It’s starting to get ugly. I woke up at 4 am with a severe headache and a very strong desire to smoke. Even went around looking for paan shops but thankfully none of them were open. I don’t know if this will last. I can go a day or two without smoking but the very thought of never smoking again is scary. What made smoking so necessary? What is the big deal anyway? If I was locked away from the world with no access to cigarettes, I’d simply stop wouldn’t I?
Yesterday I was talking to a friend who quit and he said he didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms. Maybe there are no withdrawal symptoms and most of the things you feel is placebo caused by information overload.
Quitter Tip: Don’t read about withdrawal symptoms. They seem to aggravate the problem and give you new things to worry about.
I have decided to quit smoking. Just like that. Cold turkey. I have smoked for 6 years, a pack a day and doubt if I’ve gone a day without smoking since I lit the first one. I don’t really know what brought about the desire to quit. May be I finally decided to believe in the overwhelming medical evidence about the harmful effects of smoking, to set an example for my chain-smoking Dad (who recently suffered a mild heart attack and was asked to stop) or the fact THAT I am the SUB-EDITOR OF THIS SITE.
It’s not really important why I decided to quit. Just that I did. I am used to drastic upheavals and lifestyle changes. In the last one year I lost about 40 kilos which constituted abstaining from every palatable food item on the planet. So quitting smoking should be a cakewalk compared to losing weight right? There’s only one way to find out…
It’s been 24 hours since I had my last smoke and I’ve not really felt any of the well-documented withdrawal symptoms (nausea, headache, etc.). Occasional hunger pangs and a low level of irritability are the worse I’ve had to deal with. Getting up in the morning was the most difficult bit as all experienced smokers know that one’s bowel movements are intricately tied to the first smoke. Caffeine helps but the problem is aggravated by the fact that caffeine seems to call out for nicotine. Anyway I’ve managed to not fall off the wagon yet but I’ve a feeling it’s going to get a lot tougher as time goes by.
Quitting Tip 1: The first and the most obvious step is don’t buy cigarettes. It’s not really an existential conundrum. If there are no cigarettes you can’t smoke.
Things are getting a little worse now. I can experience mild stomach discomfort. If I had smokes on me I am pretty sure I’d have lit up one of the bad boys. Had an ice-cream which kept away the pangs for a while. Maybe sugar can be an able sub for nicotine but that’d just be like swapping cancer for diabetes.
Well like I predicted before it really is getting tougher. There’s a nagging headache that won’t go away even after one hour of kickass cardio. I haven’t gone this long without smoking for years, barring a week I spent at the hospital with a broken leg. Guess the WHO and every other medical institution on the planet were right when they compared nicotine to higher, more addictive drugs.
Quitting Tip 2: Do something to distract yourself. The only time I wasn’t thinking about smoking was while I was at the gym. Be prepared for major hunger pangs. According to researchers, this is because nicotine acts as a stimulant by releasing stored calories in your bloodstream giving you the feeling of being ‘full’ and when you remove the aforementioned stimulant there is a drop in blood sugar levels. There’s also the psychological angle. There is more to smoking than merely nicotine addiction. Smokers constantly use their mouth and arms and feel the need to keep them occupied even after they quit. Load up on healthy food items like nuts and dry fruits. Not only will they keep your hands and mouth busy; they are also excellent food items to keep one’s cholesterol levels in check and stave off lifestyle diseases like diabetes.First Published: Jun 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM