Quitting? I’m not interested
If you’ve clicked here, you must have good reasons to smoke but none to make you quit. You probably have plenty of reasons to justify your behaviour. Visit the interactive version of this site and do the Step 1 tests. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.
Quitting? I’d like to, but...
You’d like to quit smoking? Great! But you’re hesitant (especially if you’ve tried in the past)...You probably think there are as many benefits to smoking as there are to quitting. And you might have doubts about your ability to succeed.
Believe us, we understand!
But the more you dither, the harder it will be and the longer it will take to free yourself of cigarettes.
Every puff consolidates the chain that binds you to this thing that’s controlling you: cigarettes. And you’ve been smoking for so long already ...
If you haven’t already done so, explore the Smoking and Nicotine section.
If you want to move beyond good intentions and actually succeed, we encourage you to start preparing now by visiting the interactive section of this site.
Quitting: Get ready...
So you want to quit smoking soon, perhaps in the next month.
This preparatory step, leading up to the act of quitting, is vital. It’s here that you’ll learn :
- About yourself as a smoker;
- To find and identify methods that will help you quit;
- To apply those methods.
Your chances of success will be much higher if you prepare properly. Tobacco addiction is one of the most difficult forms of dependency to overcome (if you have any doubts about this, explore the sections entitled Smoking and Nicotine and Don’t Panic!).
Would you like to reduce the impact of your addiction?
An effective way of doing this is to listen to your inner voices :
Where’s your pack of cigarettes? Is it nearby?
- Yes, it’s on my desk, in my pocket...
You say you want to quit?
- Yes, I’m sick of smoking.
Good! Your mind is telling you that you’d like health, freedom and money?
- Yes, I want all those things.
But your body is saying :
-I want what I’m used to - nicotine! You let me have some yesterday!
Hey... What’s happening?
When your eyes see a cigarette, lighter or ashtray, they trigger different types of “reflex” actions – in other words, actions that aren’t subject to the usual control exercised by your brain. Your hand may well grab the object before you’ve had time to decide! It’s as if you inadvertently place your hand too close to a source of intense heat; your reflexes will snatch it away before you’ve had time to make a conscious decision. In the case of cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays, reflexes such as these can tear you apart, especially if you still have doubts or fears about quitting!
What can you do?
You need to act in a way that’s coherent with your desire to be free of cigarettes. The body often needs to be taught to understand and accept what the mind wants, and action is the best way of achieving this. This is why tips and methods are so important during the transitional period
If you do this, the messages sent by your inner voices will be THE SAME, thereby improving your chances of success.
How would you feel about ...
- Hiding your cigarettes, lighter and ashtrays – starting right now – so that they’re out of sight?
- Writing down and displaying your reasons for LIVING A TOBACCO-FREE LIFE and the gains you will make as a result?
- Getting used to practising the methods suggested above – starting right now – so that you will develop healthier reflexes?
Are you perhaps afraid of becoming addicted to something else? Don’t worry! So far nobody has ever become addicted to a straw, an anti-stress ball or a stick of celery! On the other hand, you’re likely to become so “addicted” to your freedom that you’ll never want to become dependent on something ever again!
We suggest you start right now by visiting the interactive section of the site.
Quitting: I’ve just done it!
Well done! You must be really proud of yourself! If you’re here, it’s because you recently quit smoking.
That’s great. However, the trick now is not to start smoking again when things become difficult. That’s what we’ll be working on in this step.
Imagine that you’re leaving on a trip and are preparing to arrive at your destination: A TOBACCO-FREE LIFE.
It’s normal to feel a sudden craving to smoke, because nicotine addiction is one of the addictions that are hardest to beat. But remember that cravings are short-lived; all you have to do is to avoid panicking when they occur.
If you experience an obsessive need to smoke, here are five things to do that will help most smokers :
- Take three to five deep breaths, like this :
- breathe in through your nose and fill your stomach with air (4 secs.)
- hold your breath (4 secs.)
- breathe out by expelling the air from your stomach and pulling your shoulders downwards (8 secs.)
- Wash your hands in cold water, rubbing your wrists together above the sink, and breathe slowly to release the tension.
- Distract yourself by doing something you enjoy (music, painting, DIY, crossword, sport, dance, etc.)
- Drink water from a bottle or chew a straw, coffee stick or gum…
- Go to a place where smoking is prohibited, go for a walk, or call a friend or the IQUITNOW help line (1 866 527 7383), or visit the forum or chatroom in the interactive section of the site.
Has it gone? Good – but it might come back. Nicotine is throwing a jealous fit because you want to finish with it! Joking apart, a nicotine addiction is like a weed: if you feed it, it will grow, flourish and spread. But as soon as you stop feeding it and take steps to remove it from your garden, it shrivels and dies. It’s the same with a nicotine addiction. If you stop taking the drug and remain determined, it will go away. Of course, just like a weed, it will try and resist, but it’s up to you to make it understand what you really want!
Once you’ve got rid of your nicotine addiction, you may still occasionally find yourself in situations where you automatically feel a need to smoke. If you use five of your favourite tips and don’t let the idea of smoking take hold in your mind, you’ll be able to face the challenge and win.
It’s a matter of persevering. Consult the interactive section of the site for more tips and support from people like yourself, who have recently quit smoking.
Quitting Smoking: It’s been six months, and I’m very proud of myself!
Wow, congratulations! What a great achievement! If you’re here, it’s because you quit smoking some time ago. If you want to remain a non-smoker and be happy about it, the following points may be helpful...
- Don’t make the mistake of believing you can allow yourself even one puff of a cigarette … A lot of people fall into this trap. The hold that tobacco used to have over you will instantly reappear and you’ll tumble straight back into the vicious circle of addiction. All your efforts over the last few months would be reduced to ashes, and you’d have to do it all over again if you wanted to quit. (If you have any doubts about the power of tobacco addiction, visit theSmoking and Nicotine and Don’t Panic! sections of the site).
- If, in spite of it all, you take a puff or even smoke a whole cigarette, tell yourself that to err is human. It’s rather like making a mistake on the computer; you wouldn’t stop using the computer, you’d simply try to understand what went wrong and tell yourself that next time you’ll be better able to avoid whatever it was that caused the mistake.
- Some of the riskiest situations for former smokers are parties, meetings with friends and cocktails. You need to be aware that smoking is a crutch you no longer need in order to be comfortable or enjoy yourself. Initially, it was the intense advertising campaigns by the tobacco companies that first created the link between going out with friends and the fact of smoking.
- Another typically high-risk situation is when something difficult or dramatic happens in your life. You may find – and it would be perfectly normal (see Don’t Panic and Smoking and Nicotine) – that you’re overcome by a sudden urge to smoke. You need to be aware of this and keep telling yourself that there’s no point trying to deal with one problem by creating another. There are other, much more effective, solutions.
- Even after six months of freedom from cigarettes, you should expect to experience sudden urges to smoke. You might even find yourself with a cigarette in your hand, without ever consciously deciding to pick it up. This is an automatic reaction that occurs because you’re conditioned to smoke. You need to know about this, and be careful.
The following statistic might encourage you to persevere :
- If you manage to avoid smoking for the first six months, your risk of starting again is cut in half. After a year, the risk is very, very low.
So be careful. The tobacco companies are becoming increasingly underhanded with their strategies, and are doing everything they can to make sure people remain addicted to nicotine. Fortunately for those of us who live in Québec, both levels of government have protected the general public by introducing increasingly restrictive legislation and regulations to limit the promotion of tobacco products.
We invite you to give others the benefit of your experience on our CHAT site or on the FORUM. Donít be shy if you have questions or comments.