What You're Really Giving Up When You Stop Smoking

Hand holding cigarette in park
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Early smoking cessation is often a continual mental struggle about whether we should light up today or not.  It comes with the territory when recovering from nicotine addiction, and will pass in time.

I'd like to introduce Carl, who was less than a month smoke-free when he wrote the piece below.  The next time your mind wanders and smoking seems like a good idea, remember the points Carl makes about what else you're giving up besides tobacco when you quit. 

Thanks for sharing, Carl.

From Carl: 

A few things to think about before you give in to that horrible craving to smoke.

Yep, it sucks to quit smoking. We all know it, we have all been there or are there now. You have come this far, and it's tough. Really tough. Having a bad day, the worst you've had in ages. You're not strong enough to do this. Just bum a smoke from a buddy, buy a pack from the store. You're just not ready to do it, maybe when things get better you will have a better chance. Right?  Hmmmmm.

What exactly are you giving in to, and how is it going to benefit you?

1)  In the state of Maryland where I live, a pack a day habit will cost you about 50 dollars a week. Me? I was 2 packs a day. 

That's 100 dollars a week.

Now there's something I'm in a hurry to get back to. Paying money for something stupid that offers zero benefits and is going to kill me. Hey I'm all over that. If you have 50 dollars extra a week, send it to me.

 I'll put it to good use, I promise.

2)  If you quit more than 24-48 hours ago, you know this one very well. Smoking stinks. Every time I smell it, I think to myself, I just wish someone had told me I smelled that bad. Well, now I'm telling you something you already know. I want to go back to smelling like that, don't you?

3)  Before I make point 3, I want to just say I am in no way condoning drinking or drug use in any way shape or form. I'm making a point. Work with me on this one, OK?

What exactly are you going back to if you start smoking again?  What did it do for you? Hey, take a few drinks, at least you get a buzz going. Take drugs, you get high, right? What exactly is smoking going to do for you?  Relax you for 2 minutes, or until the craving hits for the next one? Hey, a useless addiction for something that does nothing whatsoever for you. That's a fantastic idea!

4)  This occurred to me even when I was still smoking, and the thought goes back a ways. Watch someone smoking for a few minutes. Yeah, I know its tough on you right now. If you can't do it, picture it in your mind. If you watch someone smoking, it's almost funny. Looking at it objectively, it's a really, really stupid look. No one looks cool with a 3 inch white stick in their mouth. They look stupid. My personal favorite is watching the white stick bounce up and down while the person tries to talk with it in their mouth.

  Now THERE'S a classy look for you.

5)  I remember at some point reading about a study where people were shown photos of people and asked to pick out pictures of the people who smoked. The success rate was shockingly high. Bad skin, and you look like, well, crap. Hey this smoking thing is sounding better and better, isn't it?

6)  I don't even need to talk about all the health issues. We all know them. We all know tobacco is going to kill us if we don't quit. Dying before our time, often painfully and slowly. Most of use have seen someone go that way. Ill bet no one has ever said on their deathbed, "Thank goodness I smoked my entire life and ended it 20 years early."

Think about it. Smoking cessation is hard. It's tough. It may be the toughest thing you have ever done in your life. But what I listed above? Not only are you quitting smoking, you are quitting those 6 points as well. And there's more I didn't list.  I'm sure you could add to the list.

So, scream at the walls. Scream at the dog. Chew your fingernails until they bleed. Take a walk. Take a drink of water. Whatever. Hold onto your quit, and remember EVERYTHING that you are quitting. It's not just the cigarettes, it's all the nastiness that goes with them.


Smoke free since 9/1/2015, 10:30 PM

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