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Why & How Others Have Quit Smoking

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Last Updated April 2015

from Michael Rozek

Howdy Folks. Well, I'm finally doing it (quitting after 9 years), & this time, there's no going back. Here's a bit of background info for ya.

Approx. 2 years ago, I watched my 55 year old mother die from a cancer that was attributed to her lifelong smoking habit. I promised myself at that time that if I continued to smoke, it would be the most selfish thing that I could possibly do to my family, for I would possibly meet the same fate. Yet, I did not quit....

Approx. 1 year ago, I received a telephone call from the local hospital letting me know that my father was undergoing emergency heart surgery. The doctor said that his smoking was a contributing factor to his condition. He survived & quit for 2 weeks (he continues to smoke to this day, regardless of doctor advice/family pleas). At that point, I once again swore to myself that I would quit. Yet, I did not quit....

Now it's going to happen & I couldn't be more thrilled. A decision that was made 2 years ago for obviously painful reasons is now going to happen. What's the difference now? Why is it going to work now? Simply, because *I want to quit smoking*.

Didn't think I'd get through this one....thanks for listening.



from Winnie

I started smoking when I was 13 years old, with the encouragement of my step-father, who has since died of lung cancer from smoking. ( What irony!) I smoked continuously, 1/2 to 1 pack per day for 20 years, with only one real attempt at quitting for 2 months, while I was pregnant with my daughter. I immediately resumed my smoking habit after I finished breast feeding.

This year, I became more and more unhappy as a smoker and hated myself for continuing to smoke, knowing full well the consequences, as I have been an ICU nurse for ten years. I couldn't believe I was doing something so incredibly stupid, and potentially taking a mother away from her two young children and a wife away from a loving husband. I would look at my babies and be petrified with fear that I would die and leave them behind. How unbelievably selfish I was!!! Then came a very fateful moment for me. My four year old son looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy, do you know that smoking can make you die?" My response to that question was, "of course I do." But inside I was devastated. I had always tried to hide my habit from my kids by smoking outside and usually when they were asleep, but not this time. My immediate reaction to my son's remark was, of course, to go by another pack! At the store, my son said to me," Mommy, I thought you were going to stop smoking." I said," I am, after this pack". And he replied, "Ok, after this pack. This is your last one." And it was. That was March 24, 1998, and I quit the next day.

The relief was immediate after quitting. I instantly achieved a sense of peace and well-being I had never known before. I was overjoyed with my new found freedom, and loved not being controlled anymore. But most of all, I could look at my babies with an incredible sense of joy, instead of the unrelenting fear and guilt I had before quitting, and that was the greatest gift of all. I quit cold turkey, and have never been happier. I run 4-6 miles per week, take St. John's Wort, and drink 8 glasses of water a day, and have yet to gain a pound. This computer and this website have definitely made this battle easier, and I feel I may really win this one. I wish everyone health, happiness, and a joyful, smoke-free life.

Love, winnie


from Maria

At age 44, I had all the symptoms of something terribly wrong with my health; constant heart burn, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, swollen glands, and a constant terrible cough. I knew it was time to quit smoking not only for myself, but mainly for my two children. Why would I want to hurt them? My x-ray came back negative for cancer but the scary feeling of the uncertainty will never go away. I still fear the harm of nicotine in my system for 24 years and still fear a possible misreading of the x-ray.

I have tried to quit too many times in the past. Acupuncture, hypnotists, and cold turkey just did not work. I thank my lucky stars for Zyban. The craving for tobacco is gone, however the mental dependency is difficult at times. When my mind tries to take over, I just keep reminding myself that a cigarette does absolutely nothing positive for me physically except Harm! From a 1.5 pack a day habit, I am on my third week of "kicking the habit." Secondary to my health, most rewarding is the fact that I can actually breathe better in the morning and I can walk the dog around the block without gasping for air. When it is my time to depart from life on earth, I am choosing it not to be from smoking related cancer. Thanks for listening.



