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The Straw That Broke The Camels Back

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This 4 page section contains a collection of comments that people have sent us. It was their "Last Straw" that gave them the will and desire to quit smoking. Please take the time to read them as it may help you in quitting smoking.

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from Kelly

Hi. My name's Kelly and I was a smoker for the past 7 or 8 years. I'm now 31 years old and have been smoke-free for 2 weeks using the Nicoderm CQ Patch. I have tried several times in the past to quit smoking, but to no avail. I also tried the full-strength patch (21 mg), because I smoked about 25 cigarettes a day, but the full-strength patch gave me an overdose of nicotine. My heart raced and I felt dizzy. But two weeks ago, I decided to start with the 14 mg patch and didn't have a problem with it. I also decided to wear it for 16 hours instead of 24, for I also felt that taking a patch off, then immediately putting on another one may have caused the overdose as well.

I decided to use the 14 mg patch for just 2 weeks and just a few days ago stepped down to the 7 mg patch. So far, so good. I have not had a cigarette since January 19, 2004 at 3:30 a.m.

My last straw was my mom telling me that she didn't want to have to bury me due to an early death from smoking. Also, I was sick and tired of all the money that I was wasting on cigarettes. Every two weeks I would go to the nearest cigarette outlet and buy 2 cartons of cigarettes for about $35.00 (generics). Well, that was $70 a month that I could have been using for something else!

I was also tired of how cigarettes ruled my life. I don't smoke in the house on account of Mom so I had to go outside every time I wanted a smoke, no matter how hot, cold, or nasty it was outside. If I woke up in the middle of the night, which luckily wasn't that often, and I craved a cigarette, I would have to get up, no matter how much I tried to fight it, go outside, and fire one up. During a TV program or movie, I would crave one. Usually I waited until a commercial break to have a smoke. Even during church services sometimes a craving would hit me.

Well, so far, I haven't had a cigarette and it's been two weeks. I have been as low as a junkyard dog at times and about 3 times as mean! But I'm leaning on the Good Lord for strength. He has helped me in everything else in my life. Also, He helped my late grandmother quit a 2-pack a day habit decades before she died last year. If He helped her, He sure can help me!

When I read and see about all the horrible things that cigarettes do to a person, it makes me wonder why I began such a terrible habit to begin with! How can the tobacco companies live with themselves knowing that they are the leaders of a "Silent Holocaust" in this country? God will hold these murderers accountable someday for their greed and their disregard for their customers' welfare and health.

It is very hard to quit smoking! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! It's a mental as well as a physical addiction. For me, the mental addiction seems tougher to kick than the physical, or at least as difficult. It's hard for me at work especially, when my colleagues go into the smoking lounge during breaks and I can't go in there with them to enjoy a good smoke or two. Yet, each day is getting easier and I see myself as eventually being free of this stupid habit.

 

I notice a difference even after 2 weeks of being smoke-free. I can breathe easier, taste and smell better, and my clothes and hair smell better. I noticed how smokers smell and I thought to myself, "Man, is that how I smelled to others all these years?" I couldn't believe that! Personally, I can't stand when someone stinks because they're too lazy to take a bath! But to think that I smelled like a bar for nearly 8 years! Hypocritical, isn't it?

Take my word for it, ladies and gentlemen! It's hard, but it's not impossible. It can be done! You can quit! Put your mind into it and ask God for help! Believe me, He will help you. Also, ask others for moral support and keep coming in to sites such as this one. Good Luck!

from Leigh

it came when I had the worst pain in my lung one night...I decided there and then to stop.,....I also bought a book called 'THE ONLY WAY TO STOP SMOKING' by Allen Carr...in it he tells what cravings actually are and why they aren't as bad as they seem,,,,you can kill that nicotine monster before it kills you!!...By the way, I've been smoke free for 3 months.

from Kelly

The last straw for me was watching my mom die from lung cancer at the age of 47. Her death was painful process to witness. Before she died, she asked me to quit smoking. After her death, it took me five years to quit. First, I cut down on my cigarettes. I went from a pack a day to ten, to seven, and to five. I also changed from camels to loose tobacco, so I rolled very thin cigarettes. I then decided to not bring my cigarettes outside the home, so I would go many hours without smoking. After awhile I tried to disassociate smoking from common triggers, for example, after meals, in the morning, and before bed time. I then gave up smoking completely. It took awhile, but my withdrawal was at a minimum, and I am pleased to announce that I have been smoke free and an extremely happy ex-smoker for two months! I WILL NEVER SMOKE AGAIN....NOT ONE PUFF! My back pains are gone, I HAVE LESS STRESS, I am regular, my skin looks beautiful, my eyes are bright and white, my teeth are bright and white, my breath is clean, my fingers are clean, I can zoom-up the San Francisco hills like a bullet, and my list can go on and on.... If you smoke, please quit! Quit by educating yourself and finding support. Initially, the withdrawal period is not fun, but that part is short lived and after that...you will reap the benefits and be so much happier and grateful that you are treating yourself as you should..with care and love! Thank you mom... though I miss you everyday, and you are no longer around to be a part of my life, your death is not in vein.

 

from Sandy

I'm 41 and a wife, mother, sister, and daughter.   I have been smoking for 23 years.

The straw that broke the camels back for me was a combination of things over the last two weeks. Here's what happened:

My husband, my teenage son and daughter, and I painted the inside of the whole house white.  The same color it was when we first moved in. Wow, what a shock!
My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer and emphysema.  He was put into the hospital and had cancer treatments.  He's 82.
My dad had his second open heart surgery.  His first one was 20 years ago and he had a triple bypass.  He smoked cigarettes for 20+ years then switched to a pipe about 30 years ago.  He's 77.
I had gum surgery the next day after my dad's surgery.  The doctor worked on me for 2 hours on half of my mouth for my periodontal disease.
My mom is having chest pains because of the stress of my dad's operation.  She had congestive heart failure a couple of years ago and they put a pace maker in her.  She has been smoking since she was 16 and still is.  She's 74.

This all happened in a two week period.  What a time to quit smoking!  If I ever needed a cigarette, it was now.  Well, I handled the stress better than I thought I would without smoking.  I surprised myself.  I also surprised myself today when I wrote this.  I wrote all of this and was booted from AOL.  I had to start all over and try to recall everything I wrote.  Wow, I wanted a cigarette today!   But didn't!!!  I took a deep breath, got some juice, and started writing this all over.  Anyone who has ever been booted after writing a long letter or document knows the stress!!!

Anyway, I knew I would never heal from my gum surgery if I didn't quit.  My surgery was on a Thursday and I was an ex-smoker by Monday.   The doctor told me to try to quit and he told my husband that I had to quit smoking.  Every time I inhaled, my gums would kill me.  I said to myself, "What are you doing?  This is ridiculous"!  I knew they had to have surgery on the other half of my mouth and I would never make it if I didn't quit now.

My identical twin sister has none of the dental problems that I do.  We both do everything the same, including smoking.  The doctor's can figure it out.  We both have the same dentist and it's a mystery why I have gum disease and she doesn't. Go figure!

My dad was scared stiff when they took an x-ray of his lungs and they didn't like they way they looked.  He quit his pipe right then and there after he heard that.  The x-ray came back as just scar tissue and not cancer.   He was quite relieved and didn't pick up his pipe again.  His open heart surgery went well.  He was back home with my mom after 6 days.  He enjoys me coming over and sitting outside with him and not blowing smoke into his face.  He's proud of me and I'm proud of him.  If he can do it, so can I.

I have many loved ones around me that smoke.  They are: my husband, my twin sister, her boyfriend, and my mom.  I'm constantly around one of them.  I know I can't nag them to quit, that would never work.  They have to want to quit in their own time.  My husband is very supportive of my quitting.   He said yesterday, my 4th day, that he was very proud of me trying to quit.  I said, "What do you mean 'trying' to quit"?  He paused and said, "I like your attitude, it's very becoming on you".  He knew I was determined and strong to do this. 

My teenage kids are very proud of me. They have been bugging me to quit for years now.  They were always embarrassed to walk into school and smell like smoke.  They got teased a lot because of the smoke.  I went out and bought them air fresheners for their lockers.  Like that did any good?  How pitiful!!  That was my smoker's way of thinking.  Now they pat me on the back for every hour that I am smoke free.  That helps me keep going.

My older sister said that she was proud of me.  I told her how hard it was, but it was well worth it.  After seeing me quit, she's after her husband and daughter to quit.

I do have to say that smoking and drinking go hand in hand.  Try not to put yourself in a situation where drinking is involved.  The NICO-demon is waiting for you to take that first drink so he can attack. Do not take even one puff. Don't do it. Stay strong and never give up.

My mom and dad are funny smokers.  I mean funny because they hide from everyone when they smoke.  When my dad was smoking his pipe, he would hide on the back porch.  When my mom smokes, she hides in the bathroom.   Everyone, including themselves, knows they smoke.  They aren't hiding from anyone.  I guess they think that if they are hiding that it's ok to smoke?   Smoker's do some strange things.

I have a little trick that I use to make myself stay smoke free.  I put a rubber band on my wrist and look at it constantly to remind me that I am an ex-smoker.
I didn't like the look of the rubber band, so I went out and bought a bracelet.  You can buy anything new that you know you will constantly be looking at.  It could be a ring, bracelet, watch, pen, etc.  If you use a phone all day, you could put a sticker on that.  If you drive a lot, put stickers on your dash or keychain.  Anything to remind you that you are an ex-smoker and you are proud of that.  It worked for me and I hope it can work for any of you.

