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 | I remember when I quit smoking one weekend. It was a Saturday night and I was pre-gaming with some friends before going out. Someone suggested taking a smoke break, and I went along to be with the crowd. Last thing I remember was having a great time, surrounded by secondhand smoke from cigarettes and Black & Milds. Then I woke up the next morning with a fresh pack of Newports in my purse. There was a few missing from the pack. I wasn't sure who bought these cigarettes for me, but the taste in my mouth told me who smoked them. That was the first time I realized that I'd have to change my friends if I was going to change my lifestyle.
However, that didn't happen until over a year later.
Make the choice and follow through
The moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew my cigarette days had to be over. The people that I partied with were not of the "best friends forever" variety, so it was not an impossible challenge to stop going out with them.
Being pregnant turned me off to the smell of smoke, anyway. It was after I gave birth that I had to really stick to my guns about quitting. I haven't smoked in more than two years, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't crave a cigarette every now and then. I doubt those cravings will go away completely, but my child is my motivation to stay away for good.
You don't have to have a child to quit smoking. The most important thing to keep in mind is the reason why you need to quit. It can be for your health, for your dog, to save money -- anything. Anything that you feel passionate about, keep it in your mind because, without a reason, you're not going to make it. You may fail, and that's OK. But never give up.
It may be tough to make changes to your life or change your friends, but that's a necessary change to make if you want to succeed. At least keep yourself away from temptation until you having a good handle on your life as an ex-smoker.
The easy thing about quitting is after you stomp out your cigarette, you quit. It's up to you if you want to light another one up.