Quit smoking before 2018
Ask any smoker why they picked up the habit and be prepared for a barrage of reasons – stress, peer-pressure, curiosity, well, you get the point. If you think those reasons are as smoky as the habit itself, don’t get me started on the reasons I give when people ask me why I don’t just quit.
But my excuses were depleting – and so was my bank account. As a heavy smoker for the last 5 years, averaging about a pack a day, my finances were taking a severe hit. I also realised what a negative influence I’d be if I start a family in future.
So, given that a new year was beckoning, and with the “new year, new me” mantra ringing in my ears, I decided to embark on a quest to be smoke-free before 2018. Here is my 5-day journey:
1. Get into the right state of mind with tangible steps
Becoming smoke-free is difficult, no two ways about it.
Knowing that I give in to temptation easily, I took a few measures to minimise the chances of lighting up.
The first thing I did was to gather all my smoking products: cigarettes, cigars, lighters, ashtray and light up one final stick. Stop it, I can feel your judgement. I mean if I’m going to quit forever, let me at least spend one last moment with my darling Marlboro.
Once I was done with my last private rendezvous, I chucked all my smoking products down the rubbish chute, feeling a titanic sense of loss that that Rose must have felt as she watched Jack sink to the bottom of the ocean.
2. Hang out with your friends in other ways
Ever seen a group of smokers huffing and puffing at the ground floor of your office or at the void decks? Well, smoking is kind of a social lubricant and it can make the group feel exclusive.
Lighting up with my friends at the smoking corner always came with discussions about everything under the sun – whether it was the hot girl that we saw in the club or even sensitive topics such as break-ups and family problems.
It’s also a good way to break the ice with new people – or pick up attractive members of the opposite sex. Utter the words “Hi, may I borrow a lighter?” and voila, you’ve managed to start a conversation without looking like a total despo.
Given that smoking is such a social habit, quitting smoking means losing your friends right?
If your friends are truly your friends, they will understand your motivations. Besides the smoking corner, I decided to expand my horizons to chatting over dinner or lounging around together in the office play area.
From one addiction to another…video games.
3. Get some encouragement in the form of positive messages
If you’ve ever seen the Health Promotion Board’s I Quit 28-Day program, you’ll know that a positive message is sent to you every day to encourage your smoke-free quest.
So, I decided to bathe in the positive reinforcements of a self-help book: Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking. I know what you are thinking. A book? You gotta be kidding me right? The only thing the pages are good for is to roll up an ‘ang hoon’ and smoke.
But, reading Allen Carr’s book was akin to finding a kindred spirit as he shared his own experience of quitting smoking. It gave me strength to keep calm and Carr-y on.
4. Try exercising to reduce cravings
Given that I was trying to lead a healthier lifestyle by quitting cigarettes, I figured why not take it one step further by going for evening jogs.
Quitting smoking does not mean no more huffing and puffing
Besides keeping my mind preoccupied from wanting to smoke, I’ve read that sweating helps release the nicotine in your body.
After completing my run, I felt that my craving for a stick was not as strong as before. This may be a result of the endorphins released by the body when you exercise but it definitely helped curb the urge a little.
5. Use external aids to help with the process
I’ll ‘fess up – this is not my first attempt at quitting. I’ve tried to quit on at least two occasions in the past by gradually decreasing the number of cigarettes I smoke in a day.
Those attempts failed because I couldn’t tahan the withdrawal effects from smoking and I caved in eventually. Hey, if I don’t get my daily doses of cigs, the Incredible Hulk would pale in comparison to the angsty and foul mood that I’d be in.
This time, I decided I was going to need some external help – in the form of Nicorette’s Icy Mint Gum and the Invisi Transdermal Patch.
As both Nicorette’s chewing gum and nicotine patch are medical products, I made a trip to the pharmacist and informed them about the number of sticks I smoked in a day – a considerable 15 sticks. She recommended the Nicorette’s Icy Mint Gum with 2mg of nicotine.
For those of you who don’t know, the chewing gum releases the nicotine your body needs minus the other chemicals a cigarette has, like carbon monoxide, tar and other irritants. So, you won’t feel the cravings as badly, and with gradually lessened dosage, might get off ciggies entirely!
If your mouth feels weird at the sudden inactivity after foregoing cigarettes, then the gum is for you. It also gives you faster relief from cravings as the nicotine gets absorbed faster.
My fave, though, was Nicorette’s Invisi Transdermal Patch. The patch releases the nicotine slowly into your system over a 16-hour period. It’s also semi-transparent so it’s super discreet too, in case you want to keep your quitting journey under wraps.
The best part is: the patch helped to curb my cravings without compromising my ability to work!
I significantly decreased the number of cigarettes I smoked in a day from about 15 sticks to around 5 sticks by the end of the 5 days – that’s a very respectable 75%.
So no cigs by end of the year? No biggie.
And in case you always wanted to quit smoking but just needed that extra help, there’s no better time than now. Click here for $10 off any Nicorette product at any Guardian or Watsons outlets* and you’ll find your smoke-free journey getting a whole lot smoother!
*As Nicorette is a medical product, do remember to consult your pharmacist.
This post was brought to you by Nicorette.