How Did You Finally Quit Smoking for Good?

Updated on May 12, 2010
A.W. asks from Schererville, IN
19 answers

I've been an on and off smoker (mostly on) for 9 years. Not smoking during my pregnancy/breastfeeding wasn't a problem. But every time I get together with friends socially, I pick up the habit again for the next few months until I decide to quit again (usually lasting for about 3-4 weeks). This is my pattern. Asking my friends not to smoke in front of me doesn't happen, because usually I'm looking forward to getting together so that I have an excuse to smoke again. My husband smokes as well, and whenever I decide to quit, he quits with me. But he chews instead, so the nicotine craving is just transferred to another method.
I do belong to an online support group. It helps me here and there, but it's nothing motivating enough to kick my habit for good.
The messed up part: I'm in the gym all week long training for my first figure competition, and I won't even think about putting a sugar molecule into my body. But smoking.... the worst thing to do to my body -- I make a stupid exception for that.
I need to quit for good so that I can progress to the next level athletically. I'm tired of hiding this habit from my family and coworkers. Any good advice other than the obvious?
Thanks for reading.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone who responded. I'm making this my quit week, again. Even deciding to quit again is stressing me out. Sheesh :)

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answers from Peoria on

A little unorthodox, but my husband used to know of a plan that included a lot of cinnamon. He doesn't remember exactly what it is, but it includes cinnamon flavored toothpaste, cinnamon gum, cinnamon mouth wash, etc.. I've never smoked, but according to other people cinnamon and cigaret smoke/taste don't mix together very well. I wish I could be more help. I know there is more to it, but he doesn't remember all of it. Maybe this well help some?



answers from Bloomington on

I used nicotine patches. The big thing with that for me was the physical barrier it provides to just grabbing a cigarette and lighting up. There are real dangers of nicotine overdose if you smoke with one on, so when I was out drinking with my friends I'd have had to go to the bathroom and remove it beforehand. I quit over 15 years ago using them. Good luck to you - you're making the right choice!

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answers from San Francisco on

I know this sounds completely unhelpful and superficial, but I just thought about how bad I probably smelled in my day to day life and when kissing my boyfriend (I know your husband smokes, but I'm just sayin') I don't like to feel gross and somehow I just fixated on that and quit. Once I was a non-smoker for a few months, my sense of smell really returned and guess what? Smokers do stink. Best of luck to you!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I had to change all my habits because if I did something that I associated with smoking the craving was overwhelming and I would fail. For example; I switched from coffee to tea, changed my routine in the morning and changed my routine after eating etc... I have not smoked in over 14 years. Quitting was the hardest thing that I ever did. First I changed my habits, once I broke the psycological triggers for smoking, I addressed the actual nicotine addiction, I used a 14mcg nicotine patch and that helped decrease the cravings to a manageable level. I remember feeling light headed and dizzy and tired when I first stopped smoking. It was strange. Prior to my success, I had many, many failed attempts. Now, smoking is one of my biggest regrets. I can't stand when I smell smoke on someone, it is such a dirty, disqusting smell, you will agree once you stop. Look up smokers lung on the internet and find one that is really ugly and print it and look at it often, also print a picture of a healthy pink lung. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of using an aide such as nicotine gum or a nicotine patch. Good Luck to you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I used a step down patch. a little expensive yes, but cheaper than smoking even for the next year, much less the next 20. I quit 17 years ago for good, after quitting many times before (anywhere from a month to 2 years). Sure, the obvious motivator was a longer life of good health, but it was the short terms things that got me to do it. Feeling better, not stinking, not spending the money, not having something control me like the nicotine did. Having my kids, sealed the deal. Here's the thing: Once you quit you really can never smoke again. I fooled myself into thinking I could have one drag, then just one cigarette and then I had totally fallen off the wagon -- over a dozen times. Every time (even the times I quit for one year and two years) I tricked myself into thinking just a little hit won't matter -- but I was wrong it just led me back to smoking. So I haven't had one puff of a cigarette since. And that's a very good thing. The patch takes care of the cravings, chewing gum, a cinnamon stick, a plastic cigarette, knitting -- find whatever works to take care of the oral/manual part of the addiction. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I just quit smoking for the 3rd time because I am pregnant for the 3rd time. I have never been able to quit for myself, only when I'm pregnant. But I can NOT go back after I have this baby because I never want to quit again. It just down right sucks! I am very scared that I will go back as soon as I am done BF. My husband smokes therefore it will be really hard for me to remain a quiter. He says that he will quit once I am 6 months pregnant but I really don't think he will. One thing that I need to keep telling myself is that it just stinks. I went to the bathroom at the hospital the other day, the woman before me was a smoker and the bathroom had smelled like she has a cigerette in there, but i know she didn't. She just smelled that bad. And I have to think that I must have smelled like that too, just never realized it.

