Easiest Way To Quit Smoking: Give Up & Shut Up!


Do you want to quit smoking? Do you want to do it in the easiest, cheapest and quickest way possible? Cool, because I’m going to show you how. My proven (well it worked for me and I’m just a normal guy) method will get you off the smokes without patches, gum or silly cigarette substitutes. So let me tell you a little about myself. I was a smoker for 9 years, starting out at around 3 or 5 per day at the age of 16 and ramping up to 15 or 20 per day by my mid 20′s. In January 2012 I decided I wanted to quit. One major reason was the cost, I was spending around €1000 per year on cigarettes, on something that I didn’t need, I couldn’t justify the waste. I was also tired of waking up congested and coughing every morning, I was tired of feeling seedy. So I looked into advice and information on how to quit, I found everything from the common sense to the bizarre. I found people on forums saying things like “It’s day 153 without a cigarette, I really want a smoke, really badly!” and I thought “Whoa, this is gonna be tough”!! Except that it wasn’t! Here’s the thing, smoking comes with two addictive elements, the body’s drug dependency on Nicotine and the habitual addiction to the physical act of smoking. It takes 72 hours (3 days) to completely detox from Nicotine, there is no Nicotine in your system after 3 days. And it takes 30 days to change, develop or get rid of a habit. I’m sorry but if you are still thinking about smoking 6 months after quitting you are doing it wrong. Just smoke, enjoy it and stop giving yourself a hard time!

But for those who genuinely want to quit easily and quickly let’s take a look at exactly what you’ll need to do and what you’ll need to avoid:

Step 1: Planning Phase - Give yourself a week of preparation before you stop smoking. During this week you must inform the people close to you, family, friends, co workers, local shop keepers (the ones you buy your smokes from) that you will not be smoking from a certain day. This provides a support base, it’s much easier to stay off them if everyone knows you’re quitting! Have enough cigarettes to last you until the day you decide to quit, and make a commitment that you will stop when you finish the last pack you’ve bought. Plan to stop smoking during a weekend, long weekend, or when you have time off. It’s much easier to quit during periods of low stress. The first 3 days are crucial and so if you spend them relaxing or enjoying a hobby you will have a much higher chance of success. If your first three days are spent working in a stressful environment or out partying with smoker friends you can just about forget about quitting. Also don’t think in terms of quitting ‘forever’, this can sabotage you, think in terms of 30 days. Commit to not smoking a single cigarette for 30 days, anyone can do this. After the 30 days you can think about how you’d like to proceed, but you can definitely do 30 days. Finally be sure to tell your friends and family member that smoke that they are not to allow you to smoke one of their cigarettes, even if you ask. Think of what you’ll buy with all the money you’ll save! And if you can afford it buy a big ticket item with the money you’d save after not smoking for a year in advance, this will give you further motivation :)

Step 2: The First 3 Days - As mentioned above the first 72 hours are the most important, be sure to choose those hours wisely. Keep your stress to an absolute minimum, and make sure you don’t have anything pressing or important to do during this crucial time. You’ll get your strongest cravings during this period, but if you can last the first 3 days you’ll find it just get’s easier. Try and get into it, even enjoy the feeling of detoxing, it might feel a little psychedelic. Take a walk and notice how your perception is different, talk about what it feels like, and don’t waste the opportunity to feel something interesting. Enjoy the experience! When you crave a cigarette don’t freak out, cravings last a minute or two and then go away. When a craving starts just remind yourself of the reasons you are quitting be it money, health, family etc. Remind yourself of the people supporting you and remind yourself that it’s only for 30 days, it doesn’t have to be forever. Every time you crave a smoke tell yourself “Not this time, I don’t need it, maybe later”, keep doing that until the cravings end and you’ll be home free. Finally make sure there’s no cigarettes of yours in your house, and that if anyone else around you smokes be sure that they won’t let you smoke theirs even if you ask.

Step 3: Don’t Smoke - This step is as simple as it sounds. If you’ve made it through the first 3 days then the worst of it is over, but be vigilant, you’ve committed to at least 30 days without smoking so don’t let your guard down or fall for any mind games. “This is so easy I can quit whenever I want, I’ll just smoke again for a while now that I know I can quit”, “I’ll just have 1, what harm could that do?”. Remember your commitment to 30 days, these kinds of thoughts do eventually go, just be sure to give it the full 30 days. Don’t buy cigarettes, don’t accept a free cigarette, don’t put a cigarette in your mouth, and definitely don’t light one! If you don’t smoke for 30 days you can officially consider yourself a non smoker, hell I considered myself a non smoker from day 1! Whenever a craving came up I just said to myself “Why would I smoke a cigarette? I’m a non smoker”

Step 4: The Aftercare - Once you’ve made it through 30 days, and providing you decide to remain a non smoker, here’s a few things to consider. Here’s the ‘Shut Up’ part of my method. Don’t become an anti-smoking Nazi. No one likes a self-righteous snob who thinks they’re better than everyone because they quit smoking. Be respectful to your friends and family who still smoke, it is their right and privilege. All you can do is be a healthy example of someone who quit smoking and be there to offer advice should anyone decide they also want to quit. From time to time you’ll get cravings, especially in the first few months after quitting. These get rarer and rarer as time goes on, but don’t freak out if you get the odd craving. Just do as you always do “Why would I smoke? I’m a non smoker” or “I won’t smoke this time, maybe next time”, these tricks get you out of trouble and make the craving pass quickly.

These are what worked for me, other than the odd craving, I haven’t thought about smoking since two weeks after quitting. I wish you all the best in your efforts to quit. If it doesn’t work the first time don’t worry, it wasn’t the right time. Don’t beat yourself up, it’s not a big deal. Try again when you are ready. And while you are smoking enjoy it, don’t feel guilty :) I loved every cigarette I smoked, and never felt a twinge of guilt. When I wanted to quit it was easy because I just made a decision. Below I’m going to post a list of things that will ensure your FAILURE in quitting, so take heed of these warnings:

7 Things That Will Make Quitting 7 Times Harder:

  1. Stress - If you decide to quit while under a lot stress be it relationship stress, work stress, health stress etc, I don’t like your chances of success. Wait until your life is basically peaceful and happy then quit, you’ll have much better luck :)
  2. Keeping a Journal - Quitting smoking is hard enough without ruminating and pontificating on it all the time! I’ve seen some methods recommending that you ‘journal your quitting journey’, keeping a daily diary of your cravings. Just don’t, quitting smoking is not a big deal, don’t make it into some huge thing! That only gives it power that it doesn’t deserve.
  3. Screw Patches, Gum & Cigarette Substitutes - Ok so I’ve never used patches or gum, but here’s the thing, the Nicotine will be out of your system in 72 hours if you go cold turkey. Why would you want to keep your Nicotine addiction going any longer that it needs too!? Just seems crazy to me. Plus if your primary reason for quitting is to save money then why waste more money during the process of quitting? There are also a number of products that you can hold in your hand and put in your mouth to replicate the feeling of smoking. Again, any habit can be broken in 30 days, why would you continue to support a habit you want to change!? Oral fixation has been debunked, it’s just a habit. Don’t continue to enable the habit by putting silly things in your mouth.
  4. Don’t ‘Cut Down’ - It can be temping to try and just ‘cut down’ on how many cigarettes you smoke. This is just a mind game. I tried ‘cutting down’ about 6 times during my time as a smoker and my number of smokes always crept back up to 15 or 20 per day after a period of time. Either smoke or don’t smoke. Perhaps some people can be disciplined about this but I know I wasn’t and I know there are others like me. Don’t ‘cut down’ just quit.
  5. Don’t Watch Movies With Lots Of Smoking - Movies, books and video games can be a great distraction while quitting and during those first 3 days in particular. However if you are being constantly reminded of cigarettes it will have the opposite effect. Stay away from pre-1980′s films or Asian cinema and you should be fine! As for games to NOT play Metal Gear Solid 4!
  6. Don’t Party - Social gatherings like parties or going out to pubs and clubs usually involve some smoking. You may have a very strong association with drinking and smoking or going out and smoking. It’s an idea to stay away from drink and parties for the first week or two in particular. As a substitute go to a park, or a museum, an art gallery or a cafe.
  7. Don’t Break Up - In the early days and weeks of quitting try not to initiate any big relationship dramas. Fights and breakups are guaranteed to get you smoking again, so keep things peaceful and civil :)

