Stopping Smoking --- Experiences?

My mother has been an on-and-off member here for more than a decade and I’ve been a lurker as well, so I have seen people helping others and am hoping I might find some help for myself.

It’s about cigarette smoking.

Please — PLEASE — don’t tell me about your relative’s horrible death or how you just buried your sister because of cigarettes. Please don’t give me dooming statistics and post links to lung dissections. I know all this. I KNOW IT. The knowledge hasn’t been enough to make me stop.

What I’m looking for is advice and experience. I’m looking for help.

I’ve had laser therapy, a Lung Association course, a “deterrent” program (where I smoked way too much while getting mild electric shocks), boxes and boxes of nicotine patches, a veritable wardrobe of books, literature, toothpicks and gums. I’ve got four of Allen Carr’s books and two of his CDs. They’re very helpful — when I read or listen to his words, I can totally understand and agree with what he is saying. Still, I haven’t stopped. I’ve got a CD from Deepak Chopra and another from Susan Hepburn. When I listen to them, I tend to smoke much less than normal. Several years back, I went to a “group” stop smoking hypnosis session. I fell asleep, but I didn’t smoke for eight hours afterward (until I suddenly realized that I wasn’t smoking and then had an uncontrollable craving).

Out of all the tools I have, Allen Carr makes the most sense to me. Still, I continue to smoke.

I have examined the instances when I smoke and tried to analyze what it is that prompts me to light up. The activities and reasons are not uncommon:

The phone
Taking a break — re-grouping, so to speak, after finishing a task

When I focus all my energy on not smoking, I find I’m at a loss as to what to do. What do I do when I get up in the morning? How do I take a break? How can I focus enough to drive a car? It sounds ridiculous, but I seriously don’t know what to DO with myself.

As part of my effort to stop, I’ve stopped smoking in my house and I’ve switched brands two or three times. I cut out coffee and alcohol entirely. I’ve severely cut back on cigarettes several times, and I’m fine as long as I can eat every fecking second of the day. Once, I gained nine pounds in two days by barely smoking and simply eating instead.

I’m currently using plastic “Nic Out” filters. Info about them at I don’t know whether or not they really help, but I feel better than before I started using them. When I forget to use a Nic Out filter, the cigarette is too strong. Regardless, I’ve been using those for about three months and now I want to go further.

I’m considering going to a hypnotherapy centre for treatment. The cost is around $1,000, but if it worked it would be worth it. (I’m just afraid it won’t work and that will be yet another $1,000 thrown away).

I feel so pathetic. I’m feeling quite desperate about this. Maybe despondent is a more accurate term. I’m crying while I type this, and yet I had to stop and have a cigarette while I considered what to write and what the response might be. At night, I pray to God to help heal my body and give me strength, and then I lay in bed and wonder if tonight’s the night I’ll die because of smoking. But when I get up in the morning, inevitablly I light a cigarette and then hate myself.

Please. Please. Tell me how you quit and what you did. What did you do the first few hours? What did you do in the morning when you first quit? How did you take a break the first time without a cigarette? What did you do for the first phone call without a cigarette? Please share any experiences you have. I would be so grateful, and certainly there are others will feel the same.

I quit a couple of years ago. I took Chantix, and almost went psycho from it, then I had to take Xanax, and all of that really helped, and here’s why- when you’re taking Chantix, after a few days you’re not getting any nicotine from smoking. You’re just puffing on an expensive prop and not getting anything from it. I’m too cheap to spend 6-8 bucks on something that I’m not getting anything from, and I’m too proud to go around bumming smokes off everyone I know. So I just quit.

I also read Alan Carr’s book, and I wonder if, had I read it before starting Chantix, I would have even needed the medication. What his book did for me was to completely change my feelings and mind about smoking. It showed me that people lie to themselves about why they smoke to justify it. I actually NEVER liked smoking- the taste, the smell, the effects- but I made myself get used to all of those things and convinced myself that I liked them to justify why I kept doing it. His book brought me back to the truth- that smoking is not fun, it’s not sexy, it’s not cool- it sucks, sucks, sucks. There is not one real benefit to it, and if you argue that there is, you’re still in denial.

