Have You Ever Quit Smoking?

Next Thursday, Nov. 20,  marks the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, and smokers everywhere are encouraged to take the day to make a plan to quit smoking. It's a fact that quitting smoking greatly decreases your risk of lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and other major health concerns. The steps to a healthier life can start with the decision to quit. Have you ever quit smoking? What steps did you take? Tell us about your journey to stop smoking in the comments section.

For more on the Great American Smokeout, visit the American Cancer Society's webpage. For facts about quitting smoking, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Fact Sheet on smoking cessation.

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LRW November 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

I smoked socially as a teen after the death of my father who was a chain smoker. The day I found out I was pregnant I stopped cold turkey. I never smoked again. My daughter not only changed my life....she probably saved it. 21 years later I am still smoke free. 🙂

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Bonnie C November 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Smoking is one bad habit I never acquired. I did experiment one summer when I was about 13 yrs old, but didn't really see what the fuss was all about.

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Christina November 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

I quit smoking about a year ago. I used the patch and Zyban, plus CrossFit! I justified the crazy expense of CrossFit by telling myself it was cheaper than cigarettes. And then CrossFit helped keep me "honest" because I'd get killed in workouts if I started smoking again. I am very glad I quit and encourage anyone else to use exercise as a way to control cravings. I walked a lot when I wanted a cig.

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Leti November 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I quit smoking the first time on the patch. It really is effective with the physical addiction.
The difficult part for me is the pshychological and emotional addiction. 13 years after I successfully quit on the patch, I started again because I thought I could handle a clove cigarette or two. They are so tasty! One or two cloves lead to several cloves a day (which is extremely harsh, especially if you inhale) and eventually a pack a day of Camel menthols and having to quit all over again.
The second time, I quit cold turkey by reminding myself every time I had a craving that although smoking calms my cravings very temporarily, it causes me to continue having more cravings later. I just had to break the cycle with sheer willpower. It's very difficult, but it can be done.
I am now completely smoke free again and extremely happy about it.
I am also very mindful of two important facts:
1. Clove cigarettes are a trigger or "gateway" to "real" cigarettes and I just avoid them entirely.
2. No matter how long I've been a non-smoker, I am capable of becoming fully addicted all over again any time.

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Tom Moses November 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

Once, while in college, I stopped smoking for an entire year. Whenever I felt the urge to light up, I chewed a piece of Bazooka bubble gum instead. Something about the process -- unwrapping the individual piece, popping it in my mouth, reading the comic, and chewing -- helped stifle the urge. Unfortunately, during that year, I did not lose the urge to smoke ... all I succeeded in doing was transferring the habit and running up a fairly large dental bill.

When I finally quit for good ("great" would be a better word), on August 12, 1982, cigarettes had just broken through the $1 per pack barrier. Every time I got the urge to buy a pack of smokes, I put a dollar in a large glass jar. As the visual evidence of my costly (not to mention filthy, unhealthy, and disgusting) habit mounted, the urge slowly went away.

Advice:

1) pick a date to quit (you will always remember this date ... celebrate it every year!)
2) launder all of your clothes (sweaters, suits, coats, etc.) and towels/sheets/blankets
3) start putting money in a glass jar
4) be proud of your accomplishment and become intolerant of smoking

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Emily Ross November 14, 2014 at 10:19 am

Does anyone have examples of how they have celebrated anniversaries of or milestones related to quitting?

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Mary Lou Seidenzahl November 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

I quit a 2 pack a day habit back in October, 1999. I slowly weaned myself off cigarettes by wriring down the time of every cigarette I smoked. I started out by allowing myself one every 15 minutes and then one every 30 minutes, and so forth until I got down to one every couple of hours before quiting. Everyone that knows me was shocked that I was able to quit since I was such a heavy smoker. To relieve stress I started walking. Like the doctor told me, I ONLY thought that cigarettes were calming me down.....instead they were doing the exact opposite! Quitting was the best decision of my life. Certainly was a challenge but a very worthwhile challenge!

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Sharon November 14, 2014 at 9:27 am

In early December I'm leaving the job I've had for 15 years and moving to a new job. I'm hoping to take advantage of the change in my daily habit to quit my "habit". I'd love to see some success stories from folks posted so I can get some good ideas of how to be successful myself.

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Brenda November 14, 2014 at 8:29 am

I stopped "cold turkey" because I was losing my voice and a doctor recommeded I stopped smoking. I would get a peppermint everytime I felt the urge to smoke. I haven't smoke now since early 1976.

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