Well, we got the bad news about my uncle.  After his two week diagnosis of lung cancer and emphysema, he passed away yesterday, 8/1/03.   He didn't suffer long like my aunts and uncles did of cancer caused from smoking.   They suffered for years.  He, thank God, didn't suffer long.  He's in a much better place now.
I am on my 5th day now.  The first couple of days were horrible.  It does get easier.  I quit cold turkey because I heard getting all of that garbage out of my body faster would make it easier.  I don't have any withdrawal symptoms now, I just have to deal with the psychological aspects of smoking.  I think that's the hard part.  A bad habit is hard to break, especially when you have done it for 23 years!  I look and feel better and that makes me feel great, stay strong, and motivated.

One of the keys to success is this website.  Thank you Blair for this wonderful site.  All of the stories I have read have given me hope.  I come here everyday for a boost of encouragement for the day.  To know that I'm not alone sure means a lot to me.  With the help from loved ones, God, and your site, I can and will be an EX-smoker forever!  I'm glad to be part of the majority! 
Just remember, you're worth it!
Take care and God Bless.

 

from Syl

My name is Syl. (I'm a 50 yr old male, in Canada).  I'd like to share this with you....

It was sometimes in early June of this year. I was at a local shopping mall, and I was on my way out, when I saw a bunch of books on a table at a  '99 cents or less store'. The title 'How to stop smoking permanently' -by Alan Carr,  caught my attention. And at 99 cents, what did I have to lose.

I started reading it whenever I had a chance. I took it in to work an read mainly during my lunch break, a chapter or so per day. After a couple weeks of this, it finally kicked in. This guy made sense, real sense. What he was saying was different. And it was good, And it was real. The I got a little scare thinking, what if I do stop, how can I live without cigarettes. The book covered this also, and I kept reading.

I quit on July 21, 2003 at 7:30 pm. It's been 147 days ! It's been 3523 cigarettes not smoked, and it's been $1410.00 not spend on cigarettes. And I had been smoking for 35 years.

Do I still  crave cigarettes ? . Sometimes yes, a little. Nothing I can't control though. It's worth the effort. Do this for yourself. Believe me, you'll be glad you did. You deserve it !

 

from Jo

The last straw for me was when I was still smoking when my husband and I were trying to get pregnant.  Ultimately, I had a miscarriage.  Whether the miscarriage was due to smoking or not was irrelevant.   I feel that my miscarriage was the wake-up call I needed to get serious and quit.   And I did.  Cold turkey.  It's been two months since I quit and I'm doing well.  Some days are harder than others, but the end result is what matters--clear lungs, a happy heart and clean-smelling hair and clothes!  And, I am happy with my decision to quit because the effort I have put forth has made me a better person.

 

from Jennifer

My last straw was when my 4 year old says, "Mommy why do you want to die? All I want for my birthday is for you to stop smoking." So it's taken a week and a half but I quit today. I stayed in for lunch to stay away from the familiar of smoking on the way to lunch. I want to be here for my son's graduation, wedding, first born, etc. I need to be.

 

from Connie

MY name is Connie.  When you hear that your husband has lung cancer and even with Chemotherapy and Radiation will still only live for  months, that is a final straw.  We both smoked and for a few years said we wanted to quit but it was always that we will quit next week or after the carton is gone.  On the day he was diagnosed with cancer we both quit.  For anyone wanting a reason to quit...the thought of loosing your loved one and the heartbreaking pain of knowing their days are numbered is the best reason.  Those who think it won't happen to me or mine is fooling themselves.

The reality is: It can happen to you and then there is nothing you can do about it.

 

from Carol

The straw that broke the camels back you ask? For me there are many. I’ve read almost all of the entries here, and have decided I need to add one. I want to add mine, so that I may come back here in a year or two and proudly say I challenged the craving and won. For myself I have many reasons, I've smoked so long I can’t honestly remember the actual date or year I started. I’ve smoked for somewhere between 26 and 28 years. I’ve quit myself about 12 times. Absence ranged from 3 minutes to 6 months. My husband and I have quit together, and quit alone, failing each time to some logical excuse. However, this time I’ve planned a lifestyle change. I’ve reviewed the reasons I started. To be cool (it was back in the 70’s when I started). To be in control of my own life (I was a teenager then). Through the years I’ve concluded I need to smoke to reduce stress. After review of the reasons I determined, there is nothing cool about smoking (it costs my husband and I over $6,000 annually CA), not cool. In control, I don’t want to go out to movies, dinner, have to go outside in the rain, snow, heat in most places to smoke anymore, I am an outcast. Family members are ill and have died from smoking.  I can’t see any part of control here. Reduce stress I say, pretty ridiculous. I can actually feel my heart rate increase after smoking. I could be 3 days behind, yet I would have to find an exit somewhere to smoke, many times a day, stress reduction, I don’t think so. In any event, I’m on day 4 today. I feel shockingly better. My energy level has soared. And this time, I know this: "I’m addicted to nicotine, I can never smoke another cigarette again." For today, I challenge the craving!!!

 

from Susan

The day that I found out that a very good friend was diagnosed with lung cancer in both lungs was the day I knew I would quit smoking for good.

I have quit several times before, and I am a 45 year old woman.  I was really scared by my friend's diagnosis, because she actually quit about ten years ago!  She had been a very heavy smoker for almost almost 40 years.

My husband and I used to order cigs off the Internet - cartons at a time.  Our shipment had just come in the day before - 10 cartons of cigarettes (2 of which were mine, 8 were my husband's). 

I suggested that we smoke those cigarettes, and when they were gone, we quit.  If I ran out first, I'd smoke his until they were gone, then we'd quit together when the last one was smoked.

Well, that coincided with my 45th birthday.  The day before my 45th birthday, I ran out of my brand.  I had to bum husband's.  He was not yet ready to quit.  I was.

So, cold turkey, on my 45th birthday, I quit.  It was hard.  I had insomnia something terrible.  I craved.  But after 3 days it got much better. 

Now, I can breath better.  I sleep better, my skin looks much better with much better color!  I can taste and smell.  I have started a diet and exercise program, and it feels terrific! 

I am so proud and happy with myself.  I will never, never smoke another cigarette again.

~Susan
Two weeks, four days, 10 hours, 27 minutes and 25 seconds. 276 cigarettes not smoked, saving $76.05. Life saved: 23 hours, 0 minutes.

 

from Robin

I am 42 years old, a health care professional with asthma and even though I saw what the damage can do to your lungs, the one thing that stopped me was just 4 weeks ago when I was under anesthesia for almost 6 hours for a major back operation, I woke up feeling as if I couldn't breathe. No more! I have 2 beautiful daughters and a grandson to live for. What a horrible thing we got into. Also, my daughters godmother is dying of lung cancer right now and isn't even old enough to retire. This makes me so sad.

RT

 

from Linda

I began the year 2000 with a vow to get in shape . . . and perhaps quit smoking.  I joined the gym and struggled to do the basic levels on the stepping machine and bikes.  The aerobics classes were a whole other story!  Basically, my heart rate was too high because I was a smoker.  I vowed to quit but I just needed the will power.  I purchased a box of nicotine patches and put them in my dresser drawer until I was ready.   

My last straw occurred on a normal lunch hour.  I was running across the street to purchase my lunch when I saw a young mother holding a baby in one arm while smoking with her other hand.  I quit the next day.  I am not a mother, however, I do not want to be a mother who is selfish enough to jeopardize my children's health for the sake of my own habit.

The nicotine patch definitely worked for me.  The main key to my success is my own rewards program.  I quit at 3:00pm on February 10, 2000.  For a month I did something nice for myself at 3:00pm each day.  For example, I would purchase my favorite coffee on break or use my break to go for a nice walk away from the smoking area.  I had little celebrations for each monthly anniversary.  For example, I would buy myself an article of clothing as a present to myself or I would make a date to go out for lunch or dinner with a friend.  My one year present to myself was a trip to the Dominican Republic.  If you like presents, this is the way to go my friends!

Good luck!

Linda :)

p.s.  I reached my target heart rate after one month smoke free!

 

from Stevie

I am 41, hope to live to 82 or beyond. As I enter the second half of my life, I look at some numbers.

I hope to live another 15,000 days. At a rate of a pack a day, I would smoke another 300,000 cigarettes. That's nuts! Of course I'd never make it to 82,

but if I do, as a non-smoker (using the 12 lost minutes per smoke rule) I will save 3,600,000 minutes of my life, or 6.85 years. Isn't that incredible?

I have been smoke free for 9 days using a nicotine patch. I, like so many of you, have tried quitting so many times. So, I can recall many straws that

broke the camels back. I would have to say that seeing my father die on a ventilator recently is without a doubt my motivation this time.

I want to climb more mountains, build a log cabin in the woods, see my son grow up and maybe have some grandchildren someday. There are so many reasons to live, to quit smoking, and enjoy the freedom so many have sacrificed and fought for and continue to fight for today.

Cigarettes are like Osama bin Laden - they just want to kill you for no rational reason. We must not allow these things to happen. We must do

everything we can to protect ourselves, and then we must be prepared to do it again.