I’m so glad I’m not smoking anymore or even missing it, and I really hope that for you, too. Good luck.

What did you do the first few hours?

I quit at 10:20 at night, and it was my last cigarette out of my last pack. I stubbed it out and then took out a piece of paper and wrote “October 10th, 1998, 10:20 pm, QUIT SMOKING.” I then taped the piece of paper to the wall, got my book, and settled down to sleep.

What did you do in the morning when you first quit?

Woke up. Didn’t have any cigarettes, so I didn’t smoke any. Had breakfast, shower, etc. Planned out my day. Made sure I didn’t have any cash in my wallet so I couldn’t stop and buy them. (I didn’t have a credit card at that point.)

The biggest thing for me was that I didn’t tell anyone I quit until a week later when I knew this time would last.

How did you take a break the first time without a cigarette?

That was really tough. I worked in a restaurant and everyone, including customers, smoked. What I did was eat (I usually bolted my food but this time I dragged it out as much as possible) and then LEFT THE ROOM as soon as I was finished eating. The other breaks I took that day I made sure I had a magazine and didn’t bum a smoke.

What did you do for the first phone call without a cigarette?

Not a big thing for me. I just don’t really spend much time on the telephone.

If it helps, try gummy worms. Gummy worms saved my life.

One thing that helped me a lot was not trying to quit nicotine at all, just trying to quit smoking. When I started on the patch, I didn’t even think about going off it–I loved nicotine too much to even contemplate life without it, and the thought that I’d have to give it up one day made the whole thing seem pointless and doomed. So I promised myself that if I needed to stay on the patch my whole life, I could, as long as I didn’t smoke.

Then, later, when I weaned myself from the patch, I promised myself that if I couldn’t handle it, I’d go back to the patch, not to cigarettes. Having an escape plan that didn’t involves starting all the way over and wasting everything gave me a great deal of comfort.

To this day, one of my sisters and one of my brothers still chew nicotine gum by the handful. It’s not the best habit in the world, but it’s nothing compared to smoking.

I also read Alan Carr’s book but not the big one, the small paperback. I found it boring and repetitive and smoked while I was reading it. Then an odd thing happened; I started to want to quit, even looked forward to it. By the end of the book I was thoroughly disgusted with smoking. For my last cigarette I went into the bathroom and close the door and window. I didn’t have a pop or anything to go with it. Then I sucked down that baby as fast and as hard as I could, taking huge drags and inhaling deeply. I’m pretty sure I was green by the end.

Anyway, that was it, I never smoked again.

For about a week after I would get the odd urge but I’d remind myself that when I smoked, I didn’t constantly have a cigarette in my hand. There were always breaks in between and this was just one of those times when I was doing my regular stuff with out smoking.

I think it was two years ago today, actually.

Stopping by to wish you luck!

Mom quit by using the the chewing gum. She still chews it some, but I guess her doc thinks that this is better than smoking.

Also, my doctor told me that quitting smoking can bring on or exacerbate depression, so if you’re prone to it, prepare for it.

I won’t lie- the first 2 weeks or so, I was extremely cranky and it was pretty hard. But I so wanted to be a nonsmoker this time, and that period did end- it doesn’t last forever and it’s just something you’ll probably have to go through. Just prepare for it, accept it, and ride it out. It’s worth it.

How I finally quit was with Chantix. I had no problems with it at all. In fact, I didn’t even finish the 3 month course. I was certain I’d have to do take it for six months. I’ve had one time shortly after I quit that I really wanted to smoke. I didn’t, and I haven’t smoked for almost three years.

