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Calling all reformed nicotine junkies...


Considering that hundreds (or thousands) of people peruse this site every day I’m hoping that there might be a few reformed nicotine junkies here who can help me out. I’ve been trying to quit smoking (cigarettes), but I’ve had no luck. Has anybody here managed to successfully quit? What tricks/techniques did you use? Nicotine gum? “The patch”? Heroin? (I say this only partly in jest; the best success that I’ve ever had with quitting was when I was on strong painkillers - Morphine, Demerol and Codeine – and when I quit the narcotics I went back to the cigarettes).
Quit three times. The last, over 20 years ago, will hopefully remain as such, i.e. the last. Cold turkey everytime preceeded by introspective examination of why I smoked. After three days of physical withdrawal, all that was left was the mental side of it.. I remembered something from an AA meeting I attended with a friend, Hi, My name is ...(substitute any name you like) I am an .... (substitute your habit)... As such there is no thing such as an exsmoker, merely one who has not had one in a long time...

The initial physical addiction is relatively easy to overcome. By day 3 the shakes are so bad you spill a cup of hot coffee into your lap and don't even notice it. But that really subsides prior to the end of the first smoke-free week. Drink water until you have to pass it, and then go back for more. Believe it or not, it really does help cleanse the tissues of nicotine. The sooner you have it out of your system, the sooner you are over that portion of the dependency. Stay out of situations where you invariably smoked. If you feel like you must have a smoke, just take the hand you formerly held the cigarette in and simulate taking a drag. You'll actually (suffer?) feel the euphoria of that shot of imaginary nicotine. But don't keep doing it, it really does lead to continued dependency.
Nicotine addiction has two parts: physical and mental/emotional. The nicotine replacement products can help with the first part. All nicotine replacement products work by gradually reducing the amount of nicotine in your system until you end up with none. It's a matter of personal preference how you want the lower dose of nicotine delivered. They worked for some people I know but not me. The nicotine fits were less severe but they lasted longer. It only takes a week or so for nicotine to clear out of your system cold turkey and that is when the mental/emotional addiction kicks in. Not smoking in bars, foregoing the coveted first smoke of the day, smoke breaks at work, etc. These are daily lifestyle habits that are extremely difficult to change. I still cannot go to a bar without smoking. I think the thing that gets most people is that it takes a complete lifestyle retooling to successfully quit. For example, I loved to smoke socially in bars and I lived for my smoke breaks at work. When I quit I didn't go into a bar for over a year. This put a significant damper on my social life that. At work, it soon became obvious that I really disliked my job and smoke breaks were the crutch that got me through. I ended up taking another job. This turned out to be the best move of my career but my point is that it took major lifestyle changes for me to successfully quit.

So, as to products. Replacement products did not work for me. What ended up working for me was Wellbutrin. It's like Zyban and was developed as an antidepressant. I haven't taken anti-depressants before or since so I don't know much about how they work. My doctor told me that Wellbutrin is not really a super-effective AD but an unintended side effect is that it suppresses nicotine withdrawal symptoms. I got a three month prescription but only used the first 30 days. I did not have ONE NICOTINE FIT and did not miss smoking at all. There are side effects though. I was in a complete fog for a month. I had no personality, no drive, no energy, no interest in anything. It was pretty cruddy but better than the fits. I also gained 15 pounds that I have yet to shed. That was alomost two years ago though and I'm clean.

I suspect that ADs are probably the best tool one can use to quit nicotine. I really didn't enjoy being on them but quitting was very easy as it conquered the mental/emotional addiction by completely stunting all mental/emotional activity. This really is no way to live but 30 days is doable and I think my reaction was stronger than average. Thinking back on all the failed attempts and misery it is quite shocking to me how easy it was to quit with Wellbutrin. That being said, my wife quit at the same time and didn't tell me. She took no products, she just decided to quit. I didn't notice or think to ask why she no longer spent her evenings on the back patio because I was basically high. Later on I asked her how she did it. She replied that she came face to face with the awful reality of what the next 30 days was going to be like and just decided to pick up the load and carry it. To this day I am in awe of this. Her point really hit home with me. She knew she was looking at 30 days of misery and she just decided that she could overcome it.
Sorry to be so long winded. I hope this helps.
One last thing I should point out is that once the drugs wore off I was still left with an uphill battle to conquer the mental addiction so this is just a temporary fix to get you over the worst part and ease the transitio. Ron's point cannot be put any better, there is no such thing as an ex-smoker.

