I Quit Smoking…
How to Quit Smoking…
Most of the times, I get asked; How did you stop smoking, How can I quit, suggest me the ideas that I can follow and stop smoking cigarettes as well. And honestly, I don’t know the answer. I cannot suggest people the ideas on how to quit smoking. I believe its absurdity! Had the suggestions the ability to change the habits and behavior of people; that too addiction to smoking, then cigarette companies wouldn’t exist this long for sure. Because people love to experiment newer things but wouldn’t want to continue if they don’t love it. And I believe people don’t love smoking cigarette but still, they do because of addiction, isn’t it?
Alarming global facts about smoking
- 1 in every 5 deaths caused in the US is because of smoking.
- A single cigarette contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
- Every day, nearly 4000 teens in the U.S. smoke their first cigarette while 1,000 starts smoking on a daily basis.
- There are 1.1 billion smokers in the world today, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). If the trend continues, that number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by the year 2025.
- Worldwide, around 10 million cigarettes are purchased per minute, 15 billion are sold per day, and upwards of five trillion are produced and used every year.
- Globally, tobacco use has claimed more than 100 million lives in the 20th century. It is expected to claim another billion during the 21st century unless serious anti-smoking efforts are made on a global scale.
- Nicotine reaches the brain in 7 to 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. Nicotine has been found in every part of a smoker’s body, including breast milk. It’s also as addictive as heroin.
- 15 billion cigarettes are smoked worldwide every day.
- If no one smoked, cancer deaths in the U.S. would decrease by one-third.
- Lung cancer is largely a smoker’s disease; 90% of men and 80% of women who succumb to lung cancer smoked.
- Smokers die 10 years sooner than non-smokers, on average.
- More than 41,000 die per year from exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Tobacco use is responsible for more deaths each year in the U.S. than all of the following combined: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), motor vehicle injuries, alcohol use, and illegal drug use.
- Every cigarette you smoke cuts five to 11 minutes from your life. Over a lifetime, that can reduce your life expectancy by as much as 12 years.
Finding the reason to quit smoking
Being a chain smoker for a long time, I was fed up harming myself. I wanted to quit and I didn’t need any specific reason because smoking as a whole was detrimental. Even though, I didn’t want I would light up the cigarette involuntarily; it had been part of me. Somehow I would feel bad about it and would think of not smoking again after that stick. But again, the vicious cycle continued for years.
The point I am trying to make is unless I made a specific substantial reason to quit, I was not able to stop smoking. By this I mean, I knew smoking is injurious to health and every one of us know it but still, I wasn’t truly understanding the pain and sufferings I had to undergo because of my habit. Before realizing this, I was making commitments time and again and breaking them. So the first thing I did was finding the true reason why I should stop smoking. For this purpose, I asked myself about the harms I was facing. The pain I had to bear was far more than the ounce of killing boredom or stress and in turn inviting agonies.
Once I decided to quit smoking, I had very tough times for the first few weeks. It was tempting when I saw my friends with whom I hang around inhaling puffs of smoke and me being an observer. Sometimes, I felt like discarding the commitment and supplying the higher demand for nicotine. But every time negativity tried to haunt, I reminded myself of the effects and that helped little.
Sharing with friends and closed ones
I told my friends that I was trying to quit smoking cigarette and they were very glad to know. That encouraged me more and few of them would oppose and provoke to accompany them while smoking. DENIAL was the key! Had I accepted one of those few friends and smoked one cigarette in the name of accompanying them, I am sure I wouldn’t be writing this story. I would just continue smoking and stopping to smoke would just turn out to be a delusion.
Not thinking about smoking didn’t help!
Trying not to think about Smoking, Nicotine, Cigarettes didn’t help at all. I still had a temptation to smoke every now and then. Since smoking is pretty common in almost all the places, I would be so prompted to smoke whenever I saw people smoking. But I simply didn’t want to smoke! I hated smoking!!! Later, I realized that escaping away from it won’t help. The more I ran from it; the more it chased. I needed to accept the fact that I need to simply let go of this desire from within. How to do this was a major concern. Idea-less I was!
Choosing the reward!
One day, I was with my smoker-friends who were smoking and I was tempted. One of them jokingly asked me if I wanted to smoke. Deep inside I wanted to, but I reminded myself that “I am a man of words; a man of commitment” and denied. That was the moment when I felt POWERFUL! That was the moment when I truly felt the power of DENIAL. That time onwards, I started socializing more often with the smoker-friends. I would inspect my power of tolerance! That really helped. The more I accepted the craving for a smoke, the happier I became. And the benefits that came along were simply amazing; adding motivation to the wonderful journey.
