General Question

Deja_vu's avatar

What does it take to quit smoking cigarettes?

Asked by Deja_vu (4157points) September 15th, 2010

I’ve been wanting to quit for a while now. I don’t want to take pills, the patch gives me a rash.
I want to know if any of you jellies that were smokers were able to quit. What encouraged you?
I know this seems like a silly question, but I’m just having the hardest time. I’ve been a pack-a-day smoker now for 11 years.
Everytime I try to quit, I go through wild mood swings. I feel like I’m going insane. If I go more than 2 hours without smoking I get extremely dizzy and I can’t think straight. If I go longer my vision gets intensified. Weird shit, that I can’t handle.
Any unobvious suggestions?

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28 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

Don’t quit. Cut back.

happywhitney's avatar

If i were you I would try weaning off. A pack a day does a lot of damage to your lungs. I wouldn’t try cold turkey cause you will get very sick. Just start slow. pace yourself. be conscious during the day, before you light up decide if you want it or need it. I would only smoke one when you start going through withdraws. Or even have just half of a cig

Master's avatar

I smoke “socially” as they say. One cigarette a week while drinking coffee at Starbucks. A month ago I decided to buy my own pack of Camel №9 but not become a “smoker.” One in the morning, one after eating and one at night. Something to do, to spend time doing. I like getting dizzy. Is not “high” more like “zen.”

Soon my pack finished and I decided to buy another. And the week after, another. You get hooked faster than I thought. And at the same time I keep hearing of people like you struggling to quit after so long and me with so little time found it hard to do. Last week was my last pack. I kept 1 cigarette, I said, for when I really really want it. I was looking for it tonight, but then I remembered I had smoked it the day after I “quit.”

So do what the people above have suggested. Cut back slowly and bring yourself to 1 cigarette per day. But set a time frame. Once you are in 1 cig a day for a couple of weeks, cut it off. Then try to resist the urge for one more as long as you can.

Like they say, best way to quit is to never start.

Good luck to you. With enough determination and patience you can do it!

iamthemob's avatar

And don’t feel guilty if you cheat! Monitor your overall progress and make sure that keeps moving in the right direction. It’s easy to beat yourself up over the minor transgressions – and then you need to have a cigarette!

Master's avatar

Yes! What @iamthemob just said!

muppetish's avatar

This is entirely dependent on what you feel comfortable doing. If quitting smoking altogether makes you feel uncomfortable, I would do what @iamthemob and suggests and cut back. Wean yourself off slowly.

My mother grew up in a house of chain smokers and smoked every day from age 12 to 26. She quit cold turkey because she wanted to raise her kids in a smoke-free home. It wasn’t easy. It was a nightmare. But she hasn’t touched nor craved a cigarette since. That said, she’s a crazy-determined woman who was willing to go through hell and high water. I wouldn’t recommend people quit cold turkey unless they felt as though they could handle the side-effects.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Deja_vu's avatar

@iamthemob Good point. When I cheat I feel guilty. If I get caught by one of my loved ones, they act extremely dissapointed and it doesn’t help. Like nobody can trully believe that I can quit smoking.
@happywhitney True. I feel extremely sick when I try to quit.
@Master I will wean myself of, then I few days later I smoke like crazy. Same patterns.
@muppetish Thats what I need. Crazy-determination, hell or high water stuff.
Thanks you guys. I feel like I need to give myself a firm kick in the ass.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I was smoking ultra light cigarettes and about ¾ of a pack a day at the end. I had gone from full flavor to lights to ultra lights.

I quit several times, which they say is normal. I didn’t beat myself up when I quit and then started up again. I told myself I was practicing for the time I would really quit.

I quit 5 years ago by using the gum. I only had to use it when I had intense cravings, and I cut myself off the gum after 3 days. The cravings were manageable at that point and went away almost entirely after another 3 days.

