You’re reading about quitting smoking. Do you want to quit smoking? What’s most important is the honest answer to that question, because I’ll tell you something unusual: it’s not hard to quit smoking. You won’t get ‘dope sick’ and writhe through some terrible withdrawal fever like a heroin junkie from Trainspotting. The hardest part is convincing yourself you want to quit smoking. After initially quitting, the next challenge is staying smoke free. I was a smoker for over 13 years, and then one day two and a half years ago I smoked my last cigarette, and haven’t had one since. How I quit smoking may seem unusual, but I’m not unique; I think it can work for anybody. I quit smoking by setting a date, replacing my addiction, and then quitting the easier addiction to break. Here’s how I did it.
I Recognized the Unusual Things I’d Tell Myself When I Quit Smoking
I “tried” to quit in the past. Then I watched The Empire Strikes Back, and heard the words of Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” After I stopped smoking I’d have wistful feelings like, “I’m never going to smoke a cigarette again,” as if I said good-bye to an old friend. This emotional longing was my body using my mind to get me back into its routine of nicotine intake. I knew I needed a new routine to get my body over smoking.
Setting a Target Date to Quit Smoking
It’d be unusual to quit smoking in the middle of the day, so I knew I had to set it up so one day I would wake up a non-smoker. Here are a couple tips for setting a target date:
- Set aside two or three cigarettes a couple days ahead of time to be your last. This way if you finish your last pack at an awkward time, you still have your ceremonial last smokes of the day.
- Pick a day when you can break your routine. It wouldn’t be good on Tuesday, when you always have a smoke before that recurring meeting. A weekend when you may go hiking, to the beach, the mall, go-carting, etc. would be a good day.
Use Replacement Therapy to Quit Smoking
What was most important to me was that I stop directly inhaling smoke as soon as possible. On my quit date, I switched to e-cigarettes, and I was actually surprised at how well they satisfied my cravings. Before you switch off, I know using e-cigs isn’t quitting smoking, but I used them as a stepping stone on my path to quitting. Here’s how I used e-cigs to quit smoking:
- I vowed to carry my pack of e-cigs as vigilantly as I would carry regular cigarettes.
- Began using cartridges with the normal amount of nicotine.
- When I ran out, I’d buy the cartridges with the next lower amount of nicotine.
- Eventually I started using the e-cig cartridges with no nicotine.
Finally, Breaking the e-Cig Habit
After using e-cigarettes with no nicotine for a while, a funny thing happened. I stopped reaching for my e-cigs when I was driving, or walking the dog, or whenever I’d normally use cigarettes or e-cigs. I got bored with e-cigs and now I haven’t even used them in over a year. What’s great was when I broke the e-cig habit, I didn’t go back to cigarettes, because they had been replaced by e-cigs. Here’s how quitting smoking by using e-cigs works:
- First you break the addiction to nicotine while keeping the hand-to-mouth habit of smoking going.
- Then you break the hand-to-mouth habit as your body’s physiological dependence on the resultant effect of the habit have been removed.
It might be an unusual way to quit smoking, by replacing it with something else and then quitting that, but I’m glad it’s worked for me so far. I now walk the long road of not smoking anymore in my life. Wish me luck!