from Jennifer

I quit smoking Wednesday May 27, 1998 with the help of the patch. I started smoking when I was 19 and I am now 30. I woke up one morning coughing and felt I was going to cough up everything. However, honestly, that is not the real reason I quit. So many smokers say "I should quit" "Someday I'll quit" "I am not ready" and I used those excuses for a long time. The worst thing I did (just like a drug addict) is I lied. I lied to everyone. I got married two years ago. My husband knew I smoked when we got married, but as a smoker I had always promised to quit. In 1997, I called him up one day and told him I quit. He took my word and believed I quit. I didn't. I started smoking two days later and didn't have the heart to tell him. Well this became an evil web and soon I was sneaking around trying to find ways to smoke. I of course eventually got caught. My husband was devasted about the lying but more than that he said he didn't marry me to watch me kill myself. Of course those words hit me like a ton of bricks, but I continued to find ways to smoke. I was stressed, nervous and wouldn't do anything with him because that meant I wouldn't find a chance to smoke. I resorted to smoking in my brand new car because I had no where else to smoke. I would get nervous and irritable whenever my husband wanted to drive my car. I did not want him to smell it or find my stash! I would wait for him to leave and run out to get my hit. I hid lighters and cigarettes all over the house and I made other people promise not to tell him and on and on it went. On the morning of May 27, I decided it was not worth it. I could not continue the way I was. I was killing myself, my marriage and everything around me. The lies and deciet were too much and started to effect my job too. I smoked my last cigarette on my way to work that morning. I went to lunch and stopped at Walgreen's and bought my starter kit for the patch. I have been successful. I am on the last step on the last week and I am doing great, so great in fact that I feel I could take this patch off today and be ok. My life is so great now. My husband is a different person and so am I. I work out five days a week, I am eating better and my personal life has improved 300%. I have lost three pounds, and I couldn't be happier. Not only has smoking helped my physical health it has helped my mental health more than I had any idea it would. I have been told, "Please don't turn into one of those ex-smokers" However, when you know what I know, it is hard not to! You want to share the joy and self accomplishment kicking this habit can bring. You want others to know it is possible. So many smokers convince themselves that they can't do it. I know it is possible and YES I am proud to be one of those "ex-smokers!!"


from Carol

I quit smoking in March of 1998! I started smoking when I was 12 years old. My story goes like this.........On March 15th 1998 I was hit with the worst asthma attack of my life! This attack was so chronic I ended up in ICU, on life support, in a coma for 10 days. I experienced the near death experience which was to say the least frightening for me but terrifying for my non-smoking husband and our then smoking teen boys. My youngest son looked on in fear as if every breath being pumped in might just be the last. My older son was confused and angered by his hate and desire for smokes Both boys were being swallowed up with guilt and excruciating pain as they struggled to understand what all this meant! When I came out of my coma I was paralyzed from head to toe. I could not feed myself go to the bathroom I could do nothing for myself! I lost the use of my vocal cords as well.

Prior to this, in January of 1998 I lost my sister to cancer. She lived a clean life, in that she did not par take in the obvious cancer causing agent SMOKES! Non the less she died fighting the horrific disease. Yes, I felt and lived the guilt while my sister was fighting her battle with cancer. I had never felt so much pain and guilt until the day that I watched the suffering of my sisters children and husband, our Mom and Dad as we stood helplessly watching my sister die! She died at 3:30 P.M. January 24 1998.

When I awoke from my coma to realize what had happened I was convinced I was being punished! In my near death experience I had many visions and the evils of smoking was only one of many!!!!

I am proud and thrilled to share with anyone who will listen how I and my two teen boys have been SMOKE free for four months. This addiction is a prison of its own kind. The whole time I was smoking I was in search of an easy release from this prison. I have learned that for me I was holding the key to freedom every time I lit up.......It has taken an enormous amount of pain, sorrow and loss for me and my family to finally reach this point but I am very proud of the great accomplishment of reaming a smoke free family! My extended family does not share in my enthusiasm. They cannot offer support and that in itself is painful. At this time I need all my energy and resources to work at a full recovery and to remain a smoke free family unit. I am very proud of my boys as they have walked this journey with me!!!!!!! I close with this thought in my mind.........The doctors did their part they saved my life medically, my husband and children did their part it was time for me to take responsibility and do my part QUIT SMOKING!!! Quitting won't fix everything in life but it will buy you time while you try!!!!!!

Thanks for allowing me to share my story. Still in need of support and always willing to give support.......Carol


from Bobbie

I had my last cigarette on July 12, 1998 at 2:30 in the afternoon.. I swear quitting smoking is the absolute hardest thing for anyone to do in their life. I never thought that i could do it considering i have tried many, many times over the years, i would say that i have tried quitting probably atleast 6 times out of the year for usually atleast 2 weeks; sometimes though 2 months, but for some reason or another mostly due to stress or the fact that most everyone i know smokes, I have finally made a promise to myself, my husband and my son, that i will remain smoke free, and for some reason I believe that this time i will remain successfull. My husband has always smoked too, but he quit on May 13, 1998 cold turkey. And has remained smoke free, he has helped me alot, when i feel down he lifts me up by saying something good about being smoke free. I have also found that the internet is wonderful, I also love this web site, these things are what is really going to help those of us out here when we feel that we need a cigarette, since the thought will never truely go away..

Anyways, I quit cold turkey, My son Jordan was always bugging me and telling me that it was going to kill me, and on that Sunday i had decided i would smoke my last two packs of cigarettes and then quit. Well i smoked 1 pack. one cigarette after another it seemed, until i couldn't smoke anymore. Then i asked my 7 year old if he wanted to break up my last pack so that i couldn't finish them. Needless to say he was overjoyed with the idea, you see i am one of those who would keep a pack around in case i would break down and have to have one. Not this time i think it helped me alot to have my son right there cheering me on. Everytime i think about a cigarette i remember that day and how excited he was to be breaking them up. I couldn't go back no matter what I really enjoy this smoke free life, I feel like i have accomplished the most unimaginable thing ever. And for that I am truely happy.

I hope this helps someone else out there...........Bobbie Sherry


from Katie

I have read the personal stories on this site and it inspired me to quit smoking. I am not like the others though. I am only 18, no husband, no children, and a college student.

Being at college means dealing with stress, and the way that I dealt with stress was to smoke. I liked it at first. It made me relax. Then, I did it because I felt like I had to. It's hard when there is nobody to support you in quitting. I couldn't tell my parents I smoked because they would be so disappointed in me. I told my boyfriend that I quit (even though I didn't) and felt horrible for lying to him.

Here's what made me stop: I thought about how I had changed. When I arrived at college a year ago, I was Vice President of the Swim Team, ran 2miles a day, active in school. Then, I started to smoke. I stopped exercising and isolated myself. It didn't help that everyone around me smoked. But I decided that I didn't NEED the nicotine. What had it done for me? I slowed my life down till I was almost at a standstill. I quit one month ago today and I feel proud. Even though I only started smoking a year ago, I had overcome the greatest challenge in my life.

I hope this helps others.

Sincerely, Katie


from Greg

In March of 1991 I was 39 years old and had already smoked for 25 years. While I started out smoking just a few cigarettes a day in an effort to control my weight, by the age of 15 I was smoking  a half pack a day. At 21 I smoked a pack a day of  Lucky Strike non filters. My weight was no longer controlled by nicotine. Regular dieting was required in spite of smoking.By the age of 25 I was smoking a pack and a half of Marlboro fiters. At this point in my life, my 50 year old mother, a life long smoker, contracted lung and brain cancer and died within 5 months of the
diagnosis. My reaction to this was to change to Camel Light cigarettes and vow to try to quit in the future.

By the age of 39 I was smoking 2.5 to 3.5 packs of cigarettes per day. While I thought smoking helped with weight control, in reality my weight fluctuated from 5 to 50 pounds over in spite of my heavy smoking habit. One day I began to experience headaches of unknown origin which was the same symptom my mother had experienced shortly before her death. At that point I scheduled medical tests and promised myself to quit before I reached the age of 40. The tests were negative and I set a target quit date of March 14, 1991. I went to my doctor and got a prescription for
nicorette gum. ( It was not available over the counter then and , no patch was out at that point) I quit on the target date and have not have a cigarette since. However, it was not easy. Like many of those whose letters you post on your cite, I experienced a sense of euphoria after the first few weeks by overcomming a habit which had dominated my life so completely. But, the euphoria was short lived. I began to experience depression.

My occupation is high anxiety in nature and I had also used cigarettes to cope with anxiety. I made the mistake of thinking a mild tranquilizer would be beneficial. My doctor did not know any better and he prescribed xanix.This medication exacerbated the depression I was going though due to withdrawl. No one  I was talking to was recommeding antidepressants like zyban or St. Johns Wort back in 1991. Depression took over and I was in desperate need of a support group but there were not any. I found someone to talk to about my feelings, got rid of the xanix , cut back on caffene and  I took up power walking. However,  my weight continued to climb. Within a year after quitting I had gained 47 pounds! While this depressed me there was no way I was returning to cigarettes after the year I had been through. I started conciously watching my weight and exercising more. Within 2 and a half years after quitting I was able to lose weight through diet and exercise. The ability to exercise more vigorously without the side effects from smoking made up for the metabolism change caused by quitting. Within 3 years after I quit I had lost about 30 of the 47 pounds gained.