The health benefits I had, the money I saved, the increase in productivity and self-confidence were even more encouraging. Within a few weeks of getting rid of smoke, my friends at work started acknowledging the progress within me. As a host talking on the radio program Saathi Sanga Manka Kura, my voice got better and that was so satisfying. Also, I used to feel so bad talking about substance abuse and I was one of them. Now I am deeply content with myself for I can speak my true experience and need not mask myself. A huge thanks to Saathi Sanga Manka Kura for this change. My work in this radio program was striking me time and again and part of this contribution in me is also because of Saathi Sanga Manka Kura. 🙂
Further Reading: Kalinchowk Travel Diaries- 2016
Just one cigarette isn’t going to work!
It isn’t the first time I stopped smoking. There were numerous times when I quit for quite some time and sadly it would relapse. When I remember those times, I only find one reason why I relapsed time and again even after years. And the reason was “just one cigarette” even after quitting it. Although I didn’t enjoy smoking that “just one cigarette”, it created the longing for another cigarette and nicotine and the process continues. One cigarette becomes two, two becomes four and the number goes on increasing until cigarettes control our body. Sometimes, I smoked a puff in order to socialize with friends, sometimes with my stupidity and I had to suffer a lot. I found out that to Stop Smoking is simple but not easy. It’s tough but not impossible!
Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Nicotine withdrawal is one of the biggest fears while attempting to quit smoking. Like many other smokers who’re trying to stop smoking cigarettes, I too had tough times preventing these symptoms. Here are some of the ways how I prevented these withdrawal symptoms.
As a chain smoker, nicotine craving is an obvious one and is very challenging at the same time. It persists and tempts us to smoke which is caused by the nicotine receptors in the brain. Because of the continuous consumption of cigarettes, the body produces dopamine hormone and with the sudden deprivation of dopamine hormone, craving is caused. It’s very difficult for me to go through this and during this time, I’d remind myself that it’s going to be over within a few minutes of time. Sometimes, I used to take walk and other times, I used to motivate myself that it’s for the greater good.
The problem in a sleep cycle
During the first few days of stopping smoking, I had difficulty getting timely sleep. I was insomniac and during the day, I used to feel sleepy and tired. Listening to sleep music, hypnotic music and consoling mind time and again would help. Later on, the sleep cycle got back to normal.
Stress, Anxiety, irritation and extreme mood swings are common during the first two weeks. The only thing that would relieve these mood changes was thinking of the reward when I quit smoking. The positivity!!!
For the initial few days, the yearning for nicotine was substituted by appetite. I felt like eating more and that too sweets. It lasted for about two weeks. The hunger of nicotine was substituted by foods. Even though I wasn’t in need of any nutrients, I’d crave for foods. During such times, I would drink water and divert the thought process into something meaningful. That way, I was able to eliminate the feeling and later on, everything got back to normal.
The only suggestion I can offer is; STAY STRONG and let it PASS!!!
Further Reading: My Travelogue: Trek to Panch Pokhari-2016…
Benefits of quitting smoking!
One year down the line and no cigarettes! Here are the benefits I have experienced during the course:
- Now I feel that I am able to control cigarettes. In the past, the situation was the opposite. Cigarettes were controlling me. I feel that my self-esteem is enhanced than before.
- Now, I don’t need to spend my precious time on smoking breaks with my smoker friends just to have a smoke.
- Financially, I have been able to save quite a lot of money.
- One of the happiest moment for me after stopping smoking has been reaching the state of mind where cigarettes and nicotine hold no any significant importance in my life. When I was addicted to nicotine in the past, I was controlled by it. Now, I am independent of it; getting out of nicotine addiction. Considering one of the factors of happiness, I am happier on an emotional level.
- As per the researches conducted, the benefits of quitting smoking start right after two hours of defying cigarettes. And you can imagine the benefits I have got until now. Considering the health perspectives, my heart rate and blood pressure have returned to normal levels. Similarly, the oxygen level is normal as well. Compared to those who smoke, the chances of having heart diseases is lessened by half.
- The sense of smell and taste is supposed to reduce because of smoking. I can feel the increased sense of smelling and taste after a few weeks of quitting smoking.
- While I used to smoke, my fingertips were pale in color and now they are fine. Because of the cravings, I had to suffer a lot at times. Now I don’t have to worry about cravings at all.
- It is proven that carbon monoxide is released from lit cigarette and inhaled as well. And carbon monoxide is toxic to the human body which results in cardiovascular complications in the longer run. I’m totally away from this problem.
- I can sense the increased energy circulation in my body. Similarly, I am a sportsperson as well and I can witness increased stamina too.
- Stopping smoking, I am also not harming other people through second-hand smoke (also known as passive smoking).
- I am sure that I will be having better life expectancy than I was while smoking.
And the list goes on and on…
When are you quitting smoking?
I am going to contradict with what I said above. You’ve come up this far; there should be two options; either this post is interesting which I presume is not. And the second one should be you’re trying to quit and haven’t been able to do so. Isn’t it? If yes, what’s stopping you from getting rid of nicotine in your body? Let me know the reasons. I might be of tiniest help probably.
All the very best for your journey to being smoke-free. Cheers!!! 🙂