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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fireworks at the Needle, and How Should I Quit Smoking (Again)?

Posted by on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 12:12 PM

FIRST: How in the hell, living here for 16 years, have I always missed the Space Needle fireworks?!? I finally watched them on New Year's Eve. DAMN! They [almost] give London's Ferris wheel a run for its money. SECOND: After quitting and starting (and quitting and starting again) I WILL QUIT SMOKING CIGARETTES TODAY. I've tried many things—what should I do this time?

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  • Kelly O

More fireworks photos after the jump!

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All photos Kelly O

 

Comments (61) RSS

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61
The book by Alan Carr, after 2 months of Chantix. It worked for me and I haven't had a single craving since August 2007 when I quit. Chantix got me to the point where I could see how nice it was not to smoke, not to walk into an event and instantly start scanning the exits to see which one the smokers were ducking out of, not to constantly watch the clock to see when I could acceptable duck out of an event to go grab a quick smoke. The Chantix got me down to a few cigarettes a day, to the point where the book really made sense, and then I quit completely. I had cravings for a few weeks but I can honestly say that no matter how bad the craving was, I never wanted to smoke.
Posted by charlie on January 5, 2013 at 2:23 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 60
http://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-L…

I'm a nonsmoker, but it seems like it would help; and if nothing else, it's an interesting read.
Posted by thecheesegirl on January 3, 2013 at 11:24 PM · Report this
lolorhone 59
Pick a date to stop well in advance. After that date passes, do everything you normally associate smoking a shitload with (go out drinking, have sex, smoke pot etc.) within the first week. This is so you don't get blindsided later on and relapse. It will suck hardcore for about two to three weeks and then will rapidly get easier. After that, the sheer thought of having to repeat the process will keep you from lighting up. Hang in there and good luck (it's been about 7 years for me).
Posted by lolorhone on January 3, 2013 at 9:17 PM · Report this
wisepunk 58
This might solve some of the misconceptions around snus...it is not chew by the way. Steam cure vs high heat cure makes a difference.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/0…
Posted by wisepunk on January 3, 2013 at 2:21 PM · Report this
SamClemens 57
Another vote for the Quit Line. Doesn't work for everyone, but the combination of coaching plus the medication support makes it pretty much the best game in town for quitting smoking. 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Full disclosure: I used to work there, don't anymore, and still recommend it.
Posted by SamClemens on January 3, 2013 at 1:01 AM · Report this
TVDinner 56
I went for a walk every time I craved a smoke at work. Fists clenched, teeth gritted at first, I always returned feeling better, like I could do it. I also had to quit hanging out with other smokers. That sucked donkey dick, because some of them were pretty awesome.

It's been, like, uh...a long time. 1993, so...shit, it'll be 20 years next November.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 2, 2013 at 10:01 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 55
The Allen Carr book worked for me. I don't blame you if you don't want to read it - it has that weirdo cult status that made me resistant to it.

The good news is you don't need to read it. All it does is try to convince you that you don't actually LIKE smoking, which - at least for me - was an easy sell.

You feel worse after a cigarette, yes? A cigarette has pushed you past the puke line on many a night of heavy drinking, yes? The act of standing around smoking is as boring as the boredom that triggered you to smoke, yes?

If you answer no to all those questions, quitting is going to be a bitch.
Posted by Free Lunch on January 2, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
54
Get yourself an e-cig and become a vaper. There is no reason to torture yourself trying to break your addiction to nicotine when nicotine itself is close to harmless once you separate it from the witches' brew of carcinogens that come with it in regular tobacco cigarettes.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on January 2, 2013 at 7:04 PM · Report this
53
I quit cold turkey (2-3 packs/day), in 1988. My aunt, who smoked unfiltered Pall Malls for decades, decreased one cig/day (each week at the new level) and eventually quit completely as well. So: you will need to figure out what's going to work for you.

The core of it, for me, and for many others, is, in one form or another, simply taking having a cigarette off of the options for "possible things to do right now." (It helps to realize that a cigarette will not solve any problem, improve any situation, or answer any questions.) Once you say that having a cig isn't an option, then you have to focus on something else--take a walk around the desk until the craving passes; chew toothpicks as a hand/mouth substitute (which I did for several years); practice deep breathing exercises for 2 minutes; some combo. (I recommend comfort-focused things the first 3-5 days as you get through the physical withdrawal, then focus on the habit-based withdrawal.) If you allow yourself to think that "if it gets bad [or good!] enough, I can have a cigarette," then you will eventually have one. If you teach yourself to say some version of, "Nope; cigarette isn't an option. Next?", AND have an arsenal of distractions and alternatives, you will probably do better.

