The Ultimate Guide to Quitting Smoking, Permanently.

This is an article from Team NF member Staci Ardison

Two thousand, two hundred and fifteen days.

That’s 316 weeks. 72 months. More than 6 years.

What’s the significance of these numbers?

This is how long, as of the time of my writing this, that it has been since I have smoked a cigarette.

We spend a lot of time talking about diet and exercise here on Nerd Fitness, but if you’re a smoker, quitting smoking is the best thing that you can do to level up your fitness.

Walking out of the gym and lighting up a cigarette (which I did more times than I’d like to admit) is definitely the opposite of the “post workout” recovery we are going for!

Now, I know what you’re saying: “Oh, please, not another boring article telling me the same things about how smoking is bad for me and that I should stop.”

I’m not going to do that to you.

It’s not a secret that smoking is bad for you. The box is littered with warnings and it’s not a disputed fact that smoking causes a magnitude of health problems, including 90% of all lung cancer. It’s also not a disputed fact that it’s expensive and that it makes everything around you reek.

I could write an article all about all of the negatives of smoking, and it would only cover the very tip of the iceberg. And I wouldn’t be teaching you anything new.

So if there are so many negatives about smoking, we are all very well informed about them, and we all know that we should quit, why don’t we?

Why did I chain smoke for years, even though I knew better?

That’s what I’m going to talk about today.

The majority of smokers don’t actually WANT to be smokers, have tried to quit, and have failed multiple times. It’s not easy, and what a lot of people don’t realize is that being a smoker isn’t as much of a choice as we think.

Today, we’ve got a big time post for you: The Ultimate Guide to Quitting Smoking.

We’re going to go into why you’re struggling with quitting, and how to put steps in place to help you stop for good. Like everything at Nerd Fitness, this isn’t a prescription, but rather “this is what has worked for me, for many members of our community, and we’re here to help you if you want to try.”

Note: This is not medical advice, but you knew that, right? These below are suggestions on how to quit smoking from someone who has gone through it and wants to help. If you are quitting smoking and have any medical concerns, or experience extreme depression, please contact your doctor ASAP.

My Story

I have a lot of experience in quitting smoking. In the twelve years I smoked (on average about a pack a day), I tried hundreds of different ways to quit, and was never successful for more than a few weeks at a time until I finally found the proper mixture of the solutions.

It’s now been over six years since my last cigarette, and I have no doubts that I’ll never have one again. And it’s not that I don’t struggle, think about them, or want them. In fact, while I was working on this article, my brain was thinking so much about cigarettes that I started having intense cravings and dreams urging me to start smoking again.

My brain still tries to look back at my time smoking fondly, and the psychological impact has still yet to completely go away, and I’m not sure that it ever will.

Like many others, I started smoking as a teenager (sorry, Mom!). I’d like to say that the media made me do it, that I smoked because my favorite celebrities or video game characters smoked, or that it was because everyone in my family smoked.

But the truth is, I smoked my first cigarette because I was curious. I simply wanted to know what it was like. I knew it was bad for me, all of the health risks, that it was expensive, disgusting, and that I didn’t want to do it long term.

I thought I could simply smoke one, see what it was all about, and never do it again.

I was wrong.

I loved it, and was hooked. But at the same time, as much as I loved it, it feels like as soon as I started, I was also already trying to quit.

Before I was 18 I tried asking my friends to not buy them for me and I still managed to get my hands on them, but at least had to ration them. After I turned 18 and could legally buy them, the struggle really began. I tried patches, pills, creams, gums, hypnosis. You name it, if they created it, I had tried it.

I wanted to quit so badly.

I missed a ton of school my freshman year of college due to an ulcer in my throat (which held me back a semester because I couldn’t sing and I was a music major), got hospitalized for pneumonia multiple times, mourned an Aunt who passed from lung cancer, and yet I still kept smoking. No matter how sick it made me, how poor it made me (an online calculator estimates I spent about $22,000 on cigarettes), how many loved ones I lost, I just. Couldn’t. Stop.

But finally, after smoking (and trying to stop) for twelve years, I finally quit, for good.

Quitting smoking is, hands down, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. Like Bart Simpson: