How I quit smoking fourteen years ago.


Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

Smoking one to two packs of cigarettes a day, I was not only addicted to cigarettes, but obsessed with them! After three major attempts, I finally managed to quit for good, and this is the advice I offer to those still struggling.

Why do you want to stop smoking?


Your mind will play tricks on you when you’re  craving. Write your list on paper and keep it near you, to re-read whenever you’re craving.

My main reason for quitting, was vanity. I wanted to look better. I never felt like exercising or eating right as a smoker and I knew this was totally standing in my way.

I wanted to smell better. Smokers don’t realise how unpleasant they smell to non-smokers. No-one wants to smell bad.

I wanted to taste food again.

I wanted to be able to smell again.

I wanted to stop wasting all that money! Do the calculations!


The first 3-5 days will be hell. Prepare for it!


  • decide on a date that you will smoke your last cigarette, and until that date, enjoy the best cigarettes you can afford and allow yourself to smoke as much as you want to.
  • take some well-deserved leave from work so that you can relax and take care of yourself.
  • take vitamins for your nerves. “Brewers Yeast” is a cheap and natural form of Vitamin B, which is the “coping” vitamin. I drank twelve tablets, three times a day, for the first five days.
  • drink at least two litres of water or herbal tea a day, to flush the drug from your system faster.
  • chew sugar-free gum.
  • exercise at least twice a day, for the first two weeks. Even if it’s just a brisk walk. Not only is it an anti-depressant, but it keeps one relaxed and it helps to prevent weight gain from the extra food intake.
  • make sure you have plenty healthy snacks on hand. Popcorn and carrot sticks keep the mouth and hand busy.
  • nap as often as you can. It’s much easier to resist a cigarette when you’re asleep.


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  • do not deal with other humans for the first three days, even a stimulating conversation with a friend will feel stressful!
  • do not be near anyone smoking a cigarette for at least five days.
  • do not drink any coffee or caffeinated drinks; the key is to stay as relaaaaxed as possible for the first 3-5 days.
  • do not overeat! not only will you gain weight, but we all know how one craves a smoke after a big meal.
  • do not eat sweets to keep your mouth busy. Sugar causes one to feel stressed and of course you don’t want to gain weight.


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Dealing with cravings

Cravings pass surprisingly quickly. Take a few really deep breaths, re-read why you’ve quit, and remind yourself that if you smoke even one cigarette, it’ll take you months to muster up the courage and determination to try again, and then you’ll just have to go through all this misery again!


The good news is:

the discomfort fades quickly; and within 10-14 days, you’ll look and feel fantastic! You will be a winner!

You can do this.



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-Stef Stefanides