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.
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.
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.
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