For the first time in my life since I began smoking cigarettes I have decided to quit smoking. This is a major breakthrough for me because I have been so completely addicted since I began when I was 17. I am 32 now and some health problems are beginning to accumulate. I may not succeed in this first attempt but in the last few months I have reduced my smoking by about half, and in the last few days I have smoked about three cigarettes per day. I am writing this post with a hope that I might get some support, or encouragement or stories from others who have quit. I am welcome to any suggestions or tips that others have used to help them quit. As time goes on I hope that I can provide updates on my progress, as they say having a plan and a support circle is an important part of successfully quitting. I sincerely appreciate any input on this topic and I hope that I can maintain the motivation to abandon my very unhealthy addiction. Thank you
Hang in there. Quitting an addiction is a process and not an event. You will have good days and extremely challenging days. It sounds like you are on the right track by seriously reducing your tobacco consumption. I am sure you have been bombarded with information about the patch and gum and such. These can be great tools, but you have to do what is best for you. No addiction is ever going to just release you from its grip so you have to fight it every day. I know you are just in the beginning stages, but going from 20 cigarettes to just 3 per day is a pretty good leap. Congratulations for making it that far and keep working on reducing that amount even further. You will eventually make it.
Best of luck and if you ever need a shoulder to lean on, please do not hesitate to ask.
I smoked for twenty years and quit in 2012. Looking back now, I can't believe I ever smoked. I started in high school when I was 15 and stopped when I was 35, and wish I had done it sooner.
Here's how I quit. I set them down and never looked back, or cold turkey as some may call it. Here's my thoughts on it. I believe in mind over matter. I believe everything is in our heads; our personality, our beliefs, our credence, our addictions, all of it exists in our minds. I decided I didn't want to smoke anymore and chose to quit smoking. I decided I didn't want to be addicted anymore. I had tried to wean myself off, or smoke less, but both of those didn't work for me because I see both of those as still smoking and I wanted to quit. (it's similar to concepts in this thread here about fasting: https://permies.com/t/101105/kitchen/Fasting-find-easier-eat-eat where some find it easier to not eat than to eat less) At first it was a little difficult, and I needed to maintain the association addiction of doing things with my hands and mouth while my body got over the sudden removal of something it was used to. So it was things like bubble gum to chew on and a pen in my hand to fiddle with. I did these things for a couple months or so, and I slowly found myself forgetting to chew gum or fiddle with something in my hands. If smoking entered my mind, or if doubt entered my mind, I chose to ignore the doubt and I told myself I didn't need it and I was done with cigarettes and thought about other things. Within six months, I had no desire to smoke and cigarettes had no appeal. At about a year, cigarettes seemed disgusting. They were a total turn off. Other smokers smelled bad to me and I realized how bad I used to smell. Now, more than six years later, smoking seems totally gross, second hand smoke is bothersome, and I am so happy to me a non smoker.
I understand the method of how I quit may not be for everyone, but I believe the power to change is in everyones mind, and that if you believe you're done smoking and choose to quit, I know you can do it.
Hope this helps!
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
Aaron - I quit smoking a number of years ago. One of the things that often doesn't get mentioned is how to restructure your life. Whether this is how to fill what would have been cigarette breaks at a job, or how to divide up your day. When I was a smoker, I used smoking as a reward for completing a task, like clean the bathroom, get a smoke break, etc. Finding something to replace that with was helpful for me, often, I reward myself with things like checking out what is going on here on Permies, or a cup of tea. It doesn't really matter what it is, those of just some of the things that I do.
I view smoking and other so called addictions as just coping mechanisms, sometimes at certain points in our lives they are useful, other times not. The important bit is to be able to let them go when they are no longer suiting our needs. I wish you well.
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it. I am a little scared to be honest, I have 9 cigarettes left in the pack and when they run out I am not buying any more and I don't know what that first day will be like when I run out. Again, thanks for the replies.