I could go on forever about cigarettes, the tobacco companies, the advertising agencies (the original Marlboro man died from lung cancer), the megabucks spent to keep the packs of death readily available wherever you may be. The political puppets who get bought out time and time again. The 350,000 Americans alone, who die miserable deaths each year as a direct result from smoking, what's wrong with us? It is up to each one of us to do our part to reverse the terrible tide and it starts with me not picking up another cigarette as long as I live. Join with all of us who have made the effort in the past and continue to make the effort today, united we stand! I pray for all who are trying to quit. Please, pray for me too.

 

from Amy

I realized this morning, It was the right time.

I had to stop. So I have not gone for 7 hours, after 7 years, but it's a start!

I am only 24 years old and today, I am short of breath and wheezing (and I don't have asthma)- I am so appalled about how I sound, and how I feel I quit today. That was what spurred me to STOP ONCE AND FOR ALL.(i pray)

I had tried before, and lasted 2 months. I was very proud and decided while on holiday to have "just the one" as a "treat"........What a mistake and now I have learned. THAT IS IT.

(By the way, Day 3, Week 3 and month 3 are the hardest and you tend to see smokers as lucky, and you feel robbed of something. Let me tell you- you are the lucky one.Pity them)

One word of advice though- DO NOT EVEN HAVE ONE- JUST STOP. It is not worth it

Think of the money, your lungs, your skin, the way you smell etc.........

We can all do this.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE and make sure you save the money and buy yourself a treat, whether it's a massage, a trip to a restaurant or save for a holiday- it's worth it!

 

from Troy

My last straw came when I realized that at 29 years old, I was already having pains in my chest, and was short of breath after one flight of steps.I had difficulty sleeping through the night without a cigarette, and it seemed that almost everything in my life was in one way or another tied to smoking. Cup of coffee, cigarette. Driving my car, cigarette. Finish section of work, cigarette. Nothing to do, cigarette!!. I am on the end of my third day,(New Years Resolution) and I feel terrible. Every time I try to quit, I get sick, sneezing and coughing with no sleep (kind of like withdrawal from other drugs I have read about) In the past, after one day of this and I found an excuse to break down and buy a pack and was about to go when I stopped by this site and read some of the "Last Straws" in a last ditch effort to beat this addiction. I feel like I can make it now, knowing that there are people who doubted themselves as much as I doubt myself. People who have been strong enough to quit, to keep trying no matter how hard it is. A quote I hypocritically always used is " anything worthwhile does not come easy" and I know that this is the last time I will ever feel like this again!

 

from Barbara

My last straw was when I debated on whether to watch my 8 month old grand daughter! I would rather smoke than play with my precious sweetie pie! what a terrible Grammy i was. that is why i gave it up cold turkey. I don't regret it and I never turn a day down with my baby because of those stinky, and deadly cigarettes!

 

from Sarah

Okay, so I'm sitting at a bar one night with my friends and I realize that I'm lighting up a cigarette every 5 minutes. None of them smoke, so obviously I am the annoying girl that always stinks and blows smoke in their faces and can't go anywhere without sitting in the smoking section, etc. etc. etc. That just really makes you feel like crap, you know? My friends love me dearly enough that they take it without ever saying anything, but just imagining what they were thinking and how much they were probably worrying about me killed me. I woke up the next day and said, "I'm done." Obviously I've had slips but I just got sick of having to have a cigarette in my hand all the time. I started to wonder, "Who am I without a cigarette?" And then I realized that it was stupid for me to even have to question that. The cigarettes are not me, they are an addiction that I must -and I mean MUST - get over. I am 22 years old and married and hope to have kids in the next 3-4 years...and I kept telling myself that I'd definitely quit when I get pregnant. But who's to say that I won't slip then, too? It makes more sense for me to do it now when I have time to make mistakes and stumble than when I'm trying to nurture a healthy baby. My dad smoked and I hated it. I worried about him constantly. I don't want my kids someday to have to worry about me the way I did about him.

Anyway, that's my last straw story...a culmination of a lot of random thoughts that prompted me to quit now...but more than that I was just sick and tired of being slave to a stupid 5 inch long stick of toxins that was slowly killing me...

So wish me luck. I am trying to keep myself going...

 

from Anonymous

My scenario falls into both categories. One day while at work, which my 16 year old son works also, I was outside taking my usual "smoke break" and one of the other employees there said,"I see your son has picked up that nasty habit now too?"  You could have pushed me right over. Of course his response was"oops, I thought you already knew?" Well, of course I didn't.  I already have had problems and still do with my oldest son, who went AWOL twice and has been arrested too many times to count. But this son, and my 12 year old daughter, They have never given me any reason to worry. My son was always badgering me to throw then away,"you don't need those Mom" was his usual response. Now I find out he's smoking too? My heart fell to my stomach. It wasn't so much the fact I thought at the time that he was smoking, I was the deception of sneaking. When I asked him of how he always scolded me
I was talking with my father via the Internet, and I stated, "well if I was a good Mom, I would stop" (I have smoked a pack a day for about 22 years) Well, of course my dad capitalized on that. He had quit smoking about 7 years ago.  We chatted back and forth for quite a while. I had the "usual" procrastination tactics, I have 3 packs left, I just wont buy anymore, or how about if I just cut back on them? Or a real show stopper, "how about if I just don't smoke around him?" (Isn't that sneaking just the same as he was doing?) Well, still contemplating with my dad, I said I have three packs of em left, He said "tear them up" Tear them up? I would never waste that kind of money! I told him besides I don't have the guts to do that! His response, "Get Amanda to do it! (that's my 12 year old daughter) well with that, My computer went pzzzt, and logged me off, shut down and re started itself. With total disbelief, I said Ok God, I got the message. I immediately got my daughter Amanda, told her what I was
Later on that evening, I heard him speaking with his girlfriend on the phone. "guess what my Mom and I are doing? So you have to quit too" he said to her. He told all his friends of our intentions. (neither of us would want to do something that would start the other back smoking again). He even asked his friends for support. They once tackled him on the ground plummeting him in the arm when he stated he was craving one. (Those are good friends).
I am using the aid of the patch and the gum if I really need it. Oh yea and lots of sweets at first. But also asking God to get me through this without blowing it.
So far so good. Both my son and I are smoke free. We both have noticed those urges are not as strong. And best of all... I now really do feel like a GOOD MOMMY!

 

from David

A little over a year ago I was sitting with my 76 year old father in the oncologists office when he was told he had cancer of his tongue. He had been a heavy smoker who had quit 20 years earlier. I listened (hoping the oncologist couldn't smell the smoke on my clothes) while he told my dad that 98% of head and neck cancers are due to "daily abuse of the mouth" ie: smoking and/or drinking. A week later I was done smoking.

For the last few months of his life he was unable to swallow, speak or eat. He became emaciated, disoriented and his face was terribly disfigured from the radiation and swelling. My father died a sad and very painful death one year after diagnosis. In addition, 6 months after my last cigarette, I was diagnosed with breast cancer (at age 46). I underwent a mastectomy, 6 months of chemotherapy and am currently having radiation treatments....how stupid is smoking???

 

from Joe,

Very good topic...  My last straw was the fact that the price of cigs are getting higher and higher, and I am no longer willing to line the pockets of tobacco company execs.  They have gotten rich off the backs of millions of addicts and I find that repulsive. So, cold turkey for me, and I'm very happy about it.  I can already smell the difference in our house and my clothes, and I can taste the difference in my orange juice!  This is day 4 for my husband and I, we're doing pretty good.  The short-temper was something I expected but I had no clue how bad!  But I've never been more sure of anything; this is it for me.  This site is terrific for daily support and inspiration.   NO MORE CANCER STICKS FOR ME! 

 

from Ridgetop,

Was when I was cleaning the walls in the house, the rags looked terrible and I figured that stuff was lining my lungs too. It just got to me and I went to the drug store and got the Wellbutrin. My actual quit day is next Sat, but I think it may happen even before that with the help of the meds....wish me luck!

 

from Mags,

For the last 24 1/2 years I have smoked..I got to a point where I was sick and tired of doing it..I could go all day at work not smoking then come home and it was a whole another story..that point made me realize that mine may be more out of habit than addiction..Then an ezine posted links in a mailer..I looked at one in particular..I showed it to hubby he said no matter the cost order it..I did..the day I ordered it I cut way back..My last two weeks smoking i used only 5 packs..I have one unopened pack in the freezer..The product I ordered said should be smokefree in 7 days..Well read this..I was smokefree in 3!! I'm on day 6 of the program and day 3 of smokefree..No cravings no nothing and believe me I have had a lot go wrong that normally would have made me smoke more for instance a kid I have been raising decided to tell us she's pregnant and I didn't run and smoke..I plan on staying smoke free I love my new world:)

 

from Gina,

Hi again...My name is Gina and my first last straw actually appears on page 3. I wanted to report back on my progress of being smoke free. I am happy to say that as of October 22, 2001, I've gone 1year, 4 months, 2 weeks, 5 days 58 minutes and about 36 seconds. I am still smoke free and have not looked back after a 22 year smoking habit. After I quit, I downloaded a quite-a-meter at www.silkquit.org <http://www.silkquit.org> . This tells me daily how I've progressed, how much money I saved and how many cigs I haven't smoked. Based on my pack a day habit, I would have smoked 10,139, or almost 507 packs of cigarettes! I've saved about $1,926.43 which every dime has gone into my 403-B plan.