And there you have it. Whew, long post, but that’s it, everything I can share in how to quickly, cheaply and easily give up smoking. It’s not hard, it’s not a big deal, just do not smoke a cigarette for 30 days. Anyone can do that, and you are included in anyone!!

Have you tried giving up in the past? Did you succeed of fail? What worked for you?

Good luck and take care :)

Rohan.

Related Articles:

Rohan Healy is the author of “Greeks to Geeks: Practical Stoicism in the 21st Century” and “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You”

Click the book titles to visit their Amazon pages, read the reviews, and sample or purchase the books.

33 thoughts on “Easiest Way To Quit Smoking: Give Up & Shut Up!

  1. Rohan, I’ve never smoked but my brother (who does/did/does/did) was telling me the withdrawal symptoms between cigarettes you get normally in a day are the strongest you can have. So If you can remember that when you are learning “not to smoke,” (which is different than “withdrawing”) it can be a big psychological boon. What you are experiencing is a multi-sensory (taste, touch, rhythm, habit, smell etc) withdrawal long after the actual nicotine part is over.

    • That’s really interesting. The hardest thing is all the associations we build up, like your bro says. Wake up = have a smoke, finish meal = have a smoke, go outside = have a smoke, drinking coffee = have a smoke. Everything becomes associated with smoking and it takes a while to lose the pavlovian responses. 30 days should break any of these associations if ya can stick it out that long :)

      Thanks for the comment!

      Rohan.

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  3. I smoked through my teen years and gave up in my early twenties. I tried it all, patches/gum etc,. The most digesting was the ‘inhaler’ which squirted a nicotine liquid up your nose and made you gag for an hour (hard to desire a cigarette when you’re gagging though).

    None of it worked. In the end I used a somewhat less orthodox method. I stuffed my face with Benzo’s to quell the anxiety/frustration and smoked herbals to give me something to do. I wouldn’t recommend it…but it did work:)

    • Wowsers! Well whatever works lol. Yours is a cautionary tale and one that supports my theory about patches/gum/nasal spray being basically a waste of time.

      Anyway glad to hear you got off ‘em one way or another :)

      Thanks for the comment!

      Rohan.

    • Thanks for the comment Laura :) Sorry to hear about your Grandad! Yeah, ah well I take responsibility for my actions, if health issues arise later in life due to my habits I’ll just have to accept it. Still it’s better not to get started in the first place, regardless of the health issues the pointlessness and cost is enough reason never to bother!

      Always nice to hear from you Laura :)

      Rohan.

  4. It’s interesting. I smoked off and on for several years; I’d take a break now and then (as opposed to quitting and restarting), on the theory that if I wasn’t enjoying it any more, I shouldn’t do it. 4 years ago, I literally got up one day and decided to stop smoking, period. And I did. I believe this was possible because (a) I didn’t have a true physical addiction and (b) I made a definite choice. For me, it was truly that simple. Best of luck to all of you who want to quit– you can do it!

    • Yeah my mum is like that. She can start or stop at will, and when she’s smoking she can basically choose how many she’d like to smoke. I guess people react to addictions in different ways, I dunno if it’s the physiology or the psychology of the individual, maybe a bit of both. I’m a binary kinda guy, it’s either on of off with me lol. I tried ‘cutting down’ a few times, no luck!

