cedarjet
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Giving Up Smoking

Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:02 pm

It's Jan 1 - and for someone on here, it might be their first day as a nonsmoker. It's Day 557* for me and here's my experience. Wonder if anyone else has a similar tale?

I was a very keen smoker, always wanted to smoke actually, don't know who the role model was (if there was one) cos it was too long ago - since I was a small kid, I always thought it looked cool. In my 30s I could really feel how unhealthy it was - shortness of breath, the odd shooting pain in my chest (nothing too dramatic, but not a positive sign). I read that smokers cost the British health service less - LESS! - why? Because they die. I had two failed attempts at stopping, one lasted three months and the second lasted a month. Both were inspired by sustained periods of shortness of breath but it's amazing how quickly you forget the sensation of fear once the reason for the fear itself subsides. The second attempt ended in a classic smokers' bargain - I was in North Korea in 2010 where you could (can?) smoke indoors, the novelty was such that I said, OK in North Korea I am a smoker. Then of course I'm lighting up on the way home whilst in transit at Beijing airport ("hey I'm still on the trip") and the day I got home ("I haven't slept yet so I'm still on the trip") and of course I'm back on them.

Most smokers do indeed die younger than nonsmokers, although of course everyone who starts think they have the odds-busting genes that will carry them, puffing away, into their 80s. But I could tell I was in the vast majority and could look forward to lung, heart, circulation, something problems in my 50s if not sooner if I didn't stop.

So I decided I would wait til I had a cold - not even the most dedicated puffer wants to smoke on a sore throat or cold - and it happened on June 25, 2011, in Iran. It was a fantastic day - I had visited Tehran quite a few times but never been up close to the famous Azadi Monument so I walked the length of a major road towards this amazing structure with a blood red sunset behind it (and the usual cosmopolitan takeoffs from Mehrabad in full view - distinctly remember a Thai Sky 747-300 climbing out). Mission complete, I went back to the hotel and got my bags, headed to IKA, the new airport out in the countryside, and had a smoke in the airside smoking room (and airport smoking rooms are always a good reason to stop smoking - yuk - although I was rather shocked to see through the gloom of blue smoke they actually had a guy in there selling drinks and snacks - his life expectancy must be about two weeks). On my way to my KLM MD-11, I could feel a click in my throat; by the time I was strapping in it was the beginning of a sore throat. Indeed it turned into tonsilitis which is considerably worse than a cold but it gave me my week of cold turkey for free that I had been waiting for.

In the first few months, there were innumerable difficult moments - it is incredible how tobacco gets it's hooks into you - and I counted every day past 400* days. Never mind days, sometimes it felt like every second was a struggle. I also went from a 32 inch waist to a snug 38 - clearing minibars from LA to Sydney (the long way round) and once even waking up in the middle of the night and getting dressed and walking to the all-night burger place in my street and eating a kebab and chips and going back to bed.

One thought kept me going - the fact that it was so hard to stop provided a surprisingly high level of satisfaction - to do something so patently difficult made me feel very proud of myself. Where is the fulfilment in doing something easy? Giving up smoking was like saying goodbye to an romantic partner where the relationship has soured but you're still in love - I tried "We need to see other people" (eg "I only smoke in North Korea") but in the end it had to be, "We're never going to see each other again."

Now I don't miss it and don't think about it (except, oddly, on xmas day, so full of food and bubbly, the old cues came flooding back - but as the Chinese say, "This too shall pass"). Nowadays, when I see people smoking, they look like they've lost their mind, to do something so dangerous and unhealthy (and expensive!).

So I just thought, on Jan 1, I would share that tale of making a positive change in my life. Anyone got a similar story, or got giving up smoking in their list of new year's resolutions?

* nowadays I need a webpage with a date calculator to work it out

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azadi_Tower
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
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sturmovik
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:17 am

Well, I'm in the phase that comes after "I only smoke in North Korea". Had quit for ten months after my granddad died, he was not a smoker, but he never recovered from lung injuries in a road accident, and I figured if someone as healthy as him didn't make it, I had about the same odds as a snowflake in hell. But then a birthday party happened, and now I'm back to old levels again. I should quit, but making it a new year's resolution probably wont work for me.
'What's it doing now?'
 