I can run a full mile now, my hair, fingernails and skin are both healthier, my apartment no longer smells like a bar, and I feel so much healthier. I no longer look like I'm 41and my son, who's now married tells me I look 31! What a compliment!! I encourage all of you...please continue your endeavor on quitting. Sometimes you may back slide, but don't use that as an excuse to not quit! Keep at it. It took me many attempts to quit but I never gave up. When I first started out, I visited Blair's page daily for inspiration and this has helped me enormously!! I still get the weekly newsletters and read them. I encourage you to read Blair's page for further inspiration. Here's my cliché again...If I can do it, so can you.

Nothing will ever send me back to being a smoker.

Peace to all!

 

from Chanii,

I had been thinking about quitting for some time, so while sitting at work one day, I came across your site, and a "last straw" post that I myself had done maybe a year or two ago. The fact that I had been sure enough to make that statement and then conveniently forgot about it and continued to smoke scared me. I thank the person/people who recommended Allen Carr's books because they helped immensely and I am now twenty-five days out and I'll NEVER going back. I can laugh without coughing. Aerobic exercise isn't a study in pain anymore. I don't leave my friends in the middle of a conversation or a movie to go outside and do the dirty deed. My teeth are returning to a color that teeth usually are. I'll never have cigarette burns in my new(to me) car. On top of all that, I live in southern California where the price of a pack of smokes hovers between $3.80 and $5.00. I've saved between $87.50 and $125.00!!!! The life of a nonsmoker is sweet. Thanks!

 

from Lynda,

As of tomorrow, I have been a non-smoker for a month. I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF!!!! I have the patch on and it has worked wonders. I haven't even cheated, not one cigarette, not one puff! I have been a pack a day smoker for about 10 years, But let me tell you, you NEED TO BE MENTALLY READY, in order to quit! About 2 months ago my fiancée, my daughter and myself were out to dinner at restaurant and I ran into an old neighbor of mine that I haven't seen in years. When she came up to me she said "do you remember me, I'm Jennifer and Nicole's mom"? I said "of course I remember you, how are you?" No big deal right, but what I failed to mention is she had to hold up a little black box to her throat in order to stimulate her voice box to talk. She has always been a smoker, throughout my whole childhood. Right then and there I looked at my fiancée and I was so petrified. I want to be alive for my daughter, I said. I want to be there for her. I don't want to die and I don't want to get throat cancer, mouth cancer, etc. My fiancée said ok so now are you ready to quit! Well the next day and for about 2-3 weeks after that I cut down! Can you believe it! I still didn't quit. Then about a month ago, I started feeling a lump in my throat. I mean an awful lump in my throat that would never go away for about 4 days straight! I was convinced I had developed throat cancer. One day at work I smoked my last cigarette. I was so FED UP with the habit, I was so sick and tired of this white stick controlling me and my life. I was so tired of constantly worrying about dying or getting a terminal disease. So I grabbed my purse flew out the door and drove to Walgreens, bought the patch (full strength of course) and have had it on ever since! Never looked back. Now I'm not saying that ever single day has been easy, there are urges and I mean urges, but I just think about the clear conscious I have now, that I am healthy. I saw my doctor and he told me that the lump was due to stress. But that was all the scare I needed. I couldn't bare to imagine not living long enough to be there for my daughter and future children. Good luck to you all! Just remember, the urges are temporary!!!!!


from Anita,

I recently quit smoking - 3 weeks ago tomorrow. I'm 38 and had been smoking since I was 13th. I stopped smoking once before and didn't make it. I lasted 3 weeks that time but this time I have a different attitude. My last straw was watching my father (a 2-pack a day smoker) almost die from a heart attack that couldn't be stopped because of blocked arteries in both of his legs. His heart attack lasted over 18 hours an he now suffers from Congestive Heart Failure. I've had some terrible cravings - a week ago, I actually broke down and had a cigarette - in fact, I had 3. The next day, I could feel the tightness in my chest - I didn't like it. Then, I thought of all of the other benefits that I had experienced and it turned me off of smoking. Since then, every time I have a craving, I remember that feeling in my chest and it reminds me of my father - I don't want to end up like him.

 

from Sue,

My last straw came when I purposely went into a lung cancer website to see damaged lungs from cigarette smoke. I am 32 years old and have smoked since I was 12, yes, that's right 12. I realized that I've smoked more than half my life! I cut down from a pack a day to about 5 cigs per day when I got married (my husband hates smoke). I quit during my pregnancy, but started again when my daughter was three months old, duh! I just kept making excuses over the past three years. Maybe tomorrow, maybe after this pack. It became ridiculous. I woke up on a Monday morning and said "This is it, no more!" I've been smoke-free for a few days now and it's really difficult. Each day that goes by, I can say "I did it again, one more day." It feels good knowing that I'm making a healthy decision for my future. My husband is elated, of course. Hopefully, when I'm faced with a "trigger," such as a glass of wine, I will be able to get through that craving. That hasn't happened yet. That will be the real test. I'm praying that I can continue to do this.

 

from Wendy,

I started smoking (playing around with the idea) in 1988. In 1990 I started a new job and my immediate supervisor was a heavy smoker. I was with him 10 hours a day for a long time. I started asking him if I could light his cigarettes for him, as I thought it was a cool thing. Soon enough, when I would light them, I started taking puffs. Then I eventually went to sharing' one with him, then boom, I bought my first pack. It has gone downhill ever since. I have had three babies in the past 4 years, and I was able (for them) to cut back in the beginning and quit altogether (unless I was VERY stressed and would have 1) during the pregnancies. But it didn't take long after each birth that I would have one of my husbands (whom is a heavy smoker as well) cigarettes, and eventually start back up full fledge
again.

My last baby was born the beginning of this year. It wasn't 2 months and I started smoking again. I tried to quit several times in the past several months, but with my husband smoking it makes it very hard to do so, since I see his cigarettes, smell them, smell the smoke on him, etc. constantly.

For some reason, the night of the 18th was a turning point for me. I am seeing my step mother dying in front of me with terminal cancer (she smoked 2-3 packs a day since she was 13 and she is now almost 56). I am seeing my uncle having severe physical problems (he has smoked all his life probably 3-4 packs a day - he never seems to not have one lit). I am watching my fathers health declining (he has smoked for many many years)... and it isn't only that, but I love watching the medical shows on TLC and Discovery, and seeing all the cancer patients really got to me this particular night. There was a man and a woman who had to come in and make a decision about the woman's DNR (do not resuscitate) order incase the lung cancer kills her immediately. Her husband was SO torn up. I just sat there in tears thinking how my children would be feeling if it were me there and they were making that decision... I don't know... I just decided I had had enough.

The next morning I remembered what I saw on TV and remembered how I felt. I never had a cigarette. Never wanted one either (to my amazement AND my husbands). That night, I just 'wanted' one. Didn't NEED one, just wanted one. So stupid me, I grabbed one of my husband's cigarettes (which are much stronger than mine - all mine were gone -) I went outside to smoke it, took about 3 puffs and said, "what the HELL am I doing?". I threw the rest of the cigarette away, threw my hand up and verbalized loudly "THAT'S IT!!!" And well, I haven't had one since. I haven't WANTED one since. I even worked a wedding just yesterday where everyone was smoking at the outside reception. Didn't phase me at all. I can even talk about it with my husband and best friend whom smoke heavily and it doesn't bother me.

My main objective here is to be alive to watch my children grow up, get married, and to see my grandchildren someday. Not to mention I am deathly afraid of catching cancer... And to think I have already been having some
severe problems in my lungs and chest... I need to go to the doctor and get my lungs and chest x-rayed and make sure everything is ok. I am scared to death, and that is just one more reason I am quitting.

Good luck to everyone... it is not fun trying to quit... but when you do it, it is SO worth it...

 

from Gwen,

My last straw was when I truly realized this could really kill me and I envisioned my children crying about losing their mother. How selfish that would be to commit a slow suicide and to leave my kids without a mother! I finally realized it was time for me to grow up and learn how to deal with life without cigs. I felt like I was playing Russian Roulette with my life. I realized that the pleasures of smoking were not worth the suffering that could become of it. I weighed the pros and cons and was not scared to feel the pain of quitting because I knew the pain of lung cancer or emphysema would be way more painful.

 

from Lou,

I smoked for a pack a day for 22 years and always said that I would not be a smoker for life. I am 35 years old. Three weeks ago I was wheezing, could not make it up a flight of stairs, could not run or do any form of strenuous activity. Coughing and smoking were a morning routine. I spent a year and a half surrounded by cancer and death - family, friends and acquaintances. I had been doing a lot of thinking about congruency. I always say that we have to live for today - and I had been feeling like such a hypocrite, slowly committing suicide every day that I smoked.

The final straw? Waking up at 4 AM to find myself standing in my bedroom smoking a cigarette. Sleep smoking. That day I read a lot on quitting smoking. The next morning I got up, starting reading about smoking again, started writing down all my reasons to quit and how I was going to live without cigarettes. I called up the Canadian Cancer Society to see if they had a quit smoking hotline. They did and the woman asked me when I was quitting. Impulsively, I told her 8 pm that night. I did a ritual to say good-bye to cigarettes and to welcome my new life as a non-smoker. By 10 pm or so, I was proudly wearing the patch, determined not to smoke. In three weeks, I have only tried a cigarette once to see what would happen. I lit it up and had two drags. That was enough to know that I never want to stick that garbage into my body again. My body is worth more than garbage. The emotional roller coaster that I am on from becoming a non-smoker is a bit rough. But I know that these are emotions and that, in time, they will pass. Emotions are better than cigarettes, cigarettes will kill me. I can already breathe better. I can smell things and taste food. My cheeks are rosy. And I can ride my bicycle once again. It is worth quitting smoking.


from Kathleen,

I read your newsletter on smoking and women quitting. It was helpful and stimulated some helpful reflections.