      I am the kind of guy who can stick with something once I’ve made a choice though, which sounds like what you did. I think anyone can do it as long as they find the method that suits them and they choose the time wisely. A time of low stress is important.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Rohan.

  5. I don’t smoke and never have but this still sounds like good advice! I’m going to remember your post when any of my smoker friends say they want to quit :)

    • Thanks for the comment! Yeah well don’t start, there’s really no need for it, though I’m sure you’re beyond the point where you’d bother taking it up.

      Cool, hope my experience can help :)

      Take care.

      Rohan.

  6. good post…lol I’ll need a complete lifestyle change to quit….I’ve made it past 72 hours…never passed the 30 day mark. And I lead a stressful life. But, all the same, thanks for the post.

    • Hell, I did! No way I could have quit while being in the stressful relationship I was in. I had to sort out my life first, feel good about myself and then just self discipline it out for the 30 days. If you gotta smoke just do it, no guilt, then if things get to a point where quitting becomes realistic, then go for it, and hopefully some of my experiences can help ;) Trying to quit over and over while under a lot of stress just wears you down.

      Thanks for the comment man!

      Rohan.

  7. Nice post again! I’m not sure about one thing: telling everybody in advance that you’re quitting. I tried to stop a couple of times and the final succesful try was telling no one. I heard that talking about future goals gives an illusionary feeling of accomplishment thus making the goal less important, I’ve got no source so I could be completely wrong. Telling people you don’t like or other smokers that tell you it’s impossible may be better to prove yourself. Also constantly telling uninformed people you are quitting while quitting feels good :)

    • Thanks for the comment! Hmm, that’s really interesting. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since posting this blog it’s that giving up is so different for everyone. For me I had to tell the people close to me that I was going to quit in order to make it “real”, to give me some accountability outside of just myself. But hey, whatever works :) It’s cool to hear yet another perspective!

      And I totally agree about telling people that you haven’t smoked in however many days or weeks early on. I certainly surprised a few of my recording clients that way haha :)

      Rohan.

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  9. That was really an impressive way on quitting smoking.Before i use to do smoking and one of the thing that make me quit on this is my self discipline and motivation on quitting which many people don’t have because they are really addictive into it.In Sweden people use to smoke electronic cigarette that for me was a very good option to reduce smoking and can possibly be a way to quit smoking in near future.

  10. What an inspiring article about smoking. It is very usefull and informative because you write it very personal with a lof nice facts. I quit smoking 2 years ago after more than 25 years as a smoker unless when I was pregnant. I am so happy I don´t have that discusting habbit anymore….

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  15. Superb post Rohan…I would only say this: I was trying to quit for the last atleast 1 year..but couldn’t. I just read your post on 18th Nov 2013 and decided to quit from the next day i.e from 19th Nov till date (about 7 days) I didn’t light up a single cig. Just for the info, I am, sorry I mean I WAS smoking 15-20 cig in a day for the past 18 years! Simply put, not only me, but everyone in my family, my dad, my wife and my friends are all indebted to you..Thank you so much Sir.
    Here is my one query: I have a fear! Unlike others I used to realy enjoy smoking, I never “disliked” smoking…I never hated it, So my fear is will I be again tempted to smoke…Am I more vulnerable than those who quit the smoking because they hated it and they never enjoyed it. Just to make a point here: I also drink but I dont really enjoy it (unlike smoking) so I am confident that I will never be addicted towards alcohol.

    Anyways thanks a lot again Rohan.

    Gautam

    • That’s great, I’m glad to hear about your success :)

      I too am someone who always enjoyed smoking, and I don’t begrudge those who do, but it hasn’t made me go back. There are plenty of other things in life I enjoy and so even though I enjoyed smoking it’s not enough to make me start again. When I think of having a cigarette I just remind myself of the reasons why I quit, and that’s usually enough to stop any cravings :)

      Good luck, all the best!

      Rohan.

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