I don’t know if it’s true, but I was told that after 3 days all the nicotine is out of your system, so any cravings after that are purely psychological. I don’t know why, but hearing that helped me. I somehow knew that if I could make it 3 days, then I could tell myself it was all in my head.

You sound like you have abnormally risky withdrawals. If you can, you really might think seriously about talking to your doctor about quitting.

meagan's avatar

I’ve been a smoker since I was 18, but by the time I hit 21, I was smoking a pack a day.
I quit cold turkey. It was easy for me. I don’t have much of an addictive personality.
But I wanted to quit because I looove to exercise, and thought that once I quit my endurance would go up. And it did! I can run longer and I’m so happy.

Deja_vu's avatar

I also get extremely emotional when I try to quit. Almost like I’m pms-ing. I do want to quit. More than ever. I joked with a friend that I should check into a rehab for smoking cigarettes. I’m just losing hope, and I am totally over smoking. Hell, I’m smoking right now. How lame is that?

Jeruba's avatar


After about 22 years, at 2 packs a day, I did it. Cold turkey is the only thing that worked for me. Other approaches had failed, including cutting back. When I passed 17 years as a nonsmoker, I celebrated; that’s the point at which your lungs are on par with those of someone who has never smoked.

Here was my answer a year and a half ago:

The first three days are the worst. I quit after 22 years at the 2-pack level. I journaled minute by minute through final countdown (last drags) and the white-knuckle days. I also went through I don’t know how many thousands of pretzel stix. The journal was so I’d remember the pain in case I was ever tempted to start again. I still have it.

The first three days are the worst, yes, and the mad craving passes, but it seems to be true that the desire never really goes away.

This year I’ll mark my 20th anniversary.

Perhaps the journal is an unobvious suggestion.

Deja_vu's avatar

@Jeruba Good for you! That gives me some hope.

Deja_vu's avatar

@judochop This may make me look like a fu$king idiot. My father died of lung cancer. It’s a good reason to quit, huh? I want to be healthier. I don’t want to die from cancer. Also, I still look younger than I am and I’m afraid that I’ll rapidly age soon (yes, I’m a bit shallow). I feel toxic at times. My body has been telling me “it’s enough” in so many ways. Geez, I am so over it. My biggest down fall is that I enjoy it. I don’t wan to smoke anymore, but I still enjoy smoking.

cazzie's avatar

I am the only one of the 9 kids who never smoked. I watched my grandfather die of lung cancer and then my mother. My father died of emphysema and heart failure brought on by smoking. All of my siblings still smoke. There is NO reasoning to addiction. It’s brain chemistry and if you admit that you still enjoy it, you’ll never quit. You need to despise the habit. You need to want to quit MORE than you enjoy it.

Austinlad's avatar

It takes what it took for me to stop 38 years ago: sincere desire and willpower. Without those, nothing else works for long.

I’m not being flip or simplistic about this. I had a very good medical reason to stop but didn’t because I hadn’t yet mustered the desire. But one day, while talking on the phone, I brushed my hand across my mustache and smelled stale tobacco, and the smell was no offensive to me that I stopped cold turkey that day (after 10 years of smoking) and never went back.

partyparty's avatar

Don’t tell yourself you can’t have another cigarette. Always give yourself permission to have a cigarette whenever you wish. That takes the pressure off you, which in turn stops you needing to smoke.
Then gradually start cutting back on how many you smoke per day.
This may seem like an odd answer, but sometimes people smoke when they are stressed, which in turn leads them to smoke more.
Take one day at a time. Never say never. Good luck

mrentropy's avatar

I’m keeping track of how much I’m spending on cigarettes. It’s depressing.

phoebusg's avatar

Weaning off can work if you do it right. You could get a nicotine inhaler/vaporizer – it emulates the bolus smoking creates – and the rate of nicotine introduction to the bloodstream and brain. But allows you to keep track of the exact dose as you’re dose-regulating.