I am 47 years old next month, have been smoking for 27 years off and on (more on than off) and quit smoking with my husband last Monday. This is our 4th time quitting together and my 7th time altogether.

My husband turns 50 next month (his birthday is the day after mine) and for a second month in a row he was diagnosed with a respiratory/sinus infection that required antibiotics and a cortisone puffer to resolve. He said that's it - he's quitting. And that means I have to quit too. It would be impossible for him to get away from smoking if I continued to smoke and I want to quit anyway. I dreaded it but I agreed.

I dreaded it because the last four times were nightmarish experiences. My husband "extroverts" his frustration and irritability while I "introvert" mine so I feel incredibly burdened wrestling with my own inner demons and dealing with his rages (walking on eggs, never able to do anything right, suppressing my urge to tell him to shut up which would only escalate an already nasty situation). After a couple of days I'm depressed, exhausted, fearful, defensive - overwhelmed with fantasies of running away, or even worse simply killing myself. It's the worst living hell imaginable. I get clumsy, and that illicit a stream of insults and abuse from him, I try to avoid him by leaving the room or going out for a walk but that only enrages him more and I'll have to pay for that on my return. He'll destroy objects (art pieces, dishes, electronics, throw things in the garbage that are precious to me). Finally after several days or months of torture he'll announce that he can't stand himself (never mind wondering why I'm still with him) and he's resolved himself to dying of a smoking related illness and he'll return to smoking and so do I. Only to go through this again at a later date!

This time was different. I told him the night before our "quit day" that I wouldn't be tolerating his abuse for a minute. I would leave the room, the apartment or him if his behavior got to be too much for me. We are taking Yoga classes together (something I've loved for many years but he is new to it and loves it too) and I'm VERY motivated this time. We started a rule over a month ago - no smoking in the house which took care of a lot of the habitual times to smoke already - and we bought the patch for a week. We have nicorettes around the house for emergencies and so far this has been the best. We've done hypnosis, the patch, and zyban in the past and we found the patch the best. What is different is my husband and my determination. He now has much greater insight into how he works himself into an emotional pitch to provide himself with the excuse to go back to smoking (consequently he's much better at monitoring his outbursts - he still has them but they don't last and he's quick to take full responsibility for his behavior - helping me as soon as possible to recognize his outbursts have absolutely nothing to do with me - they are the fight he's having with himself. I can see him working much harder to keep his negative thoughts to himself - to hold more of his own counsel. I've learned to leave the room physically as soon as the expletives start to flow (if not physically then mentally I take myself elsewhere). I work on breathing exercises - stay away from friends who smoke and I actually think after a week we are going to stay that way. Our Yoga classes have become immensely important to us and we share a dream of becoming Yoga teachers together in the future. And Yoga teachers don't smoke themselves to death - that's for sure!! We are putting $75 a week in a savings account (that's the cost of 2 cartons of cigarettes) every week for our retirement fund which is powerfully motivating for my husband. He's very excited about that and it will remain one of the strongest motivators for him to keep away from smoking - for me it's Yoga.

Our chiropractor said to me that we need to have something that we love more than smoking. That's what works. It's not the negative (smoking is bad for me blah blah - we all know that!!) it's the positive that works the best. Putting money into a savings account, wanting to do something that means not smoking, wanting to be a good example for your children.
I can understand why they say the more times you quit the more likely you are to be successful. You get to learn more and more about yourself and your process every time. Everyone is a different smoker for different reasons - you have to use the experience to get to know yourself better. It's a tremendous learning experience.

from Kenneth,

I am 36 years old and have been smoking since I was 14. Although I was never a heavy smoker (about half a pack of Lights a day, more when I drank alcohol), I've always known that this habit was certainly doing me no good (duh!). I haven't experienced any noticeable physical side effects from my smoking, but a recent TV show scared me into quitting. It was a rerun of "ER". A patient played by the actor Miguel Ferrer had come into the ER complaining of chest pain and coughing up blood. The female doctor (sorry, don't know the actress' name) reviewed his x-ray with him and showed him a mass she had found. She asked if he smoked. He replied "Yeah, a couple packs a day".

After a brief consultation as to what the mass could be, he pressed her for an immediate diagnosis. "How long have I got, doc?" At first she was hesitant to give a time frame. But he pressed her. "Six months, maybe ten" as her unwilling reply. "Well, guess I don't have to quit now." was his somber response. Very scary stuff. I never want to hear that from my doctor. I imagine that the worst part of being a smoker diagnosed with lung cancer is knowing you did it to yourself. I am saving my own life by quitting, and I feel great about it.

 

from Lynx,

I had no intention of quitting smoking. To paraphrase Samuel Clemens: "Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it thousands of times". Sure, my lungs felt as if they were sandpaper over—sure, my clothes smelled like a fumigation tank—but quit? No way.

It was then that I had my smoking intervention. Normally, I’d react to an intervention with extreme irritation—I claim a libertarian philosophy when it comes to my right to indulge in self-abuse. Sure, I know it’s harmful. But there’s a certain type of "nicotine logic" that I prescribed to—namely, the Scarlet O’Hara philosophy of "I’ll think about it tomorrow". Not just anybody could come to me and give me difficulties about my bad habit. After all, I was one of the considerate smokers—I made a point to never smoke anywhere that was non-smoking, I carefully shielded my friends and fiancée from my habit, I picked up my cigarette butts (as well as others’) instead of letting them rot on the ground. My fiancé requested that I quit on some silly premise of "he’d like to live with me for fifteen more years near the end of our lives as senior citizens and if I made him a widower early he’d be very upset". Talk about unreasonable. As if I’d ever listen to him about this sort of thing! It was then that our family cats decided to voice their opinion of my habit.

Yes, you heard right. My fiancé and I (we’re getting married sometime soon) have a "blended family" of three cats (two from his side and one from mine). We even have a female "godcat" whom we rescued off the streets when she was a kitten and who now lived with a neighbor downstairs. Naturally, she came upstairs to our apartment often. Although the four of them rarely agree together about anything other than the fact that they prefer wet food, chicken, and salmon, they came to a quick consensus. They organized. (I’m telling you, if there’s one thing more frightening than your cats fighting, it’s when your cats decide that they will assist each other towards a common goal.) They declared war on my cigarettes. Hell, I’m beginning to be convinced that they are about to declare war on Phillip Morris company by themselves.

It began innocently enough. I had a few cigarettes from a pack left—I was sure of it. Trouble was, the pack wasn’t in my purse, where I was sure I had left it. In fact, my purse was not only open, but spilled upon the floor. After a few minutes, I’d found my cigarettes. The cigarettes were in pieces on the floor.

They were shredded. One that was partially in tact had little holes punctured by my godcat’s tiny claws (she’s still tiny, being almost a year old). On the floor was an ashtray, knocked off from above off of the mantle.

I growled, remembering the times when my cat would wait until I sat down and began a cigarette, jump on my lap, and start to claw me and hiss at the cigarette in my left hand. I remembered my godcat’s irritation with cigarettes. My betrothed’s cats had a habit of knocking things off of cabinets, they were known and named for this tendency. A quick survey of the house uncovered the fact that they’d been very selective of the items they’d knocked off—ashtrays. Thorough searching revealed all of my lighters—in my cats’ favorite stashing places, along with various socks (did I tell you that my fiancé’s cats have a thing about stealing socks?)

At this time my betrothed and I were/are tight on money—we have/had the holidays to save for, and I couldn’t justify spending the four bucks necessary to eliminate my need for a fix—especially for replacement packs of cigarettes. So anyway—I decided not to buy another pack. That, and I noticed a terrifying observation. After playing with one of the cats for a long while, I noticed that he wheezed. Wheezing? My cat? That was it--the cigarettes had to go. I suffered, whined, and am currently am still in the agony mode that we get into after quitting smoking. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m going nuts from nicotine withdrawal, I’d really appreciate how good my lungs and eyes feel and how much easier working out has become. Maybe I’d even admire how clear my skin is becoming.

It’s been two weeks so far. The cats are far more playful—my ten year cat old has started racing around the same way she used to when she was three. I smell better. My beloved is constantly kissing me now that no ashes are upon my breath. The cats have decided that instead of my early morning cigarette, I am to instead direct my time to kitty massage and play. Yesterday morning my godcat and I spent the early hours before work after yoga (yes, I’d do Ashtanga yoga and look forward to my post yoga cigarette—sick, huh?) dancing to an Adrian Belew song "Peaceable kingdom"

Although I am shaking and scared—quitting smoking is arguably the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, harder than non-euclidean geometry, harder than my orals for my higher degree—I at least have some comfort. My pride is happy with me.

