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How did you ex-smokers quit?
Old 12-11-2010, 11:38 PM   #1
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How did you ex-smokers quit?

Spurred by a thread started by Vicente Solano asking if anyone here still smokes, and being an ex-smoker myself, I like to share my experience with quitting. I also happened to run across some past posts of ex-smokers, who recounted how difficult it was for them to quit.

I started smoking at the age of 16, and only quitted 7 years ago. I was not a heavy smoker like some. I usually smoked 1/3 of a pack daily, and occasionally up to 1/2 a pack, but never as much as 1 pack. When I was young, I did the "real stuff", meaning non-filter cigarettes like Lucky Strike, French Gauloises, or Craven "A". Then, in my 30s, I toned down to the filtered brands. Then, in my 40s, I started to look for low-tar low-nicotine brands.

I thought about quitting a couple of times, starting in my late 30s, for health reasons as well as for my wife, who had long suffered my habit. However, I was never serious enough. I heard of but never tried nicotine patches or chewing gums. So, how did I quit?

I did it "cold turkey". On a European trip in 2003, I brought with me only one pack of cigarettes. When that ran out after a few days, I thought about buying some locally, but was able to hold that off. The excitement of the trip certainly helped draw my attention away from the desire of smoking, and by the end of the 2-week trip, I craved it much less.

Returning home from the trip, I was able to continue to hold off, although I was tempted for the first few months. As time went on, it became easier and easier, and after 1 or 2 years, I could say that cigarette smoke bothered me.

I had a friend who was a long time smoker and he was able to quit, while his wife has been keeping on smoking. I really don't know how he was able to do that!
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:04 AM   #2
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Im looking for some motivation to quit.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:40 AM   #3
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My better half used the gum.
It was a tough go but she beat the habit many years ago.
You need to be motivated in some way or you may never do it.
Steve
PS. You have to make up your mind !!!
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:16 AM   #4
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Quitting was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Tried many times without success, and I was up to more than two packs a day by the time I got back from Vietnam.

In 1973, I came down with a bad case of pneumonia, and literally couldn't smoke for about a week. After that, I felt as if I could tolerate one, and I certainly had the craving for it.

Instead, I decided to try resisting the urge, one day at a time. Substituted a cup of coffee for a cigarette, just to have something to occupy my hands (which is a significant part of the smoking habit, IMHO).

After three weeks, when I felt that I had pretty much beat it, the weather turned cold and I got a jacket out of the closet. In the pocket was a half pack of cigarettes. Temptation returned! Took the pack out, found an ashtray and a lighter, and lit one up just to see how it felt.

Total disgust! That cigarette was like the first one I had ever tried. Tasted nasty and started making me nauseous and made my head spin. Put it out after 2 or 3 puffs, and never had another one.

That was 37 years ago. When I see a smoker today, all I feel is sympathy, because I know exactly how hard it is to quit.
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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Every smoker I've known well, claims to have had no difficulty quitting smoking once they made up their mind:

Father smoked heavily until age 51, when he had a mild heart attack. Doctor told him to quit smoking and lose weight if he wanted to see 55. He did both, immediately, and lived to be 87.

Ex-SO quit cold turkey because I asked him to. One day he was smoking; next day, the cigarettes were gone. We were together for several years and if he ever smoked, he hid it well.

Husband was a chain smoker until a few years before we met, when he decided it was bad for him and quit. He said he knew "cutting back" wouldn't work, so he just threw the $#!* things away. To this day, he says he misses cigarettes and isn't bothered by smoke.

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Old 12-12-2010, 08:43 AM   #6
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I smoked for just over 30 years but quit 5 years ago this month.

My wife, also a smoker, was given a book by some friends who had read it and successfully stopped smoking. She read it and stopped. About ten days later I decided I had best try to stop as well because having one smoker and one ex-smoker in the marriage was already beginning to become a problem. I read the book too and also quit.

Amazon.com: The Easy Way to Stop Smoking: Join the Millions Who Have Become Non-smokers Using Allen Carr's Easy Way Method (9781402771637): Allen Carr: Books

Basically, the book teaches you that smoking is not a habit, it's a drug addiction and that drug addiction runs your life. As you read you become convinced you want to regain control of your life. It's much, much easier to quit once you realize you're not giving up anything worthwhile.

