I smoked ~65,000 cigarettes and then quit in no time, here is how.
No product on earth has been advertised as effectively as tobacco, in fact, they revolutionized the advertising industry forever. Cigarette brands were the first to sell us a lifestyle, and society fell victim for way too long; during 12 years of regularly smoking, I used to think lighting up a cigarette was so damn chic and relaxing, ugh that feeling of icy menthol smoke going down your throat into your lungs in a cold morning, or during a chat with a friend, or at a Cafe in Paris…
I could go on forever listing all the moments of unparalleled pleasure blowing out some smoke meant to me; they made me link positive emotions to something as nasty as tar.
Yes, it’ll be hard to accept, that’s why you’ll need help, and you’ll ask for it. Your brain will also require some cooperation resisting the constant nicotine cravings it’ll endure for a while. Fortunately you two are besties, as a result, your only task consists of distracting your buddy during this breakup.
1. Literally, tell your friends its a goodbye.
“I decided to quit smoking, and now I need your support: don’t give me a cigarette even if I beg for one, no matter how drunk we are; this is my last pack”. That’s what I told my friends the day I decided to quit.
I was chilling with a bunch of them in a beautiful warm beach in the Caribbean during my first day off in a while, and suddenly the smartest idea I’ve ever had was born: “I’m about to travel around the world for 8 months, I’ll be far from Paris and smokey parties, this is the perfect chance to cleanse my lungs”.
That night we ended up partying at a Casino playing slot machines, and unlike the other 99.9% of the times, I was winning! I was so nervously thrilled that I finished my last pack in no time, I had forgotten entirely about my very recent commitment…
Let me tell you something: that’s a real friend right there 👆🏻, now respect them, and most importantly, respect your rational self: You’ve decided to withstand a fight against nobody else than your addicted self, the irrational, monkey part of you. Be fully aware of this, at all times. Nobody knows this dude as you do, anticipate it.
2. Embrace your new identity.
If anyone asks, you don’t smoke, that’s it. Don’t say “I’m trying to quit”, You’re not trying anymore, you quit already, from the very moment you committed to others and yourself. The new you don’t hang out much in the smoking area either, because he/she doesn’t like the smell. Your new self would never own a lighter because it isn’t needed, and if anyone asks you for one to light up their ciggie, reply: “I’m sorry, I don’t smoke”, you’ll be telling yourself and others who you are now.
Just act like the person you’ve decided to be, right now. A non-smoker, would NEVER EVER think of asking for just a puff, so don’t do it.
3. Distract your brain from listening to your old self.
The voice that influences you the most and the one you hear more often is yours, so say the right words. Every time you’re caught in the thought of relapsing, don’t nag yourself, negative feedback rarely leads to improvement, simply don’t leave room for the irrational addicted you to speak.
How to do this? Talk about something else, call someone, watch a funny video, or simply close your eyes and take a deep breath (just make sure you’re not in a room filled with smoke) then exhale real slowly through your mouth, listen to the air leaving your body and feel the vibrations in your lips, carry on as usual. Each craving will last only about 15 to 20 minutes, it is a fact, but is up to you how loud they yell in your brain.
Since I was traveling and reuniting with old friends all the time, I was extremely lucky to have countless things around to distract myself with, even when everyone nearby was smoking. Make yourself a favor and have fun.
Use all the logic available to understand the drugs in your brain responsible for your nicotine desires, and then think “oh, there it is, the chemicals hitting again”, the withdrawal will be gone shortly.
4. Design an effective path.
Like with any other problem one might face in life, we must analyze the possible causes first, in other words: search for triggers, avoid them.
Ashtrays? Why would you need one if you don’t smoke? Hide them somewhere, so nothing ever reminds you of cigarettes’ existence. Look for the pattern that used to lead you where you have decided never to go again, then get rid of it.
Get rid of everything related to cigarettes, your lighter, spliffs (really important if you live in Europe) and all of your smelly clothes — I mean, just wash them — . Sabotage yourself, don’t carry cash with you, that way you’ll avoid buying them in the first place. If you walk by someone smoking, don’t breathe, honestly, don’t do it! if you can’t avoid it, inhale in a way you don’t smell the cigarette.
Drink more water, you’ll like it, and prefer it in time. (Sounds like I’m lying but I’m not)
5. Enjoy the benefits, repeat endlessly.
Now that your clothes are clean, and you’ve been restrained of the smell for a while, start taking vitamins, you’ll probably even feel sick at the beginning, but one day you’ll find yourself practicing a demanding activity such as hiking, and realize your lungs can suddenly take in much more air than before, you’ll never cough again, and your skin will glow more than ever.
Your kisses will be memorable — do you know what kissing a smoker feels like as a non-smoker? — In a couple of weeks, your teeth will get whiter! Like zillions times whiter, people will definitely point it out.
You’ll have more money, and eventually will never think of smoking again, like never ever, but you’ll still treasure the memory of you smoking, and that’s a good thing. Nobody wants bad memories.
An average cigarette brings 10 milligrams of tar into your lungs each time you smoke, this means that 60 million kilograms of tar are inhaled into the combined lungs of all smokers each year.
After that week with my friends in the Caribbean, I landed in Chile with 60 packs of cigarettes in my backpack. You see? I was pretty addicted, I was smoking so much that I would purchase hundreds of cigarettes at any given airport since they were on average~75% cheaper, a pack of Marlboro cost me $1,00 at Dubai’s duty free, and $9,00 in France; I had a drawer filled with packs from all over the world, because I hated not having cigarettes.
As I set my foot outside the airport, nicotine cravings hit me in the face, I was so extremely used to land and run to the exit for my first cig after a long flight, and for worse, I was alone with my 1,200 cigarettes thinking “maybe just one”, while all the smokers around stood next to me. The stars aligned and right when I was about to fail, my Uber arrived. As soon as I got to my parent’s, I had to get rid of the extra psychological burden those cigarettes put on me.
And then I started leveling up, and someone even begged me to smoke, like, who does that? Until one day I suffered a horrible incident during my first night in Singapore, — it involved running for my life and the police force to rescue me — as I was trying to make sense of everything, a Frenchie (of course) approached and said:
Suddenly the whole world stopped, and it was like in the movies. Thanks to decades of ads, I was being given the gift of “relaxation” while in my worst agitated state, the most tempting point so far. Three months of constantly crushing milestones were put to a final a test, my rational self (the one I’d like to be most of the time) said to me “Chances are that if you reject this ciggie, you’ll never smoke again”.
And after 3 years I never did, what’s better, I have never thought of smoking again, ever.
Electronic cigarettes like JUUL, are as nonsense and toxic for your lungs as they are for your wallet. I mean, come on dude! We’ve just talked about how the Tobacco Industry changed everything by selling us a lifestyle where doctors publicly advertised cigarettes, in a world where manliness meant smoking, and fashion depended on it.
Sound extremely outdated? Well that’s how it started, and these companies haven’t forgotten about that, so they’re using the same old techniques all over again, promoting their product as something fresh and sexy as this beautiful gadget feels, it’s so well designed that it makes consuming nicotine dangerously simple, no visual clue on how much you have taken, either.
You did not get into smoking because of its taste, but because of what it represented, and e-cigs represent virtually the same fake lifestyle.
I smoked ~65,000 cigarettes and then quit in no time, here is how.
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