The beauty of Chantix is that is blocks the nicotine receptors so, like Alice said, you get no hit. And as you complete the three month course, you get no cravings, either. Just one day… it stops.

I highly, highly recommend Chantix. Yes, it has known side effects. Yes, you should keep in close contact with your doctor if you start developing them. But I had no problems.

It’s worth a try.

I came in here to plug Allen Carr youtube videos, but it looks like you’re already familiar with him. He helped a lot and I would watch this video when nick fits started to get me.

I had to really want to quit. I’ve “quit” a couple times in the past (more like stopped smoking), but I didn’t really want to, because I enjoyed cigarettes so much and I didn’t see myself never smoking again, so I fell back in. I’m not saying you don’t want to quit, obviously you do, but it really helped me get in the proper mental preparation for it. Because that first week really sucks, so in a nic fit being able to say “fuck this shit” and keep going is helpful.

I did eat a lot those first few days, and probably the first month. It actually might be better for you anyway, because we smokers like to use cigarettes as a meal replacement plan, but you should choose better snacks than what you’re used to. Pretzels, celery, V8 stuff like that. A plate of brownies is pretty fantastic, but isn’t chocolate just the most fucking awesome thing combined with a cigarette? Eat veggies and low-fat/low-sugar stuff, you can chow down and not feel guilty weight-wise, you’ll feel BETTER and healthier (encouraging you to keep it up), and chances are you don’t associate celery and V8 with smoking.

Things you’re used to doing while smoking? Don’t do those again.

Association is the biggest thing. I had to rearrange my whole life. Quit going to bars, quit being around a lot of my smoking friends, quit going to the smoke deck at work, basically stopped having a social life for many weeks. I enjoyed it, however, because it gave me a lot of personal time to deal with nicotine withdrawals, develop new habits and hobbies, and anything else I needed to rearrange my life as a non smoker.

I quit around the same time I got a new car, so I didn’t associate being in my car with smoking. Soon after I quit I also moved into a new apartment where I decided not to smoke, so I didn’t associate anything in there with smoking, and that made me take a new route to get to work, a route I hadn’t associated with smoking yet.

I also started running again. Not going out there and killing myself like if I was still 18 or anything, but very slowly and easily at first, and building up. A lot of ex-smokers replace smoking with an intensive cardio/aerobic routine. I can see why: gives you something to do, a new routine, fights those calories if you think you’re chomping too much, makes you feel better which encourages you to continue, and it really kicks your lungs’ ass (yeah, that makes sense). I had a rough time breathing the first few runs, which really showed me how much damage smoking’d done to my lungs, and after a couple months I’d already noticed a tremendous increase in my lung capacity. After a good run (or bike ride, or jazzercise, or whatever) you don’t want to smoke and shit up your lungs.

I didn’t quit cold turkey. A lot like you, I guess, I’d decided over a period of time that I didn’t want to be a smoker anymore. But for a while I would quit smoking… after this pack. I went to a few smoking cessation classes, which didn’t do much for me because nothing in there was new information, but it got me in the mindset of a quitter and scored me some free nicotine patches. Nicotine patches were helpful in giving me time to set up new non-smoking habits before I had to deal with the physical aspect. I was wearing multiple patches, one right on the jugular, and lighting up. Passed out in a parking garage for a couple hours. You’re really not supposed to combine patches with smoking, but like Chantix I guess it helped me not be able to enjoy smoking anymore.

I still sometimes smoked even after I’d started the process, but the thing is for me quitting wasn’t spontaneous cold turkey one day, but a process of not wanting to smoke anymore, mentally preparing myself, changing my habits, etc. But once I decided I’d had my last pack I didn’t smoke. I wanted one, Just One Puff, for a long time, and sometimes occasionally still do. But it’s really true, You Can’t Have Just One. If you do have a smoke, don’t kill yourself over it and don’t make it mean you “failed” at quitting. Accept it as a stumble, we all stumble from time to time, and don’t let it happen again. But know it’s almost impossible to not have a second cigarette after you’ve gone for that first, so don’t let yourself have the first one. It’s not going to be as satisfying as you think it will. The only thing that made it so good was relieving the tension of your nicotine addiction —if you haven’t had a cigarette in a week, the nicotine’s out of your system, there’s no physical addiction to relieve, so why would it be any good?
Anyway, I’m rambling on you. On another note, sometimes beer helped those late-night nicotine fits. It’s a risky move, because normally the two go together so well, but I’m not talking Coors or Miller Light here. If it was late at night I’d have a Guinness. A very, very thick beer almost like a meal in a bottle, filled me up and helped the cravings pass.

A lot of all that you may have already tried and be more familiar with than me. I use “you” in this post mostly in that third person sense. This stuff all helped with me quitting, you asked for it, maybe it might help you, if nothing else reading quitter story for encouragement. Good luck.

I used the gum. I love nicotine so much I really liked the gum, I thought it tasted great. But I’m not really a big gum chewer, so it was easier to give up the gum after a few months.

Like you, one of my biggest hurdles was not knowing what to do with myself if I wasn’t smoking. How do people drive? Wait for buses? Clean the house (like what is the point of having a clean house if you can’t sit down with a cigarette after and enjoy your work)?

So yeah, that’s a weird thing. There’s no magic answer, you just have to do those things without smoking and eventually it stops feeling so weird.

The BEST thing about not smoking, I have found, it like the opposite of that. I don’t have to be always thinking in the back of my mind about when I am going to get a chance to run outside and have a cigarette. I didn’t realize until after I quit how much of a distraction that had been when I was traveling, with non-smokers, at work, at the movies, at the office, on a plane, or anywhere else you can’t light up. Not having to think about that is really liberating in a way I didn’t expect.

The first two weeks, um maybe three weeks, were the worst. I ate all the time and slept as much as possible. I think I almost chewed my lip off (in addition to chewing the gum). The moral of this story is that if I can stop smoking, anyone can.

I hope you are super successful in your efforts to quit. The one piece of advice I have is that if you do have a cigarette, after that go right back to your attempt to quit. Don’t let one be the excuse to have two, or a pack. Or a carton.

Firstly, good luck! You can do this, even if it feels really difficult now!

I quit 6 months ago (exactly 6 months, looking at the date) so I’m not the most long-term quitter around. But what worked for me, so far, is changing my habits as much as possible - in my case, it was easy, since we were moving house and things. But even if you’re not, you should try and vary your old habits as much as you can - try rearranging your furniture or something, it’ll give you a slightly different physical perspective, and something to do.

I also used those bizarre tampon-looking nicotine replacements on and off - gives you something to do with your hands, and means if you really, really need a cigarette break, or when you’re at the pub with a load of smokers, you can manage without smoking. For breaks, though, cups of tea. Herbal tea, if you’re avoiding caffeine. But getting up to get a cup of tea takes almost as much time as a cigarette break does, and then you’ve got something that tastes nice to drink, afterwards. That might work while you’re on the phone, too - make sure you’ve got water to hand, and drink that instead of taking a drag on a cigarette.

Also, give away your remaining cigarettes to the next homeless person you see, don’t buy any more, and tell your friends and people you smoke with normally not to give you one even if you ask. Then, just grit your teeth and do something else whenever you want cigarettes - make a cup of tea, or have a drink of water, or something.

Chantix worked like a charm for me. Your suppose to stop smoking after 7 days (I think) but it took my about 3 weeks. Then I was just…done. That was 2 years ago and I don’t get any kind of cravings. I just found about 6 leftover pills from the prescription that I didn’t even use. Good luck!

