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:
- 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 :)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 :)
- Quit Smoking For Good
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- No Smoking Please
- What You Need To Do Before You Quit Smoking
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