 

from Raya,

As with some others, there were several straws that broke my camel’s back. I was a smoker for 15 years and recently turned 30 but not until this year did I really think about quitting. I was tired of being an “addict”, depending on those nicotine sticks, held and bound to them heart and soul. I also kept getting these little reminders—like last spring when I almost died of an asthma attack and nothing, not even my inhaler would calm it. I promised God I’d quit and still I didn’t. I saw a man walking down the street who looked like Death and I promised I’d quit. But still…So I started “trying”, going one week or a few days at a time without cigarettes and finally, after many stops and starts I’ve finally quit – and have been nicotine-free for two weeks. What did it this time? Going to yoga, realizing that I was blocked spiritually (and thus in every other way), that I was allowing myself to be chained to this addiction as if I had no say in the matter and after intellectually understanding the dangers, being completely saddened by the Wall of Remembrance on the American Lung Association web-site as well as totally inspired by the heroes who’ve written to this site. Now I don’t even want to smoke though I’m feeling a certain loss and sadness, which I know will pass. It’s like you awake with your lover gone but you know with time you’ll get used to it. Good luck to all of you who are on the path to quitting. It gets better everyday and just think of the fact that you’re taking the power back. I use my imagination, too, which helps. I know it sounds morbid but I picture a skull smoking (presumably it is what used to be me) and also, started composing my obituary (as fantastic as possible which makes it all the more effective) in my mind when I had my first craving. Prayer and meditation are also wonderful…and to counter the initial depression, St. John’s Wort is useful. Thanks to Blair for this terrific site.



from Paula,

I have been trying to quit smoking for about 15 years. I missed my target of quitting at 30 by 10 years. Next May I will be 40 and now I am beginning to feel the affects of smoking. Shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing in the morning until I gag and a constant supply of phlegm I have to clear from my throat all day. My father-in-law is now in the hospital for the rest of his life. He has emphysema and lung cancer. He can not talk without gasping for breath. All his energy is spent just breathing. I know we all have to go sometime, but you DO NOT want to go like this. I hope you young, invincible people realize the tobacco companies need you to smoke and get hooked to replace the people who die every day from their product. Chances are, if they don't get you hooked in your teens they won't get you.

I bought my last pack of cigarettes two days ago. They cost $4.07. I am going to make it this time. This seems crazy after two days when you have been trying for years; but something's different this time. My father-in-law's suffering and his inevitable death, my new grand baby coming in late August, the cost, the health problems and being too tired to drag these chains around any longer. I am finally going to be free.

Smoking is like being in love with someone very much and finding out that someone is trying to kill you. It will kill you. It is the enemy and wants to take away your breath of life. Don't let it. I pulled up the American Lung Association's "Wall of Remembrance" and printed it out for some inspirational material; it was 158 pages. I wept. Since you might get weepy anyway from withdrawal, I strongly recommend it as a positive reminder of why you are weeping.

"And God breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul". Pray for me and I will pray for you.

 

from Eduardo,

I am 37 years old and have been a pack a day smoker since I was 20. My last straw came a couple of months ago. For the last 2 years I have noticed a steady decline in my general health. During the winter months I was experiencing frequent nasal congestion and frequency of laryngitis and a sore throat. I also noted I was beginning to develop the characteristic smokers dry yellowish skin. My health problems got so bad that at one point earlier this year I literally could not speak at the end of the day, but still, I continued to smoke.

Every day for the last few years I would promise myself that in the morning I would not smoke. And every morning the first thing that would pop into my head would be that powerful urge to get up and smoke once more. Intellectually, I knew that smoking was devastating my life and my health. As many smokers often do I was not eating right, not exercising and drinking to much coffee etc. I work in the medical field and often deal with sick individuals and I felt like a hypocrite giving them advise and direction when I, myself could not follow it. Finally a couple of months ago I decided the pain of smoking was greater than the pain of quitting. I began to use the patch and since that time have managed to reduce my smoking almost to nothing. I still fight a daily battle with it. One of  your previous writers noted that when you have gone 2 years smoke free you have beaten it. I don't agree. A smoker is only one pack away from being a full addict again. Perhaps at the 2 year point you are a at a significantly reduced risk of relapse but ex smokers will always have to be vigilant and (must never try one again) Perhaps the smokers number one self falsehood is that (just one cigarette this time) will not do any harm. It almost always does.

Perhaps the best wisdom and advice I can impart to anyone attempting to quit smoking is never quite trying. Do not get down on your self when you smoke the cig at the bar. just resolve again not to smoke again. When you get knocked down just get up again...as that song goes. Quitting smoking is a learned practice and with every day we go smoke free we develop our coping skills. Studies show that people who successfully quit smoking have tried to quit many times before. Rare is the individual who quit smoking on the first attempt. I was the type of person who could not forgive myself if I gave in just once. This resulted in extreme frustration and failure. Now, I take it in stride. Each few days I succeed is a victory with points on the board. When I relapse momentarily, I just get right back up and continue putting points on the board. I know I will eventually get were I want to be and I know everybody out there can also. Stay well everybody.

 

from Diana,

What a great, helpful site, and what encouraging stories!

My final straw should have come a couple of years ago when I emptied the ashtray in my office at home and went out in the garden. Some minutes later I heard a weird cracking sound, thought it was the neighbor welding something, then saw clouds of smoke coming out my office. The wastepaper bin had caught fire from one still glowing-cigarette…the result was total destruction of my office – computer, printer, phones, the air conditioner, most of my books and CDs (thank God, not the family photo albums).

And yet this wasn’t enough to make me quit.Then, last Friday, I visited a girlfriend who was a real nicotine fiend like me, and was amazed to see she wasn’t puffing. She’d started using Nicorette and was really doing well. As soon as I left her, I bought some and have now reached day 3. Recently I’d been smoking like that proverbial chimney – the car stank, my office stank, my hair/clothes – everything. I’d started buying all sorts of devices to hide the smell, sprayed perfume in the car, cleaned the car with wipes at red lights, to get rid of the ash. It was just too much.

So, at the age of 53, having smoked since 18 years old, I really really hope this is it. Everyone’s messages and stories are so very helpful. Good luck to us all!

 

anonymous,

I read Larry's "Last Straw" and was happy to see that the "airport cure" had worked for someone else, too. 

My husband and I were flying from Baltimore to Phoenix to visit our grandchildren and we had to change planes in St. Louis.  Of course, as soon as we left the plane we started looking for that designated smoking area.  When I saw the little glassed-in room, yellow-gray with smoke, and those wrinkled up, sickly people hunched over their cigarette, I just couldn't go in there.  I told my husband that I would meet him at the bookstore.  I went that entire flight without a cigarette and I couldn't stop thinking about that room.  It totally blew my fantasy about myself.  I thought, "Oh,no, I'm not one of those people.  I'm Ann Bancroft in the black, slinky dress, sitting at the bar, looking sexy and cool and totally in control.  That's the kind of smoker I am - not this wrinkled up old hag in the airport." 

As soon as we returned home, I went and bought Nicorette and quit on December 7th, 1997.  I am so happy that I am no longer controlled by my smoking habit.  My first thought in the morning was, "Do I have enough cigarettes to last until I leave for work?" and my last thought in the evening was "Is there a cigarette for morning, or do I have to go out tonight?" 

It's over.  Thank God.  Thank you, Nicorette.  Curse you, Phillip Morris.

 

from Jurriaan,

My last straw was that me and my girlfriend were about to live together in our own home. As a non-smoker herself, she wanted me to quit ever since she knew me, and I wanted her to loss weight because she's a little too big. So living together in our house was the start for both of us to become 'the better you', and I quit smoking and she started to loose weight.

We benefit from the Carr method (I quit cold turkey and found it quite easy and liberating, and she has the Carr method for weight loss. I'd seriously advise anybody to read it, because it's the best method I've ever seen or heard of). In combination with the Carr book, there's actually only one thing you'll need to quit: pick it up and read it. By the time you're through, you'll probably be a non-smoker already.

 

from Christian,

Well I know what the final straw for me was. That this pathetic little cigarette was in control of my life. I would need it with certain things like coffee, alcohol, after diner mint, it was then at any time it beckoned for me to suck it. well i realized that i wanted the control of my life back so i stopped. it is a great feeling knowing that you can and have accomplished such a demanding task.

 

from Karen,

Many times in the past 26 years (yes, I'm only 40) I've either tried to quit or thought about it.  But every time, I just couldn't last.  Although in the past year, I was using nicorette gum alot, especially when I traveled and that helped me realize that I could live longer than one hour without a smoke.

Another website said that quitting smoking is a lot like a three legged stool.  Many smokers have addictive personalities and often times drink hard, abuse other substances or generally just get out of control.  A friend of mine said, "Someday you'll just quit.  You'll get to a certain point in your life, something with happen and you'll say enough."

Well, 8 days ago that happened to me.  I was truly out of control.  I smoked two packs in 6 hours while drinking way too many drinks and then gambling money I didn't have.  That night, sick as I was, I realized that was it.  Enough was enough.  The next day, I did not smoke or drink and decided that was it for both alcohol and nicotine.  After all cigarettes  and booze do seem to go hand in hand.  So it's been 8 days and the past 6 haven't been bad but yesterday and today have been awful.  I've been working out and jogging and that seems to be helping.  But I appreciate the posts about depression.  It is a factor.

My last straw?  Realizing I was out of control and needed to get back in control.  Life is so much simpler now.  

