Okay so you’re ready to quit smoking. Congratulations! Not only are you now going to feel so much healthier, but you’ll also be creating a healthier environment for everyone around you. Cudos to you. You’ve made the hardest decision. You’ve decided the time has come. Now you get to make the next step – actually quitting. There’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that quitting smoking is hard – and whether this is your first time, or your 10th, the important thing is that you’re giving it a shot.
How are you going to quit?
That’s probably the most common question when someone makes the decision to quit. How? There are numerous ways you can try – from cutting back on the number of smokes you have per day until you’re not having any, to hitting up your doctor for some tablets that can help. You might consider trying nicotine patches or e-cigs, or you could head to the local Quit clinic to get hypnotised. Honestly there are so many options out there, and by far the cheapest is to simply go cold turkey. But does it work for everyone?
The simple answer is no. Of course not. For the majority of people, cold turkey is hard! But, on the other hand, for some people:
Cold turkey can be easier than you think.
I was smoking 10 a day, which I know is not much, but when I went out at night to have a few drinks with friends I’d up the ante easily go through a pack of 30 smokes in a few hours – always feeling like death the next day. I’d do that twice a week. So I was essentially going through anywhere from 100-150 cigarettes in a week.
One day, my doctor told me I had silent reflux and that’s why I had a persistent cough that never went away. I had a dry throat and mouth, couldn’t eat anything spicy or I would spend hours in coughing fits. I really had no idea what was going on because I didn’t feel any pain at all, I just knew I wasn’t comfortably and certainly wasn’t getting the most out of life. My doctor was quick to diagnose me and further tests confirmed it.
The thing with silent reflux is that because it’s silent, you often don’t know how bad it is until it’s too late (too late being permanent damage to the throat or tongue from acid, or even leading to cancer)… anyway, long story short – my doctor told me I had to quit smoking. Easier said than done, I thought. But for some reason, I went home from that appointment, smoked the last cigarette in my packet – and 7 years later – I haven’t had a cigarette since.
One of the things that definitely make cold turkey a greater success is health concerns, and if you’re like me, getting a health wake-up call was what prompted me, and created the cold turkey success.
Cold Turkey Success
But cold turkey might not be so simple for you – in fact, it’s likely to be much harder, particularly if you smoke a pack a day, or more. So how can YOU have success with cold turkey? Here are some things you need to know:
Don’t listen to anyone. People will have ideas for you, they’ll give you unwanted advice, they’ll tell you what worked for them. The reality is, what works for some won’t work for others, so if you want to quit smoking, develop your own strategy.
Set a quit date; or just do it today. Don’t give yourself too much time to think about it or you might change your mind.
Use your willpower to overcome any cravings. Have some gum instead, or a jelly bean (yum).
Stay away from other smokers (for days, weeks, or months – until you feel comfortable enough to be around them).
Try something new. Start rock climbing or keep yourself busy with other things (like writing blogs about your experience).
Change your routines. If you do what you’ve always done, nothing will change. If your habits included waking up, smoke, shower, breakfast – go for waking up, breakfast, shower. Change things up a bit to start new routines.
Have some support! Get your housemate or family member to help keep you motivated and/or busy at times when you’d usually be smoking.
Start saving! Every time you think about going to buy a pack of smokes, put that money into a money tin. Open it up at the end of the week or month – and go treat yourself to some nice things to celebrate.
The first 2 weeks are going to be the hardest but after that time, you’re going to stop feeling the effects of withdrawal. Cigarettes are a drug and like any drug, they take time to get out of your system. Cold turkey is not easy, but if you can get through the first day or two – you can do anything! Just keep focused, get the right support and think about how much better you’re going to feel in a month’s time mentally and physically. Trust me, the benefits of quitting far outweigh the cravings!