If you really want to quit this is a cheap way to do it. My wife and I know over a dozen people who've quit after reading the book.

Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mill View Post
Im looking for some motivation to quit.
Since I never touched the stuff I don't know how hard it is to quit but the signs are all around you.

Just read the pack, that should be a start.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:12 AM   #8
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Im looking for some motivation to quit.
My wife and I figure we've saved almost $5,000 since we quit.

Nicer vacations are just around the corner!
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:28 AM   #9
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Hey it is easy, done it many times.

Started at about 12, quit around 14. started again around 21, just out of the Army. Quit around 28. Started around 30 something, quit at 45. Have not had any since -am now 63.

The last time I had one ciggie was one day going to w*rk, already late, halfway realized my fags (worked with a Welsh guy for a long time, the name stuck) were missing. Turned around went home to get a pack, resumed travel work. Was only about about 45 minutes late.

On the way out from w*rk tossed what was left of the pack in the trash bin. It was the absurdity of being late and going back home that finally set off the realization of stupidity.

Done.

Good luck to all.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:39 AM   #10
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My dad was a heavy smoker and had a heart attack on the tennis court at age 68. He quit so I decided I could do it too. I tried various methods over the next few years (including hypnosis) and each time went back to smoking because I never lost the craving for a cig. Finally, after the seventh time I quit (cold turkey) the craving went away. That was 25 years ago and I haven't smoked (tobacco anyway) since.

I have recouped my tobacco expenses by investing very profitably in Phillip Morris stock.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:24 AM   #11
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In 1973, I came down with a bad case of pneumonia, and literally couldn't smoke for about a week. ...
Similar here. I had an operation that required a 10 day cigarette-less hospital stay, and when I got out, I didn't start up again. It wasn't hard. Retiring helped a lot, since for me, smoking was associated with work. Now that I've stopped working, I don't even think about cigarettes.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:36 AM   #12
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May not help anymore. I smoked a pack a day for 8 years, quit 30 years ago. Once I really decided to quit (that's the real key for me, not some program IMO), I picked up a FREE workbook from the American Lung Association (the workbook probably doesn't even exist any more). It was about 20 pages, with daily lessons, questions and easy activities to be followed. There was a path to quit in 8 days and another for 20 days. After following the 8 day path and then reading ahead at the disgusting activities ahead (keep all your cig butts in a jar on your desk for one), I just quit after 8 days. Haven't smoked in about 30 years.

But again, we all know smoking is a losing proposition. I still believe you first have to commit yourself mentally to quitting before any program will work...my 2¢.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:45 AM   #13
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I just ordered

Amazon.com: The Little Book of Quitting (9781402731327): Allen Carr: Books

for my nephew. Thanks.

A report on NBC news predicted that if everyone in the country quit smoking today, 1 in 3 cancer deaths would not happen.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:25 PM   #14
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Every smoker I've known well, claims to have had no difficulty quitting smoking once they made up their mind:
OK, I admit it -- I was a complete weakling! I had a TERRIBLE time quitting smoking, even after I had made up my mind in the early 1970's. For years I tried things like smoking weaker cigarettes. Remember Carletons? Didn't work. I tried taking up knitting, exercise, cutting back on cigarettes, you name it. Nothing worked. By August 22nd, 1977 I was desperate (wanted to get pregnant but didn't want the baby to be exposed to nicotine), so I went cold turkey and never smoked again. That is the only way that worked for me.

As painful as it was, going cold turkey did work. I went through cases of Pep-O-Mint lifesavers which I substituted for cigarettes during the first months. I still wanted to smoke after 6 months, a year, two years... but through the years the desire diminished and I no longer regard the idea of smoking with any pleasure. I would no more smoke a cigarette than pick up a gun and blow my brains out. I know how much I suffered when quitting and I never want to have to go through that again.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:34 PM   #15
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I had a friend who was a long time smoker and he was able to quit, while his wife has been keeping on smoking. I really don't know how he was able to do that!
My father lived 35 years after quitting, with my mother smoking like chimney all the while.