Being self motivated is a great start! Pretty much no one ever successfully quits when other people tell them to do so. It comes from within. I quit in August of 2006, mostly because I am cheap and smoking costs money. Humans are creatures of habit, and replacing bad habits with good, or at least nondestructive habits is a really good method. You will easily find yourself craving when any moment of boredom strikes. Something as simple as watching TV and having a commercial break can cause very many people get up and smoke, or snack, or bite their nails (I guess that could be considered a snack) or whatever it is that they do habitually. Finding things that really absorb your attention will help, and avoid things that have lots of breaks or 'hurry up and wait' structure to them.
Stay busy and keep your goal in sight. Think of the savings of not buying cigarettes, or the savings of reduced future medical bills, not smelling like smoke all of the time, or anything you can use as leverage to say no when your body wants it. The first two weeks your body will have physical withdrawal, after that it is pretty much all mental. Stay away from anyone else smoking at all costs for a while. Once you are away from it for enough time, the smell of it will gross you out; That's the point when you will have the upper hand on the situation. If you drink, you have a much higher likelihood of going back even if you manage to quit for a long time. The mixture of smoking and drinking supposedly much worse than just adding up the damage done to a person who smokes and another who drinks, so if you drink regularly you might have a much larger battle on your hands and may need a lot more help with keeping yourself occupied and away from those things. Good luck!
I gotta respect you for taking a big step. My sister has smoked most of her life (but I have never smoked) and I have seen how hard it is for her to try to change. I think Stacy pointed to something important. My sister uses the smoke break to get away from her husband, as alone time, and this makes an added obstacle. So certain life habits may need to evolve a little as part of the journey.
FWIW, many years ago I gave up sugar and fast food. I took conscious note when the urge hit and then asked myself if I HAD to have that cake or whatever. I kinda phrased it like this: "Can I keep on living if I don't gobble this sweet right now?" Often the answer was "yeah, I guess I probably won't die", so I skipped it. The question arose frequently but then less and less.
After smoking three packs a day I decided to quit. It was a little rough, but do able. That lasted for a week. The next time was horrible. Extreme cravings, foggy thinking, could not function for months. I never, ever want to let something have that much control. That was twenty years one month ago. I have not had a single puff since. Nicotine is a nasty dragon to slay. Kill it before it kills you.
My story, got addicted through smoking joints at 20, i smoked quite a lot for ten years, then decided to cut back, just like you have done now, it still took me nine year to give up for real. First day of no smoking ,no biggie, second day be prepared for irritation that's going to not go away, third is madness, my mind tried to bend my reality into such a miserable worldview that i would just not see the point in staying off cigarettes. After that it was a breathe, occasional cravings. There are hundreds of addicting substances in tobacco i understood, so they all pop up with their little craving, but nothing like the first free days giving up nicotine. I did it in spring, being able to go out in a park, with a supportive friend eat a bag of chips or something, be in nature, no jobs to do, be kind to myself. Then the bar test after two weeks, i had to stay sober kind of. That worked as well. I got back into it three times, because of too much stress, but never went back to full smoking mode, never before mid day a cigarette, always keeping it minimum. Last time, i just smoked three a day for a few weeks and had given up trying to give up, but then i really gave up. Smoke the occasional cigarette when i'm drunk, which is less and less as i get into permaculture life style more and more. Good luck!
Creating edible biodiversity and embracing everlasting abundance.
I totally understand the link with alcohol, luckily I have already given it up. I surprised myself with that, I was a heavy drinker for years. I guess it has helped in the sense that I am familiar now with avoiding situations where everyone is doing it, I had to miss out on new years eve -stayed home. But since I am not a drinker anymore I have that much less of a triggering situation. However I am about to drink my first cup of coffee today, we'll see how this goes.
I might had a coffee addiction. I have five or six hundred pounds of green coffee beans sitting in my shop. That being said. I had to quit coffee for about six months. It triggered my cravings. Enjoy you coffee! Hopefully it will effect you different. Quitting is worth it.
Congratulations to all you smart, determined FORMER smokers.
