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Seelix's avatar

I think I'm feeling motivated enough to try to quit smoking next week. How can I know if I'm really ready?

Asked by Seelix (14862points) January 27th, 2012

Aside from giving it a shot, that is.

I got bronchitis at the beginning of December, and went to the doctor and got antibiotics and a salbutamol inhaler. The drugs helped, but I’m still not feeling up to par. I’m coughing in the mornings and occasionally get that bronchitis-like short-of-breath feeling.

I think I’ve gotten to the point where, intellectually and psychologically, I know I have to quit. It feels a little different than it used to—I used to think “Yeah, I really have to quit one of these days”. Now I’m thinking “Yeah, I really have to quit… and soon.”

For years I’ve been planning to use Nicorette products when it comes time to quit. There’s a combo patch/gum system now which I think would help me; you use the patch, which releases a continuous dose of nicotine, and there’s the gum as well for those bad cravings. I am addicted—I’ve just finished guiltily smoking my first cigarette of the day. So I know I’ll need some kind of stop-smoking aid; willpower won’t be enough for me. I’ve been smoking for 17 years and it’s a part of my life now.

I guess I’m looking for input from former smokers. How did you know you were ready to quit? What advice can you give to a smoker who’s really feeling the urge to quit, but is physically dependent on smoking?

Thanks in advance for your help, Jellies.

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55 Answers

Boogabooga1's avatar

Hi. you seem to have the will but the wrong mentality.
Please please get Allen Carr’s book or audio book (i will pm you a source)

Seelix's avatar

I know about Allen Carr’s book, @Boogabooga1; thanks :)
I worked in a bookstore for years and sold many a copy.

I’d like to know: what about my mentality seems wrong to you? That’s an honest question, not a snappy rhetorical one.

bkcunningham's avatar

You seem to be getting yourself in the right place mentally. Get a bunch of Tootsie Pops suckers. They will help with the habit of having something in your hand and mouth. On the morning you decide to quit, realize the hours you were sleeping are time you’ve been without a smoke. So, when you wake up that morning, you’ve already gone without smoking that many hours. Mentally, I think that helps instead of watching the clock and saying, ‘It’s only been an hour.’

Brush your teeth whenever you feel a strong urge to smoke and rinse with mouthwash. Think about how fresh your mouth feels. Good luck. It is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. My husband is going to quit in the next few months. He’s getting himself there mentally. Yea for you. The hardest part only last a couple of weeks.

Seelix's avatar

Thank you, @bkcunningham. I realize I might not be quite there yet, but I’m getting there. I definitely feel differently about the prospect of quitting than I ever have before.

I’ve read that it’s a good idea to set a quit date, so I’ll be thinking about that today.

bkcunningham's avatar

Tell a few trusted people you are quitting, @Seelix, and explain you need encouragement; not criticism. I had a friend you quit by extending the time each morning before she had a first smoke. She went for a week making herself wait an hour. Then extended it to two hours and so forth.

My sister and her husband emptied all of their ashtrays in a big glass jar as a motivator to quit smoking. The look and smell was disgusting and was a reminder to them of what they were really giving up.

Boogabooga1's avatar

@Seelix you seem to think the fire in the embers is your enemy yet you are willing to dose yourself with the nicotine in a different form.

Me myself, Ive quit drinking, I find injecting my veins with ether has helped loads.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

From a former smoker: You don’t need to pay money to stop smoking. Just wake up tomorrow and don’t reach for the cigarettes. Let them sit right there where they are. If you don’t think you can get through your coffee without them, skip the coffee. Have tea or hot cocoa. Change up your schedule—I’ve heard people say that. The important thing is that it is just something to not do. It is easier to do something than to not do something. That’s one reason by stopping smoking and losing weight by dieting are hard. People who can lose by doing something (exercise) find it to be easier. Anyway, if you want to quit you will. Don’t try to slow down, just quit. If you are bitchy a couple of days, so what!! I wish you luck.

