Are you reading this on a smoke break? Consider making this cigarette your last. Today is the Great American Smokeout of 2010, a national day to band together and stub out your last cigarette.
If you’re a smoker, you’re probably well versed in the reasons to quit. For me, giving up cigarettes forever required one special reason: kids.
I smoked my last cigarette two weeks before I met my stepson. I’d quit half a dozen times before, and always picked it up again with a few months. This time, when the charm of not smoking had worn off and the stress of winter made me want to buy a fresh pack of cigarettes, I had a kid in my life. A kid I was really, really sure I never wanted to see smoking. Which meant, to me, that I needed to never smoke in front of him.
It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but every time I wanted to pick up a cigarette, even if he was far away, I’d think about him and pull back from that urge.
Of course, I was never a hardcore smoker. For some people, smoking is an addiction that’s harder to kick than heroine. If you’ve tried and failed to quit, here are some tips for success:
- Find a quitting buddy. Quitting together can help you both stay strong in your commitment.
- Put a picture of your kids where you used to keep your cigarettes. That’s a nice reminder of your motivation for quitting, every time you reflexively reach for the pack.
- Learn your triggers. Know when you usually smoke, and have a plan for handling the cravings that come up. For me, that meant keeping a pack of gum in my car, because I always used to smoke on my morning commute.
- Know what you plan to do instead. Some people chew gum. You could take a drink of water. Go for a ten minute walk. Meditate or stretch. Plan a few things you can do when you find yourself craving a cigarette, and set yourself up with any supplies you need in advance. Like gum. Did I mention gum? Totally helped me.
- Set a date and stick to it. If you were smoking while reading this, today’s probably not the day for quitting. But pick a date soon, and stick with it.