To Quit Smoking, Go Where the Cigarettes Aren't

Quitting Smoking Requires More Than Commercial Products or the Newest Prescription Drugs

Yahoo Contributor Network

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 | If you can find a place where nicotine is unattainable, go there, and stay for at least one month. That is the easiest way to quit smoking. I know this from experience.

When I was still a kid, I was able to quit smoking for more than two years, and it would not have been possible for me to do so had I not found myself in a situation where tobacco was unattainable. Correction: Cigarettes were available but at a cost of $5 per cigarette. And that is not a typo. Being a youthful troublemaker, I found myself incarcerated. Hence, the $5 per cigarette price.

But after being detained for quite some time, I was able to quit smoking and never go through withdrawal or have "nic-fits" (a.k.a. nicotine tantrums). By now you are saying "Let's be realistic, I can't go to jail." Right. But you can do your best to replicate that type of isolation.

Certain spas and hotels have prohibited smoking. Ditto for cottage rentals. The second time I quit smoking I did so by taking a rather short trip to the Berkshires and rented a house directly on Lake Garfield. The owner would not allow smoking, so I packed up everything I needed and headed out leaving cigarettes behind. The key here is to bring everything that you need on trip like this. Doing so will ensure that you do not purchase cigarettes (or bum one) if you have to head to the store because you forgot something. Once you make it past the first few days you can start to think of yourself as a non-smoker and also start to congratulate yourself daily, or even hourly.

Being away from my regular routine, along with not having cigarettes, I found myself almost entirely remaking my schedule and my daily habits. Also I made sure to do this when it was cold out. This ensures two things: First, when it is cold outside and you are staying in a "non-smoking" house, you are less likely to want to go outside. The second thing it ensures is that it will be extremely affordable; when done in the "off-season." While this is more expensive than Nicorette (or any other aids for quitting smoking), most do not realize that to actually quit smoking your behavior needs to change. This is why those products are called "aids."

Feel free to take any one you like with you on your trip, but a change in environment is the best start. Even those that struggle with drugs or alcoholism are told in rehab that they need to change "people, places, and things." And, naturally, these measures can only help someone quitting smoking.

View Comments