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Why & How Others Have Quit Smoking

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This area is a collection of submissions from people who have successfully quit smoking. They have allowed us to add their comments specifically answering the question: "In a short paragraph, please outline the main reason why and how you quit smoking.

If you are interested in adding your thoughts please Email Us. Some people have found it helpful to print off a few to carry with them for inspiration and encouragement.

This is an excellent way to assist others in quitting smoking and we appreciate everyones' thoughts!

How & Why I Quit Smoking (Page 2)

How & Why I Quit Smoking (Page 3)

How & Why I Quit Smoking (Page 4)


from Brian:

I'd very much like to add my thoughts to your Why & How Others have Quit page. I picked up the smoking habit in college. There were too many reasons to have each next cigarette and not enough apparent reasons to stop. I never really considered myself a smoker though. I figured I would just smoke during college and then quit upon graduation. I never pictured my life after school with cigarettes but I couldn't imagine my life in school without them. I graduated and (surprise, surprise) kept smoking. One day I just woke up and didn't have any cigarettes. I went the whole day and thought, "yeah, this is it. I'm ready." I picked a reason to keep off the smokes (a fencing competition a few weeks away) and thought about that reason every time I wanted a smoke. I thought about it as an ultimatum, like if I had a cigarette I could never fence again. It worked. After the competition I picked something else.

from Anonymous:

I smoked secretly in high school ( I was a cheerleader, athlete and scholar). I started smoking openly in college....1967 was my freshman year. I'm not going into personal details so.....33 years later, Nov. 2000, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I had a malignancy on my ankle. Removing it required a skin graft. The surgeon told me the chances of the graft "taking" would be greatly reduced if I continued to smoke. I'm a Type A, constantly busy, HAVE to be busy. So I didn't want to risk possibly losing my foot for a cigarette. I bought Nicorette and stopped smoking the day before my surgery. The gum seemed to work. I believed in it. The info packet that came with the gum said I could chew up to a piece an hour. The day of my surgery I chewed four pieces. The second day I chewed four piec! es. This continued for the rest of the week. By the 9th day, I was down to one piece and said the heck with it. I went to regular gum. Today is Jan. 6...I haven't smoked since Nov. 6. I'm breathing better than ever. I haven't used the Ventolin, Flovent, Serevent, and Proventil that I've been using since I was 26 years old since Nov. 10. Hmmmm. If I can do it, anyone can.

from John

After several failed attempts,  I gave up my 20 a day habit 18 months ago  - I have not had one since .I offer for what it’s worth my experiences and philosophy.   Firstly, you will never quit  unless you really want to and I mean really want to – deep down whole-hearted  determination is required.  That shouldn’t be difficult as there is, after all,  every reason to quit – health, wealth, social acceptance and personal freedom.  Having got yourself into the right mental state you must pick your time and place – My last cigarette was in Sidney Australia the evening before the  long haul flight back to UK – Apart from a short stopover at Bangkok, this meant that I couldn’t  smoke for the next 24 hours   anyway – also there was a certain satisfaction in quitting before the dawn of the new millennium and in the Southern Hemisphere – these factors worked for me anyway.   I didn’t seek the help of any nicotine substitutes – I wanted to do it from sheer willpower – that was all part of my game plan -  I   won’t pretend it has been easy – there have been many times when I have been sorely tempted.  In the early days and weeks my philosophy was deal with quitting on a day by day basis “ I won’t have one today”  and on difficult days I would often go to bed early so that the suffering  would be consumed   by sleep.  I would often dream of smoking (this is common I believe) and I would wake up feeling terribly guilty but with a tremendous sense of relief when I realised I hadn’t really weakened.  During bouts of craving I would say to myself ”Is this really so bad? ……… I am not in pain …..  a toothache is far worse and surely the pain of terminal cancer even harder to bear – this suffering is merely momentary – just an  irritating nagging longing for a fix of nicotine which I know will pass”  –  During these cravings I discovered that brisk  exercise was the most effective way to drive away the pangs – after all whose wants to smoke when out of breath!   Unlike many quitters,  I would deliberately go into places/situations where I could watch people smoking – It  helped reinforce my resolve  by realising how stupid and ugly they looked in their pathetic dependence.  Contrary to what I used to believe,   I have come to realise that, far from cigarettes being a prop in times of stress, they are in fact contributors to stress -  dependency on an artificial stimulant just complicates Life’s difficult situations – that dread that washes over you in work situations when you have to  “perform”  in front of colleagues without the help of your little  friend – the longing for a coffee break when you can nip outside onto the street to top up your habit – often in the cold and usually in the company  of other outcasted fellow addicts.   I now have more confidence in myself knowing that I can get by without these harmful and expensive props.  From a financial standpoint I am much better off – it’s alarming to think that in UK the cost of just one cigarette at 20p is more than the price of a packet of 20 in the late 1960s!    I have bought myself a sports car as a reward   to my achievement and what I used to spend on cigarettes now pays for all running expenses.  My wife tells me that I look better and younger -  that ashen skin is now transformed into a healthy glow!  A final point, never ever believe that you can become a social smoker – that is just having  the odd one on special occasions – YOU CAN’T – It leads you back down the path of further dependence and you will  find yourself inventing “special” situations when you convince yourself it’s OK to  smoke – I know, I been down that route during previous failed attempts – Never ever have another cigarette – especially not  ONE!!   There are some people who have never been anything other than an occasional social smoker – the odd one is OK for them but if you have ever been addicted it won’t work.  After 18 months of abstinence, I still get the occasional longing – I still find the smell of a burning cigarette an appealing aroma and I think I always will, but I would be completely mad to go back and I never will;  Life is far too precious to take that risk  

