"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Sep 21, 2018

How I Quit My Two-plus Pack-a-Day Habit

It’s FREE, it’s EASY and it CAN’T HURT TO TRY. It’s all about breathing.

I began smoking cigarettes at age 20 for the dumbest of reasons:  spite.  Ex-Man 1, a smoker, had tried to quit but like many of us was not successful the first time. 

“I’ll show him,” I bragged while accepting a Salem by a co-worker. Cough, cough, wow!  Feels just like being high!  No wonder so many people smoke cigarettes.

Of course that ‘high’ didn’t last and next thing I knew I was hooked.  At my peak I smoked 3 packs of Kools each day; dirt cheap (relatively speaking) back then so price wasn’t a factor. Everyone was smoking and drinking, it seemed to my young eyes, and I wanted to fit in with the rest of the Grown-Ups.

Twenty-nine years later and living on Ruff Life, I couldn’t really afford smokes so I was often reduced to a pack; and went absolutely crazy waiting for my next ‘fix’.  Suddenly I began to wake up in the night, unable to catch my breath.  I’d climb up to the salon and stretch out on the couch, propped up by pillows just like the Elephant Man; trying to relax while struggling for air.


“This is nuts; no one is killing me but me.”  Tino, who rolled his own with strong, nasty-smelling tobacco, died at 47 from a massive heart attack.  I’ve always treated myself to a birthday gift (don’t you?), so I vowed my 50th would be to QUIT for (my own) good.  Yes, I was afraid I’d fail once again, for over the course of thirty years I’d tried all kinds of methods, including hypnosis. I refuse to do the math but I could have saved a fortune not just on tobacco but from tossing burnt clothing; not to mention ruining furniture and automobiles.  You don’t think of that at 20. 

Luckily I told my sister Hillary, a non-smoker, who happened to read the following suggestion and told me; which I can now share with you, adding that 13 years later I've never snuck so much as one drag. I knew I'd be a gonner.

It’s all about BREATHING.  The theory is that while your body is certainly craving the nicotine it’s also craving the oxygen. So, basically, whenever you have the urge to light up, START TAKING DEEP BREATHS; in and out like ladies in labor, and see if it helps. It might take awhile, but no matter.  It's not a race.  It’s easy enough to step away from people and do this in private; but I’ve found that whenever I've explained my behavior, everyone was supportive.

I can’t recall the scientific version and Sis had forgotten the suggestion, but since I’m not selling anything I see no harm in offering this very unscientific but economical proposal.  I won't say cure because it might not work for everyone but it certainly worked for me; and if this blog post helps even one person to quit, then it’s worth every word. If you don't smoke you probably know someone who does.  Please post a comment to share your own success story with others (it might take a day to appear). And, of course, GOOD LUCK!

P.S. I do happen to love second-hand smoke, which delights the smokers I encounter.  There’s nothing worse than an ex-smoker when it comes to scolding.

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