And take a long hard look at who makes it possible to pay A LOT of money to give ourselves cancer. Not to mention the cough, bronchitis every Winter. and tasting disgusting when kissed by a non smoker.
A few methods that worked for months to years:
Save all your cigarette butts for a week and add them to a glass jar. Add a bottle of beer. Screw the top on and let it sit another few days. Quit smoking and every time you want a cigarette, open the jar and inhale deeply.
Self punishment - put a rubber band around your wrist and every time you are aware of wanting a cigarette, snap yourself.
Wean your self off gradually.
What worked the last time - over 25 years ago? Toothpicks to occupy hands and mouth. Start on the 21 mg. patch until comfortable. When ready to drop to the 14mg/day patch get 2mg gum and cut them in half. Wrap each half piece in a piece of regular gum so you can have UP TO seven 1mg pieces of gum. Stay on the 14mg patch and wean yourself down off the gum until no pieces of gum are needed. Drop down to the 7mg patch, lather, rinse, repeat.
Lobelia occupies the same receptor sites as nicotine in the brain, very helpful, you might want to try that before the patch. Forgot to mention it in methods that worked short(er) term. It is one of the few herbs better extracted in ACV, don't bother with capsules or extracts in glycerine or etoh.
I am editing this to add: Consider switching to American Spirit as there are over 600 chemicals and additives they put in regular ciggies and it is easier to quit when you are just quitting the nicotine.
I started smoking at 15 with my cousins. I loved it! Everything about it, the taste, the smell, the alone time, often using a cigarette as a reward after accomplishing a task. After I got married my wife would ask me to quit but I didn't want to. I did cut back at home to around 2 a day. Never could give up my before sleep smoke.
As time went on I promised the wife I would quit when I turned 30. I did just that for 6 months. That's when I came home one night from work to hear her say she wanted a divorce. This caught me completely off guard out of left field and devastated me like nothing has ever done before. We tried to fix things but she left 6 months later and I was up to almost a pack a day.
I tried to quit a few times over the last 10 years but it never stuck more than a week. My boys asked over and over but I couldn't. I'd hide it from them so I didn't have to hear it anymore. I'd have 1 or two a day at home but smoked every chance I could at work because I was miserable.
March of 2017 I decided I had enough and was leaving the 9-5 on my 40th birthday a year later. I started to save any money I could. My Cigarettes cost almost $8 a pack here do I switched to grape little cigars. Best thing I could do! I only smoke a half at a time they are so strong. Now almost a year after leaving my job I'm pretty stress free and hardly smoke at all. I will have one watching the sunset, with a nightcap, or before bed but it's not a addiction anymore. I'm breathing better too. When I smell cigarettes I still want one but I know I won't ever go back.
Hi Aaron, checked in at my friend who hasn't touched a cigarette for 3 month now after smoking from age 13 to 47. She told me to check out a group on facebook(evil) called Turkeyville, many people are on there supporting each other while quitting and a website why quit.com joel spitzer. Hope it helps.
Creating edible biodiversity and embracing everlasting abundance.
From your previous post I believe that either today is your last day of having cigarettes or your first day without. How are you doing? I thought I would drop a post here just to encourage you to keep at it and know that there are people out here who are rooting for you. If you ever need the additional encouragement, know that some is only a post away.
Good luck and keep at it. You can and will make it.
Well thanks Eric for reaching out, I really appreciate it and I just looked in my pack and I have 2 1/2 cigs left in there. So I have been smoking very little and since this is the first time I've tried to quit it's all really new to me so to answer your question I still might have a day or two of stretching out these last few smokes. To be perfectly honest I am quite scared about how that first day/night will be without smoking, I am that hooked. Last night was a bit rough I was pretty much having an anxiety attack about a bunch of upcoming stuff and it was all made worse by a lot of anger and depression because I am running out of vices. I can't drink because drinking causes an incredibly powerful urge to smoke, I had to quit smoking pot for the same reason. So all I have left is smoking which I have to quit because it's killing me. I picked up gum and lozenges and we'll see how those help. I am powerfully motivated to quit but I am doubting my ability to not buy another pack, just because of how I know myself. I have done a pretty good job of weaning myself off of smoking because I can have a decent day with 1.5 to 2 cigs but it's really the fear of cutting myself off completely that messes with my head. I'm not sure what I should do, I am still trying though.
