How’d Ya Quit?
- Published: Wednesday, March 23rd 2011
- in Living Well
In 2008, 21% of the American population was cigarette smokers according to The Center for Disease Control. And today, despite knowing the dangers of nicotine addiction, thousands of Americans continue to smoke. With SpaFinder Wellness Week™ in full swing, we thought there’s no better time than now to encourage those who are still slaves to their habit to put down the pack and quit smoking for good!
When researching the options for quitting and speaking to former smokers about how they kicked the butts, the overwhelming response was that the most important factor in quitting is will-power and the desire to be smoke-free. Until you are ready to quit, all of the patches, gums, and pills in the world won’t keep you from lighting up.
But once you’re resigned to no longer being a smoker, there are so many options for curbing the cravings until you’re 100% smoke-free! Hypnosis is said to have double the effective rates that gums and patches have, though nicotine patches and chews are also beneficial; widely available across the country, they ease the symptoms of withdrawal from the addictive ingredient. Additionally, there are prescription aides such as Chantix, acupuncture treatments, and even herbal therapies!
Some SpaFinder readers and staff (myself included) share how they quit:
“I started smoking when I was in my early teens, and after 8 years of smoking, I have not smoked for 21 months. I quit smoking by will power. After years of pleas from my family, combined with all the anti-smoking TV commercials, I woke up one morning and decided it just wasn’t for me anymore. For the first few days, I probably had to tell myself every 2 minutes “No, you will not buy a pack” or “No, you will not smoke,” and around certain people who were smoking I just had to leave. Those days became weeks, and weeks became months, and months have now become years. A big key for myself was setting goals, and celebrating them. For the first year, I told people every month that another month had passed, and it really helped me that it felt like they were all with me in this struggle. To this day, I still have urges during stressful or anxious moments, but I will never go back, and that’s because I simply will not allow myself to.” —Rocky Boulders
“For me, the most important step I took in quitting smoking was deciding I wanted to, FOR GOOD. The decision came as a result of reasoning that if I ever wanted to not smoke (which would be the case if I were to get pregnant etc.), I’d have a harder time quitting with each extra day I smoked. So I was able to wean myself down to one cigarette a day. It was my “done with school/work/day” smoke that I used to just relax with. But that last one was the hardest to give up. So I decided to use the substitution method —the new drug of choice became lavender-scented baths! It was really funny at first. I’d be disrobing while unlocking the door so as to minimize the amount of time between walking in the door (when the craving hit) and the bath (which effectively provided the sought after relaxation). I think it was 3 weeks before I was done with smoking. I guess you can call it quitting “hot” turkey? Ok, sorry, that’s lame. But anyway, the lavender I used was a little bottle my brother brought me from Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, the monastery in Provence France famed for growing fields of lavender. It was blessed by the monks, so maybe that had an extra healing effect. These days I also enjoy using high-quality lavender essential oils in my bath, and continue the ritual on a nearly daily basis. Yes, it’s an expensive habit, but I can stop anytime – I SWEAR.” – P. Tracz
“I started smoking when I was just a kid, probably about 15 years old. After fighting a virus for a time last winter I realized that my immune system was being diminished by my habit, as was my bank account since the price of a pack in New York went from $7 or $8 to $11 or $12. I’d stopped smoking before, for weeks at a time, but had never really taken quitting that seriously. Something about this time was different. I decided to quit for my health and for myself, not because my mom insisted or because of the repulsive anti-smoking ads in the subway.
I did it slowly, cutting back gradually until I was smoking just one to two cigarettes a day. Then I just stopped buying smokes. I kept an emergency pack in the freezer, and knowing it was there for me to resist was a comfort. I could make the decision for myself whether or not I was going to smoke and making the choice not to have one gave me a power that was surprising.” –E. Allen
If you’ve been contemplating quitting smoking, perhaps Wellness Week™ will be a turning point for you!
Do you have a secret for kicking the habit? Share your advice and stories with us in the comments!