My 2-year anniversary of quitting will be 2/14/10. I took Chantix for two weeks and smoked my last cig midnight Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t even finish it…it tasted like crap…as if it was wet and I was smoking it through old wet coffee grounds. Downside: the whole entire 2 weeks on Chantix, I did not take one single dump! Sure, I still get the crave! I recently lost a good friend, am starting divorce proceedings and will most likely lose my job very soon. Still not smoking…! My clothes, my hair, my furniture…nothing smells anymore! I used to think no one could tell. I would have my last smoke ten miles from where I was going, spray perfume, run a dryer sheet through my hair and chew some gum. What an idiot! Anyway, I can’t wait until I turn 80. I am going to smoke like a fucking chimney! :stuck_out_tongue:

Here’s what I did, and I believe it’s a sound philosophy. I stopped cold turkey, but realizing that there were a lot of triggers (coffee, beer, morning, after eating, etc.), I was determined not to cut off those enjoyable activities for the sake of quitting smoking. Otherwise, it’s like a diet where you are denying yourself the foods you crave instead of just using moderation. Eventually you will fail at the effort.

So after a week of not smoking and trying to get my body to detox, I gradually started adding some of those triggers back in (I didn’t stop eating, just eating those foods that I associated with lighting up). Drink a cup of coffee, doing deep breathing until the urge went away. Have a beer and ditto. Each time I was able to deny the urge, it was positive reinforcement for me and I felt that I could do it again and again until the urges stopped entirely.

I have to admit that I hung out in some smoke-filled rooms in order to get a fix, but eventually the smell became offensive, then nauseating. Today I am 28 years free of the poison. You can do it, too. But until you throw that switch in your brain that allows you to free yourself, you won’t succeed.

Quit Dec 27, 2005.

Used patches

First thing in the morning, rinse you mouth out with water or brush your teeth
Take deep breaths when you get the urge to smoke
Chew cinnamon gum
Take up a hobby to keep your hands occupied (I crocheted and made jewelry)
Realize it will take 3 days or so to break the addiction, 3 weeks or so to break the habit.

OK, so I haven’t quit smoking, but I have cut down (from more than a pack a day to less than 1/2 pack a day). A big deal for me, a 25-year smoker who still really loves to smoke. Here’s what I did:

In the morning, I delayed that first cigarette as long as I could. Shower, web-surf, make/eat breakfast, whatever – just kept myself occupied. Then when I couldn’t stand it anymore, stop whatever it was that I was doing, head outside, sit down, and smoke. At that point, the clock started ticking – under no circumstances would I allow myself to smoke again for 2 hours.

Once 2 hours passed, again, stop whatever I was doing, fetch myself a cigarette (I made sure to not carry them on my person), head outside (if not outside already), sit down and enjoy a cigarette. That reset the clock for another 2 hours. If I was involved in something that went over my 2 hour limit – tough, next cigarette had to wait for 2 hours from my last smoke.

Here’s why I think it worked for me, as far as it has and is – I started this last April, and I’m still smoking under 1/2 pack a day. First, stopping everything allowed me to break my habitual associations – probably the most difficult thing for me. Second, the 2 hour time limit not only made it easy to keep track of my consumption, but it also gave me a goal – an achievable one. Even weeks into it, I’d sometimes hit the hour and a half mark and get all twitchy…but I’d find something to keep myself occupied for 1/2 hour (heck, I’ve resorted to doing friggin’ jumping jacks when I had to). Finally, the do-nothing-but-smoke allowed (allows) me to concentrate on the cigarette – sometimes, I’ll revel in it, sometimes, I’ll despise it. Either way, it’s a sort of mindfulness that, again, serves for me to dehabitualize.

If and when I want, I now feel like I could quit cold turkey. If I have problems with that, I could also just extend the time between smokes – 3, then 4 hours, etc. Clearly, it wouldn’t work for everyone, but it has worked for me so far with no backsliding. And, in the past, nothing else has. So, that’s my experience that’s worked.

Best of luck to you in finding the technique(s) that work for you – addiction can certainly be demoralizing at times.