Geezer
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:17 am

That's quite a story, Cedarjet !

It was a little different for me; started as a pre-teen, didn't smoke "that much", finally by early 30's, ( when I really started thinking for myself ), I spent a whole day mulling it over; ( this is unhealthy, I don't need this, I can easily do without this, and so on; so I made my decision, half way through a pack of Lucky's, I QUIT ! )

47 years later ( now). just turned 80 two days before Xmas, still have the same 36" waist from "way back when", just married wife #2 on birthday, haven't had a sore throat, cold, flu, just feel great all the time, and your post helped remind me that thinking for one's self is the only way to go ! In addition to tobacco, a few other things don't promote longevity; I used to drink a few beers; never having had a DUI, when I retired in '97, I figured, who needs them ? Not me ! Haven't had a drop since, and don't miss anything !

Thanks, and good luck !

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:24 am

Quoting sturmovik (Reply 1):
But then a birthday party happened, and now I'm back to old levels again

Many medical experts on smoking cessation say that physicians should look at smoking as a chronic, relapsing/remitting disease. Case in point...
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
Ken777
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:54 am

Quoting sturmovik (Reply 1):
I should quit, but making it a new year's resolution probably wont work for me.

I found that making an ever increasing list of paces I couldn't smoke helped. Started with anytime family (and non-smokers) were around - not exposing them to second hand smoke. Then set important places: office, home and car. Stepping outside during a major ice storm seems pretty stupid now, but that was the program for me.

The last step for me was to change my day's schedule., spending a lot of time with my wife. Now I don't even think about it. Can't remember when I stopped and have no desire to return.

The other side of the coin is the agony I have when I think I could have bought either silver or gold with the money I spent on the cigs - and would be able to have a huge downpayment for the grandkids when they were buying their first house.
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:17 am

Good for you man. I'm not a smoker but addicted to chew. I've cut back but haven't completely dropped it. It's just tough. Nothing beats a long day and grabbed my can after dinner. Hopefully this year I'll finally just quit.
Blue
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:17 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
Many medical experts on smoking cessation say that physicians should look at smoking as a chronic, relapsing/remitting disease.

Same as many people view other addictions, right? Though I actually don't know whether medical professionals view alcoholism/drug addiction as diseases or not.

Having been sober 6.5 years now, I don't concern myself too much over how to view alcoholism. It is what it is, whether it manifests in the form of a disease or an addiction or however you want to look at it.

One thing's for certain: it sure doesn't go away. And I'd say the same for smoking, having quit many times. It's an odd thing, at least for me: it was (and is) much easier to quit smoking than drinking; but it's been much easier to maintain sobriety (not have another drink) than to not smoke another cigarette.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
Flighty
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:05 am

Inspiring stuff. Well done, cedarjet. These self control issues are fascinating. Nobody is above this; not even the best people. Some of my favorite people smoke. Others have died.

Peer pressure (and awareness) is one well known method to enforce workouts, weight-loss, sobriety, etc. I do hope you'll tell us in 2014 how your record is holding up. We will be mindful of your challenge and your goal.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:17 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 7):
Peer pressure (and awareness) is one well known method to enforce workouts, weight-loss, sobriety, etc. I do hope you'll tell us in 2014 how your record is holding up. We will be mindful of your challenge and your goal.

I'll have to disagree with you there. Peer pressure can quite easily build resentment, especially when dealing with addictions. Peer support, on the other hand, can work wonders.

It's easy to look at someone and say, "why the hell are you doing that?? Cut it out already!" It's much harder to say "let me understand what's going on with you, and we can tackle this thing together".

But of course, there's no single answer for everyone.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
edka
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 5:15 pm

RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:13 am

I have stopped smoking six months ago. I wasnt a heavy smoker (5 during normal day, maybe 10 on weekends), but i decided to stop, plus the fact that i felt like a hypocrite telling my kids how bad it is for you to smoke!

