Dopers who have quit smoking please respond.

I have quit almost eight months ago but am now finding it harder and harder to maintain the quit. How did you quit and when did you feel you had actually made it? Just an FYI I am talking about tobacco.

I quit in May 1992 after about 17 years of a pack-a-day habit. It was my first and only attempt to quit. The first month was iffy, but I used nicotine gun prescribed by a doctor. I don’t remember if patches were even available at that time. The first month was the roughest. I was okay after a couple of months I’m sure. Completely okay eight months on. Try to stick with it. I’ve been smoke-free for 25 years now and do not miss it at all even when I’m near a smoker.

My hardest times are when I get aggravated. Not when around other smokers or when having a cocktail. Sometimes I want to just give in. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. It seems to be getting harder than easier.

I used the patch and quit 16 years ago. After a month I was ok. Years later while I was in Iraq I tried a cigarette but couldn’t finish it. I have no desire to ever go back.

I haven’t smoked since July 2009. The 9 years before that I was a pack a day smoker with a gradual lead up in the years before that since my first cigarette at 16. I started with Newports went to Newport lights then Marlboro light menthols, transitioned to non menthol Marlboro lights and ultimately basic lights.

What led to me quitting was when I came down with some bronchitis and was coughing so bad I couldn’t even sleep let alone smoke. I had tried to smoke one, but I was coughing profusely and didn’t even enjoy it. I slept in a lazy boy to keep phlegm down my lungs were so messed up. My son was also due the following month and that added to the incentive. I wanted to set a good example and not have smoke around a baby. Once I hit the five day mark, I just kept going. I had tried quitting before and the farthest I ever made it was to day six. The weekend alcohol buzz got me smoking again. This time it was different, I still had the post sickness malaise thing going and I think that quelled the general urge.

When I finally quit for good some 34 years ago, I made a point of doing exactly the same things that were all triggers for me: have a couple of beers, hang out with smokers, etc. Every time I beat the urge to have a smoke in those situations, it was a personal victory and reinforced my determination to stay off the filthy things. I’ll admit that I may have taken some deep breaths when around smokers to get a second hand fix, but eventually the smell became repugnant to me.

Hang in there. You’re past the worst part.

what really helped me was I stopped hanging out at the bar where I socially smoked with my buddies. Oddly enough, after 4 beers and everyone around me smoking, my spine disappeared and I would fire one up, and then the rest of the pack. Now I wasn’t a real heavy smoker but still.

It took 6 months or so (IIRC as it was 17 years ago), to where the bad cravings went away. I would still get the craving but that was usually more a whim that would pass in a few minutes. Every once in a while I’m still tempted, but that goes away certainly in less than an hour.

What I won’t do is ever take a cigarette. I have smoked less than a half dozen Cuban cigars as part of work, but never inhaled and that stuff was strong, stinky and didn’t kick off a nicotine craving.

Again, you’ve made it past the really difficult phase. It get’s easier but just don’t backslide. Exercise also helps. Best of luck

I quit in 2013 after twenty years of smoking a pack-a-day. I loved smoking and didn’t want to quit but my heart was having problems and my doctor told me the cigarettes had to go.

I wanted to live more than I wanted to smoke, so I had extra incentive to quit rather than a vague “because its bad for me” reason. That really helped a lot to keep my focus and stop for good.

I imagine it is very different for each individual, but I found that the worst was over after about 6 months. I needed a full year to really stop thinking about missing smoking. After nearly five years without a smoke, I still crave it on occasion but it is easy to resist and is more of a nuisance than anything else.

When I got a real craving to light up I would recall how much it sucked to go through the month or two of withdrawal and how I would just have to repeat that eventually. No thanks! Be strong and you will thank yourself for not touching a smoke ever again.

It took me a while, but when the jogging craze hit around the late '70s, that really helped. As smoking became more of a no-no in some restaurants, movie theatres, in people’s cars, class rooms, etc., it just became easier to not smoke. But the running was the key thing for me (interestingly, I had a sister who loved to fire up a ciggie after coming in from a three mile jog! It’s been a long time, but I think she still sneaks them). Hanging with non-smokers helped, too.
I’d say get into some kind of aerobic exercise. After a while, you just get used to not smoking.

I have quit smoking many times. Gone back to smoking many times, too. Most recently I have been off smoking for 4 years or so. I have been chewing nicotine gum ever since my last cigarette. I figure it’s better than smoking, so I’m not bothered by being hooked on the gum.

I am using the gum too and have no problem with it. Still beats smoking but just not as satisfying or stinky. Or as expensive.

As far as the urge to smoke goes, I could TOTALLY drive to the gas station right now and pick up a pack of smokes. Fire one up in my garage and be at peace. But I’m not going to. But as far as the urge goes, I guess it’s an individual thing. Best of luck to you!

Just think what a pain in the ass it would be to make it back to 8 months again!

30+ years, and I still have urges. Easy to say “no”, tho.

I used the patch and started running.

I think I related this before but -------- I was still teaching, working too much, caring a little too much, and I decided to beat the rush and have cardiac/BP issues that put me out at age 27. My BP was 178/162 or something equally well into the stroke range and they were afraid that before they got a handle on it all they were going to have to crack my chest. This is back in the day when you could smoke in your hospital room as long as you weren’t on oxygen and idiot that I am I did as soon as I improved enough for a non-oxygen room. My doctor/cardiologist was this terrific old guy (about the age I am now) who had the motivational compassion of a Drill Sergeant or a member of the Borgia family. “I don’t know for sure just what your major malfunction is yet, you moron, but I know those damn things aren’t helping any. What the f*ck are you doing that for?”