Hope this helps and good luck to you all


from Dave

After 28 years of smoking 3 packs a day since I was 13, Im finally going to quit. Its my 41st birthday and Im laying on the cathlab table at the Hospital I have worked at for the last 10 years as Facilities Engineer (in fact I managed the project that built these 4 cathlabs), and having a coronary stent placed in one of my main arteries coming from my lungs that is 98% closed off. I have no family history of heart disease, Im very active, fit and otherwise healthy. The rest of my heart is in fine shape and 100% open, just closed off at my lungs input of oxygen to the heart. The doctor says he does 30-40 cases a week of people just like me between 25-50 years old that are otherwise healthy but were heavy smokers, and tells me if I continue to smoke I will be back for a bypass within 5 years, and dead within 5 years of that. My beautiful wife, 18 month old daughter, and 6 year old son are in the waiting room hoping I make it out OK. They dont deserve this and neither do I, and I would kinda like to be around to watch them grow up. That day I went on to the nicoderm patch, Zyban, and moved to Blairsville (quitsmokingsupport.com bulletin board) for moral support and help when I most needed it. Its been the hardest thing I ever did and I just hit my one month anniversary since I quit. The cost to me was about five years of my time I spent smoking that I could have spent with my family, over $125,000 I spent on smokes and a heart procedure that cost me $30,000. And people say I got off light, as most eventually end up losing their life. But as I layed in the recovery room surrounded by other patients in their 80's, I knew that it was the only thing to do, and that my smoking days were gone forever.


from Julie

I hate giving up my best friend, the Marlboro Ultra Light, but I hate the smell and dirtiness of the stuff equally as much. The hardest time is at night after a day at work. What the heck do I do without my smokes and the phone. or my smokes and TV. or my smokes and my Diet Coke, or my smokes and driving!? I smoked anywhere from 1/2 a pack to a pack per night-- nighttime smoker. This is my 5th day without a cigarette and I have been eating way too much. I've also had fits of anger, nervousness, paranoia, loneliness, fear, panic, and anxiety. Honestly, I don't recognize my own personality right now and I feel like a completely "untogether" person. Now I truly understand how some of the mentally ill people must feel-- it's a very frightening feeling indeed to feel that you could "lose it" at any moment. At the same time, I feel so excited about my new life smoke-free/bad habit free. I feel like I'm embarking on a brand new adventure-- a brand new life really. I'm going to now live the life of one of those good non-smoking people; one of those "clean living" folks. I'm about to turn 27 which means I've been smoking on and off for approximately 8 years. I am determined to kick this in the butt for good because the life I've envisioned for myself does not involve all the disgust that comes with being a smoker. I want to be married to a non-smoker and look like a non-smoker and smell like a non-smoker. I don't want to have breast cancer and look totally dried out with yellow teethe. The real reasons that I smoke are purely psychological. I've either been stuffing my face with food or cigs for as long as I can remember. I lost 50 pounds in the last year and I'm finally "slender." NOW, I'm so afraid that without my other half, the Marlboro, I will run back to food. My strategy will be to keep reading sites like this, write in a journal constantly, attend weight watchers meetings and try to exercise, and TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME. I am also treating myself like an alcoholic -- very delicately...very, very delicately -- no extra stress right now that could throw me off. Thanks for having a wonderful site like this. I don't feel so alone or frightened. I feel enlightened!


from Emmet

My name is Emmet Boyle and I smoked for 25 years, starting at the age of 13. By the time I was in my 30's I was smoking 25 - 40 cigarettes a day. I used all the 'normal' reasons to smoke. Enjoyment, especially after a meal and I would kill for that first one in the morning with my first cup of tea. Calming, I would have at least one cigarette before I did anything challenging or stressful. Sociable, most of my friends smoked.