Bellatrix's avatar

I honestly can’t remember how I felt emotionally in terms of ‘being ready’. I knew I didn’t want to smoke and I was honest with myself about being an addict. I have heard most people fail at least once. We are dealing with a very addictive drug. I did try once before and didn’t manage but about six months later, I got patches and I tried again and haven’t smoked since. That was now 17 plus years ago.

I do remember feeling very anxious. Smoking takes up a lot of time and it’s an emotional crutch. I don’t know what I was scared about but I was. Things I did that I remember helping were keeping my hands busy. I did cross stitch things. I also exercised a lot. That helped. Went for walks. Did aerobics.

When you do get cravings, and even with the patches you will, keep in mind they don’t last long. If you can ride them out for a few minutes by getting busy with something else, they pass. Do tell people you are giving up too. Stay away from nay sayers. People who will want to sabotage your efforts. There will be people like that.

And remember, you are always going to be an addict. Don’t let yourself believe you can just have one. That has been my philosophy anyway. I have seen too many people ‘just have one’ and end up smoking again.

Good luck! You can do it!

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Seelix : Around 7 months ago I saw this thread. I downloaded the book to my Nook, read it and quit. Really. I didn’t go through all the crap I’d been through before when I’d tried to quit, the mental approach is different. I’ve also bought a number of hard copies to give to people. Good luck, Sweetie! If nothing else, think of the money you’ll not be spending, and just how relieved everyone who cares about you will be.

Boogabooga1's avatar

I’m trying a new technique.(as all others have failed)
I have grown 14 Virginia plants in my garden and now intend to decipher any difference between commercialy processed weed to organically grown Virgina patiently aging in my humidor shed.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have never read Alan Carr’s book and so just looked at Wikipedia to find out more. This is what his Wiki page says

“There were two key pieces of information that enabled Allen to quit later that day. First, the hypnotherapist told him smoking was “just nicotine addiction” which Allen had never perceived before that moment i.e. that he was an addict. Second his son John lent him a medical handbook which explained that the physical withdrawal from nicotine is just like an “empty, insecure feeling”.[3]”

If you look at my post, I talked about acknowledging I was an addict and the feeling of fear and anxiety about giving up. I managed to give up. So, perhaps those things are a real key here? Not sure, but I do think if you know what you are dealing with, you have a greater chance of success.

Seelix's avatar

For those who don’t know me: I’m 31 years old, engaged, a somewhat highly-strung PhD student, and on medication for anxiety. While I do appreciate all advice, please – don’t think you can tell me what will work for me. I would love to hear your success stories and hear about what worked for you, but please know that different strategies work for different people.

@Boogabooga1 – There’s no need to bring sarcasm into it. I’m aware of the addiction, and I know how I react physiologically and emotionally when I have a craving that can’t be (immediately) satisfied. So I’m planning to wean myself off of the nicotine. That’s not what’s really hurting me, anyway—it’s the toxic smoke I breathe in 20 times a day.

@MollyMcGuire – Thanks for your input. I really don’t know whether cold turkey would work for me, but I appreciate your advice.

Thanks, @Bellatrix and @JilltheTooth. Your encouragement makes me feel a little more confident :)

JilltheTooth's avatar

I found, @Seelix , that the annoyance I felt for people who simply assumed that I was stupid was magnificent. Mostly, IRL, I didn’t tell anyone, except KatawaGrey, and that was helpful for me. People eventually noticed, but I didn’t have to go through the “I can’t believe you haven’t quit before this” or “I can’t believe you started” or “you have to do it this way” people. Good luck with this.

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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Good luck Seelix! And good for you… All Good on You!

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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Seelix Good luck. I’ve never been a smoker, so I don’t know that angle. However, be careful about the sweets as a substitute. My uncle was a smoker. His doctor told him your body burns 700 calories a day dealing with smoking. Just so you know. Hope for the best for you.

