Monday, April 23, 2012

Saying goodbye to cigarettes...Quit smoking!

7 years ago, I married a chain smoker of very many years. Today, my husband is no where near in the category of being unhealthy - in terms of smoking and drinking. I must admit, I was a social smoker too. But being social, is much easier to call it quits.

We did fight a lot, about his smoking habits... but eventually in the year end of 2006, he quit. Now how you may ask? Honestly, it all comes down to whether do YOU really want to quit?

The first time he tried reducing, it didn't work. He was back on track of being a chain smoker. Then he tried to quit completely, it only lasted for a couple of days. Cold turkey was no joke. Me, myself being a social smoker found it so hard to fight that urge to smoke first thing in the morning. Can you imagine what it is like for a chain smoker? I was there giving him support but it didn't really help. Perhaps I wasn't convinced he was going to do it.

Finally, one day he told me, he wants to quit. And for good. No more getting on it ever again. All he had to say was "help me help myself", and I went all out. I researched on the changes he would go through, especially the cold turkey. How his health would be. Bare in mind, when you quit, you may end up feeling like you are going to die. There are some who experience a really bad bout of cough that no matter what meds you take, the cough doesn't go away. I made him do medical check ups incl chest x rays etc.. He used to have sleepless nights because of the cough. This is due to the fact that his lungs was trying to clear itself. It takes a couple of years for the lungs to be fully clear. The lungs begin to have the ability to clean itself after 12 weeks of quitting. Their sense of taste and smell will also improve. It will be noticeable after about a week or two of quitting.

And this is when the weight gain played it's role. My husband was very thin. He had always been thin all his life. But due to quitting, he put on quite a lot of weight. We didn't get into exercise at that time. So naturally the weight didn't shed.

Before choosing to go for Nicorette gum or patch, I checked with my pharmacist first. She advised me to give him the gum since he was a chain smoker. So I bought a few packs of it. At the beginning he would take about 6 gums a day, after a few months, it became lesser & lower mg to none at all. One of the major side effects on chewing the gum is having wind. So I had to give him moridone two to three times a day, everyday.
If you are a spouse to someone who is trying to quit, my advice - please be there for them every step of the way. Every small milestone make it a big one! I used to send him cards/emails/sms's that he has passed 1 day, 2 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month etc. Treat them for dinner or lunch - regardless the milestone. Have them put the same amount of money they would to buy a box or two (or three) ciggy's a day aside. Collect that money and at the end of the month, let them use that and buy whatever they want as a treat to themselves. They will go through terrible mood swings & become fragile in their own way. They will also want to eat all the time because their hunger is sky high - don't stop them. Try to give them healthy snacks if possible. Let them eat. Don't criticize. I remember I used to tell him, the weight you can shed one day, but you can't stop cancer or any other disease if you continue smoking. I wasn't too worried about his cholesterol as it was in the normal range by this time.

It's been 6 years and counting, and his lungs are of a normal person. The weight is now shedding off, thanks to the interest he has now in fitness.

So yes, you can quit. Don't say you can't. The question is, do you want to quit? You may say yes on the outside, but deep within you, you haven't even convinced yourself you have decided to quit. Seek the answer truthfully, and then take it from there. It's not impossible.

Good luck to all who have decided to quit and congratulations to all who have successfully quit for good!

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