And so on.....

I decided to finally give up smoking when I was 37, I had made several futile attempts uptil then with no real success at all. It was early April 1996 shortly before my 38th birthday. I had said that I would wait until after my birthday and the usual celebrations and then I would stop smoking. In fact May 1st 1996 was to be the official quit smoking day.

At the beginning of that April my brother heard of this and gave me a book by Allen Carr - The Only Way To Stop Smoking. I started to read it straight away and suddenly realised that I could stop. I put the book down and decided that I would still wait until May 1st. Then I thought to myself, "why wait!" I started reading the book again and stopped smoking on the 16th April 1996. I haven't needed and certainly do not want another cigarette again. No withdrawal symptoms, no substitutes, in fact nothing at all. I stopped and that was the end of it. Within 5 months of that date a close uncle died and I went to the funeral and never even thought about a cigarette. My sister got married and I enjoyed 2 days of wedding celebrations. Again I never wanted a cigarette.

I have lent the book to 3 other people and all of them have given up without any problems what so ever. One them is a lovely woman in her 60's. She had been smoking for most of her life. Her father died some months after she gave up. She is still a non-smoker today. It is not a case of will power. Just the myths of smoking shown up to be what they really are - myths! Smoking is a serious disease. An addiction that needs to be taken more seriously. I am living proof that it is easily combated. Please do yourselves a favour and easily break free from this terrible addiction. I never crave cigarettes and I can sit in a room full of people smoking and still not want one. I hope this is helpful to many people.


from Nicolette

I became ill with walking pneumonia & was very sick for 12 weeks. Just when I started to get better, I developed an upper respiratory virus that shut off my bronchial tubes. I literally couldn't breathe and after smoking cigarettes for 40 years, I finally quit smoking. I use the Nicoderm CQ patches & I have received tremendous support from SmithKline Labs 800 # and I now have 20 days free from cigarettes!


from Dee

I started smoking when I was 16 years old. I am now 51. I have always known that smoking was not good for me, but really never had the desire to quit. My most common "excuse" was concern over gaining weight. I guess down deep inside there is something that puts us over the edge once and for all to make us say "enough." Mine was a beautiful person named Rick. Rick and I met over the internet. He was from another state and it was instant attraction.

One of the first things he asked me was did I smoke. I said that I did and was that a problem. He said no. After our second meeting, he dropped the bomb. He told me he cared very much for me but had a problem with the smoking. I threw a fit. I cursed him for not being up front about this issue in the beginning, but he explained that he never dreamed that we would fall in love so therefore he didn't think it would be a problem. He informed me that he just couldn't be with someone who didn't care about her health.

After the initial shock of what he said and tears and all the other emotions, I realized that he was right. I also realized that I was cutting myself off from the most beautiful person who had ever entered my life. I finally forgave Rick for wanting me to be "healthy" and realized that this was what true love was all about. He was very supportive and agreed to help, which I thought was generous considering he had never smoked in his life. I researched my options for quitting and decided that after 35 yrs. of smoking 2 packs a day that I would need a double whammy. I asked my Dr. for a prescription for Zyban and bought the patch.

I decided to quit on Thanksgiving day 1999 because I would be on a smokeless airplane and airports for most of the day. I was taking a flight to see Rick for 2 weeks. I think what really helped me the most was that I was spending my initial quitting period away from my home, which was where I was used to smoking and going to a place where no one smoked. The 4th and 5th days were the worst for me, but Rick was kind, sweet and loving no matter how bitchy I got. With his love and support I made it through the first couple weeks easier than I thought. He also walked with me and kept me busy. Boy, did that help. I can honestly say, I don't miss smoking. Matter of fact, I don't miss running out for cigarettes all the time and having to worry about the people I associate with because they don't smoke. I am happy. I want to give many thanks to my guy, Rick, who helped make what I thought would be a traumatic experience, into one I feel very good about. I love you, Rick!


from Patricia Hallam

3 years ago I managed to quit smoking for a month with the help of the Nicotine patches.. Why? Because after 40 years as a smoker I had hope that I could quit an addiction that I was truly sick and tired of. I got broad-sided by an emotionally upsetting incident and angrily and definately went out and located a pack of cigarettes. I went back to smoking with a vengance and was up to almost 3 packs a day.

