I smoked on and off for 30 years. I haven’t smoked in 5 years. Here are my top ten strategies to quit. They are:
1. Have a bet with a fellow smoker that you will quit (as I did).
2. Try a countdown quit i.e. today I’ll smoke 20, the day after 19 etc.
3. If you fall off the quitting bike, get back on it again (and again and again if need be).
4. Plan a weekend where you can lie in bed, watch DVDs and feel sorry for yourself. Quit on the Friday night. Do not smoke on that weekend. Try not to smoke on the Monday (but even if you do, you have managed two days smoke free, the next time won’t be so bad).
5. Know that the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal only lasts 48 to 96 hours.
Get through that and the back is broken.
6. Recognize when you smoke. Keep a smoking diary. When do you smoke? In what situations? What triggers the urge to smoke? Change those situations (e.g. go for a walk at lunchtime instead of having a smoke)
7. Create a list of the reasons to smoke. Then create another list of reasons not to smoke. Be honest with yourself. Include the psychological reasons why you smoke (or why you started). Pin the two lists on the fridge or somewhere prominent.
8. Recognize that nicotine is a very powerful drug and that you won’t be really free of it for a couple of YEARS after quitting. Never think (after quitting for a period of time) “I’ll just have the one” or “I’ll just have a cigar”. Before you know it you’ll be back where you started (if not worse).
9. Let the negative feelings about smoking build up inside of you. Feed on them. Hate yourself for smoking. Be embarrassed when you have to go outside for a smoke. Smell your clothes. Smell your skin. Look at your tired and blurry eyes in the mirror. Is that who you set out to be?
10. Get serious and determined about packing up. But don’t buy gum or e-cigarettes, they will just keep you addicted to the drug or the habit. Instead, buy a course. It will be cheaper than to keep buying cigarettes. Buy it. Commit to it.
In closing, all I can say is good luck. It is possible. I haven’t smoked for 5 years now and there is no way I’m going back. Please offer me a million dollars to have one cigarette (I will not accept).