One of the things I had always wanted to do when I smoked was be more physically active. However, the intensity of my habit made this activity a dismal experience. Within 4 years after quitting I decided to take up biking and began to bike a few miles a day four times a week. Within 5 years I decided to take up a jogging program which coupled jogging with walking. I did this with my wife and it has been the best decision I made. The craving for nicotene which had been with me daily, disappeared almost completely.( I am now using St. Johns Wort and it makes a difference.) Today my wife and I jog ( and walk) about 15 to 20 miles a week. For the last three years we have annually run a 10 mile race and a half marathon.  I bike with my 16 year old son hundreds to thousands of miles a year. I can even keep up with my 3 year old daughter! My weight now fluctuates around chart weight and is controlled by diet and exercise not diet and nicotene.None of this would be possible if I was still smoking.

When the effects of nicotene were getting to me I really could have used this web cite. There were simply no support groups dealing with withdrawl in 1991. I ended up going to an AA meeting with a friend at the time just so I could commisurate with others about the effects of withdrawl of chemical dependency on your life. Keep your cite going.


from Tammy

I'm a 30 year old female that started smoking around the age of 18. I have two small children, 4 and 1 1/2. I had wanted to quit for awhile for the sake of my children. Decided last November I would quit at the first of the year. I had plenty of time to prepare myself. The time in between November and first of the year, I looked at what I was doing. Decided that this was ridiculous to let something like tobacco control my life. I am a control freak, and realized that nothing was going to control me but me. I quit smoking on the 2nd of January. The 2nd because the first was a Saturday and I knew I wouldn't make it if I had the whole weekend to go. I had my last cigarette on Sunday morning and none since then.

I have been quit for over one month. I am so proud of myself. It has made me such a better person. Quitting is very, very hard. There were times that I started to cry, then I got mad that I was crying over something like that. There was one time that I took one of my husbands cigarettes (he still smokes) and put it in my mouth and went to light it. But luckily for me, the lighter didn't light at the first couple of tries, so I put it down, taking that as my sign that I don't need it. A couple of things that have helped me- first of all, the control thing. (I don't let my husband control my life, why would I let cigarettes control my life.) Second of all, water. (I did not like water at all, but you start drinking bottled water and it helps to replace that urge of putting something up to your mouth and the sucking or inhaling urge, also helps to knock off those pounds you put on while quitting!) Third thing- exercise. (Do something, work out, walk, whatever. ) Statistics show that the majority of quitters only make it because they replaced smoking with some kind of healthy routine.

I have not only been cigarette free for over a month, but I have lost 5 pounds from my original weight. After I first quit, I gained 5 pounds, since then, I have lost 10! I spend more quality time with my children, I feel better about myself, appreciate myself more and am just very proud of me!! It is not easy, smoking is not just a habit, it is a lifestyle. You basically have to change your lifestyle, not just quit a habit! If I can do it, (I have no self discipline, no will power!) I KNOW you can too.
I hope this has helped some of you that are trying, and if you are not trying to quit, please consider it.


from Debbie

I am one of those people that thought I could never quit. I seemed to be quitting all the time.  Throw the pack away and two hours later I'm back at the store.  I hated what smoking was doing to me but I was powerless to quit.   When I was tired I smoked, I smoked when I was happy, mad, being social, lonely, angry, with friends hanging out.  My entire life revolved around cigarettes.   I'd quit for a few weeks.  Once I made a entire 2 months.  This time has been different for me.  I started out with Zyban.  I had to change myself if I were to succeed at quitting.  I had to learn to handle emotions that I had let nicotine handle before.  When I got upset I could not reach for a cigarette.  I had a hard time. Sometimes I would have to sit and have a good cry.  I prayed alot, probably my biggest help.  My husband and children were my biggest support.  My youngest son hates smoking and he really kept me under guard.  Just knowing how upset he would be if I started back kept me
away from nicotine. 

I had quit many times before, so I knew what to expect.  I made plans and really worked as this quit.  I had plans developed when a crisis would arise.  When I couldn't get if off my mind, I played computer games.  When I thought I had to have one I sucked on a cinnamon straw.  It mimics smoking.  You inhale and exhale.   I walked alot.  Chewed gum. Stayed outside as much as I could.  It took about three months to really start to get over this.  I feel great.  I can breath.  I can walk without getting winded.  I have more engery.  My kids are happy.  I know I have to be on guard for the rest of my life but I don't want to be a smoker anymore.  Smokers are in the minortiy now.  We are looked down on.   I can hold my head up now. 

Love yourself and tell yourself that you are worth it.

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