A big house and largely separate lives helped, as did a resolve to not get upset by whatever choices one's spouse makes.

I think this kind of thing would almost always cause the couple to draw apart to one degree or another. An old friend of mine had fairly severe emphysema, from years spent running a portable diesel DC welder. He had never smoked. They lived in a small bungalow, and his wife smoked constantly. He couldn't even get her to go out on the porch to smoke. Needless to say, after a while he was not exactly madly in love with her.

I believe that in many of these cases the spouses would divorce if they thought they could take the financial hit, and if they were not too emotionally dependent. Two pretty big ifs, as I ponder it.

When I think about it, I don't know many adults who spent their childhoods being gassed by a smoking parent, in closed cars, tight houses, etc- who are very happy about what that parent did to them. If I could go back I would tell my mother to lose the cigs and get some snuff, because her smoking was actually abusive to us kids, even if it was not perceived that way in those days.

Ha
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:41 PM   #16
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My father lived 35 years after quitting, with my mother smoking like chimney all the while.

A big house and largely separate lives helped, as did a resolve to not get upset by whatever choices one's spouse makes.

I think this kind of thing would almost always cause the couple to draw apart to one degree or another. An old friend of mine had fairly severe emphysema, from years spent running portable diesel DC welder. He had never smoked. They lived in a small bungalow, and his wife smoked constantly. He couldn't even get her to go out on the porch to smoke. Needless to say, after a while he was not exactly madly in love with her.

Ha
My ex also smoked "like a chimney" and continued to do so after I quit. I didn't really mind it (liked the second hand smoke, especially during the early days after I quit). What I did mind, was that by about five years after I quit smoking he was drinking so much that the ashes weren't hitting the ashtray and the mess got out of hand. So in that sense, I suppose his smoking caused some discord, though honestly his excessive drinking and refusal to look for work were the last straws for me, not his smoking.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:45 PM   #17
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My ex also smoked "like a chimney" and continued to do so after I quit. I didn't really mind it (liked the second hand smoke, especially during the early days after I quit). What I did mind, was that by about five years after I quit smoking he was drinking so much that the ashes weren't hitting the ashtray and the mess got out of hand. So in that sense, I suppose his smoking caused some discord, though honestly his excessive drinking and refusal to look for work were the last straws for me, not his smoking.
Nice story, W-2. You are clearly an easygoing person- a real catch for Frank.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:48 PM   #18
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Nice story, W-2. You are clearly an easygoing person- a real catch for Frank.
Thanks. Frank doesn't smoke OR drink!!! And neither do I. I think he is a wonderful guy and we are just made for each other, IMO.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:51 PM   #19
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Since I never touched the stuff I don't know how hard it is to quit but the signs are all around you.
+1. The fact that it was on fire always seemed to me to be a clue that I shouldn't insert it into any bodily orifice...
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:04 PM   #20
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Every smoker I've known well, claims to have had no difficulty quitting smoking once they made up their mind:


Amethyst
Not my experience. It was painfully difficult. Every bone in my body hurt. I doubt that I could have done it without the nicotine gum, which had recently come on the market. I hardly slept. I ate so many carrots that I turned orange. It was so difficult that I know I will never smoke again. I sometimes dream of starting to smoke by accident.

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May not help anymore. I smoked a pack a day for 8 years, quit 30 years ago. Once I really decided to quit (that's the real key for me, not some program IMO), I picked up a FREE workbook from the American Lung Association (the workbook probably doesn't even exist any more). It was about 20 pages, with daily lessons, questions and easy activities to be followed. There was a path to quit in 8 days and another for 20 days. After following the 8 day path and then reading ahead at the disgusting activities ahead (keep all your cig butts in a jar on your desk for one), I just quit after 8 days. Haven't smoked in about 30 years.

But again, we all know smoking is a losing proposition. I still believe you first have to commit yourself mentally to quitting before any program will work...my 2¢.

I got that book too. Some aspects were helpful, like paying attention to when you smoke and what you were feeling at the time, and keeping a record.
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