Quitting smoking can be hard. No one needs to tell that to anyone who’s tried.
It can, however, be done. And the benefits are many. Experts say that quitting smoking is one of the most straightforward steps you can take to lengthen your life expectancy and live healthier.
Is it happening? In the U.S, yes, people are doing it. 15.1% of Americans were living as smokers in 2015, a decrease of a whopping 10 percentage points since 1997, and so less people are taking up the habit and more are actually quitting.
They’re doing it one step at a time, all at once, and any way that works.
Here’s one story, (with the long version available here.)
A person by the name of A.Creech, posted their personal journey on Amazon.com. (Yes, it’s for shopping, but it turns out, it can also be a place to turn to for personal words of wisdom. Hey, it’s 2017 and the Internet is miraculous).
This individual quit smoking after 30 years using Nicorette. The Georgia resident claims to have smoked about a pack a day and decided, once and for all, they’d reached the end of their tobacco addiction.
Do they have some good advice? 194 out of 198 people who responded to Creech’s comments said they found them to be useful.
So, here we go: 10 tips from A. Creech for successfully quitting smoking:
1) If You’ve Tried Other Things that Didn’t Work, Try the Gum
Creech claims to have tried quitting smoking cold turkey, by using lozenges and also with patches, but nothing worked. It wasn’t until trying Nicorette that the journey was a success. (No, this actually isn’t a marketing plug).
2) Start Small and Go Bigger, If You Need To
As Creech says, “I first started with the 2mg as I smoked a pack or under a pack a day. Didn’t take away the cravings unless I chewed gum almost constantly. I switched to the 4mg and it worked. I really think the 2mg is for very very light smokers.” So, if you need double the amount, go for it.
3) Chew According to the Instructions
Follow the directions provided with the gum, and you’ll be on the right track.
4) If You Have Strong Cravings, Chew More
Well, so it seems to be OK to bend the rules your way a bit, to make them work. “Pop an extra piece (of gum) when the cravings are strong,” says Creech. “Strong cravings again came up almost weekly for 6 weeks but only lasted a day each. On those days, I just chewed more gum than I had been.
After 6 weeks, the strong cravings started going away and so did dreams of buying a pack of cigarettes but not being able to light the cigarettes.”
5) Be Ready and Get Ready to Quit. And Smell Ashtrays.
You have to be ready to commit to quitting for it to work. Set a quitting date, and get yourself ready for the change. Creech says that before quitting, they told themselves that cigarettes stunk, “Really stunk and were nasty.” And actually smelled ashtrays to let the stink fully sink into memory.
6) Get Rid of Temptations Before Quitting
It might take some time to convince your mind, but throw away all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays before your quitting date. Also clean out your car. Wash your walls, shampoo your carpets and upholstery, and you’ll get rid of all scents and reminders.
7) Don’t Worry About Becoming Addicted to the Gum
For Creech, this didn’t happen. The urge to chew the gum slowly went down, after months. This may not be the case for everyone, but maybe it’s an irrational fear.
8) Want a Smoke? Use Some Teeth Whitener
“Use a teeth whitener and smile in the mirror every time you want a cigarette,” says Creech. “Take the time to realize how good your hair and clothes smell.”
9) Don’t Give Up: If You Fail, Try Again
Creech reminds readers that it takes 21 days to break a habit but up about 3 months to break an addiction. It’s harder. But every step is worth it.
“Not smoking for a week, a day, an hour, or even skipping one cigarette is helping your body,” Creech reminds us.
10) Congratulate Yourself!
It can take a long time to quit smoking. Congratulate yourself on small steps, even if you fail and have to try again. Stay positive.
Photo credit: Lindsay Fox