How I quit smoking

David Johnston

David shares with us how he quit smoking

‘Why don’t you just give up? Don’t you know how bad it is for you?’ If you’re a smoker, you’re probably used to hearing words like these from friends and family members who want you to quit.

They obviously mean well, but they may not appreciate how difficult it can be to break a fully ingrained smoking habit.

It can be done though – I’m testament to that. Here I’ll tell you what worked for me personally.

Back in 2012, I had two major changes in my life. I bought my first home and got married, both quite the drain on your finances. I’ll be honest and say my main focus for giving up smoking was financial. I’d tried on a number occasions to quit using the patches, gums and sprays. I know they help some people, and they may do for you, but they didn’t work for me.

It all changed when in the spring of 2012 I joined a stop smoking course. Set up as a group session, in the course you discuss your smoking habit in an open and honest way. You cover everything from why you smoke, what drives you, and what keeps you coming back, to the science of addiction and habit.

For me the course was a revelation. It truly underlined to me how pointless smoking was and how much of a better life I’d have without it: richer, healthier.

I’ve recently passed my seventh year as a non-smoker and although I think about it from time to time, I certainly don’t miss it.

How I did it

  • I went cold turkey. Personally, I needed it to be full and final.
  • I left a packet of cigarettes in a drawer at home. I didn’t want to feel like I was restricting myself; it was a choice not a punishment.
  • The hardest cigarette to give up was my first in the morning with a coffee, so instead I went for a run. (To the end of the street and back at first, but it made me not want that cigarette.)
  • I substituted my cravings with a big drink of water and some mints. A craving lasts a few seconds, and it’s hard not to give in, so having something healthy to take the edge off makes a difference.
  • I kept track of how much money I was saving by not smoking.

Keeping track of how much you’re saving

Below is how my own finance tracker looked, back in 2012. Even with the lower price of cigarettes at that time, you can really see what a difference it makes financially over time.

  • My daily spend on cigarettes in 2012: £5.15
  • Amount saved in week one: £36.05
  • Amount saved in week two: £72.10
  • Week three: £108.15
  • Week four: £144.20
  • Three months: £432.60
  • Six months: £865.20
  • One year: £1,730.40

My advice in four key points

1. Be determined.
2. Celebrate your success.
3. Talk about it.
4. Be healthy.

More information about giving up smoking

I hope you’ve found my tips useful. But remember that what works for everyone can be different. Bupa has more information about giving up smoking and staying on track with your quest to give up.

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