Seelix's avatar

Thanks, @Adirondackwannabe. I do have quite the sweet tooth, so I will have to be careful about the substitution thing. Lucky for me, though, I also have a weakness for baby carrots with peanut butter :)

I just told Mr. Fiance about my idea and he’s on board. We have (smoking) friends coming to visit this weekend, but on Monday, we’re going to start smoking on the balcony only.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Seelix Baby carrots with peanut butter? I didn’t see that coming. My uncle did stuff so the smoking was more of an effort. He still misses the satisfaction cigarettes, like when he solved a major problem and rewarded himself with a smoke. Luck lady.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I tried to quit several times, unsuccessfully. Then I went to e-cigs and quit overnight. I can’t say enough good about them – you still get to smoke (what a deal!) but with no adverse health issues. I know that I am still nicotine-dependent and quitting altogether would be preferrable, but like @Adirondackwannabe said, I just find it too satisfying.

I always smoked more when stressed, and quitting (or even thinking of quitting) stressed me out so bad that I would smoke more.

Just saying, it is a way to start improving your health immediately. I have tried a few different brands, and would suggest spending the money and getting White Cloud. You will save in the long run by not getting some systems that don’t work as well.

Seelix's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt – I don’t really get e-cigarettes. Would you care to enlighten me? What’s the deal?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I don’t understand what you mean when you say you don’t get them. Do you mean you don’t know what they are, or you don’t understand how they work?

Seelix's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt – I know they’re some kind of stop-smoking aid, but I don’t understand what they are or what they do! Are they anything like the Nicorette inhaler?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

They look like a cigarette. They consist of a battery (the long part of the cigarette) and the cartridge (which looks like the filter). You inhale on them just like you are smoking and you get a warm smoke in your lungs that is actually just water vapor with flavor and nicotine. They are so satisfying to a smoker that many people can quit smoking the minute they start “vaping”. No more smoke smell in your clothes, hair or house. No discolored fingers or teeth. No more hacking, bronchitis or coughing up flem. I have been using them for 2 years now.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Oh, and they are not a stop-smoking aid. They are more of a replacement. If they advertised themselves as a stop-smoking aid, they would have to charge that exhorbient tobacco tax that the states charge. Did you know that the states charge tobacco tax on Nicorette and other stop-smoking aids? That is why they are so expensive. You can see that our politicians don’t really care about our health, just their dollars.

Besides, they don’t really help you stop because people who use them tend to continue to use them.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not a smoker. I wanted to say that even though you are doing this for yourself, you are also doing a good thing for all the rest of us who can’t stand the smell of your addiction. Thank you, thank you, thank you! The best of luck! You are making the world a better place!

Seelix's avatar

Thanks, @Skaggfacemutt. I did a little checking and it’s not even legal to sell e-cigarettes in Canada, so they wouldn’t be an option for me anyway.

@wundayatta – Thanks :)

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seelix I can’t offer you quitting advice. All I can say is that quitting will improve your health, reduce your chances of getting cancer, keep your skin looking nice, make your mouth stop smelling like an ash tray, will help keep your teeth white and fresh, will improve your wind and aerobic capacity.
All of those things should be enough to inspire you. But Wait! There’s more! They are helpful and directionally correct to making someone a better lover and life partner.

You are at a perfect age to quit. The longer you wait, the longer it will take to reverse the damage.
Good Luck. We’re all proud of you.

marinelife's avatar

I wish you the very best of luck with quitting, I think that since you are planning to use Nicorette that you are serious and ready!

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Illegal in Canada! Really? That’s interesting – I wonder what their justification for that would be.

Blackberry's avatar

It makes more sense to just do it. Waiting until you’re ready sounds like excuses to me, in my opinion.

linguaphile's avatar

My mom quit 2 times before actually finally quitting on the 3rd attempt. She said the difference between the first times and the last time is that the first times, she did it for an externally-motivated reason, but the last time, for a self-motivated reason.

The first two times, she became an exercise fanatic because she was afraid to gain weigh. The incremental increase in lung capacity was her motivator to keep going- being able to breathe better, run without coughing, etc. The last time, she didn’t exercise as much, but replaced her cigarette habit with another hand-related activity, crocheting, so her hands were always too busy to light a cigarette.