Well Doc ---- it helps me relax. :cool:

So he asked when my last one had been and I said about an hour ago. He laid the cuff on me and my pressure was about 135/92. He then said to go ahead and light up. He sat there and we talked a few minutes while I finished my Camel, put the cuff on me again -------- and I was 140/105. He then flipped me the rest of the pack and told me to relax myself right into the Zipper Club (his nickname for people whose chests he had had to crack) or an early grave. I quit pretty much right then and there.
For ages I had to avoid places heavy with cigarette smokers and I missed the hell out of the people/kind of people I met there. But surviving to my present age made it worthwhile.

Now don’t get me wrong ----- I am not tobacco free and at this stage I doubt I ever will be. I did and still do chew and I have the odd cigar now and then since neither of those changed my pressure much when we tested them. I have no doubts that took the edge off withdrawal for me. But in the last 30+ years I have had maybe 5 cigarettes and I never made it totally through any of those few. If you can get through that first couple years you lose the taste for it.

I used How To Stop Smoking And Stay Stopped by Gillian Riley. I bought it remaindered for $1 and had it round for years before I used it. She recommends the opposite of most quitting methods - carry around cigarettes, hang with smokers, don’t change your other habits, don’t tell people you are quitting, don’t use patches or other aids.

Her philosophy is thatthe reason you smoke and the reason you have cravings is that you get a buzz out of smoking. Therefore it is stupid to expect cravings to just go away, you have to learn to deal with them. This involves a little “mantra”:

I am really craving a cigarette.
I could have one if I wanted (you have a packet on you)
But if I have one I will be smoking again
And for the following reasons…blah blah…I have chosen to not smoke.
So I won’t have one now.

I followed her plan and it was almost fun. I went from 30 a day for about 30 years to dead stopped. I carried cigarettes for 6 to 8 weeks, still went out with the smokers for cigarette breaks at work, kept drinking and going out with people. I would sit outside with a packet of cigarettes and an ashtray. Sometimes I would take a cigarette out of the packet and play with it to stimulate a craving (part of the process) and because of all these things no one knew I had quit for over a month. I even lost weight during giving up. If you can find the book and absorb the psychology it is far more wholesome and empowering than any other methods I have seen.

I’m coming up on nine years quit after more than 40 years of two packs a day. I still dream about them, and occasionally find myself feeling around on the table for my pack if I am distracted. My self-reward for quitting was to retire from working. Which was good because there is no way I could afford to smoke two packs today at the 7 bucks a pack they probably cost now even if I was still working. I used to pay about 12 bucks a carton at the reservation store.

I used Chantix and was surprised that it actually worked for me.

Sometimes I still would really really like to smoke, but am really happy that I’m able to breathe so well so I won’t. Except in dreams.

Full disclosure: I vape, but only when I drink. Which is about once a week.
I quit once, cold turkey for two years. Got back into the habit when I was going through my divorce. (Uhg!!)
The second rime I quite (now), I’m going on five years now.
Both times I quit, I remember getting stronger than average urges around the 8 or 9 month mark. Can’t remember how long those urges lasted, but I don’t think they lasted long. (A couple of months maybe?)
Anyway, hang in there, it gets better.

I’ve quit maybe four or five times over the last eight or so years. The first time was for $20 (hey, I really needed that $20!). We had an office bet among the smokers to see who could lay off for the longest time. By 9am on the appointed day, everybody but me and one other person had caved already so they all forfeited. I made it past lunch, the other one didn’t so I got her $20 for my efforts. I lasted about six months or so after that until I got a new roommate who was a smoker and I started again.

I’ve found it’s much easier to quit when you are sick. After all, you shouldn’t be smoking anyway if you want to get better and you don’t really notice the withdrawals as much since you feel like shit for a few days regardless. Most of my quitting was done when I had the flu or a cold or some bug. The key is to not go back to it after you’re all better. That part, unfortunately, is the hard part.

I think my most recent quit seems to have taken. I have still bummed the odd smoke while out drinking but I can’t actually remember the last time I smoked, it was probably a couple of years ago. The longer you go, the easier it seems to get as if you do smoke, you’re not used to it anymore so you end up hacking just like a brand new smoker, it’s just not as pleasant anymore as it is when you’re a regular smoker. The key to my last quit was none other than pure laziness. I was sharing an apartment where the only balcony was off of my roommate’s bedroom so I couldn’t just wander off in there whenever I felt like it, I would have had to go all the way downstairs and smoke outside the building on a busy street. I became dedicated at getting undressed when I got home and staying in my room. Therefore, if I wanted to smoke, I would have had to get dressed again and go all the way downstairs in order to do it, which seemed too much effort (ok, so I’m really lazy…). Thus, I managed to avoid the temptation through indulging in the greater pleasure of being pantsless! :smiley:

That said, I genuinely enjoyed smoking and I miss it all the time, I just try not to think about it. The quit smoking advertisements that claim life will be all sunshine and rainbows and puppies when you quit is all lies. If anything, my life has seemed a little duller and more depressing since I quit because I know I am denying myself something that I really enjoyed. Sure, I saved money, but I doubt I’m any healthier as I just fill the void with all my other vices like drinking and pizza.

It took me FOUR tries before it stuck. Willpower, patches, gum and then finally patches again.

The first time I tried the patches I followed their step regime but found that I was not ready for the last step down and actually smoked while patched because, damn, I LOVED me some nicotine. The last time I did the patches I “stepped down” at my own pace. Much, much more slowly than prescribed. At the very end I had the lowest dose patches and, if I felt the need to smoke, I’d stick a patch on. If I didn’t feel the need, I didn’t patch. It’s been about seven years since I’ve needed a patch.

I have always maintained that, if I live to 70, I will start smoking again. Still miss it sometimes. I don’t crave it, just miss it. I wonder, do other junkies think back fondly on their addictions?