 

from Michael (Ohio),

Just got out of the hospital...again. The very first thing I did when I got back home was to hit the internet and look for ANYTHING that will help me quit smoking. I have asthma and have been in and out of the hospital countless times. Yes, I must be insane. Yet I keep finding reasons to continue to smoke. However, I think this time I may have actually become motivated enough to quit. I have smoked for 22 years. I have become the King of Rationalization. Tomorrow is my favorite word.

But this hospital visit changed everything. I simply COULD NOT BREATHE. Hold your hand over your nose and mouth until you can't stand it any longer and that is what it felt like. AND THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO. I thought I was dying because nothing that they were giving me at the ER helped. FINALLY, after what seemed like an eternity I started to breathe a little easier. And over the next few days I began to feel better. Now I feel pretty good. I think I have a pretty good idea of what it feels like to have emphysema or lung cancer.

And now I am so angry.....because I realize that all those big tobacco companies KNOW that they are killing you and me...and for what? TO MAKE A BUCK!? How insane is that? How do they live with themselves? 

Anyway, It's been about three days now and I have a few cravings but not too much. I really felt like I dodged THE BIG ONE there. I know I can do this. Thanks for all your help.

Ah...what the hell: FIGHT THE POWER!

Still Kicking In Ohio

 

from Ian (UK),

I have been smoking since I was 17 (I'm now 23) . Started off as a bit of a   laugh with my mates, and gradually progressed until I was on 20 a a day.  Well I've been with my girlfriend for 3 years and in July of this year we are having our first baby. Ever since we found out we were pregnant, I was put under unbearable pressure to quit. I always said "I'll start next week".
Well, the other night we were watching a TV show about smoking, and the damage it does to your children. It said that, if you smoke, babies will recognize you by your smell. And it said that the baby will smell the smoke on me and be comforted by that. This made me think seriously about it. Then, that night, as I felt the baby kicking me in my back, I thought "that's it".
I'm on my second day now, the craving is UNBEARABLE. But, when I think of the evil weed vs. my baby , well you know the winner. I know I'm only one my second day, and I know that the worse is yet to come, but me and my baby are going to be the winners in this war. I don't want to be a old wheezing man sitting on the bench in the park, watching my baby play cos I'm too ill/tired to play with him. Anyone else reading this with children and thinking about it, do it, not for you, or the money, but for your children.



from Genevieve,

I'm 25. I started smoking at 16 and quit 2 weeks ago. I'm young, and don't have children, so things like lung cancer  and birth defects didn't scare me. I always said that I'd quit when I decided to have kids, long before smoking took a toll on my health. What I wasn't realizing is that it already had. In the last six months I've had the flu twice and just recently got over strep throat. Strep stopped me for a few days, but before I could even speak normally again I was lighting up, and the pain of inhaling was incredible. This made me realize a couple of things. A) I was a pathetic addict. (duh) B) even though cancer and having to breathe through a tube in your throat are horrible, don't think smoking isn't affecting your health just because you're not that bad yet. I was spending large chucks of my 20's sick as a dog or just feeling crappy. Not fully enjoying something I'll never have again. Finally, I was scared and I quit. In the last two weeks, I've actually felt 25. I didn't even realize before how old smoking was making me feel. Yes, it's hard, most of my friends smoke, and I don't care what anyone says- it does look cool. (Watch movies from the forties if you don't believe me) If I tried to tell myself I didn't  enjoy it , I'd fail, because my quitting would be based on a lie. The things I got from smoking just don't make up for what it was taking from me- my youth.

from Tracy,

My final straw was that I was Just SICK and TIRED of being sick and tired of smoking.  I really have not enjoyed smoking these last few years but it was my "Friend" and I could not fathom giving them up..nor did I have the strength or will power to quit.  I have been puffing away since I was 14 years old and although I have stated that I wanted to quit a various points in my life, I just didn't. I am approaching my 34th birthday and I did not want to celebrate another year still being weak and having my whole life ruled by cigarettes.  Also my Mother was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and seeing the the struggle her and my father went through really made me afraid of my own future. By the way, both of my parents are smokers..actually most of my family smokes, and unfortunately Mom still does, but I hope I can convince her to quit. 

What I am very grateful for are sites like this that inspired me enough to actually look at a calendar, pick a date and go through with it. April 15th 1999 was my day and I am currently on day 8 and Counting..The night before my quit, I prayed like I never prayed before that God would help me through my journey and to give me the Courage and the Strength I would need to do it.  He has done that for me and I am so happy I tear up every time I think of the progress I am making.  No more trying to schedule smoking into your day, or standing out in the cold puffing away, no more coughing up phlegm, chest pains or being lethargic..No more smelling like a disgusting ashtray or being sick longer than the average nonsmoker when flu/cold season comes around and last but not least..

Being FREE from being enslaved by the Nicodemon.  My journey has been the Hardest thing I have ever done before..by days 3 and 4, I was in tears and a nervous wreck but I refused to give in to it because then I would have to start all over again and it's not worth it. So get your Nic gum, Patches or whatever will get you through..   I have also started exercising my body and I can feel the difference in the way I feel already, besides the fact that my boyfriend Darren, says it's even sweeter to kiss me now that I don't have to disinfect myself anymore when I want to get close. So for anyone who is thinking about it or is in the process of doing it..You will not regret it.  I plan to stay inspired and strong as the days go by and I hope that if you are reading this..you Will to....Day 8..Smokefree and Loving It  :)

 

from Gina,

I am 27, I had my first cigarette at 13 (didn't start "serious" smoking till about sixteen though), and have quit I don't know how many times. I am a freelance writer too, and I just finished a book called "Nicotine and Cigarettes" for Chelsea House Publishers in Pennsylvania. It will be released sometime in 1999.  Sometimes I quit for months on end, with no patches or gum or anything. Sometimes I couldn't quit for a single day.
Always I tried to forgive myself when I slipped (I find it hard to forgive myself for anything), and just try again, and again, and again. Just this year I quit about eight times! Many times, too, I quit for months on end, had a cigarette or two with friends, with some wine, and threw the pack away and forgot about it. So I thought, sometimes, maybe, it's OK to have just one.

About three weeks ago I met my dream man, that I never really believed existed. Among other things, he was very nice to me about my "slipping" for a week or so, but then he said "I'm going to get on your case about that soon." I said "Good, I wish you would!"  I told him a lot of the scary statistics and health facts about smoking, that I knew all along
but ignored, and now couldn't ignore because I was writing this book about it. (The hypocrisy really bothered me a lot! I signed up to write this book after I had quit for a few months, but then I started again. Imagine, trying to write a book to keep kids off nicotine and in between chapters I would go outside and smoke!)

I told my new friend that tobacco farmers can earn up to $3500 for an acre of tobacco. Cotton farmers earn about $380. Wheat farmers earn $100. This is a sick sick world. I told him that the relapse rate for cocaine and heroin addicts is 75%. I told him that the relapse rate for smokers is also 75%. I told him I don't know how tobacco company
executives can live with themselves, selling a lifetime of addiction and disease to children as young as five or six. I told him that every cigarette takes twelve minutes off your life.

Two nights ago he told me that for every pack of cigarettes I smoke, I owe him four hours. "I want every single second of every minute I can possibly have with you, and you owe me those minutes. You will not cheat me." I said "I know. I understand. I'll quit." But I don't think I really understood.  So later that night he took my last cigarette and a
ballpoint pen, drew a halfway mark on the cigarette, and then wrote on the filter "One less six-minute kiss." I cried. I smoked that cigarette after he left to go home, but it was pretty hard to enjoy it between sobs. I hated myself for smoking that cigarette. I wanted to keep it to remind me, but I had to get my fix. It was truly the Last Straw.

I don't ever want a cigarette again. Ever. If I have to give up alcohol, talking on the phone, coffee and everything else that ever made me want to smoke, I'll do it. The thought of taking even twelve minutes away from life now repulses me beyond belief. Because I'm not just taking it from myself.

My advice to anyone--including the lady who unlocked the Nicorette cabinet for me at K-Mart yesterday who can't understand why she wants to murder someone when she tries to quit, including the young man in line at the checkout ahead of me who saw all the lollipops, Pez and Nicorette and patted his pocket and said "I can't quit", including every smoker I have ever met (strange, how we all want to quit so bad but "can't")---is quit, quit quit quit quit. Try again and again and again and again. You may very well slip. You may very well even start again regularly. You will be surprised how quickly you are back up to a pack a day, two packs a day, after months of being clean. Quit again. And again. Every time
you quit and slip you are closer to quitting for good. Keep trying. Do it. It is not impossible. Millions of people do it and millions have done it.

And one more thing, I quoted this lady in my book manuscript: "As a rule of thumb, anyone who has not smoked for two years is considered cured of nicotine dependency. And this is not merely control of the habit. It is a cure."
--Gilda Berger, _Addiction_, NY and London: Franklin Watts, 1992, page
137.

Good luck and KEEP TRYING, quitting is the most important thing you can ever do for yourself or anyone who loves you! Don't give up!

from Camille...

