Summer is approaching – and with, it the anniversary of a major decision I made in the summer of 2012: the decision to quit smoking after more than two decades.
I made the decision purely for health reasons. I enjoyed smoking, but a true lung age test indicated a significant loss of lung function that placed me as a person thirty years older. Shortly after that, I gave up.
In this article, I wish to share several lessons learnt along the way. I should add that I have not smoked a single cigarette since quitting, so I feel qualified to share the advice. I would also regard the fifth point as particularly crucial.
First, smokers differ. At one time, lots of people started and gave up without difficulty. Social smoking. For instance, many nurses in the 1960’s smoked for a few years before quitting when they got married or started families. Others, however, have found it impossible to stop smoking and have continued smoking during serious illnesses (like myself in 1999 when I developed pneumonia but continued to smoke).
Second, health is the greatest incentive to stop, but a person still has to have a reason for quitting. A large number of patients who require the chronic use of oxygen for illnesses caused by excessive smoking will continue to smoke, regardless of their conditions.
Third, when a person stops smoking, they will almost always find the third day the most challenging. Therefore, if the quitter takes up smoking again on the third day, they will only have to face another “third day” at a later stage.
Fourth, nicotine replacement products work for many. I believe that any ex-smoker entering an environment where others may be smoking (e.g a party or after work drinks where colleagues go out for a quick cigarette) should keep a supply of nicorette close to hand, regardless of how long ago they gave up smoking. Personally speaking, I could not have managed without nicorette.
Fifth, and perhaps most important of all, accepting “just one cigarette” often leads the ex-smoker back to regular smoking. People will rationalise the situation and think they can smoke on important occasions, but social smoking rarely works for a person who has smoked heavily in the past.
Obviously, other ex-smokers will have different opinions, but the advice offered in this article has kept me off cigarettes since the day I stopped and I believe it could steer others away from smoking too.
Till next time.