July 24th will mark my first anniversary as a non-smoker. As I said in a previous post, I smoked for more than two decades, often chain smoking in the evenings. Just under a year ago, someone from the surgery phoned me to arrange an annual asthma check, and during the conversation, they brought up the subject of quitting smoking. At the time, I responded negatively, saying that I’d tried several times to give up but failed, usually on the third day. However, within three weeks of that call, I’d quit.
Questions I get asked about not smoking:
Does it get easier? Yes, but the first year can be difficult. Unfortunately, sudden urges to smoke can come out of the blue, even after months of not smoking.
What about just one cigarette every now and again? A big temptation for many…if I just have one, I can quit again tomorrow. Unfortunately, the majority of ex-smoker who try just one will often try another and usually they end up smoking again.
Do certain things make the temptation to smoke worse? Anything with caffeine, like tea and coffee. Certainly, events that are emotionally stressful.
What about nicotine products like Nicorette? Opinions vary, but personally I believe that people who have smoked long-term should at least consider using the products. Many ex-smokers fall into the trap of trying just one cigarette or smoking during a social occasion in the belief that they can quit again the following day. But most ex-smokers who give in to that temptation usually go back to regular smoking. Keeping a regular supply of Nicorette can help in emergencies.
Can a person cut down gradually? Cutting down smoking rarely works. Try asking any heavy smoker to give up their first cigarette of the morning, then ask the person to delay their second by an hour. They may manage for a few days, but will often find the deprivation too much to handle.
What benefits have you seen? Aside from the obvious financial ones, a great deal of health benefits…improved lung function, vast improvement in asthma, no morning cough. In fact, the morning cough of many years stopped completely within a day of me giving up smoking. Pretty incredible but true.
Nearly forgot the important question…have I smoked a cigarette or taken a sneaky drag on one during the last eleven months? No.