I am glad to have found this page.  My last straw is looking at my children and hoping desperately that I will be around to see them marry and have children.  My mother died at 56 of lung cancer.  I witnessed first hand every step of this grim disease take her life.  I was with her when she took her last breath.  Lung cancer, I can tell you, is something that no one should ever have to witness, much less go through and experience first hand.  It is degrading, terrifying, painful and heartbreaking.  This was about 9 yrs ago and I promised her on her death bed that I would stop when she died.  I am almost 34, a heavy smoker with an 11 yr old boy and 11 month old girl.  I have a perfect husband who I am madly in love with and a future, if I was going to be around to see it.  I am only on day 2.  This is the longest I have gone and I have smoked for 15 years now.  I think it is important to tell others trying that my mom did not stop smoking when she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  She was very strong willed and filled with dignity.   I remember her saying to me often during her last days (with tears in her eyes) "Camille, I just want to live"  "All I want is to live"  She was so desperate and swollen from the drugs and disoriented from the pain medication.   I miss her and I don't want my kids to experience what I did with my mom.

from Larry...

The thing that finally motivated me was travel, and what a pain it is to be a smoker traveling nowadays. I went out to visit my sister on the West coast recently, the flight from Atlanta is about 5 hours. Of course I had to chain smoke in the airport
before boarding the plane. There is but one little room with glass walls and a small door that is the smoking room here at the airport. You literally can not see through the room and out the other side the smoke is so thick in there, no fresh air at all.
I had to stand by the door to get some oxygen between puffs in there. It really made me realize as passengers walked by staring at the disgusting site of all the addicts, what a bunch of druggies we really are. Nobody would be in there except to get a fix.

That was almost 4 months ago, and I am looking forward to my next trip. It will be such a relief to not have to worry about where I will be able to get my next fix.

It was a few days later after I returned, that I was checking the net for help on quitting, when I came across Blair's page. I right then and there posted on his bulletin board that I intended to quit the next morning. Right there for all the world
to see, no more excuses, no more denial, right there in front of everybody I was gonna do this. I posted on another BB I frequent as well. I have too much pride to back down after that, so I stuck with it!

If you really want it driven home what an unhealthy hold nicotine has over you, just go to the airport and check out the smoking area.

 

from Sonia...

First, thank you so much for such a supportive area to achieve such wonderful goal. This is my seventh day smoke free. Day three was the hardest and it has become progressively easier. I was relieved to find that other people had crying bouts! As time goes by, I find that I can breath
and sing and smell things I never had been able to since I was about sixteen. Sometimes that ugly cloud of self-doubt makes me ask myself if I can do it, or if I'm worth it, or whatever. Well, I can - I am worth it - and so are you.

The breaking point was that I thought of the children I want to have with my new husband. I want to be around for them and enjoy them for a long long time. I want to live, I have a lot to do! I went to a hypnotist, which was very helpful. Also, I took several calming herbs - such as passionflower & valarian, for the first few days. Exercise! And I constantly told myself the reasons I wanted to quit over and over. What a relief to not have the guilt of my own destruction.

from Jo...

What was the Straw that Broke the Camels Back??

Well it is hard to say what exactly is the straw that broke the camels back in my situation, but I am glad that there was a straw! Actually I really had not even planned on quitting. I guess a number of things were on my mind including the fact that I just recently turned 35 and had noticed that the circulation in my body was horrible - evidenced by my legs and feet that throb and feel icy most of the time. Well, on this one particular day I was feeling pretty crappy and as the day wound down so did my cigarettes. I can usually go without cigarettes for about 4 hours if I have to and thus I was not in an immediate panic - -not to mention knowing as well that my husband would be home soon and I could bum one of his Newports if I needed to. To give you some background info on my Nicotine habit I have to say that I have been, on average, a-pack-a-day smoker - for over 15 years.

I can honestly say that I have had one of those damn cancer tubes between my fingers at least once every single waking hour of that entire 15 year period and that is conservative! (cuz I am getting nauseous!) . Anyway, I did smoke a few of those Newports that night and reasoned that since I did not enjoy them as much as my Camels, they would be healthier for me since I would be smoking less. I actually did smoke a little less because they were menthol but the more I thought about it, the more I admitted to myself that eventually I would smoke more of these too and puff harder as well, to get my fix of nicotine. Hey and who did I think I was fooling? I am a pro ; I have 15 years experience under my chest! (Yes ; Nicotine is a Drug and anyone who smokes them is an addict) The proof came when I tried to cut down drastically. Nicotine is a Demon! If you don't believe me - try quitting. The Nico-Demon is very cunning and will try every trick in the book to get you to light up. Nicotine has the same addictive potential as that of Heroin and Cocaine. Trying to quit cold turkey will enlighten you as to what addiction really is. I could not believe it is; hold on me!!!!!!!

I read as much as I could about quitting and no one who is honest will tell you it's easy. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL! It is by far, the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. As if day 1 and 2 were not bad enough; day three and four had me weeping and trying desperately to justify just one cigarette, even one puff. Days five and six had me thinking about those damn cancer tubes constantly;. I mean at least a few times every few minutes;. no exaggeration!. I could not focus on anything. By then I was beginning to wonder if any person here on earth ever went through the day without thinking of cigarettes and with that I just persevered and carried on knowing how ridiculous that question was.

The internet is a great source of information and support. Reading about emphysema patients on oxygen 24/7, viewing diseased lungs and photos of mouth cancer can really motivate one to quit. So many wonderful people took the time to write about their own suffering at the hands of the Nico-Demon  all because they do not want you and I to experience the same thing. This, I thank
them for and pray that God will ease their suffering and bless them and their loved ones. It has not been that long for me; it has only been 1 week, 12 hours, 14 minutes, 53 seconds or 187 cigarettes not smoked. Everyday gets easier and I realize and feel the benefits of my quitting smoking. I pray for strength every day to avoid that one fateful puff as therein lurks the Nico-Demon - laughing, smirking and forever taunting. I can never reverse the damage that I have done to myself by smoking but I can take this day and every other one one at a time and remain nicotine free. I have shown myself respect like never before and this is the best gift I have ever given myself. I WAS a chronic smoker, smoking cigarettes one after the other and right down to the cork. If I can do it, anyone can. Fight the Nico-Demo for just one week; that is all it takes to have a life with out those stinky, disgusting, rule-your-life, cancer-causing, mood altering cancer tubes. Please stop putting it off and quit - or at least plan to quit now. Already I have more energy, my skin and hair look better and I feel better than I have in years; not to mention that my smile is getting brighter by the day.

Special thanks to Blair's quitting smoking resources - you really make a difference.

from Winnie...

I was outside having my morning cig, trying to hide from my children, when my 4 year old son found me and said "Did you know smoking can make you die?", and I replied, almost choking, "yes I do". I assured him I was going to quit. So, do deal with my stress and guilt, I promptly went to 7-11 to buy another pack, and he said to me, "I thought you were going to quit." I replied, "yes, I am. This is my last pack.", and he said, "ok, promise this is your last pack." I replied, "ok, I promise", and I kept my promise. I haven't smoked since that "last" pack. I guess I just finally realized how horrible it would be if I had to come home one day and explain to my children (and husband), that mommy wasn't going to be around much longer because she chose to be selfish, and continued to smoke, knowing it was deadly. Wow, imagine that scenario. It was terrifying. I also always promised myself that when my son was old enough to know what I was doing, and was cognizant of the fact that I was killing myself, then it was time to stop.

I wish you the BEST with your quit, Sarah, and hope some of the stories here are very motivating and inspirational for you. I think they definitely would have been for me in the beginning.
Let us know how you're doing.

 

from Lynn...

I just reached a point where I couldn't take it anymore! I was going to be 35 soon. I was overweight and have high blood pressure and was tired of being chained to the cigs. So one day I decided enough is enough and picked my birthday for my quit date! Every cigarette I smoked just weighed me down even more! So my birthday came and now I'm a non smoker who loves her freedom!! I'm still overweight but my blood pressure is down some and I'm exercising again and have lost 6 pounds already and I FEEL GREAT!!!

 

from Tony...

Really good topic - glad you brought it up. My straw was my daughter. You see, I was quickly approaching 40 (a little long in the tooth to still be fooling around with such a stupid habit) when our daughter was born. I had stopped smoking in the house as soon as we found out we were pregnant. My wife had never smoked and it was already considerably selfish of me to smoke in confined areas near her anyway. What an addiction, huh? At any rate, I did not want a child of mine to grow up around a smoking parent. My father smoked and the way I saw it, any guy as great as that couldn't be doing something that bad, right? Anyway, I decided to quit by the time she was born. That was in May. The next opportunity I had would be my birthday in June. The big four-o. Woops, missed that one too. I'm sure nobody here can relate to any of this, or the good-natured reminders or newspaper articles your mother cuts out about smoking related illnesses. They mean well, but unless you've been there - sorry, ya just can't relate. OK, the birth and birthday shot by quickly, I'm still pissed that I didn't have the motivation/strength to stop. Took a big step and got on the net searching for stopping smoking sites and guess where I ended up...thanks again Blair. I happened on Blair's site and stumbled to this board on Tuesday, July 7, 1998. I read enough posts to pump me up about quitting. It was like the first time you watched Rocky. Everybody went out and started jogging and wearing sweats. Well, Tuesday nights smokes were miserable because the posts were still fresh in my mind. Didn't enjoy a single one and that really pissed me off. Wednesday morning arrived and I broke my routine. No Zyban, no herbs, no gum, no patches and you know what else? No smokes since that day. I still miss them. I thought they were my friends for well over 20 years. But, I can't think of a better gift to my daughter than to never let her see a cigarette in my hand. Good luck in your search for an appropriate straw. It's there and just waiting on you.

 

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