November 17th is the Great American Smokeout. Make this your day to quit! Quitting is not easy, and we know that. So we asked you to share your quit stories with others. Here’s what you had to say…
A 15 year battle, just because I wanted to be cool
Smoking was very common when I was growing up. I remember getting candy and bubblegum cigarettes and cigars at the store and thinking they made me look grown-up. My father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and many of my parents’ friends smoked. I tried to smoke for the first time when I was 11 or 12 but couldn’t keep the cigarettes lit. On one of my attempts, I was caught by my parents and got into big trouble for smoking. That ended my attempts, at least for a while.
I was a good kid in high school, but probably considered a nerd. At church one Sunday night, I saw a pack of Virginia slims in a friend’s purse. She was very popular and everyone loved her. It seems silly, but I put a lot of thought into it and decided to start smoking. I bought the same kind of cigarettes she had in her purse and when I went out with friends started smoking.
What started as a way to make me fit in and look cool became a 15 year battle. I quit, too many times to remember, but always started back. The last couple of years I smoked, I would hate every second that I smoked vowing to quit and then 20 minutes later light another one. 13 years ago, I quit for the last time. I wish I could tell people what made it “stick” that time, but I’m not really sure.
To this day, I regret ever smoking and hope that I don’t get some sort of illness from it. I’m embarrassed when asked to say that I ever smoked and wouldn’t wish the grip of tobacco on anyone. Hopefully, if someone reads this who wants to quit, they can fight their way through their addiction and know that they are not alone in the struggle.
No More Excuses
I have been smoking since I was 11 years old. My mother smoked when I was a child and in fact just about every person I knew smoked at some time or another during my childhood so I grew up thinking it was okay to do that. I can remember many times as we were rolling down the road in my mom’s car, her asking me to light her a cigarette and I would do it.
I had smoked for over 30 years when I went to my doctor because I seemed to be getting a lot of bronchitis infections and it seemed that I had suddenly become “wheezy” a lot of the time. I am now 45 years old. I went to the doctor last year. She said the dreaded COPD word. I knew I had to quit smoking. My biggest fear with quitting was gaining weight or failing.
I called my doctor after two weeks and asked her to prescribe Chantix for me. I also went to see my therapist and asked him to hypnotize me in an effort to completely quit the habit and also to help me control the weight gain. I knew this was going to be tough but in the long run, I also knew that I wanted to do this because I have two grandsons who are the light of my life and I want to be able to play with them and horse around with them, chase them because that is what they like. I also decided to take the money I was not spending on cigarettes and join a local gym.
I started taking the Chantix and I gotta say that the side effects were pretty bad for me. But I muscled my way through it. I started going to the gym nightly after work, more so to change the habits that had been formed and practiced for a long, long time. I went through a ton of mixed emotions and waiting for the nicotine cravings to go away was really tough. I carried pictures of my grandsons with me so that I could remember what my motivation was.
I’ve probably made up every excuse possible to not have to give up the habit. Even though my life still has stress, I have finally broken the habit. I have quit making excuses. I am happy to say that I quit smoking in February of 2011. I have encouraged one of my best friends who lives out of state to quit as well. She has been smoke free for three weeks now. Together her and I have finally realized our dream of not smoking, not smelling like smoke all the time, not having to have that smoke break several times during the day, not having to worry about being in the car with our grandsons, not having to waste the money it costs to support our habit, and because we both work in offices, not having to worry that we smell like an ashtray to our customers and clients.
I believe that I quit in time for the COPD symptoms to fade. My doctor has noted that I breathe better and easier, I am less irritable, I have not gotten sick since I quit, so my doctor is quite happy with the results. I have gained weight and I did expect that to happen, but I have not gained considerable weight, and I still go to the gym. My life has improved immeasurably since I gave up this habit.
Tobacco cessation methods vary widely . This letter shows that every quit attempt is worth it, and what works for you may not work for someone else. Consult with a healthcare provider to see what cessation methods are available for you.
44 year smoker and is now SUCCESSFULLY TOBACCO FREE!
I started smoking cigarettes when I was 14 years old. I quit cigarettes 13 months ago and can tell you that this was probably the hardest, yet best thing I have ever done for myself.
In the 44 years that I smoked I can only imagine that I must have honestly tried at least 50 times to quit and was successful for as long as a couple of months to as little as a couple of days. I tried the “cold turkey” method, sunflower seeds, gum, candy, prayer and even prescription drugs and probably half a dozen other things. Nothing really worked no matter what conviction there was to stop. It seemed that each time I would try I would come back and smoke even more. I even got to the point that I was smoking almost two packs per day. I suffered a heart attack at the ripe old age of 50 and quit again for about a month and a half before I convinced myself that I had been punished long enough (by not smoking) and started cigarettes again. I can say that I enjoyed smoking to the extent that the tiredness I felt every day, the short-windedness that plagued my every activity, the horrible smell that I didn’t even realize I was emanating, and the long term damage I was doing to my body was worth it.
There is no mistaking the value of hypnotism as a legitimate tool in the tobacco cessation struggle I was actually hypnotized by a local gentleman, and I will tell you that I had very little hope that it would work ……but hypnotism WORKS! At least it did for me. I will be honest and say that the urge has returned many times but for some reason the willpower he gave me intervenes every time and I am now tobacco free and so very grateful.
Finally, my last piece of advice is that if anyone truly wants to quit, you MUST keep trying.