Lots of good methods so far offered, like many have said, it will be an individual thing.
My story --- 2 packs+ a day, camels, pall malls, or turkish specials, all non filtered. I started out asking my higher power, (this doesn't have to be a god, it could just be the permaculture community whatever works for you as a higher power) to remove the habit, that was all, no tapering off, just life as normal and a regular request to have the habit removed.
One night in an AA meeting I pulled a fresh cigarette out of a new pack, and looked around at the small room filled with many smokers and air so thick you didn't really have to smoke to get the full effect. --I pushed the cigarette back in the pack (not an easy thing to do with a full pack , and took off the cellophane, and wrote all the reasons I wanted to quit on the outside of the pack (It was camels which had a white pack). Anyway, I carried that full pack with me for quite a while (I had 7 more packs left in the carton).
The next day I was really jonesing at lunch time for a smoke, and happened to have some peppermint leaves for tea and wrapped them in the brown paper of my lunch bag and smoked them like that.
Later I bought some papers and rolled the peppermint like a joint, and smoked whenever I had the urge. Later that summer I went to the beach for a couple weeks and forgot the peppermint and pipe (I was using an old corn cob pipe by that time).and stopped smoking altogether at that point. At some point I gave the remaining packs away and haven't smoked since- over 35 years ago
I started smoking at a really young age and continued for about 20 years with a few attempts at quitting. One thing that I really struggled with was thoughts like "I'll never have a cigarette again...ahhh!". Those kind of thoughts would give me feelings of loss and longing for the pleasurable parts of it. I think for me not only was my body addicted to smoking but I was very emotionally attached as well. I started telling myself "I'm not going to smoke right now" instead and it helped. I also did something that seems kinda weird but it was very helpful to me to keep those feelings of loss at bay. I kept the last cigarette in my pack in a drawer in my kitchen and every time I had a strong urge to smoke I would get it out and smell it. I wouldn't light it just smell it as much as I wanted to then put it back in the drawer. It smelled really good to me sometimes I would sit down and close my eyes and smell it deeply for a couple minutes. Something about having it there if I "needed " it helped alleviate the swirling fears that would arise about never having one again and I started associating just smelling it with the pleasurable feelings I didn't want to give up. Then one day months later something really stressful happened and I decided to smoke that cigarette so I did but only half because it was kinda gross. Then I kept that half a cigarette for awhile but it didn't smell good anymore after smoking part of it and I eventually threw it away which made me feel sad but I did it anyway. I haven't smoked for more than three years now except for one night about a year ago I was drinking and the person I was talking with was smoking, i asked for one and smoked it and in the moment I enjoyed it but the next day I thought what the hell did I do that for and didn't have any desire to pick it up again. Its interesting how addictions never really go away completely but once you get some good distance from them the pull they have on you is less and less and rather than your mind coming up with every excuse why you should continue doing it you think of all the reasons you don't want to and the feeling just passes. I feel like its important to be gentle with yourself don't beat yourself up for wanting it or even doing it. Accept that it's been a big part of your life and something that has provided comfort or relief at times but is no longer helping you. Then just let it go and know that all the shit feelings that come up will pass because everything in life comes and goes and that's not a bad thing.
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. The fact that you still have a couple of cigarettes left says to me that you are really reducing your tobacco consumption. This is a really positive development. With just a little luck you will never finish off that pack, leaving just a little as a reminder of something you conquered and left behind.
You mentioned some gum and lozenges. If these work for you then you have a potentially powerful tool at your disposal. For what it’s worth, I think that the gum is vastly more healthy than smoke from combustible cigarettes. If the gum can help you wean yourself off the cigarettes, then I think this is a perfectly viable alternative and a great way to beat the addiction.