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
So I decided I would wait til I had a cold - not even the most dedicated puffer wants to smoke on a sore throat or cold
Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
I also went from a 32 inch waist to a snug 38
Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
One thought kept me going - the fact that it was so hard to stop provided a surprisingly high level of satisfaction - to do something so patently difficult made me feel very proud of myself.

Absolutely spot on, this is exaclty what happened to me.

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
Now I don't miss it and don't think about it (except, oddly, on xmas day, so full of food and bubbly, the old cues came flooding back - but as the Chinese say, "This too shall pass")

The first time i had few drinks i did want to light one, but i have managed not to... After that I found it surprisingly easy to cope with no smoking at the parties, etc - Xmas parties season was a great test!!

Now i can't see myself ever starting again...
 
tommy767
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:18 pm

I've smoked more cigarettes in the past year than any year previous to 2012. In August/September I was up around 10-12 a day, then 6-8 by october/november and 4-5 by December. Now I have a bad cold and I'll tell you what -- when you are sick you have ZERO desire to smoke!

New Years resolution is to exercise more and smoke less. There is nothing more satisfying than a cigarette after dinner, so it's going to be hard to give that up.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
Geezer
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:18 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 8):
Peer pressure can quite easily build resentment, especially when dealing with addictions.

I've been hearing about "peer pressure" now for about 70 years, but for some reason, have never been affected by it. I worked at this one company for about 4 years, and out of maybe 30 drivers, they ALL smoked "pot", but I didn't. It's funny.....seeing other people doing things has never seemed to influence me, one way or another. The one thing I do succumb to on occasion, is curiosity. I used to be very curious, wondering, "why in the hell are all of these guys smoking weed" ? One night I ran into this chic in a bar, and she asked if I'd care to go up to my room and "burn one" ? I'm thinking, "yeah, maybe we'll go up and "bury one" ! Anyway....because of my rabid curiosity, we "went up", and she takes out this toke, lights it up, and casually offers me one; curiosity won, I burned it, got high, got laid, thought to myself, "now I know", now I'm no longer curious, and that one dooby became my "first, last, and only." BTW..........in case you're wondering.........I suffered along "under the influence" of that other temptation for about another 40 years or so. (even that doesn't seem to, bother me that much any more.)

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:48 am

I don't smoke and never intend on smoking, but I've had a few cigarettes in my life. What I don't get (and I'm sure there's much more to it) is when someone says they smoke to "calm down and relax" but it's usually to quell the withdrawal/addiction that they didn't have before starting to smoke! Every time I've smoked I haven't felt calmed down, I felt sick and my breath was so disgusting
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:06 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Same as many people view other addictions, right? Though I actually don't know whether medical professionals view alcoholism/drug addiction as diseases or not.

We do.

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 12):
Every time I've smoked I haven't felt calmed down, I felt sick and my breath was so disgusting

I actually very much enjoy a cigarette. Totally messes me up. It would be unpleasant if it didn't last more than a few minutes. But if I smoke a second cigarette that night, I feel sick. I guess I'm lucky; there's no way I can get addicted. And so, for the last ten years or so, I've averaged 3-4 cigarettes per year.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:05 am

I smoked for almost 30 years and finally quit about 5 years ago...and still feel like smoking at least a few times a week. I probably tried 50 times to quit smoking...once for as long as 3.5 years before starting again.

The most important thing about smoking; don't start....just don't. Everybody, without exception, will wish at some time, (and probably lots of times), they could quit and just can't.

It has nothing to do with willpower and if you talk to anybody who says it is, find someone else to talk to...they are 100% wrong. Smoking addiction, (like any other addiction), is a real, physical thing which causes real, physical changes to the brain that never go away...ever.

You will always be an addict and it will be really tough to quit but a great part of succeeding, is attitude. Try to quit as many times as you can. Smoking again isn't a failure...the time you spent without smoking is a success...every time. Admit it, (especially to yourself), when you crave a smoke. That makes it real and if it's real, you can fight it. Don't pretend you don't crave, because you do and lying to yourself about your cravings is a shortcut to lighting up again.

Expect to gain weight after quitting...it sucks but it happens to most...and it sure did for me. In the grand scheme of things, thinner may be cuter but you'll live longer fatter but smoke free.

