Day 1 through Day 14 Quitting smoking in Buffalo N.Y. for 2020 (updates frequently)
We are not medical doctors trying to tell you how to quit. This is not medical advise. If you decide to quit smoking, this is a discussion that you can have with your own medical practitioner. Why are we blogging about quitting smoking then? Because it's hard and many of our patients, friends and family are considering this for the new year. So we're sharing the experience and also offering a family discount coupon for $99 off our in-office professional Zoom whitening treatment to anyone (our family or yours) who makes it 30 days not smoking and shares a non smoking tip in this blog before February 28, 2019.
We're also blogging because we are a dentist office and smoking DOES have a negative impact on the health and appearance of your teeth. So if we can encourage anyone to stop smoking, then all the better!
Quitting smoking pre-planning is so important.
Quitting smoking is not easy. If you pre-plan a few things, it will go easier. Ultimately it’s going to be a battle. It's a battle you CAN win.
A. Pick your quit date. It should be any one of the next 7 days. Choose a day of the week that allow days 2 and 3 to be easier for you. For example, if you have your last smoke Friday at 10:30 pm, you wake up Saturday morning with 8 or 9 hours of quitting under your belt and 2 days of mercy from whomever you live with to go through your struggles.
B. Ask for mercy from whomever you live with. Let them know that you’re going to be quitting and that you will have mood swings. You’d like to focus on quitting for the next few weeks and not worry about being a great spouse/friend/relative… just for a small window of time. Please and thank you.
C. Make a list of reasons that you personally want to quit. Do that before hand because you will promptly forget all of these reasons upon waking up day two. Refer to this list FREQUENTLY during the first week.
D. Download an app on your phone that times how long you’ve quit, how much money you’ve saved and reminds you in a pinch of why you’re quitting. I didn’t think the money savings would matter that much to me. Turns out it did. Don’t pre-judge, just download and be prepared.You’re brain is about to turn on you. It’s ok. It’s not for-ever. It takes 7-10 days to kick a cold, so your body is going to need that much time to kick a habit that you have dedicated many hours/years/dollars and thoughts to. It’s ok… you’ve got this!
E. Make a physical cigarette replacement. We call this one "Straw". We chopped 3 1/2 inches of a drinking straw and lightly packed it with cotton. The cotton made just enough resistance that you could pretend to smoke your straw and it really kinda feels like a cigarette. You can pretend to light your straw (we know this might look ridiculous to some, but the repetitive feeling was such a relief for the first week). It feels good to duplicate the actions of smoking and "straw" allowed that. You can hold it while you're driving, pretend smoke it on lunch breaks, "smoke" before bedtime. It can be a helpful feeling of comfort from back when you smoked.
Quitting smoking Day 1
The panic of your decision sets in. You tell yourself, "Smoking makes me feel better. I enjoy cigarettes. I'm healthy now and we can revisit quitting in a few months. Cigarettes make me feel good".
Not as true as you’d like to think. Cigarettes are not making you feel good. What each cigarette does is break the growing withdrawal that you are feeling from the last one that you smoked. That's why it feels "good". It's not a true good feeling.
The minute you put a smoke out, you are starting a withdrawal cycle. This withdrawal grows and grows until you come up with the perfect excuse for your next cigarette. These little subliminal excuses are:
I won’t be able to have one for an hour so I should have it now. Talking to that person was stressful so I need a cigarette. Blah blah blah…. they are all the same. Oh, it's been an hour since I last smoked, it's time. They are all little reasons that your brain uses to validate your next smoke.
So you light up the next smoke and stop the current phase of withdrawal and you “feel good”. BUT you have also just started the next cycle of withdrawal. As soon as you put that cigarette out, you start withdrawing again. Until the next smoke. Then you start again. Until the next smoke. And round and round the addiction track you go.
Quitting smoking cold turkey may not be as easy as using a NRT (nicotine replacement treatment) but in our opinion, why not go through the psychological and physical withdrawals together and get it over with. Quitting smoking is a battle. Coming out the other end addicted to an NRT would really and truly stink. We choose doing both at once.
Quitting smoking day 2
Refer often to your list. This day is harder than day one. So now you're getting serious. The thought for today is not that you are quitting cigarettes, or giving up smoking, or that you can't have a smoke.
You are CHOOSING to not smoke. You are adding being a non-smoker to your life. You really could smoke, and you already have chosen not to for the last 24 hours.
Approaching this from a point of strength, choice and adding is often easier than looking at it from loss and can't.
Nicotine is starting to really filter out of your body. The cravings after today are going to be very much psychological rather than physical. So let's play some psychological games with these bizarre cravings. You are not being denied anything. You are choosing a healthier path.
Quitting smoking Day 3 - day 3 is rough. It's getting old and you would just like a vacation from quitting. It would be really nice to just have one cigarette. Just one. How can that be so bad?
The problems are:
1. If you're really intending to quit, then what is the point of having one. Will we have one every time it gets hard? Because that just becomes smoking.
2. You are adding nicotine back into your system. This takes you back to square one and the withdrawal phase starts all over.
