Each person must find the reason that convinces him or her to quit. For some, that reason is financial, for others it's medical, but each successful former smoker knows his or her own personal inspiration. Here they share the reasons that helped them to break the habit.
"Since I'm a college student and broke all the time, I had to make a choice..."
"Since I'm a college student and broke all the time, I had to make a choice between being able to pay rant or smoke cigarettes. I wasn't a very heavy smoker so it wasn't very hard for me to quit. This approach might work with other light smokers who are short on money, especially when they keep raising the price of the packs of cigarettes." — Gina M.
"I had strong motivation. I wanted to live."
I had strong motivation. I wanted to live. Twelve years ago today, after visiting the cardiologist I walked out of his building, dropped the cigarettes and lighter from my pocket into the trash container. When the good doctor said 'If you want to live, you will give up my smoking.' My reply was 'How can I after all these years?' He then said, 'I'll scare you into it.'" — Ed L.
"I asked the doctor if I should quit. He said that it wouldn't be a bad idea without any further lecture..."
"One day I went to a throat specialist due to a case of laryngitis. He informed me that I had pre-cancerous plaque on my vocal cords. He also said that there was no immediate danger of cancer. I asked him if he thought it would be a good idea if I were to quit smoking. His answer was really the key to my successful termination of the habit — he did not say I must, only that it wouldn't be a bad idea without any further lecture... Intentionally or not, this doctor struck just the right cord. I took my pack out of my pocket and put it in the glove compartment of my car, along with my backup supply, and have not touched a cigarette since that moment." — Duane C.
"My husband claims paying the man $400 was the real trick..." "My husband went to a hypnotist, a psychologist who specialized in behavior modification. It worked, although he claims that paying the man $400 was the real trick. He didn't want to let that money go to waste." — Jean T.
"The day before I quit smoking I read an article in Reader's Digest about a man who finally quit smoking ... he died."
"The day before I quit smoking I read an article in Reader's Digest about a man who finally quit smoking ... he died. Right up to the end, his cigarettes meant more to him than life itself. I finished the story, picked up my pack of cigarettes, which was nearly full, took them to the sink and ran water over them and threw them in the garbage." — C.
"Erectile dysfunction, the doctor said, was a major medical condition resulting from addiction to tobacco smoking."
"Then one evening the TV program '60 Minutes' offered a segment about the consequences of tobacco smoking. The 40-year crusade was over. Erectile dysfunction, the doctor said, was a major medical condition resulting from addiction to tobacco smoking. The thought of losing my sexual pleasures was enough. I marched with deliberation and purpose to the kitchen and tossed the lighter and pack of cigs into the trash. This time for good!"— T.
Find Your Reason to Quit Smoking (<i>cont'd</i>)
"He said, 'You're still smoking with athletes in your house?'"
"Instead of the doctor telling me how bad it was for my health, he told me how bad it was for the health of my sons who were around me all the time. I told him at the time that one was pitching for a high school baseball team and the other was running cross-country track for college. He said, 'You're still smoking with athletes in your house?' ... I quit cold turkey and have been smokeless for over eleven years." — Rich L.
"When my wife accepted my proposal I asked her what she wanted as a gift..."
"I smoked Lucky Strike for 39 years. When my wife accepted my proposal of marriage, I asked her what she wanted as a gift. She said, 'quit smoking.' (I was hoping she wanted a car or house.) ... Six-and-a-half years later I am still smoke-free." — Ralph
"I was tired of feeling poorly every day. I had no energy and I needed to rest a lot."
"I quit because I was tired of feeling poorly every day. I had no energy, and I needed to rest a lot. I was a couch potato. In the past I tried many times using a variety of methods to quit such as cold turkey, the patch, and Zyban. I failed every time. What I attribute to my success so far this time is how good I'm feeling. Initially when I quit, I gained a few pounds, but now I'm losing weight because I'm much more active than before. I have a lot more energy and this time I really feel like I can do it for the long term. To quit initially, I stopped smoking and used Nicoret gum for 2 weeks and then stopped the gum as well. But the bottom line is that you really have to WANT to quit. I really enjoyed smoking, but now that I quit, everything about my life has improved. Here's a short list:
- Food tastes better
- I have more energy
- I'm loosing weight
- I'm getting in shape
- I don't smell bad
- My house and car doesn't smell bad
- I'm saving $1440 annually
- I have better concentration and can think more clearly
- I have a more positive outlook on life
— Andy C.