Stay away from anything that triggers cravings...especially for the first month. Usually that means coffee and booze...but it could be anything. Don't think you're in the clear after a few months. 3 months smoke free is a common duration that sucks smokers into thinking they can have, 'just one', and not get the hooks back it. Don't believe it.

It sucks but you'll always be a smoker...the difference is how long since your last smoke.
What the...?
 
NSMike
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:12 am

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 14):
It sucks but you'll always be a smoker...the difference is how long since your last smoke.

It's been 4266 days since my last cigarette. Used to smoke a pack a day and I still miss it during long drives... but the money I saved paid for my new car.    
 
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Pellegrine
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:24 pm

I used to smoke cigarettes. I stopped Jan 1, 2012. So more than a year now. Funny, I did not try to stop. I was extremely drunk and around fellow smokers. I passed out, and the smoke revolted me. I can never smoke to this day...and I have tried.
oh boy, here we go!!!
 
ltbewr
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:43 pm

I never smoked, saw my dad hacking his throat out with them too many times as a kid and teen. A pack a day of unfiltered tar and nicotine loaded Lucky Strikes since he was about 19, he finally quit at age 54, in 1979, just after his first grandchild was born. Went cold turkey. He could only smoke in very defined areas at work (it was a plant that made explosive products) at the time, so that may have helped him quit. It was difficult for him, he was tempted many times, especialy with the morning coffee before work or at a bar after work. He did put on weight but after about 6 months he knew he did the right thing. He made it to 80, died in 2007 in part from heart disease that his smoking likely contributed to. Still, if hadn't quit when he did, most likely he would have died a lot sooner.

I do hope you are fully successful, your body will thank you for it and as others have noted, the price of cigarettes has become too dear and not just the price of a pack.
 
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RJAF
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:34 pm

Your post caught my interest as today is my 6 months on the dot without a smoke, yet I think and dream about a cigarette every day!

Make no mistake, I will not go back to that dirty, smelly old habbit..but boy..is the habit addictive or what?

I'm 45 now and had smoked since I was 19 (relatively late for a Jordanian where more than 60% of adults smoke!)..so pretty much spent my adult years as a smoker. I have three kids now and I decided I would like to live long enough to see them graduate at least from High school  . Had i stayed a smoker..seeing them graduate from collage would have been a fat chance.

Anyway, thanks for this Cedarjet (shukran  ) I always need that extra support. This is not the first time I quit but probably the 10th! I've tried the gum, patches (several times), cold turkey (also several times) but now I've tried 'Champix' and it is in my opinion the best option. Six months and counting and stubborn 7 kgs heavier.. Wish me luck.

Cheers from Jordan
Chance favors the prepared mind
 
RobertNL070
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:42 pm

Cold turkey, 26 March 2000. Never looked back. Filthy habit.
Born to be wild ...... until about 9 p.m.
Home = RTM, Rotterdam The Hague.
 
lewis
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RE: Giving Up Smoking

Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:03 pm

Congratulations, every day of being smoke free is really an accomplishment, especially for people who used to smoke a lot and for long periods of time.

As for myself, I am not quite there yet but I have managed to go from 1-2 packs a day down to 1-2 cigarettes a day. I avoid happy hours during work days and when I am hope I go to the gym once I get the urge to smoke. It helps. I still do enjoy the occasional cigarette and this is why I haven't managed to quit already.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 13):
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Same as many people view other addictions, right? Though I actually don't know whether medical professionals view alcoholism/drug addiction as diseases or not.

We do.

And is that description accurate? What I mean is, would you put any type of addiction at the same level as other diseases? I am just asking because I find it sometimes insensitive to hold one's "weakness" (even if it manifests physically) on the same level as someone who has a disease for which he is not responsible and may even die from. For example, I do not agree that overweight people (because of addiction to eating a lot or lack of self control) should be treated the same way as someone with a legitimate disease. I also do not like that people say "but oh its a disease..." and do not take responsibility for their addiction, or their unwillingness to fight it. And this is coming from a person with a couple of addictions - smoking included.

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