On my the other hand, the fact that you have drastically reduced your nicotine consumption speaks to your drive to beat not only cigarettes, but nicotine consumption altogether. As I have said before, good job for getting as far as you have.
At any rate, great progress and keep at it. You have made impressive leaps and always know that you have people rooting for you.
Last night I finished off the pack, I had to, but I did make that pack last for 9 days which is definitely a record for me. So today was my first day at work -at any job for that matter where I did not have a smoke, it went far better than I had thought, I used a bit more more nicotine supplements than I had earlier this week but I kept it together even though it was a busy saturday (restaurant). This evening will be 24 hours without smoking and tonight will be the first night going to bed without a smoke since I think forever. Cravings come and go but when they start to get bad I jump up and do something, try not to think to much. Staying busy is key, I still am motivated and convinced this is the time to quit. I am SO looking forward to the future, I know my apartment will soon be spotless, all the chores I've been putting off will be completed and so on... as busy as I need to stay to not be thinking about smoking, I will make leaps and bounds moving forward.
Hi Aaron, I recently went through quitting after smoking for many years. It's tough. I still have a cigarette every now and then, but we have a hard rule about not bringing a pack of cigarettes home any more (my girlfriend quit at the same time as me). If one of us is really needing a smoke that bad, we drive to the store, buy a pack, take one or two out, and leave the pack outside of the store. This keeps us from smoking out of habit—especially because it's a 30 minute round trip to the store—and also imposes a financial penalty as now a cigarette or two will cost us $7.
The other thing that helped me tremendously was vaping. The vape liquid comes in a whole range of nicotine content, so you can wean yourself off of the nicotine while still being able to get the lung hit that gums, patches, etc don't provide. I bought two bottles each of the 12mg, 6mg, 3mg, and 0mg liquid, and by the time I finished up the 3mg liquid I didn't even care enough to smoke the stuff with no nicotine in it. You can get tobacco flavored liquid, if like me you aren't into the gross fruity flavors that everyone else uses. If you wanted to try it out, I'd be glad to send you my vaporizer for free since I no longer use it. Just send me a message on here if you're interested, and good luck either way!
Hey thanks Dan that's nice of you to offer, really. Theres a part of me that understands you wanting to get rid of it for a good cause, but I'll respectfully decline, I'm really looking forward to not putting anything in my lungs, to give them a break, ya know. I may have to turn to a vape but as for now I'm doing ok without. I see you are in southern oregon! I went to college in Ashland, I lived in Jacksonville for three years too, I miss that place.
Good to see that your first day without a cigarette went better than you feared. I agree that staying busy gives you something productive to keep your mind occupied and not idle time for you to dwell on smoking. Glad the gum and lozenges are working for you. Hopefully you can wean yourself from those over a bit of time. But great job on getting rid of the combustible cigarettes altogether and I am happy for you that you can get rid of those dangerous things without too much trouble. You seem especially motivated to quit and this is truly key to any person trying to ditch an addiction.
Just a quick update: my attempt at quitting smoking has been a success so far, it has been one week since I have smoked a cigarette. I have been using nicotine gum to soothe cravings but it really hasn't been that bad, I have been surprised by my diligence on this. So I guess I'll check in on this thread once a week and hopefully have the same news every time; no smoking and less nicotine. Thanks to everyone for the kind words.
Glad to hear this, Aaron. You appear to be very serious and committed to this process. Congratulations on making it this far. I am pleased to see that the gum is working for you and that you also seem to be reducing even that.