"...one of us would place a picture of us in the cellophane where she could see it."
"My mom was a smoker for 25 years. My sister and I worked hard at getting her to stop. Every time she bought a pack of cigarettes, one of us would place a picture of us in the cellophane where she could see it. Every time she picked up the cigarettes she was given a reminder of two real good reasons to stop." — Nicolle D.
"I ran out of good reasons to continue."
"Like many other people, I had made several 'attempts' to quit. I tried most of the gimmicks, gums, just about everything but 'the patch.' What finally happened was that I weighed the reasons that I smoked against the reasons that I shouldn't. I ran out of reasons to continue. I hated the way things (mostly myself) smelled and I watched other people smoking. I saw just how bad it looked." — V.N.
Find Your Reason to Quit Smoking (<i>cont'd</i>)
"...It turned out that I learned something about me and my smoking habit every time I tried to quit."
I tried to quit so many times and thought I was never going to be able to do it. But it turned out that I learned something about me and my smoking habit every time I tried to quit. I had to concentrate on not giving up something I enjoyed. I had to concentrate on the benefits of being a non-smoker. I talked to other people who had quit and tried to come up with benefits of not smoking. I listed benefits of smoking and not smoking. You can guess how that list turned out — very few benefits of smoking...
I really wanted to be a non-smoker. Looking back I know that the key for me was to keep trying — over and over and over again. I would get discouraged and tell myself that I was never going to try again. I can't put my finger on any one thing when I did make it, except that every time previously I had learned something. — Iris H.
"I quit because I didn't like the fact that cigarettes had control over me."
"I quit because I didn't like the fact that cigarettes had control over me. They dictated when I got up, when I took a break, when I ate, where I could go, everything. I do think the mind-set came on gradually though. I started to not like the way my car smelled, or my house, or myself. If I had an interview or appointment, I would wait until after the appointment to have a cigarette. One day I quit 'cold turkey.' I just crushed out my cigarette, and said to myself 'no more!'
I did carry a pack around with me for the first two weeks. I was, after all, a two pack a day smoker. I needed my "security blanket". I would take walks on my breaks instead of having a smoke. I would drink coffee or water to use my hands and mouth. I started to walk every morning. I also let everyone know what I was doing. I had a lot of support. It has been seven years, and I have not had a cigarette since. I feel GREAT!" — Marianne L.
"'Kissing a smoker is like licking a dirty ashtray,' he said."
"'Me quit smoking?' I asked the doctor. 'Why should I?' I asked. This was when I was getting ready to go home from the hospital after my third lung collapse. After giving me all the reasons why I should quit including showing me a gallon jug of the smelly brown goop he'd pumped out of my lungs, I still wasn't convinced. Just then my new hubby George walked in and said, "But Honey, you're so much nicer to kiss!" "Kissing a smoker is like licking a dirty ash tray!," he said. 'Are you saying I taste like a dirty ash tray?' I asked. He squirmed a bit and said, 'Well, yes you do, Honey.' 'Okay,' I said, 'I quit!' And I did. That was after trying everything including hypnosis, auto-suggestion, cutting down, fining myself etc. And I was a five-pack-a-day smoker! That was 40 years ago and I haven't smoked since!" — Dorcas Z.
"...They were getting rich on something that was killing me."
"I am a stubborn person, and once when I bought a pack of cigs that were mashed and broken in the pack I returned it to the company. They sent me a letter that to me was sort of sarcastic. 'Yours in many years of smoking,' [it said,] and I realized that they had me over a barrel. I was hooked by a dirty habit. They were getting rich on something that was killing me. — Carol F.
"Even if it's your life, others will have to care for you round the clock, and worse yet, watch you suffer in the end."
"And the final thing that kept me off cigarettes forever? I took care of my ex-mother-in-law when she was dying from lung cancer. She had retired only 18 months before her diagnosis and never got to spend her comfortable retirement on fun things. Her diagnosis came from the discovery of tumors in her brain, metastasized from lung cancer. She was reduced to being paranoid, barely verbal, unable to walk... Even if it's your life, others will have to care for you round the clock, and worse yet, watch you suffer in the end."