Interesting, a few people have been asking me what works best for quitting, while one has even bought an e-cig and is ‘quitting with Asher’. Now I’m hardly an expert on this. I have given up many times in the past, sometimes for as long as a year, but who wants advice from someone who has failed so often? And, really, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be a non-smoker even this afternoon. However, let me waffle on about what I know.
You do have to make lots of attempts at giving up to learn the pitfalls general for all smokers and the pitfalls specific to you. (Surprisingly there are still smokers out there who think they can give up at any time.) I, for example, know that one of my main danger zones is not now, but a few months down the line if I start feeling depressed. Another danger, conversely, is feeling healthy, well and happy because at that point the bad stuff related to smoking is hazy in my mind and the pining for that faithless friend seems stronger.
So what about NRT? Well, it works. I have in fact been using it for a long time. The smokers’ cough was a relatively recent thing for me but one constant I had was a nag in my chest that turned to a pain when I smoked more than my usual 10 or 15 roll-ups (and usually drink was involved). I always worried that this was a developing heart problem, except it was a nag that went away with exercise. It also went away if I just laid off the cigs for a bit. To do this I chewed a 4mg piece of nicotine gum in the morning which delayed my first cigarette sometimes until midday. And with that piece of gum it was always important to chew it before I wanted a cigarette. If I left it to that moment when I was about to roll a cigarette it was always too late.
But really this gum wasn’t helping me give up, but helping me continue smoking. It’s rather like the Aerolin inhalers I’ve been using. I was appalled, a few days ago when clearing out the drawer of my bedside cabinet, to discover eight of the damned things. The situation is getting ridiculous when you feel a bit wheezy and puff on an inhaler so you can smoke a cigarette.
Now to the NRT I’m presently using. I start off in the morning with a piece of that nicotine gum. Thereafter I stick an inhalator in my mouth for that surrogate cigarette feel, pulling on it to keep the cravings at bay. If I get a bad craving I find a Niquitin mini (4mg) kills it stone dead or, alternatively, just a few drags on my Vapestick. This last comes into its own in the evening when I want a cigarette which, as many smokers know, is not necessarily the same feeling as craving nicotine. I intend to stay with this stuff for a good long time, but eventually I want to wind down on it and dispense with all the paraphernalia.
The nag in my chest ceased on the day I stopped smoking, the cough disappeared two days later. My sense of smell is returning and I’m picking up on things that even give me a stab of nostalgia. Only the other day I caught a whiff of a tree fungus and that reminded me of childhood expeditions to collect various fungi. My sense of taste has improved too – some foods are now ridiculously delicious. Exercise is now really easy and becoming a pleasure. Every now and again I feel surges of energy, almost like a V12 engine whose six knackered spark plugs have been replaced.
Negative effects:Cravings of course. An inability to concentrate sometimes, but then how do I distinguish that from similar occasions in the past? Occasional grumpiness (of course I was the soul and spirit of joy when I smoked). I’m eating more and already putting on weight. And … and … well that’s about it really.