Lizzy Ann – Marquette MI
I have been a smoker for about six years now. You say well that’s really not that long Lizzy Ann. Easier for you than those who have smoked for 20 or more years right? Wrong. I was once told that I was an addictive personality due specifically to the fact that I’m a perfectionist and would eventually pick up a habit to cope. Well, that happens to be true. When I first started smoking cigarettes I thought hey better this than alcohol or drugs right? I’ve decided that this is not true. And so began my battle with nicotine.
I posed a question on air yesterday asking for YOUR experiences hoping to get some insight. A woman sent me a very nice email and I would like to share it with you. I am excluding her name for privacy’s sake. Thanks again. I appreciate your help.
The hardest thing I ever did was quit smoking! The best thing I ever did was quit smoking! I smoked for 21 years and I have been smoke-free for 24 years! I tried to quit smoking 4 times before I was successful.
I once told my father that I would NEVER smoke because it gave me a headache to ride in the car while he and my stepmom were smoking. However, I succumbed to peer pressure and started smoking at 17 (1966).
My first cigarette was from a stale L&M pack that I found under a bookcase at a home where I babysat and house cleaned I smoked them in private until I mastered the art of en-haling. Then I used my hard earned babysitting money to buy Tareyton cigarettes. The slogan was “Us Tareyton smokers would rather FIGHT than switch.” It went along with my tough girl persona. I tried Salem, but didn’t like the menthol. I smoked a Tiperillo cigar or two to freak out the old people at the truck stop once in while. Later in my mid 20’s I switched to More cigarettes. They are long sleek and brown. I really liked them.
The first time I quit smoking was In November 1972. I was scheduled for gallbladder surgery. The Doctor said that people who have surgery are at high risk for pneumonia and smokers are at a higher risk, so I needed to quit smoking. I was successful, but got pneumonia anyhow and ended up in the hospital for 10 days!!!. I went cold turkey back then. I only had 3 months before surgery was scheduled. I was pretty active back then. I played women’s fast pitch softball and had 2 small children. I learned to croquet afghans to keep my hands busy when I was sitting. I stayed smoke free about 9 months. A gal I met in the hospital smoked More cigarettes. One day she was over visiting me and I decided to have a “social smoke” with her. That’s all it took….1 cigarette and I was hooked again!
The second time I tried to quit was in July 1986 when my husband went to Korea for year. We were both in the Air Force. I really tested myself this time though. I would go clubbing and would sometimes snort the smoke from other people’s cigarettes. I would bum a smoke when I had a beer. Stupid stuff like that. Then finally, I again went cold turkey. I stayed smoke free for 4 or 5 months, until I went on a 45 day leave-of-absence to go see my husband in Korea. The first week I did great, but I had a couple social smokes with him and before you know it I was back to smoking a pack a day again.
The third time I tried to quit was in Feb 1987 when I got back from my visit in Korea. I had a good month under my belt when my sister died. My husband came home for the funeral and before you know it I was smoking a pack a day again.
Around May or June of 1987 the Air Force sent us all a memo….”No more smoking in government buildings beginning May or June of 1988.” We were smoking at our desk back then. We were going to have to take smoke breaks outside and stand around a smoke can in -30 degree weather!!!!! It was certain that they would also regulate how many smoke breaks we would have and how long they would be. What a headache!!! I didn’t want anybody other than me regulating my personal habits. I didn’t want to be angry about the new regulation. I for sure did not want to stand outside in the freezing rain, wind and snow smoking a cigarette standing around a smoke can looking like a prisoner!!!!
By October 1987, it was obvious to me that cold turkey wasn’t working for me. The American Lung Association was offering a FREE smoking cessation class. I decided it was worth a try. IT WAS THE ANSWER TO MY PLIGHT!!!!! You don’t have to quit right away. YOU CHOOSE your quit day. You learn about your personal addiction by answering their questions and participating in their step by step program. I think it was 6 or 9 weeks. I liked it so much that I wanted to be a “Smoking Cessation Leader” myself. In order for me to be a leader I had to be smoke free for one year. That gave me purpose. I became a Smoking Cessation Leader for my squadron and then for the base. That was not such an easy task.
In addition to the class I used Arby’s ashtrays, tootsie roll pops, and Nicorette gum. Instead of a cigarette in an ashtray on my desk, I had a tootsie roll pop in an ashtray. I learned that besides a physiological addiction to nicotine, I also had a psychological addiction as well as a “hand to mouth” habit that I needed to address. Additionally, I during the period before the smoking cessation class I changed my cigarette to the weakest one on the market. I think it was “True”. They had a filter that gave you a lot of air with each drag.
People want to quit for many different reasons. Most people want to quit because somebody else wants them to quit. The percentage of success was 1 out of 5. But that one was very rewarding because that one was in it for them-self, not for somebody else.
So first off, I would ask you…..WHO wants you to quit smoking? If it is YOU then I would suggest that you call the American Heart Association to see if they hold the smoking cessation classes to learn about your personal relationship with cigarettes. I couldn’t find the American Lung Association in the phone book, so I am thinking that they may have consolidated with the American Heart Association. Secondly,You don’t just quit one day. You need tools to help you be successful. Nicorette gum is a tool and so is the electronic cigarette that appears to “smoke” or the tootsie roll pop. Some people need more than the nicotine that is in the gum. They require an antidepressant. I cut the gum into halves and then into quarters to wean myself off the nicotine. For me, I needed to get the smoke out of my lungs first and the nicotine out of my blood stream second. Your doctor can help you decide, and some insurance plans pay for the Nicorette gum. Antidepressants and the smoke free electronic cigarettes were not available to me 20 years ago. My son has the electronic cigarette. It appears like you are smoking, but there is no tobacco and no nicotine. I would probably have used that instead of the candy if it was available.
Also, BEFORE you begin your plight to a smoke free life put an exercise plan into action making it as routine and as important as brushing your teeth every day. The only regret I have is that I didn’t replace smoking with routine exercise. I am now obese and diabetic. My metabolism is as slow as it gets!!!! I used to be 104 pounds and couldn’t gain weight to save my sole. I’m now 235 pounds and can’t seem to make exercise a priority. HUGE mistake!!!
Sorry so lengthy! Good luck to you LizzyAnn!!! I wish you a smoke free, fat free, and happy life !!!!