These first few responses don't appear to be entirely uplifting/encouraging... but it does tell me one thing; it IS possible... Maybe I'll slap a patch on tomorrow and see if that will keep me from spazzing out... We'll see what happens.
Yeah, sorry to be so doom and gloom but I am of the opinion that going into it with open eyes offers a far better chance of success. Definately not encouraging though I admit.
Good luck,
I must admit I haven't quit yet myself but will reign in on the psychological aspects being the residential B & B psychotherapist. Oral fixation anyone? It might be interesting to note that a cigarette tip is about the size of a nipple and the smoke pouring out is warm. Why do some people have oral fixations and others do not? We Freudians would look at the first stage of child development where the developmental task is trust versus mistrust. As an infant all feelings of trust and safety arise during the feeding process. An interesting question to ask oneself is what was known about the quality of one's attachment early in life... was one breast fed, etc.... Anyways, another perspective on smoking.

I quit about 2 1/2 years ago after smoking for about nine years. I "tried" several times without success mostly due to the fact that I really did not want to stop. But, I told my wife that I would quit when she became pregnant. The day after Thanksgiving in 2003 I came home from work and my wife told me that she was pregnant. I have not had a cigarette since. I quit cold turkey and it was actually alot easier than I thought it would be. I think the difference was that this time I actually had a good reason to quit. I still want to smoke sometimes but it has certainly become easier to put it out of my mind. I do occasionally still have a cigar but not even at the rate of one a month, actually I do not even remember the last time I had cigar. If you do quit the first benefit you will notice will be how much better your clothes, hands, car and just your entire person will smell. You also will think that not smoking is bad for you because for the first few days you will cough up stuff that looks like escargot. But in the end it is definitely worth it. I just thought of one last tip. do not buy a pack of smokes and say that after this pack you will quit. This does not work. I don't know how many last packs I bought. When I finally quit I actually threw away a pack that was almost brand new.

Good Luck
I threw a pack out the window today and bought another one a hour later:eek: I had actually at one point for 3 weeks but I would be around smokers and tell myself it is ok if I just bum one.....day or so later I would bum two and then three and here I am now....I now smoke more than I ever have before...damn near a pack and a half a day. My excuse is that smoking makes daily stress easier but of course that is just mental. I am coming to a place were I want to quit but damnit if I dont enjoy my smokes....especially at the bar.
Cold turkey was my way.

I had decided a long time ago that I didn't want to smoke around any kids I might have (seeing the moms/dads pushing baby carriages through town with a smoke hanging off their lip turned me off). So a month before my son was born I quit at the end of a pack. It helped that I came down with a cold within a day or so. I always hated smoking with a cold so that got me through the first week. That was over 2 yrs ago.

Jim is right though... I played the "quit at the end of the pack" game for a couple months before just up and quiting.

You never get rid of the mental craving though....especially when out at a bar with the boys. Those are tough times.
I gave up in an instant. I bought my usual pack of Marlboros on my way to work in the morning and went through my usual daily ritual until I had smoked 6 cigarrettes that was the point I gave up. I just decided I didn't want to smoke anymore and didn't. This happened 15 years ago, I still have the 14 cigarettes left in the pack in a drawer in my bedside cabinet.

The only advice I can offer is don't even try to give it up unless you are absolutely ready to.
I would love to since my daily 2 mile run would probably be alot easier but I extremely enjoy smoking.....I guess I could light up a cigar when out with the guys.
Okay, here's my $0.02 worth (Canadian funds, of course).

I quit cold turkey over 20 years ago and, like has already been said, smoking is somewhat like other addictions in that it never really goes away. But there is a road to success, and it's quite simple really.

What you need to do is recognize that you are addicted and, as such, you may have what is refered to as an "adictive personality." That, simply stated, means that your psychological make up MAY predispose you to addictions.

The secret, then, would be to get over the physical dependancy of your current addiction, that would be nicotine, then substitute that addiction for a new one.

All that you have to do is make sure that the new addiction does not intresect with the old, or you may fall back into it. So don't become addicted to, say, Bingo, if it means sitting in a smokey Bingo hall where you are exposed to your old addiction.

So, what worked for me? Fitness. Start running, even if you've never run before. Sign up for a learn to run class and meet others who do not smoke and whoi share your enthusiasm.

Tried and don't like running? Try cycling. Ottawa has some AMAZING trails right on the doorstep with the Gatineau hills right there. Get an inexpensive mountian bike, google some outdoor and MTB organizations in your area, and get rolling. Great fun.

Too expensive? Look up a Masters swim club in Ottawa and join. It's a great way to spend the winter months, then the open water competitions (Masters are only as competitive as you make it by the way, hardcore to tourist, it's up to you) in the summer in all those lakes in eastern Ontario - fantastic!

Or just by a cheap bike and start commuting by pedaling instead of by car. Start hiking, or take up snowshoeing in the winter. Really easy learning curve and way more physical work then you think, and really good conditioning.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I think you get the point. PM me if you want me to point you in the right direction. Of course, you can just ignore this and take up something like hunting or fishing, as long as it's not with smokers it's all good.

