This article is relevant in the following if you:
- Want to quit smoking
- Have tried to quit smoking several times and haven’t succeeded
- Want to help someone who is struggling to quit smoking
What cigarettes contain and how it’s controlling you?
Cigarette contains around 40 known cancer-causing compounds, including nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Nicotine is the highly addictive stimulant drug that makes you want to smoke again. When you puff on a cigarette, your brain gets a blast of nicotine within seconds; not even an injection could work that fast.
Cigarette carvings can kick in whenever your brain notices a shortfall of drug. Carvings can also start whenever you get a “cue” that it’s time to smoke. Smoking is both physically and mentally addictive.
How I got hooked onto cigarettes?
During the early days of my college life, I had a hard time making friends and I really don’t know why. I then saw my fellow roommates and classmates smoking, and it appeared to me that it was one of the easiest ways to hang out with them. Hence, I tried smoking. Initially it was tough and then I got used to it. Surprisingly, I made lot of friends in a very short time.
Most young smokers believe that they can easily quit at any time and nearly all believe that they won’t be long-term smokers, but like me, most of them end up addicted to smoking. After 10 years, my friends and me are apart (living in different places), but the habit that I am addicted to has stayed with me. Even though smoking is a bad for health, it helped make some great friends in my life. Still, I strongly believe it is a great conversation starter, but it’s something that will kill from the inside.
Also, unconsciously I have formed the habit to smoke in the following situations:
- When I am working on tight deadlines
- Smoke after a meal
- Smoke especially with tea or coffee
- When I am hanging out with my friends
- When I am happy or sad
- When I am waiting for someone
- When I am alone
- Before and after work
- When I need to thinking
- When i am struck with a problem
My ‘Quit-smoking’ journey
After 10 years of smoking, I breathe heavily. It is significantly harder to walk for more than 10 minutes and physically I feel very weak. Mentally, cigarettes are controlling me more than I control it.
Then for 5 years I failed countless number of times to quit smoking. When I analyze the reason, this is what I realized why I’ve been failing:
- Less will power
- Easily giving up on carvings
- Most of the time living lonely
- High stress
After many tries I have found 3 successful stories and one personal experience which, I think, has helped me control smoking so far.
Suggested Read: Learn how Willpower + Focus = A Better Lifestyle
A friend of mine who is very close to me, after having been addicted to smoking for 10 years, suddenly on a normal day decided to quit smoking without any reason. It was neither a special day, nor a special moment that made him take this decision.
For the next couple of days he fought mentally hard with carvings without any other external alternative like nicotine gum, candy, and chocolate.
And he hasn’t smoked since then. No fuss, no drama. Just sheer will power.
Candy and gums:
Another friend of mine decided to buy a lot of candies and gums as replacements for his cigarettes. He stored them everywhere at an arms stretch. At his work desk, pant pockets, car, lunch packs, TV stands etc. Whenever he felt the urge to smoke, he postponed it by having a candy or gum each time. This is not as easy it may sound, but it actually worked for him.
Some external trigger initiates an intense craving for cigarettes. One of my other friends listed out his triggering point and made a conscious choice of not choosing to smoke at these moments. After a month he was able to completely stop smoking.
For example, in the morning he likes to start of the day with a coffee and cigarette before heading to office. Here, the triggering point is the coffee. So, he avoided coffee before leaving for work, but instead he got himself a cup at his desk, which is a no smoking zone.
There is another interesting event that usually happens with me. Whenever I go back to my parents home I do not have the urge to smoke and nicotine doesn’t seem to have much effect on me. This made me think about the nicotine’s effect.
These stories made me realize certain points and inspired me in different way. I hence have combined all the different ways to make a customized approach to quit smoking, and this seems to work for me.
My Formula to Quit Smoking
I understood that to quit smoking, it is 80% battle with the brain and 20% with nicotine. So, stay strong.
Will power – Whenever I have the urge to smoke, I just tell my self that I will have the cigarette after an hour.
Candy – When I do the above method multiple times and can’t postpone any more, then I have candies to reduce the carvings.
Triggers – Before I leave to office, I spend more time with my daughter. Magically, I don’t feel any carvings even if I am with her for the entire day.
Even though overcoming addiction to cigarettes can be really hard, it’s not impossible. Give it a try, or if you have already tried it, give it another try. Try and see if you can focus on the methods mentioned above. I hope it will help someone like me and lead a healthier life.