Cutting back may not work because you’re reducing the frequency and not the dose. Nicotine is highly toxic and does not stay in the bloodstream very long, the body kicks it out pretty fast. So, reducing the frequency would leave you with next to no nicotine and cravings/withdrawal-symptoms. Reducing the dose PER regular interval/ or usual interval may work best. You can do that by using the inhaler, or by smoking 70% of the cigs, and less, and less.

Another option of course is talking to your doctor/and psychiatrist. Bupropion works wonders with the cravings and makes quitting easier – but you’re not into pills.

Last bit of advice: persistence.

Aster's avatar

It’s hard; it really is. You have to be determined. It helps if you despise the look of a dirty ashtray and the ridiculous price of a pack. A substitute like gum helps. Suckers are even better since they keep your hands busy. Cut down by half for awhile then by ⅔, etc. until you are down to facing that first morning without one. If you can get through that you’ve won the war.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

For me it took the patch and some self determination. You have to want to quit to be successful. Been tobacco free for 4½ years.

phaedryx's avatar

(Disclaimer: this is based talking to someone else who quit. I’ve never smoked.)

1. Find substitutions. If you tend to smoke at a certain time or place, find somewhere else to be and something else to do. If you miss having something in your mouth, find something else to chew or suck on.

2. Avoid temptation. Don’t hang out with other people who are smoking. Don’t have cigarettes available. Don’t keep a lighter around.

3. Get a lot of support. Find somebody else who wants you to quit to check up on you periodically.

4. Figure out an alternate way to deal with things. Smoking often has behavioral triggers, e.g. smoking when stressed. Identify the triggers and do something else.

mrentropy's avatar

On Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson swore that driving a Koenigsegg CCX would help you quit smoking.

If that doesn’t work for you, Christopher, at Not My Desk, had a plan to help him stop smoking.

judochop's avatar

I was not being a dick. You smoke, you get cancer. It has been proven. People want to quit just think about folks like your father more. Do you want to end up like him? If not, then quit because if you don’t….Cancer will sure as fuck make you stop.
Why do people feel the need to sugar coat stopping techniques? Unless you are a “fucking” idiot then all you have to do is either 1. head to the store and get some nicorette. 2. order something to help online. 3. join a support group either online or in person. 4. Carry a photo of your father who “died of lung cancer.”

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@judochop That was kind of dick thing to say considering the father died of lung cancer. You may not have known, but you could have considered it.Given the subject matter. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances there is. Plain and simple. I’m not sure by your comment, but it seems like you may have never experienced nicotine addiction. I smoked 2 packs of camel wides a day towards the end of my smoking. Smoked for over 20 years. There is a difference between being an idiot and being an addict.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t see evidence that cancer makes you stop, @judochop. You don’t know any cancer patient who kept right on smoking (or started up again as soon as the surgery was over)? I do.

Unless you mean that death makes you stop, which of course it does, because it makes you stop everything, including talking.

But cancer does not necessarily mean death any more.

Even if you have cancer and decide to stop, you still need to stop by some means, and the same methods that work for non-cancer patients will work for cancer patients.

My father died of lung cancer too, and he never took a single puff of tobacco in his life.

judochop's avatar

I smoked for 20 years. Sometimes more than two packs a day.

Sometimes Fluther can be way to literal. Sure it was a dick move to say cancer…I should have sugar coated the obvious. However by everyone taking the time to point it out makes you what?

Here is the harsh reality of it. I do not care if your parents died of cancer (smoking or not). I’ve lost all four of my grandparents to cancer and two friends years ago and a good friend this summer. Cancer is a bitch but it is a fact of life for some. If you are diagnosed with cancer and you still smoke through therapy, etc then ok, @Jeruba is right. Cancer does not make you quit smoking, smoking just makes you look dumb if you are doing it while you have cancer.
Addiction is a pain in the ass and while I have little sympathy for anyone who elects themselves to become addicted to something I will side with you on the part where it is hard to quit. This is why there are MANY things to help you stop and eventually quit.
The question is, what does it take to quit smoking? The answer is pretty simple. Stop inhaling smoke.

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