. At the same time, they are providing for the oral fixation of inhaling a cigarette.

Speak to your physician. Sometimes when all the other methods fail, he can prescribe a medication or special inhaler to help you.

My Personal Experiences

I smoked for the majority of eleven years. The amount and type of cigarette varied from year to year. I tried a few times to quit, but to no avail.

I did find that as I got older, I was cutting back more and more on my smoking. I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I knew it was bad for me. And I had never intended to be an addicted smoker.

I would try to quit cold turkey, only to find myself caving in to the cravings within the first couple of days. Cravings are the strongest and you are the most miserable during the first three days.

I never tried any nicotine patches or nicotine gum, but I did try the Quest cigarettes. I found myself just smoking more often and easily going back to Ultra Lights, because I wasn’t getting enough nicotine, even out of the Level One packs. I remember the cashier behind the counter, though, commenting that a lot of people had been trying them and seemed to like them.

Finally, I no longer spent a lot of time with other smokers. The clincher was when my good friend finally got pregnant and had to quit.

In the beginning, you will be irritable. Take a lot of breaks and a lot of deep breaths.

You will start coughing up a lot of mucus. This is just your lungs clearing themselves out. The annoyance and the discomfort will pass after about a week or so.

  • I also noticed that my craving for nicotine felt very similar to a food craving. The best way to tell the difference was to wait it out for about fifteen minutes or so. A nicotine craving would subside, but actual hunger would intensify.
  • Food actually does taste better because your taste buds are no longer being dulled.
  • Exercise, even as simple as brisk walking, is much easier.
  • I am healthier. I have fewer headaches, I sleep more deeply, and my stomach doesn’t feel as irritated.

After two years, I have been able to remain relatively smoke-free. Have I occasionally slipped? Yes, but not enough to become addicted again. The more time goes on, the easier it is. And I have found that any cravings remain psychological.

So, take a deep breath. And good luck. I have faith in you.