Here are some things that I am going to try to remain a quiter: Put up sayings around my house that I will see often (on the mirror in the bathroom, on the fridge, etc.) with stats on what being a non-smoker now means (ie. By not smoking for one day, I've extended my life by ___ hours) or how much money I've saved in the last month. And also put up pictures of a smokers lung and a healthy lung. I also have little candies around the house when I get the urge for just the oral fixation part of smoking. When I first quit, when I would drive I would hold a straw and chew on that. Or I would hold a little stress ball and squeeze that the entire time I was in the car.

Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi, I came from a family of heavy smokers and started puffing here and there in my teens. I decided to quit when my boyfriend, who was a chain smoker got me so sick of the smell. I smoked for pleasure as well while drinking and during long conversations on the phone. I smoked menthol cigarettes so I bought a pack of non menthol cigarettes ( Marlboro, and yuck! they were horrible!) After a while I smoked Carltons that are low in tar and nicotine. These felt like I wasnt smoking at all, so I figured whats the point and stopped. I havent smoked in over 15 years. The smell makes me sick now. Im glad bars are smoke free too. I dont miss it. Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Killeen on

It's really a matter of wanting too. I mean you are hiding it from others, concerned about your health but still smoking and admitting to enjoying the social aspect of it. If you want to quit, it seems you have all the tools to do so. It is never easy and you will always "be a smoker" I quit 7 years ago and admit that there are times when I would love to have a cigarette. You just have to tell yourself it is not ok to just have one. You could start by not buying cigarettes and putting the money that you would into a savings or something, save up for something nice for yourself. Nobody wants to "bum" cigarettes all night so it will cut back on the amount you smoke.
And remember your child/children- don't know how old they are, but you really don't want them picking up on your bad habit.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I worked in an emergency room and noticed, over time, that there are very few people in their 70's and 80's that smoke or are obese. And when I say very few I mean I met only two elderly smokers in the 2 years that I worked there. Look around you and you will see I am right. It really opened my eyes. Many of the patients with severe breathing problems were ex-smokers also. I could not imagine spending my life connected to an oxygen tank. Most of my patients said that they were sure this would not happen to them but it did. After I made that connection I thought about all of the things I wanted to do with my life and kept repeating those things when I quit smoking. I also lost 40 lbs while doing it because I increased my exercise. Nothing seemed so stupid to me as smoking after power walking for 4 miles.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I smoked for about 15 years before I quit. My reasons for quitting... I would try to walk at the bike path & keep up with my kids on roller blades, I'd be out of breath just walking a 1/4 mile!! I bought the Nicoderm Patch & stuck to it. It was costly, but much cheaper then paying medical bills. It really helps with your cravings. I also changed my habits as far as avoiding situations that I would normally smoke at. Times when I would have a smoke, like after waking up in the a.m., after meals etc. I would do something else in it's place, like take a walk or just change up my routine. It takes ALOT of will power, but you CAN do it. I could really feel a difference when I would walk at the bike path within just a couple days... I could walk farther & not be out of breath. Find the thing that motivates you, and keep the focus on that. Good luck, you CAN do it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It definately can be hard to do. I had bought a new car and knew I wasn't going to be smoking for as long as I had the car so I never smoked in it. Breaking that habbit I think helped me a lot. Almost a year later my BF was ready to quit and so we did the nicotine patch. After 1 week I became very irritable and stopped those. I had wanted to quit for a couple years and hated the smell of it. Oh, we also used to smoke in our apartment and promised we would never smoke in it again whether we succeeded or not. I have been smoke free for almost 12 years now. I thought the hard part would be having a drink and not being able to fight off the urge but once I was done I was done.

There have been a few times where I really wanted one but I told myself the stress I was currently in wasn't worth having one. The times were a car accident, my MIL in the hospital, and my FIL and MIL passing. I didn't have one and am glad.