She also became aware of the cigarette-triggers, all the different moments or activities she subconsciously connected with smoking. She said the subconscious triggers were the hardest to break through once the physical addicttion had worn off.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Seelix, I have a friend who says you can always quit the way she quit. She had a heart attack and hasn’t smoked a day since then. I hate reformed people. ; )

rebbel's avatar

Would you agree that these look really ridiculous?
Well, imagine yourself with one in your face…., it’s ridiculous too (agree?)….
It helped me (as an extra motivator, on top of my feeling disgusted with the filthy, health destroying habit) to give it a go when I quit fourteen years ago.
Unfortunately I started again seven years after that, but I am at/(on?) the brink of a new try.
I know I am ready because: I kill (most of) my ciggies after a few puffs, whereas usually I almost burned my fingers, and more and more I notice my tongue tasting ‘metally and chemically’, and I could buy myself a nice tablet pc in two to three months because of the savings it will do.
Maybe one of these also apply to you?
Good luck willpower!

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I have never been a smoker, but I wanted to say “Congratulations!” :)

I would totally hang out with you if I could to help you feel like you’re not alone in your not smoking! ^_^

As for whether or not you are ready, you sound more than ready to me and you sound like you’re serious! I feel really positive about this. I don’t even feel the need to wish you “Good luck” because I have faith that you can do it. :)

Berserker's avatar

I don’t have any real advice, but I do want to wish you the best of luck. I heard that when you’re really jonesing out for a smoke, drinking nice cold water can help fight the craving off for a while. I hope this attempt works out for you.

jazmina88's avatar

You will feel better not smoking in your home. It will smell fresher.
and if it is cold, you wont smoke as much, perhaps.

Good thoughts are with you.

Sunnybunny's avatar

Me and my husband read Alan Carr’s book and it helped so much. We’ve both been free of cigarettes completely for over a year now. I think in a lot of ways I was already in the mind frame of being ready to quit for good and the book helped reinforce that. What really made the biggest impression on us was the author’s statement that there’s no such thing as just one cigarette. You think you aren’t addicted anymore and can have one and the next thing you know you are back to a pack a day. That’s one way we failed before. And the description of the way you become addicted and the ways you can sabotage your own efforts to make excuses to smoke again, that had a big impact too.

I have to say that we fell in love with being nonsmokers very quickly. I think you have to get to the point where you hate the cigarettes more than you love them. No one outside immediate family and friends knew I smoked because I was ashamed of the habit. It’s really looked down on around here. I went through so much to avoid having my clothes smell like smoke, like I’d change my shirt before going out and I had one coat I only wore outside for smoking and never in public. I avoided signing up for overnight trips or things with my kids and their clubs or even all day field trips because I couldn’t smoke and now I never worry about missing out on any of that. We can go to a non-smoking place and take our time and not start to want to leave so we can smoke again. Not to mention the insane expense of two people smoking a pack a day and the effects on our health or our kids seeing us smoke. I think cigarettes are close to $8 a pack here now so you can see how that adds up on a monthly basis.

You can do it too if you put your mind to it but that book will really help, no joke.

mattbrowne's avatar

One of the most successful approaches was developed by the Mayo Clinic, see for example

I’ve seen references to it in several German magazines. The empirical studies are very encouraging. So I’d say follow their approach.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Just thinking about you, Sweetie. Another thing I thought of. I have no idea what the non-smoking situation is up there in the Great White North, but it helps a lot that where I am smoking is banned in almost all public places, makes it much easier to not even think of it when I’m out. What’s it like where you are?

Seelix's avatar

Heya. So I got an email telling me that I’d been added to someone’s fluther, and now I’m totally procrastinating on schoolwork and thought I’d pop in.

So guess what? I TOTALLY QUIT SMOKING. I smoked a ton. Aaaaand then I read Allen Carr’s book, and I don’t smoke anymore. I smoked my last cigarette on February 5th, 2012 and haven’t looked back. BOOYA.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m happy for you, @Seelix. May 1 was my stop date. Smoke-free and no desires.

Bellatrix's avatar

That’s fabulous @Seelix. Do you feel fabulous? I have heard some people actually go through a period of feeling sicker than usual as their body heals and gets rid of all the built up toxins.