Here’s what worked for me

  • First, before I quit, I read tons of stuff online about how to quit, what to expect physically, suggestions for what to do with your time after you quit, how to handle cravings, and other people’s quit stories. Some of the sites that I found helpful were (there’s a LOT there if you look around) and ACS
  • The nicotine gum was essential for me. I would have crawled out of my skin for the first couple of days/weeks without the gum. It was something I could do that was an immediate response to a craving. It really helped to have a piece of gum first thing in the morning, too. I found that I was able to taper from the gum a lot more quickly than the manufacturer recommends. I didn’t try Chantix, obviously, but I would think carefully about that drug because it is really bad news for some people. A long time ago my grandmother used Wellbutrin, which is another option to think about, and I think it should be generic by now.
  • I told a family member my quit date, and asked if I could call her as a distraction if I felt tempted to smoke. This turned out to be really helpful, just knowing that I could call her any time rather than smoke. She also called me periodically to offer moral support and congratulations on little milestones.
    -If you can, try to choose a quit date such that you don’t have to go to work the first couple of days. Have a plan of what you’re going to do those first couple of days - go shopping, go to a movie, whatever.
    -I also started exercising more when I quit. If nothing else, it gives you something to do and helps establish a new routine.
    -Plan some nice little rewards for yourself to celebrate little milestones.
    Best of luck to you.

I tried to quit ten times before I was able to finally manage it. I used the nicotine patch for three weeks, and each time the urge for a cigarette was overwhelming, i would stop and calculate how many seconds it had been since my last cigarette.

I admit that quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it has been 11 years, 1 month, three weeks, two days, twenty two hours, eight minutes and 45 seconds since my last cigarette

I quit cold turkey one day out of the blue. I was smoking the last cigarette in my pack and I looked at it when I was about halfway done and wondered why the hell I still smoked these damned things. I was driving at the time and had ample opportunity to get another pack, but I decided to just drive on by the store and go home. I had tried to quit before with some moderate success, but I had always gone back. This time it was like a switch flipped in my brain from SMOKER to NON-SMOKER. I found that I wanted to be a non-smoker.

It was hard, but I just took the cravings one at a time and dealt with them in the moment. I tossed out the ashtrays. Before I would just put them away in case company needed them. Bullcrap! If I needed an ashtray for a party I could get one for 50 cents at the grocery store. I washed everything because suddenly I could smell the smoke in my clothes and bedding. :eek: Was this how I smelled to other people? GROSS!

After about a month I could no longer stand the smell of my car, so I bought a new one. I realize that this is not a viable strategy for most people, but that’s how desperately I wanted to be a non-smoker. Non-smokers don’t have smelly smoked in cars.

The best thing I did though was open an account at my bank for the money that I would not be spending on cigarettes. I started with $21 a week and as the price of cigarettes increased, so did my weekly deposit. I’m now at $35 a week and it’s autodrafted from my main account to this special account. It’s been just over 2 years and about 18 months ago, I changed the account from a plain savings account at my bank to an Automatic Investment account with Sharebuilder. Now I have about $4000 invested in the market with money that would have gone up in smoke.

I’ve been a non-smoker since January 1, 2008 after smoking for 19 years. The thing that really keeps me going is not losing my investment of quit equity. Each time I’ve gotten a craving, (and I still get them, just not as intensely), I tell myself “You’ve gone this long, you can go another hour”. The craving passes and then I don’t even think about it again. My Dad quit some 37 years ago, and still sometimes reaches for the pack in his t-shirt pocket after dinner. It won’t be easy, but you CAN do it. I’ll be cheering for you.

Another thing that helped me was to think about how long I slept at night…or whenever. Even if I only slept for five hours a night, that was five hours without a cigarette. If you are addicted beyond all control, you would “need” a cigarette at some point during the night, right? On weekends, I’d easily sleep for twelve hours and think, ok, twelve hours without a cigarette. Don’t know if this even makes sense, but it somehow worked for me.