As for my BF, now DH, he didn't succeed 12 yrs ago and still smokes today. He promised he would before/when we got married and then before both kids came. He tried but not whole heartedly.

I don't recommend Chantix, yes it can work great for most but there are also side effects that can be worse than trying to quit on your own. My DH tried it and shortly there after he had high blood pressure. While it runs in his family, he didn't have it until after taking Chantix for a month or two.

For motivation, think of your kids, I don't know how old they are but our 3 1/2 year old is asking questions and is curious. I hope he is able to quit soon so they don't get to familiar with it. Once you are a non smoker again remember the smell of an ashtray, that is what your breath smells like, not so pretty.



answers from Gainesville on

me and my husband rented a documentary from blockbuster last week that was called, the Search for a Safe cigarette. It talked so plain about how they have yet to find one that is not so bad for people, it just hasn't happened. I would advise anyone who smokes to watch that dvd! We don't smoke (my husband used to ), but after watching that.....i don't think we ever will. I even told my husband that it should be the law to put people who want to smoke thru a class before they start smoking and even watch that dvd. Anyhow, please are adding hours to your life for every cigarette you resist! Blessings to you



answers from Portland on

Sounds like you're mostly motivated, and are aware of your weakest area. That's a great start. It might help you to know that most smokers try several times before they succeed in quitting for good. Each time they learn more about themselves, including how to find alternative habits that help meet their needs, and each time they fail, they register the disappointment more deeply. My mom and grandmother were both heavy smokers when I was little. They both quit after several tries, recognizing that cigarette smoke in the house was contributing to asthma and respiratory infections in me and one of my sisters.

Good luck. You'll get there. List all the reasons you want to quit, and focus on those. One day you'll wake up and know you can really do it this time.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi A.,

Sounds like you try to be healthy. Have you tried a detox? Sometimes I think these cravings, albeit not as often as most, are chemical cravings. Generally, healthy people don't want to smoke. It may be something that simple.




answers from Chicago on

I second the Chantix opinion.. it does work.. I too stopped smoking when I was pregnant and while BF.. but after that stress made me have one here and there and then it turned into a habit again.. Calling back the doctor for another round of Chantix... this time for good. Ill know now that when Im tempted to just have one I cant because it turned into a habit again before I knew it. I will continue to say no and I will have to remove all the associations I have with smoking. Its the nature of addiction. For you if that means friends and a drink, those will have to go, at least when it means you will be tempted to smoke. Im going to keep my son in mind when I quit again, and he will keep me that way.

Just an fyi, when you get Chantix, be sure to eat before you take it. I personally had bad stomach aches until I got used to it, and it was from not eating enough.

Good luck to you and me.



answers from Fort Smith on

I decided to quit for Mother's Day, after almost 16 years of being a smoker. I didn't smoke during my two pregnancies or breastfeeding, but as soon as that was all over I immediately picked up the habit again (I work in the media, and almost everyone else smokes...hard to resist that peer pressure). My husband's insurance FINALLY pays for Chantix, so after trying everything else, from cold-turkey to patches to gum, ect...I decided Chantix was worth a try. As of today I'm smoke-free for a week, and I feel great. I've had some vivid dreams, sure, but I wouldn't call them nightmares. And if I don't eat something before and drink a whole glass of water with the pills, I get a little woozy. But it tells you that on the box. Otherwise, I have NO complaints. The cravings were still strong on my quit day and the day after, but by the next day I wasn't even thinking about smoking. I recommend at least giving it a try, and good luck to you!


answers from Biloxi on

Good Luck.
I am a month tobacco free - quit cold turkey after 20+ years of smoking. I did do the cinnamon thing - lots of cinnamon Altoids and gums when I was craving a cigarette and it did help "calm" the urges. Don't understand the correlation but other newly quit people suggested cinnamon and licorice as helpers. Don't forget that the physical detox period for nicotine to leave your system is only 72 to 96 hours - after that all the cravings are purely mental and habitual.

Good Luck !



answers from Chicago on

Ok not what you want to hear. Just don't.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi! I just recently quit....again. On my 3rd week smoke free! I just kept slapping on the nicotine patch, maybe I'd quit for a day or two, go back to smoking for a couple of weeks, then try it again. I figured as long as I kept trying, eventually it will stick. Good luck!!

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