Now, back to work :-)

Seelix's avatar

Hey, way to go, @bkcunningham!
And @Bellatrix, I do feel physically awesome. I had heard that some people spend days or longer coughing up all kinds of garbage, but I didn’t have anything like that. I had a rough couple of days at the very beginning, but I rarely even think about smoking anymore. It’s fantastic!

serenityNOW's avatar

I kind of wish that these posts were date-stamped so I’d know when you last posted
I used Allen Carr, too. But, I made the idiot error of smoking a cigarette about three months in. I was around smokers and training for a new job, and I fell into the trap again. I’m in a pickle right now – I simply cannot afford those coffin nails. I’m chewing the gum – I had a box from Costco that I never opened – and using his “suggestions/insights” at the same time. I know they stress not using any nicotine products, but I still like the bit of a “buzz” I get from the gum. I’ve been on-and-off smokes for a couple of weeks, but this is the end

Anyway, are you still quit? I certainly hope so :)

Bellatrix's avatar

@serenityNOW, if you hover your mouse over the flag next to Flag as, you will see the date the post was made.

I will ask @Seelix that question :-)

serenityNOW's avatar

@Bellatrix – Cool feature. I see her post was from last July. Practically a year… yeah, if you get around to it, that would be neat.

Bellatrix's avatar

I did! She said she gave up for 11 months but then took it back up. I think giving up smoking is a process though. Sometimes you take a step forward, then a couple back, then another couple forward and so on.

Glad to help with the time stamp thing.

bkcunningham's avatar

One year and one month for me! Chantix is a miracle drug.

serenityNOW's avatar

@bkcunningham – I tried Chantix – it truly did work, but I had the “dreaded” depression/suicidal ideation. (The Bipolar probably exacerbated it.) But, it was really amazing – I was down to about 2–3 cigs a day when I had to stop the medication. That is a miracle; I’m a 2 pack/day smoker. I guess your mileage may vary.

@Bellatrix – good for @Seelix – What they say in some twelve-step groups, relapse is a part of recovery. It’s natural to slip-up, I guess. I know it’s that way for me with some harder drugs, but it’s reassuring to know that it’s all part of the process. Just keep-on-keepin’-on, I guess.

bkcunningham's avatar

How long did you take it before you had the depression/suicidal thoughts, @serenityNOW? I recommended it to a friend who is bipolar. She is on it under a physician and her psychiatrist’s supervision. The last time I spoke to her, she had taken it about two weeks and felt nothing. She said her desire to smoke was the same as before.

Her biggest problem, IMHO, is that she has a roommate who is a smoker.

It is a a real shame it didn’t work for you. At least you gave it a try.

serenityNOW's avatar

@bkcunningham – I lasted about 3 weeks, or thereabouts. I’m suprised it hasn’t already kicked-in for her. I followed the directions, used the phone-support and after the first week I was virtually done smoking. The thing is, some emotionally stable individuals get hit with the depression, and some people that have mental issues don’t. It’s really just luck-of-the-draw. That’s good that she has medical supervision. I did, too, and my physician was even reluctant to prescribe it. He told me to go off of it immediately if I had those side effects. It’s a shame but there are other ways.

P.S. I smoked my last cigarette at 12PM on Saturday, and the only real tough bit has been waking up. (I always smoked a cigarette first thing. Sometimes I won’t even put my shoes on – it’s just straight out the door.) Beyond that, I feel really good!

serenityNOW's avatar

Oh, and my psychiatrist said I have a bit of a better shot, because one of the drugs I’m on is Wellbutrin , which is marketed as Zyban for smokers. They prescribe in conjunction with other smoking cessation options, like the patch or gum.

bkcunningham's avatar

About 8 years ago, my husband tried the Zyban to stop smoking. His blood pressure went through the roof. It was scary. He had to stop it immediately. He stopped when I did. We both used the Chantix.

Good luck, @serenityNOW. You can stop if you really want to and you make up your mind to not be controlled by that nasty little deadly, expensive, stinking cig. Brush you teeth first thing in the morning and whenever you get the urge. I brushed my teeth and I sucked on Tootsie Pops suckers.

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