Having “just one” is a trick from your brain to you trying to get you to just take in some nicotine. "Just smoke,... it's easier!" (trickery!)
But we have committed and we are choosing to not smoke. So let's choose to not have the just one, either. Day three is when you should also be noticing that you have lost IQ points, are dizzy and very air-headed. This lasts about 3 days. It DOES go away. You do get your IQ points back. But it's a sneaky day for your brain to easily trick you because you are already foggy.
Use your straw to get some physical comfort.
Choosing not to smoke day 4 - A helpful technique that we discovered is treating cravings to smoke as though they are like spoiled children. You can hear them, they are screaming into your ear. They are a distraction and they are embarrassing. How-ever.... if you give in to these loud spoiled rotten cravings, they do not go away, they just get worse next time. so stand strong and be the good parent who doesn't give in to tantrums and who knows that being strong prevents rewarding bad behavior.
You won't die from not smoking. You won't explode. It's just a weird trick that the cravings are using to control you. We are choosing to take control back. We are choosing to be non-smokers. Cravings are a weird and mental/emotional thing that is only in your head. We really don't know why they actually exist, but they can not hurt us unless we bend to their imaginary will.
Choosing not to smoke day 5 - OK, quitting is exhausting. It would be nice to just have a break. Just a day off from quitting…. we don’t want to NOT quit, we just need a vaca from quitting. But you can’t.
Good news is that many people are starting to sleep better around day 5-7. one the first few days it’s almost 100% of the time spent thinking about quitting. today is probably down to 90%. You should still very much have your straw with you. Did you used to have to go outside to smoke? Still go outside, but take your straw. It is really comforting to feel the actions that you used to take.
Choosing not to smoke day 6. Are you coughing stuff up yet? It’s kinda freaky but also really nice because your body is healing! Yay! There’s a point to all of this suffering. Your lungs can and will heal. Your heart will improve. Your smell and taste will improve. You will very much look younger because there will be improved circulation to your skin, hair and nails. remember, we are not quitting or losing. we are choosing health. choosing to feel better. Choosing to not smoke.
It's never too late to quit smoking. Every day that you quit makes a difference and your body will start to heal itself.
Don’t worry about gaining weight just yet. One thing at a time. Not smoking is a big one. We are proud of you.
Choosing not to smoke - Day 7. Today is your last first (week)-day of not smoking. You are making it through every day of the week today. You have not smoked on a Tuesday, a Thursday, a Saturday. We are so proud of you! You have a whole year of firsts coming and that should start to be exciting instead of scary. What will your first Easter look like? You’re first 4th? How cool that you can go anywhere and not be trapped (like the airport where you used to have to worry that you couldn’t smoke for 7 hours) and you can go to a concert without worrying about how soon till you can smoke. Hopefully you slept a bit better last night. You might still be constipated. You might have a few more light headaches. You haven’t locked this whole quitting thing down just yet BUT you have turned a major corner. Today is a good day to start thinking about eating a little bit smarter than you may have been for the past 6 days. We wanted to just focus on getting through this, and you have… but let’s not wake up in 30 more days and need to buy bigger clothes. We’ll save ourselves from that problem starting now.
Have you thanked the people around you for being so accommodating during your quit? Has anyone been amazing? Has anyone been a useless pain in the butt but you figured out how to do it yourself anyway?
Do you know how strong you are?
Day 8 as a Non Smoker.
Today you can go for it and call yourself a non-smoker. If you had smoked for the past week you would be a smoker, so not smoking this long should and DOES make you a non-smoker. Ok true, you're a non-smoker who is still on the edge of being a smoker at any moment.... but you are getting stronger each day. The urges are starting to come less frequently and whether they are less strong, maybe/maybe not... but you do know that you are stronger and more able to ride out each craving wave. It's temporary. It passes. You don't die because of them. You don't need to eat to make it through them. Rock your non-smoker crown. Protect your right to wear it : )
Take some extra walks this week to negate any extra calories that you may have consumed. It's very much time to start paying attention to your weight now. Let's not come out the other end of this quit with another problem.
We are not through the battle yet, but your chances of successfully quitting now that you've made it to this point are much higher than those people in days 1-4.
You should still have straw with you. You will still be having mood swings and cravings. They should just be less than they were 4 days ago.
What has been your best tip for making it this far? What was the worst part and what was the best? Share your tip in the comment section below and you can get a teeth whitening coupon. Check back often to see what tips and tricks are helping others who feel JUST LIKE YOU DO about choosing to not smoke.
Day 9 as a Non Smoker.
At this point most of us are feeling confident enough to actually start telling more people that we are in this process. We had opted to not discuss with more people than we had to (like the people we asked for mercy in advance if we were moody) because we didn't want to talk about it all day, and we didn't want to see/hear the disappointment if we failed. Interesting side effects that people are reporting at this point is a bit of acid reflux (like we just ate a lot of spaghetti sauce) and a few mild headaches.
The urges to smoke are definitely getting further and further apart BUT they are just as strong when they happen. This is hard because they kinda catch us off guard and then they are so strong we keep going back to the "what's wrong with just one" mentality. There's a LOT wrong with just one. That just one starts your whole addiction cycle back up. We do not want to relive that past two weeks. Stay strong!