I have definitely noticed a change in my sense of smell, quite a bit, even things I never used to notice and the result has generally been a greater deal of cleanliness around the house. The place has just seemed more stuffy and I've done a good bit of cleaning. I can't really say if my breathing has improved in a noticeable way but I know my lungs are appreciating it. I have also noticed I ton of money being saved as well, the american spirits I smoked were about 7 dollars a pack that would last me a couple days. As far as the cravings, the hardest parts are on the drive to work, getting off work, and while preparing meals. When I unluck my car door and warm up the engine is when I think I'll have a smoke and then I'll remember I've quit. Also when I am plating a meal I have cooked I think to myself how satisfying the cigarette will be after this and then remember that I've quit. It seems to be that a part of me just thinks this is a break and is waiting for the break from smoking to be over. I guess that feeling will just take time, it's only been 2 weeks after almost 14 years of smoking.
So glad you are doing well Aaron! I've been following your progress as me and hubby are quitting as well. We chose vaping as our method this time, we've tried the gum, patches, lozenges, and cold turkey b4 and they haven't worked well for my husband. I think whatever method works for you, go with it and stay with it! So congrats, and keep it up, you have many more people than you even know that are doing the same thing as you and are rooting for you. We haven't had any cigs since the end of January and have started reducing the level of nic in our vape juice. I love that me and my hubby don't smell like dirty ashtrays anymore, and I'm glad we will be saving money as well as our health. You've got everything to look forward to, and should be over the moon to be free from the shackles of needing a cancer stick, I know that we are! Please keep everyone posted, and I hope your story helps to encourage someone else to quit.
I have quit numerous times, but like to smoke so pick it back up after a year or more of not doing it. I do this to mitigate the bad of smoking. A year of letting my lungs clear out a bit then I go back to it. I accept smoking is bad so do my best to reduce the risks while still enjoying it.
That isn't a suggestion you do the same, just a little history of me and how I have experience with quitting. I have developed a method that works for me, for others mileage might vary.
1st step is reduce the amount by only smoking every other time I crave. This seems to work fairly well, and as I do it the time between cravings gets longer and longer.
2nd step is hanging out with more non smokers. Smoking becomes a social thing and being with others who smoke makes me want to do the same.
3rd Once I have reduced to very few. Like you did. I quit cold turkey. I remove all vestiges of smoking from my life. Lighters ashtrays etc. I know I will not smoke.
4th I have never used any nicotine patch, vape, etc... When I say cold turkey I mean it. No judgement on others who do though.
5th Embrace the suck. The first 2 weeks or so suck. Everything seems to trigger a craving. I get moody, friends who still smoke become enablers just to get the nice me back. But I will explain to those friends and family I might be moody but it will pass.
6th Recognize I might relapse, but I don't let that drag me back into full blown smoking. If I "cheat" I don't let that stop me. But try and figure out what made me do it and try and find ways for that not to happen again. Like was it because I visited a bar and I associate drinking with smoking. Then maybe until I know I can control it, don't drink. Or it might be a coffee, or the many other things that can trigger the craving. Maybe it was stress. That is a hard one to avoid, so if it is something out of the ability to avoid, I look for other ways to manage. With stress, there are lots of helpful methods. From squeeze toys to screaming into pillows etc..
7th Big thing here too is not to substitute one bad vice for another. For example, don't become an over eater. Or that annoying sunflower seed person who is spitting seed shells everywhere. I know a lot of people try and substitute oral fixations. But I try to be careful to not create another bad habit. If I do anything it is toothpicks and even then I try to limit how much I use that to substitute. I am not trying to switch habits, I am quitting one bad habit.
8th enjoy being a nonsmoker, but don't forget to be empathetic to those who haven't been able to quit yet. You were once them so remember not everyone reaches the same point at the same time.
Hope this might help you, or someone else. Keep it up Aaron, just know no matter how hard it gets you can stop. Put your mind to it and you will do it. You might have set backs or temptations, but you will get there.
"Where will you drive your own picket stake? Where will you choose to make your stand? Give me a threshold, a specific point at which you will finally stop running, at which you will finally fight back." (Derrick Jensen)
weekly update brings me to one month without smoking. Feeling good about it. I've encountered a few more triggers and stressful situations such as driving long distances but have managed to stay smoke free. Happy Saturday!