Quit Smoking Tips
In late November, 2001, I quit smoking, after 30 years as a smoker, mostly a chainsmoker.
I hadn't really planned to quit -- I was going through menopause, and the doctor prescribed estrogen. Premarin warnings include one that states smoking increases the risk of blood clots -- that was enough to finally convince me to stop smoking.
Not only did the possibility of blood clots really scare me, but I was sick and tired of my doctor blaming every little complaint I had on smoking. I decided that if I stopped smoking, he'd not be able to do that anymore. It worked, too - a couple of months ago, I had an ear problem -- and he asked if I'd started smoking again -- and I was able to say "no". I got a lot of satisfaction from that!
I chain smoked for many years, 2 to 3 packs a day. 2 years before I finally quit for good, I'd decided to cut down -- instead of smoking almost nonstop, I just had a cigarette every 1/2 hour. After a few months, I increased the time to one cigarette every hour. This effectively reduced the number of cigarettes I had in a day.
It had been a long time since I'd enjoyed a cigarette. When I first started smoking, I used to really like having a smoke.
I thought that it would be very difficult to quit smoking - especially giving up that first smoke in the morning.
When I quit, November 29, 2001, I immediately started using Nicotine patches. I used Nicoderm, 14 mg. Although there is a 21 mg. patch available, I couldn't use them -- I experienced a racing heart, anxiety, etc. -- they were just too strong. The patch is changed every 24 hours.
I used the 14 mg. patches for 6 weeks, then went to the 7 mg. patches for another 4 weeks.
During that time, here's what I did to fight the nicotine withdrawal -- it is a physical addiction, so your body does have to withdraw -- but the discomfort passes, believe me. It took about 6 months until I forgot about smoking -- the thought of having a cigarette stopped coming so often. I began to think of myself as an nonsmoker, not as an ex-smoker!
What to Expect From a Nicotine Patch
1. very vivid dreams
2. disturbed sleep [waking often at night. This may be in relation to the withdrawal.]
3. slight soreness and redness from the patch
Things to Do When the Craving Hits
1. exercise [walk around the house, around the block, do stretching exercises, run up and down stairs]
2. crafts [keeps the hands busy. I started to latch hook -- a very easy craft that most anyone can do -- and cross stitch.]
3. bathe, take a shower [think about washing away all the tobacco poisons]
4. floss and/or brush the teeth [think of how much whiter your teeth will look, and how much healthier your gums will be]
5. take a few deep breaths [you will probably notice, as I did, how much easier it is to breathe, and how fresh the air is]
6. shampoo your hair [how fresh and nice your hair will smell, with no cigarette smoke anymore!]
7. eat something or chew some gum [I decided I wouldn't worry about weight gain -- that quitting smoking was far more important than that. Tic Tacs and Certs are good. ]
8. have a fruit drink [juice is good for you, as is water. Those liquids can help flush all the cigarette poisons out of your system.]
9. avoid smokers, as much as possible [it's a lot easier to quit, if you aren't around the smell of cigarette smoke -- it smells good! My husband would go to the basement to have a smoke, while I was quitting. He quit smoking 6 months after I did. ]
10. keep an ashtray, full of ashes and cigarette butts handy. When the urge to have a smoke gets really bad, sniff that ashtray. [this worked for me. I couldn't stand the awful odor!]
11. practice will power [do you really want to be so addicted to something? I didn't -- I resented having to have a smoke! ]
12. you CAN quit. Just don't take that cigarette, as you experience a craving for one -- hold off on having that one, and the one after that...
13. make a list of all the reasons you're going to quit. Re-read the list often.
Remember, just because someone doesn't like smoking, there is no need to be rude to a smoker...one never knows who will next have to bear the brunt of social ostracism! Good manners are important!