Day 10 as a Non Smoker and Snack Aficionado.
It's very weird. We are glad to have quit smoking at this point, even though we get occasional and still very strong urges to smoke. The hard part at this time is the lethargy and the loss of IQ points. It's so weird, some of us can fall asleep whilst talking to people. Seeing as cigarettes are commonly perceived to calm us down, it now seems as though nicotine really was a little fake and insidious energy booster. Speaking 5 continuous sentences is taxing. One can actually get confused mid sentence. Mild headaches continue.
We are inspired that even though we still get the tricky occasional urges, we are 100% happy to have quit. Everyone online speaks to this cathartic lung cleansing where disgusting things are expelled and quitting is even more validated. Should you be nervous if this hasn't happened to you?
Today a kind and thoughtful coworker brought in cinnamon covered almonds as a snack alternative to deep dish pizza and hot fudge sundaes. Let's see how this goes.
Remember to be strong. Not even one! You OWN this~
Day 11 as a determined Non Smoker
One thing that has both helped and hurt during this process is Googling stories of other quitters for support. (Ironic because we are putting our story here to help others in their quit). Almost all of the time it helps UNTIL you stumble on the articles from people in their 7th week that are complaining a LOT about symptoms from which they still suffer. At the 7 week mark. That's a long time. When you're on day 11, it can be almost debilitating to think there's this much suffering in front of us. Our words of wisdom for handling this - imagine we were experiencing and sharing stories about "week 7 dealing with lung cancer". That would REALLY suck. I wonder how much of our old shriveling addicted brain is making extra noise about these "7 week" articles and trying to convince us to just give up. The side effects of quitting intentionally sucking smoke and toxins into our lungs is not even close to the suffering of truly sick people. Let's keep it in perspective. Let's choose to not have even one smoke today. Let's realize how far we have come! If you are on day 11 and you smoked a pack a day.... you have opted to ignore and not have over 200 cigarettes! That's amazing! If it was easy, no one would smoke.
Look back to day two of your quit. You have come so far. And it IS easier today to ignore the cravings than it was on day two. Battling the cravings isn't necessarily easier, but at least you know you won't die because of the craving? (That's how day 2 felt).
Have any hints to share? We'd love to hear them in the comments.
Day 12 as a Non Smoker turning a corner
Today truly feels like a corner has been turned. We truly can not imagine lighting a cigarette. We WANT to, we get cravings, we wrestle with our mind and emotions about it... but for most of this day, it's hard to imagine actually lighting one up. Think back to you 13 days ago. There is no way you were healthier than you are today. Even if you are tired or cranky or up 5 pounds, your heart and lungs are better (much better) than they were 13 days ago.
Our advice for today is to push yourself into uncomfortable situations. Let's not run from challenges. Have you stopped for milk at a gas station yet? Was this put off because it's too hard to think of entering a gas station without buying smokes? Well gear yourself up today and get through that moment. Each time makes you stronger and more used to doing it as a non-smoker. Look for a challenge today and face it. You are powerful. You have done what so many people couldn't.
True you may have bloating, headaches, you may be tired. You may still be moody. It's ok. All of this beats dying from smoking related illness. All of these are still temporary (even at day 12).
Not even one!
We would so love to hear what you're going through....
Day 13 as a Non Smoker Not Alone
Here is our favorite quote of the day from another strong person at day 13 of quitting.
"I'm tired of making sure I have cigs before I head home. Tired of making sure I have cigs anywhere and everywhere I go. Im tired of trying to figure out where to smoke at work, at a concert, at a restaurant, at the ballpark, etc.. I'm also tired of spending between $6,500.-$7,000 a year to support this habbit. Im tired of the way smoking makes me feel, makes me smell, makes me stand out as "the smoker". I'm just totally tired so I'm done with smoking. I WILL CONTROL MY SELF, I WILL NOT LET CIGARETTES CONTROL ME. "When in doubt I constitute a majority of one!" Frank M - Smokerwhoquit
Day 14 quitting smoking as a non smoker -
Our thought for today. Remember how when you would have a stressful situation, you would smoke? And we all thought that smoking made it better? Well what if the act of smoking didn't make you feel better... but it was the heavy drags of the cigarette? Because when you're stressed, you're supposed to breath deeply. And usually...when did you ever breath deeply unless you were smoking? (we did say usually) So our hypothesis for your daily cleaner brain is... when you're stressed now, use your straw (see quit prepping above. Straw has been literally a life saver) and inhale deeply for 5 minutes as though smoking. This may take the same edge off of stress as smoking did.
It's 2 weeks. Don't you feel cleaner? You smell better, your blood is thinner and runs easily through your veins because it's not clogged with chemicals. Your skin should be a bit glowy too. Which is either sweat from the hot flashes OR its dewey and younger looking skin coming out! Yay! Even if you've always been told you look younger than you are, you looked older than you needed to because smoking does that. Smoking makes NO ONE look younger. Don't fool your self.
This is an exciting time! Congratulations 2 week-er stronger person!