How to Quit Smoking in 7 Days

I smoke cigarettes, or at least, I used to. I’ve struggled with quitting on and off for about five years now (my son is, incidentally, 5 years old). Giving something up forever is incredibly hard. Whether it’s drinking or smoking or biting your nails, the concept of “I’ll never do that again” seems daunting. So I basically have quit smoking except when drinking. I go out drinking maybe once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, but smoking a few cigarettes at the bar once or twice a week is a lot better than going through a pack a day. But in order to get to that point, I had to make a plan.

So here it is, how I “quit” smoking in 7 days:

Day 1: Betray Your Brand

My first step was to switch brands. I’m used to smoking Camel Lights or Camel Ultralights. Camel is a fairly good tasting cigarette (“fairly” being the key word there) and I’ll admit I’ve somehow come to enjoy the taste. They’re also pretty smooth on the way down and I’m used to them. But this is all about breaking comfort zones and getting out of habits, so I switched to American Spirit. These cigarettes have no preservatives in them, so they go stale almost as soon as you get them out of the wrapper, and have no additives, so they taste like harsh burning tobacco all the way down. The result? I was no longer enjoying cigarettes as much.

Day 2: Halves Halved

Next I began halving my cigarette intake each day. Assuming you smoke a pack a day, that knocks you down to 1/2 a pack on Day 2, 5 cigarettes on Day 3, and 2 or 3 smokes on Day 4, and 1 cigarette on Day 5. I also started smoking 1/2 a cigarette and then smoking the other half later, particularly when I was down to 5 smokes or less a day. This does 2 things: It spreads out the nicotine intake over the entire day, so it isn’t as hard to stick with your schedule and when you’re smoking re-lit cigarettes, well, they often taste like ass. The result of all of this? I was barely enjoying smoking at all.

Day 6: Drastic Measures

This is where I’ve always failed in the past. By Day 6 I’m almost surely going to be desperate to hang out with friends or do something with my girlfriend, which inevitably means consuming alcohol. And in doing so, I’m likely to smoke cigarettes – I just can’t stop smoking while I’m drinking (impaired judgement, perhaps?) So instead of not going out and stressing myself out over non-smoking, I took a different approach (and somewhat on accident). I bought a pack of Pall Malls from a cigarette machine in the local Moose. This guarantees that not only do the cigarettes have no filter, but they’ve probably been sitting around for a few months (making them particularly nasty to the taste and super harsh on the throat.) Combining that with a full on night of drinking, I woke up the next day feeling like hell – my stomach and head kept me from getting any further from my bed than the couch or the toilet, and my lungs were in no condition to suck anything down. Therefore, I set my body up for an entire day of smoke free living, making it much easier to continue the trend.

Meanwhile, I was simultaneously beginning a new exercise regiment which helped quite a bit as well, as hacking up mucus while you’re riding your bike straight up hill makes you want to quit all the more.

Realistically, it’s only been two weeks now, so there’s always a chance for a relapse. I quit for the better part of two years once, only to slide back into the trend for some reason. Grab the RSS Feed is you’d like to keep updated on all things non-smoking and how, over the next month, I plan to quit while drinking as well.

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