SELF CARE FOR PARENTS

Giving Up Smoking

The fact that you are looking at this section of the website indicates that either you or someone you care about is a smoker. And if that's the case then you're already likely to know that giving up smoking can be really hard.

Stage 1: I refused to smoke inside my home thus making smoking a little more difficult for me, especially at night.

  • Stage 2:  Initially I halved my cigarette intake from twenty a day to ten. I stopped smoking over around five or six months and not straight away.

And I found that was manageable. I rarely had cravings, and by spacing my cigarettes over the day I tended to stack the latter part of the day, so I didn't fear I would run out and this worked well for me.

Over  a couple of months on occasion I might have only had eight cigarettes in a day. And rather than having two extra the next day I still only had ten maximum. Therefore over the period of a week I might have had sixty to sixty five cigarettes.

  • Stage 3: I went from having the possible ten cigarettes a day to only five. Again this was reasonably manageable and I don't recall feeling like I was struggling with giving up. This again continued over a couple of months.

​​Pitfalls

  • Well meaning friends (who were still themselves smokers) offered me one of theirs. They may even said things like "One won't hurt," and it may not have... once. But if I accepted them occasionally I hadn't successfully made the commitment to become a non-smoker so I always replied saying "I'm giving up and I'm doing really well." That way if they persisted they knew they were white-anting my attempts to become healthier. What I found they usually said was "I wish I could give up. I've tried a few times but..." And then they didn't offer me one again.

 

  • Drinking alcohol is a real hurdle for reformed smokers and I was no different to anyone else. Even after twenty years of not smoking the associated link between alcohol, a cigarette and relaxation and having a good time was strong. I can remember many years after giving up having a few drinks and feeling like a cigarette. But because I knew full well that it would probably have given me the head spins and made me feel sick I didn't succumb.

Advantages

 

In addition to the obvious health benefits I thought I might look at the financial benefits of me giving up smoking.

 

When I gave up smoking cigarettes the brand I smoked were around 7 cents a cigarette ($1.40 for a pack of 20) but now they're $1.44 each ($35.95 for a pack of 20.) So assuming we average out the difference between 7c each and $1.44 it works out at an average of 75.5c a cigarette (taken over the past forty five years. I gave up smoking in 1984.)

Multiplying out 75.5c x 20 cigarettes on average it would have cost me $15.10 a day. Then multiplying it by 7 days in a week that makes $105.70 a week I had available to use on other things or save. And because there are 52 weeks in a year it would have worked out on average around $5496. That's enough to go on a great holiday, buy a fantastic new wardrobe, pay towards a mortgage, or save.

 

So over a forty-year smoking period, for an average smoker like me (of 20 cigarettes a day,) it would have cost

$219, 856 had I continued smoking. I saved approximately $219,856 by giving up.

 

Following on with this, because of the cumulative effects of compound interest, had I invested these savings in superannuation at just a 4% average return over my working life, those weekly savings had the capacity to become the equivalent of a workers superannuation scheme totaling $522,257.

I'm really glad I gave up smoking.

If you're considering giving up smoking it'd be advisable to consult your doctor. They may have many suggestions: including nicotine patches & behaviour therapy designed to make the process easier. And while the following information worked well for me it may not work for you. I am purely sharing what I did, not recommending this is what you should do.

 

In my case I gave up smoking in an unconventional way, without any assistance, after being a smoker for around six to seven years. And while I wouldn't say it was always easy it was relatively painless. And the best thing was I gave it up permanently.

I know I did it differently to many others who give up smoking.

But it worked for me... So what did I do?

  • Stage 4: I reduced my cigarette intake to three a day which I usually had after meals. And again because I spaced them over the day, it was only a little difficult at times. I managed to have only three cigarettes and no more for the next month or so.

During this stage I tried not to hang around in areas where people smoked, which made 'not smoking' heaps easier.

 

  • Stage 5: I reduced my cigarette intake to one a day which I usually had after dinner and I really looked forward to it. This was probably the hardest stage for me to give up and I kept this habit for another month or so.

  • Stage 6: I took advantage of a situation when fate intervened. One night I had the beginnings of a flu. I was outside on the verandah in the freezing cold and I thought 'What am I doing? This is insane.' And at that moment I gave up.

I became a non-smoker and accepted the associated mind shift.

But even though I was a non-smoker there were still pitfalls that the unwary could fall into and I know because I fell into many of them.

  • At the beginning when I drank alcohol I'd sometimes still have a cigarette that was offered .

 

However what changed was my attitude towards smoking.

 

Instead of the next day going "Oh well, I had a ciggie last night so now I'm a smoker again," I thought, "I'm a non-smoker who had a lapse. No big deal."

 

And that was what made the biggest difference.

 

It was creating the necessary mind shift to becoming a non-smoker... And I never looked back.

DISCLAIMER: This is an approximation only of what I would have saved, and does not indicate what you will save if you give up smoking and invest your money.

 

Also if you're considering giving up smoking, I again remind you it would be advisable to consult with your doctor.

 

Some of the following links may also be useful to you as you take on a healthier lifestyle.

Establishing Healthy Habits
Menus & Linked Shopping Lists
Timesavers for Healthy Meals
Show More

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