My usual blog posts are about six sigma, lean, or process excellence. This one is different. I got the idea when my son asked me when I quit smoking. The answer was simple: I quit smoking the first Monday in April 1975. I had been a serious, full-time smoker for 7+ years so I was really and truly hooked. It was by far the most difficult bad habit I ever successfully quit. It got me to thinking about how I managed to do it. On the chance that my method might help even a single one of you quit smoking, here’s a simple, step-by-step description of how I quit smoking.
- Purchase an entire case of your favorite brand of cigarettes. In my day that was 10 cartons, or 2,000 cigarettes. If it seems expensive, good. Think of the money you will save in the long run. This will be your last purchase of cigarettes. Believe it. Get used to it.
- Change the way you smoke. Since you’ll never again be able to purchase cigarettes, you need to make these last as long as possible. You should light up, take a drag or two, then carefully butt out the cigarette and blow through it to remove the smoke inside. (This will make for a better taste when you light it again.) After a while you’ll get pretty good at this.
- Return the partially smoked cigarette to the pack. When the urge to smoke comes back, remove it and repeat the process in step #2.
- Continue for 2,000 cigarettes.
- Quit forever.
If you’re like me those 2,000 cigarettes will last much longer than they would’ve in the past. For me I averaged 3 days per pack of 20, or 300 days for the entire 2,000. By then the nicotine level in my body had dropped to the point that I no longer trembled after not smoking for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I still craved cigarettes for about a full year, but I wouldn’t call it full-blown withdrawal. After that I was no longer possessed by the smoking demon (a literal description). The first time I went a full day without even thinking about a cigarette was a day I still remember nearly 50 years later.
In the past I facilitated quit smoking clinics for the American Cancer Society so I realize there are many, many paths to quitting. If this one doesn’t work for you, visit the ACS website for others. Best of luck in ridding yourself of this awful habit!
Please tell me how this works for you in the comments below.