My article on gaining when quiting smoking that I wrote has really struck a nerve with a lot of people and for that I am glad.
I myself smoked cigarettes for over 10 years and have now been a non smoker for 7 years. I thought that if you are currently trying to quit cigarettes then maybe telling my story would help some people over the hump and help them quit.
How I started Smoking
I started smoking when I was 18 or 19 years old. I was drinking on the weekends and sometimes would have a cigarette while drinking. This eventually led to having cigarettes the day after I had been out for the night and this eventually led to an almost a pack a day habit. I smoked for a lot of years knowing how unhealthy a habit it was and at the same time I was playing tennis and lifting a lot. You can imagine the conflict I would feel going to the gym and being winded afterwards and then lighting up a cigarette. Also I often had trouble falling asleep at night worried about one day getting lung cancer and dying from it, I even thought that maybe the next day was the day I would get cancer. I always tried to keep myself at some level of fitness but in my late 20’s my level of fitness dropped off.
I tried to quit smoking many times. I tried cutting down on my smoking, I tried going cold turkey and I even tried using nicotine patches but the trouble with trying to quit smoking is the habit coupled with the nicotine addiction. I would have a cigarette before a fell asleep and then my first cigarette of the day would be first thing in the morning when I woke up so quiting smoking was very difficult and I always feel for anyone trying to quit as I know what kind of a lifestyle change that it takes to quit smoking.
Starting Quiting Smoking
Eventually I met the woman that would become my wife and she was not a smoker. We were together for a year and during this time I tried again to quit smoking with the nicotine patch and it only lasted a week and I found myself hiding my smoking from everyone and I remember the disappointment that my girlfriend felt when she could smell on my breath that I had started smoking again.
We moved to Calgary from Vancouver not long after my last quitting smoking attempt and the change was a real lifestyle change for both of us. I still smoked but now I had to endure a Calgary winter of Smoking outside and in February of the year after we moved to Calgary quiting smoking cold turkey and this time it took.
It has been seven years now since quiting smoking and I must say that I almost never have the urge to smoke unless I am in a bar and everyone around me is smoking. I never think about smoking at all in fact. Sometimes at work or in public or with my family I will get into a conversation about smoking and I always make it quite clear that I used to smoke for a long time,
I now hate the habit, and I understand just how hard it is to quit smoking. I always feel the pain for people when they tell me that they have just quit smoking because I really remember how much trouble I had quitting smoking.
How to go about quiting smoking
If there are any words of wisdom that I can offer to anyone thinking of quiting smoking here they are:
The carbon monoxide leaves your body within 24 hours of quitting so you know that just one day later that you will already be healthier. Even if you don’t feel it yet.
You will get the shakes off and on for a week after quitting smoking; try to really shock your schedule. Never sit down for very long periods of time so that these can take hold.
Drink lots of water and eats lots of crunchy fruit. Not only are these good for you but they will also keep your hands and mouth busy so that you are not thinking about a cigarette in your hand and in your mouth.
Try to go for walks in the morning when you get up and after dinner. These are the most common times that a nic fit will take hold and you want to preempt them by moving and getting distracted by these common cigarette times.
Lastly get a support network and allow yourself to fail. If you do at one time have a cigarette for sure you should be mad and disappointed in yourself but move on and get through the rest of the day not smoking and work on the next day. I really believe that it takes at least a couple of weeks for the evil nicotine to stop pushing you for another cigarette but eventually you can beat it.
Short-term Benefits of quiting smoking
- Your blood pressure, pulse, and body temperature, which were abnormally elevated by nicotine, return to normal. Persons taking blood pressure medication should continue doing so until told otherwise by their physician.
- Your body starts to heal itself. Carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood return to normal.
- Your chance of having a heart attack goes down.
- Nerve endings start to regrow. Your ability to taste and smell improves.
- Your breathing passages (bronchial tubes) relax, lung capacity goes up, and your breathing becomes easier.
- Your circulation improves and your lungs become stronger, making it easier to walk.
- In your lungs, the cilia (hairlike structures on the lining) begin to regrow, increasing the ability of your lungs to handle mucus, to clean themselves, and to reduce infection. Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease. Your overall energy level increases.
Long-term Benefits of quiting smoking
As a former smoker, your chance of dying from lung cancer is less than it would be if you continued to smoke. Your chance of getting cancer of the throat, bladder, kidney, or pancreas also decreases.
I would ask or maybe even beg anyone that smokes to consider quiting smoking. Not only is smoking a very bad and expensive habit but also just the act of quiting smoking will add years to your life and boost your confidence