Or stamp collecting. Or box kite building. Or.....


I smoked for 4 years through high school and have had no problem quiting (1 year). Maybe I hadn't smoked enough to become "addicted" I'm not sure. What I do know is that I decided to stop after trying to go for a run. My main problem was being around people who smoke. There was a period when I would continuously bum smokes, then friends would get annoyed and stop giving them to me, causing me to buy them again. Eventually I went from packs a week to one or two sticks a week, then to none. Now I've developed a distaste for cigarettes, the smell and taste make my stomach churn. So for me it was easy, but maybe I didn't smoke long enough to develp a deep addiction. Mostly it's just sticking to your guns and not giving in to influence.
Mr. NMMB & other’s

Congrats on your willingness to quit. I will just let you know that you can quit and it is easier than you think. Trust me…

What works for one person might not exactly work for another. Just like all the wonderful info on this forum. With that said here was my approach.

I first decided that this was it I was going to quit. “This time for real!” I had lost my mother to cancer, she smoked also, I was convinced that the two were related. So I indulged in my last 18 or so butts all in one afternoon and kicked it cold turkey. I said to myself everyday about every 15 minutes “They’re trying to kill me!!!” that was my mantra. I won’t lie to you. I had a lot of anxiety and I was real jumpy. So I also started running. 1 mile a day none stop at a real aggressive pace to burn off the jitters. Which, also broke me out of my couch potato lifestyle. I also replaced the oral fix with sunflower seeds. I had them at work, at home and especially in the car. After about 4 or 5 days things started to calm down and that’s when I realized I was getting by without my 2-3 packs a day. I just stuck with the mantra and now 3 years later I have only been weak once. On a ski trip, I attempted to smoke one cigarette and then the mantra kicked in “They’re trying to kill me!” and I put it out.

I was hooked pretty badly but the mantra and the seeds worked for me. BTW, I just remembered that I rewarded myself at the end of the year by having my teeth whitened at the dentist’s office $$$, but oh so worth it.

My brother took a different approach. He made a $1500 bet with a co-worker that he would quit that night for one year. He got through the year collected his money and figured that he had gone that far, he didn’t need to ever start up again. He’s now got to be going on 7 or 8 years since he quit.

There are two methods that I know work. Good Luck!

Now I disclose that I have been without a cigarette for only 6 months now, nothing like up above, but what I did was quit right before a vacation. The worst part of this addiction is the routine, ritual, and those first few weeks! If you completely remove yourself from your regular situation, this should help you quit. Two weeks in Russia help me quit. As soon as I got back to the States I had the desire to light up, but with 2 weeks of not smoking under my belt, it was fairly easy to resist. Honestly I also had to quit drink during this time as well as alcohol immediately makes me go into smokers relapse.
Take a trip, start your new life on a positive note!

There are certainly a lot of very true statements in these posts. For 15 years, I used smokeless tobacco (yes I am a hillbilly) and tried many times, unsuccessfully, to kick the habit.

Before successfully quitting, I first had to reach the point where I admitted to myself that it was not something I could "quit anytime I wanted" and that using it was something that I truly loved to do. From this point, I decided that I REALLY did want to quit and then searched out a few ways to replace tobacco (I am a firm believer that you must replace it with something/s). I began a very vigorous jogging regime and also began chewing the hell out of some gum and sunflower seeds. Once I made it past the first three days, things began to get a little easier. I still wanted the tobacco just as badly as the day I quit, however, I had enough tobacco-free days under my belt that I couldn't justify starting again.

Good luck to you. It is not easy but definitely worth it. Think of all the shave gear you can buy with the saved money!
Good Horror stories... for me. if only my mom would stop smoking I have no idea how to get her to stop. specially now she doesnt hold a job she smokes more Id think.

lucky im a health freak so I dont even go near anyone who smokes dirty sick nicotine tar making your lungs loose all capacity to optimum use the 02 .I dont party or go out for the same reason.. smokes everywhere. ridicilous it gets into your clothes so disgusting. in Sweden I partied a bit it is illegal there to smoke inside a bar or disco. you do it outside. but in Prague or budapest..arggh not the same EU law .

Glad I never started smoking.

It is day two... and I'm going out of my mind. I opted for gum + sunflower seeds rather than the patch. I think this will be a little easier on me since it reminds me of the smokeless tobacco that I used in the past (for a while I switched from cigarettes to smokeless - but went back to cigarettes since all of the spitting bothered some people including SWMBO).

Thanks everybody for the encouraging words...
You're making the hardest few steps right now--congratulations and hang in there. Just keep thinking how proud of yourself you'll be when you aren't smoking anymore.:biggrin:
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