Every smoker knows that he or she needs a stop smoking tip or two. It could be from a friend who quit successfully because he stuck to a quit smoking timeline; it may be the girl you met in a bar who stopped the smokes when her favorite grandma died from constant tobacco use; it may even be your barber who quit when he accidentally set on fire his customer’s head.
Whatever the reason – hilarious or not – know that smokers who decide to quit need support from the people they are preferably close to.
When I finally quit smoking – as in really quit after more than 10 years of smoking 2 packs a day – I realized on the 3rd day that I couldn’t do it alone, but had to so I quit cold turkey. I had the feared withdrawal symptoms – I coughed all through the day and night, was irritable, wanted to eat all the time (specifically sweets), had intermittent headaches, didn’t get enough sleep and felt like I had non-stop premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Everyone was on tiptoe when I showed up at work looking like a hag – and knew I was being laughed at behind my back.
This last time, I got moral support from the most unexpected person – my husband. Whether he just lusted after my stash of smokes (he’s a smoker too, but only does so for less than a pack a day) or he was really concerned for my well-being, I couldn’t care less. His looking after me and his assistance when the cravings came was more than enough to make me quit totally. And the funny thing was, one person was all I needed – one person who listened to my anxiety-ridden 3 weeks of a nerve wracking nicotine withdrawal.
Hence, the first tip: Find at least one person who will be patient enough to support you in your quitting. He should be willing to listen through your heart-breaking angst. He should also be ready to do a karate chop on your arm just so you don’t reach for the smokes. (My husband smoked, so I tried to steal some of his sticks; he did it on me.) One person is enough, than having a lot of “friends” castigating you at the same time.
Throw away all smoking paraphernalia – cigarette or tobacco packs, ashtrays, lighters, cigarette cases – anything that would remind you of the habit. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t just refer to love; it applies to smoking as well.
– Write down a list on why you want to stop, your goals and stick it by your refrigerator door. This is so that you’ll always be reminded of why you’re quitting in the first place.
– Prepare yourself for withdrawal symptoms. When we started smoking, we already knew that it was bad for the health. Quitting would be payback time for the smokes, but will greatly benefit us in the long-term. Expect at least a cough because your airways are slowly being revived, the oxygen is sometimes suffocating. Give it time; it’ll ease in a couple of days, or probably a week or two.
– Have a calendar by your bedside table or a diary where you can cross out each day that you go smoke-free. This will slowly build your confidence and self-assurance that you can do it, that you can actually quit. (It should make you proud too, a great way to boost your self-esteem.)
– When you crave for food, don’t worry. Your body is just craving for sweets due to lowered blood sugar levels. When you gain weight, don’t worry. You can always lose the gain. Just eat if you must and concentrate on quitting. When you feel that you are completely free from the addiction, then you can start concentrating on your diet and your body’s needs.
– Lastly, don’t walk in a bar, especially if you’re just starting out with quitting. You may still be prone to cravings now and then; baiting and testing yourself if you can say “no” to a lighted cigarette is like falling in the middle of the ocean with no hope of rescue. Believe me, stay away from any atmosphere that may make you see smoke. Just a few weeks, and you can party with friends again.
Smoking is a dangerous addiction. You won’t feel the effects while you’re doing it, but the future may cost you your life. I can’t stress enough the dangers of long-term smoking – the risks of cancers and coronary heart disease would be too high. It is never too late to quit.