Quit Smoking – Common Frustrations

Quitting smoking makes a difference right away – you can taste and smell food better. Your breath smells better. Your cough goes away. This happens for men and women of all ages, even those who are older.

“I can’t stop thinking about a cigarette.”

Remind yourself that smoking is not an option. Say it out loud and mean it! Stop romancing the cigarettes. Refocus on the negatives of smoking (the dangers of smoking) and the positives of quitting (your reasons to quit) – not the other way around.

“I feel like I can’t take a break at work because I don’t have a good reason.”

If you used to take a break to smoke, you probably felt justified in doing so, because you were actually “doing something” when you left your post for that 5 or 10 minutes. Now you may find yourself feeling silly just standing around for 10 minutes while your coworkers slave away.

First of all, realize that you deserve to spend that break any way that you want to. You don’t have to be doing anything, but you could also decide to drink a glass of water, eat a healthy snack, read a chapter in a book, or write a letter.

“I used to break up my day by having a cigarette between activities. Now I don’t seem to have that transition.”

Many people use smoking a cigarette as a marker throughout the day to help pace themselves and keep a sort of rhythm going. If you did, you’ll need to develop a different, healthier transitional activity, such as having a glass of water, brushing your teeth, or going for a short walk.

“I keep forgetting why I’m trying to give up these things. I miss smoking already.”

Remember, you’re really not “giving up” anything. You’re gaining everything – good health, more money, fresh breath, and control over your life. Quitting smoking is something you are doing for yourself, not in spite of yourself. Recite your reasons to quit. Maybe even add to the list.

“I’m coughing more now that I’ve quit than I was when I was smoking. What’s going on?”

The tiny, hair-like structures in your lungs, called cilia, finally get a chance to begin sweeping out the tobacco debris that has accumulated over the years.

Until now, the tar in your cigarettes had immobilized them, but now that they are free again, they sweep out the tar causing you to cough more than usual. So, coughing after quit smoking is a good thing.

“Friends are telling me that I’ll never make it.”

There are a number of reasons your friends may not be supportive of your efforts. First, you may be a little (or a lot) more irritable, depressed, or frustrated than usual, and your friends may want you to smoke so you’ll be back to your normal self.

It’s not easy to face, but some of it’s up to you to tell them that this is a normal part of quitting smoking and that it will be over soon. Other friends may not want to see you succeed because your success would be a constant reminder of what they know they should be doing for themselves.

Getting you to stop trying might make them feel better about their own lack of motivation. If you suspect some of your friends feel this way, encourage them to get healthy by joining you in your efforts. Hold fast to your own motivation.

“Friends keep offering me cigarettes as a joke.”

Who needs enemies with friends like these? Try telling these folks that you understand that they’re not ready to quit themselves, but that you are. Ask them to please support your efforts by taking you seriously. Ask them to tell you some jokes instead.

If they continue to be obnoxious, take the cigarettes they’re offering you, break them in half, and say, “Thanks, I just saved a few minutes of my life.” Another option is to spend your break time or “fun” time with a different group or even by yourself.

“I went out for dinner, had some wine, and took a puff off of my date’s cigarette.”

Don’t panic, but be aware that taking a puff is a serious matter; the old adage “I’m a puff away from a pack a day” is based upon the fact that many quit attempts end with that one puff. If you stopped with that one puff, great, but for most people, a puff is never going to be enough.

Also, avoid alcohol for a while because its effects can allow you to let your guard down long enough for a cigarette to slip in. Politely ask your date to not smoke around you, at least for a couple of weeks or so. And regularly remind yourself that smoking is not an option under any circumstances because you’ve made the decision to quit.

“Every time I’m on the phone, I want to smoke.”

Keep a pad and some colored pens or pencils by the phone, and doodle with them while you’re talking. Try to break the connection between your telephone “environment” and your smoking. For example, move your telephone to a different location in your home and try holding the receiver in the other hand. You might even want to buy a new phone.

“My family says I am too grouchy and is begging me to start smoking again.”

This reaction is most common with family members who are uninformed about the process of quitting and the magnitude of the challenge. They don’t know that most people who quit get a little irritable and grouchy.

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