HOUSTON - I started smoking again in November and I'm finally ready to quit… again. Here's the quick back story: I had my first cigarette at 14 years old, hated it, but kept going in the interest of peer pressure. The addiction took hold and I've been smoking on-and-off ever since (that's about 20 years). I've made a handful of attempts in earnest to quit over the years, trying everything from the gum to the patch to the pills. While nothing has obviously worked 100%, I have found success along the way. I've also learned what doesn't work.
Big, bold decisions don't work for me. I can't declare "I'm going cold turkey!" and expect anything but falling off the wagon within a week. Weaning off cigarettes doesn't work either. It just drags out the process. If I can't limit myself now, how can I possibly limit myself gradually over time? I tried the medication Chantix which gave me crazy dreams and did a number on my psyche. The gum was a total waste. It tasted awful and upset my stomach.
Enter the patch. It's my old reliable friend. I've quit for months and months at a time on that thing and I'm about to go back on it. The patch delivers a steady dose of nicotine all day long. I find very few cravings immediately after putting it on. And while the patch is meant to be used for just a few months, steadily decreasing the daily nicotine dose, I'll wear it much longer. The way I see it, I may not be cutting the nicotine addiction, but I'm not smoking either so at least my chances for lung cancer decrease.
This time around, I'm adding something new in addition to the patch. I finally joined the eCigarette club and bought a V2Cig to help bridge the gap between smoking full-time and using the patch full-time. The V2?s taste decent and do a pretty good job of emulating smoking with the look and feel. It's a nicotine mist (for lack of a better word) so it should satisfy the cravings too.
So… this should be an interesting weekend. I've got 2 packs of smokes left (which I will not throw out), a month-long supply of patches, and the equivalent of two packs of the rechargeable refillable V2s. Today, I begin again the process of transitioning to a nicotine-free life.
For those of you thinking about quitting for the first time, the smoking cessation products are great crutches. But more important than the method is the desire to quit and having the support around you to do it. Close friends or family who smoke should put your good health as a priority over their addiction and not smoke around you. Stay away (at least until you have a handle on the addiction) from the places which encourage you to smoke — certain bars, clubs, parties, wherever you find smokers uniting. Over time, the cravings will lessen, your nose will begin to hate the smell of smoke, and the day you break down and have one (which is not uncommon), that first puff will probably taste nasty. Those are all good natural changes that can keep you strong even in the most enticing times. The beginning is always the hardest. As they say, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Today, I'm putting my shoes on.
American Lung Association:
Smoking Cessation Products I've tried (or currently using):
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