Nov. 15 marks this year's Great American Smokeout, when organizations across the country encourage smokers to quit the habit. Yahoo asked former smokers to offer to advice to those trying to stop smoking.
FIRST PERSON | Thirty years ago, I started smoking while in Army Boot Camp. Because I wanted to fit in with my fellow trainees, who were already smokers, I bought a carton of cigarettes every time I went to the shopette. The girls figured out I was just playing with smoking, so they would ask for a pack of cigarettes when they were finished with their own cartons.
After the Army, I got married, had a baby, and became a full-time student. This was a stressful period so I turned to cigarettes as a way of easing the stress. This time, the smoking took. I smoked almost a pack a day. When my marriage began falling apart, the smoking increased. Even though I will admit smoking does ease stress, there are healthier ways to deal with it: Go for a brisk walk or to the gym. A supportive friend, wanting you to stop smoking, will be there when times are rough.
Over the years, I tried to stop smoking. I used nicotine gum, but it didn't work. I thought about the patch, but one of my friends was getting double doses of nicotine by using the patch and smoking simultaneously. That was definitely not for me. My daughter, a long-time smoker, had gotten a prescription to stop smoking. I didn't want to repeatedly ask her for the name, so I gave that one up.
It seemed the only way to stop was by going cold turkey. That worked a couple of times, but as soon as I was around a smoker, I began smoking again. I loved the rush I got from menthol cigarettes. I knew the dangers, but the addiction was too strong.
In the meantime, I was trying to get over a 24-year marriage. We were separated when my husband took a job in another city, and I didn't want to move so I again smoked cigarette after cigarette to deal with stress. Four years later, though, we decided to reunite.
Along with the other activities I had to complete for the move, quit smoking climbed to the top of the list. I knew if I continued to smoke, the reconciliation was doomed even before it happened. My husband, a non-smoker, insisted I stop.
I realized it was time to quit. The only recourse I had was to go cold turkey. This time success came because I was fully committed to becoming a non-smoker.
- Addiction & Substance Abuse