By this past February, I was feeling pretty depressed and hopeless I didn't think I could ever quit again. I surfed the net one day looking for information and possibly help to quit smoking. I found more help than I ever hoped for or even imagined. I learned quite a lot from people here and on other sites, I got much needed encouragement. Some how it seems that as I resist the urges to smoke I gain the strength to resist more. I am truly grateful to God for leading me to the internet and all the wonderful people I've met here. Some of God's most wonderful miracles are the people he puts in our lives. :-)

Now with the help of Zyban and my new friends here on the net I am pleased to announce that I am smoke and nicotine free exactly 1 month today. I want those who are looking to quit to know that it is doable. You can learn to be a non /ex smoker. To those who have quit ... keep up the hard work you're doing great and you deserve to be proud of your accomplishments be it 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or 1 year. :-)



One month, 10 hours, 25 minutes and 19 seconds. 1571 cigarettes not smoked, saving $176.58. Life saved: 5 days, 10 hours, 55 minutes.


from Mrs Anderson

After 30 years of smoking i had my last cigarette on January 24/98- I was on the patch and have been "patch free" for 21 days-each day adds new determination but it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life-It is with the strength of God and finding the internet that has given me the strength-I have had to deal with some pretty stressful situations and i keep saying that -"if you have a cigarette the problem or feeling will still be there after you finish and on top of that you will be beating yourself up after for giving in to the ruthless nicotine addiction".

It is a ruthless horrible addiction and it takes courage and tears to get through some of the days but i pray that i can make it-i had my first birthday in 30 years that i did not smoke. my prayers go out to anyone who is trying to quit and my gratitude is extended to blair for his website. thank you

I stopped smoking 6/12/94 after smoking for 15 years and 8 months. I had no plans to quit that day, but I guess it was just fate. I had tried cutting down but that doesn't really work, I walked around with a prescription for the patch in my purse for a year.

The reason I stopped was that I purchased a pack of cigarettes and when I got ready to smoke, I could not find them. So I decided this was my sign to stop and I did. I am not going to say it was easy, because it wasn't but you have to have determination. There are times when I crave a cigarette, but I talk to myself and remind myself that if I smoke one, that wil lead to another.

I hope this will help someone else.


from Nelson

I started smoking when I was 16 and am almost 48 years old. I have pretty much given up the very thought of ever quitting. I had tried different ways and had never made it past a day or so and then I would have a pack of cigarettes in my hand, saying I would try again tomorrow and maybe it would work then., Maybe my willpower would be more able to handle it. I had tried the patches and would take them off to smoke. I also tried the gum and take the gum out and smoked. I would try counting and cutting back , only to bargain with myself why I should smoke more today and try again tomorrow. I think it was always tomorrow it would be better. My thinking was always rationalizing why I should wait till tomorrow. I watched two relatives die of cancer related to smoking. I was always making promises to quit at a later date.

With the help of Zyban, a class through the Health Department in our area, and a wonderful Doctor I can say I have not had a cigarette in over two months. I took the class and heard a Doctor talk about a new medication, how it worked and made the choice to set a quit date. Feb. 27 was the date I chose. When that date came, I was still smoking. That evening I became very angry at myself. I had invested the time to go to the call and maybe learn something new and paid alot of money to purchase the Zyban. I made the chose that this was it and time to quit had come. I don't know what made the difference. I know the Zyban assisted me, but I can definitely see how my thinking is different with this time. I searched the internet for all the information I could get, and read and read. I know today I don't have to give into that thought that I want a cigarette. Though that thought still is in my head. I dream of smoking and wake up feeling guilty because I think I have smoked. I even think sometimes that I will go buy a pack and then remember it had to be a dream. My thoughts are still crazy. I am currently gaining weight, but I know that will balance out . I have made plans to buy a bike and am walking more. It's hard to be patient with myself, and this takes constant reminders. It is possible. I think the first few days were not so hard , with the zyban and after looking at my thinking and working on changing. it. I hope this has helped someone. It has helped me to write it. I struggle and look for ways to help myself everyday. The first step in helping self is to help others.


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