YMMV, of course! Which is why it really is a personal thing. Also--take the $$ you would have spent on cigs and put it in a jar or envelope--the actual cash money. It'll add up and you can spend it on something fun. (I knew someone who went to Europe.)
Posted by narya on January 2, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
Amalink 52
when I started hanging out with my now boyfriend I cut waaay down on the smokes since he didn't like the smell. He eventually told me that he would someday ask me to make a choice between him and the smokes. I decided at that point to make the choice then and there. We've now been together for seven and a half years and I have not smoked in that entire time. So I would recommend finding someone or something (a person, pet, or cause) that can motivate you into not smoking. I couldn't find the will power to do it for myself alone. But for someone else it really wasn't that hard.
Posted by Amalink on January 2, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
51
Pick a day to quit and then do it on that day. Go through withdrawal. It will pass. You'll feel better and you'll have a lot more money at the end of the year. Your clothes and your apartment won't smell like a skanky ash tray. Your body will eventually heal from the shit you've put in it. It's all good.
Posted by Weekilter on January 2, 2013 at 4:28 PM · Report this
Sandiai 50
I quit by making smoking the most boring thing in my day. In other words, I removed the pleasant associations that my mind had constructed around smoking. You know what I mean: sex, food, music, bars, people.

I did this by designating a chair in my kitchen as my smoking chair. It faced the wall and was uncomfortable to boot. That was the only place I could smoke. I wasn't allowed to smoke at work, or in my car, or in front of the TV. Only that stupid boring corner of the kitchen that was like a prison. After a while, smoking became, well, not really worth it. It no longer provided an enhancement to other pleasures, and all I had left was the nicotine addiction, which was easily cured with nicoret gum (which at the time you needed a prescription for).
Posted by Sandiai on January 2, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this
tainte 49
what should you do? stop smoking. it's just that easy.
Posted by tainte on January 2, 2013 at 3:18 PM · Report this
48
26 has the right idea - get it to under 5 a day to start and then cold turkey. Don't beat yourself up if you need to hang on to those 3 or 4 a day for a while, then 1 or 2, then... Don't mess around with the drugs, that shit will make you CRAYZEE.
Posted by defman23 on January 2, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
47
When you have the urge, drink a glass of cranberry juice. The spike in blood sugar can give you a response that can help tame the craving. Source: this helped me kick the habit for good the second time around and you can have it in a bar.
Posted by Seabea on January 2, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 46
Hang in there, Kell. Keep thinking how pretty your lungs are going to look in a few years. Keep thinking how easier it'll be to breathe deeply and enjoy clean, fresh air. Keep thinking about how your sense of taste and smell will return with gusto. Keep thinking about how evil tobacco companies are and how you don't want to add to their wealth.
Posted by Bauhaus I on January 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
45
I didn't see anyone mention what was one of my biggest quitting aides: replace it with something else. I "practiced" quitting several times. Then I was going to move out-of-state. They say a big transition is a bad time to try to quit so I decided to quit one month before the move. I picked that date early and stuck to it. I replaced smoking with diet and exercise. I joined the Y and started prepping weekly meals every weekend. That was 4 years ago and still going strong. Also, really hit bottom or remember how terrible it was when you did ie: smoke yourself sick. Then when you think of one cigarette remind yourself that one means two means twenty. There is no such thing as one drag. One drag will become literally thousands of cigs you will go through in 2013. By the way, I don't know anything about that book but if you're smoking now than it didn't work the first time, yaknowwhatimsayin.
Posted by sla on January 2, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
44
You can do it!
Posted by Gillian Anderson on January 2, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 43
When you quit set aside the money you would have spent on cigarettes. Then spend it on yourself. When I quit, cigs were $5 a pack. That was about $150.00 a month for fun money. The new shoes and toys last longer than a pack of smokes!
Posted by thatsnotright on January 2, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this
42
Try E-cigarettes. It's worked for about three months for me and was really easy to switch to. Cheaper as well.
Posted by Mugwumpt on January 2, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this
41
Thanks for all these suggestions, SLOG!!! I'm going to start with the Carr book again, since I already own it, and it worked for me once... I will try anything and everything.

@26 - I've always been in crowded bar. This year I broke the cycle with a really hot guy, standing on the roof of his apartment. Another reason to quit. Who wants to make out with a hot guy, with stink-mouth tobacco breath?

Posted by Kelly O on January 2, 2013 at 1:47 PM · Report this
rob! 40
Snus?! Omigod--wouldn't you rather get your mouth/throat cancer from munching about a million anonymous HPV-infected dicks/cooters?
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM · Report this
pfffter 39
I've tried everything to quit -- zyban, chantix, patches, gum. The only thing that worked was that damn Allen Carr book. It's basically cold turkey, but with some mental tricks in how you perceive smoking.

Also, don't try to do anything else while you're quitting, ie, quit drinking, quit coffee, etc. @15 has some good info on willpower -- there's also an enlightening book by Baumeister that has some great info.

Good luck!
Posted by pfffter on January 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM · Report this
raku 38
I vote for Zyban instead of Chantix. Not quite as effective, but it doesn't make you insane either. Bonus: Zyban/Wellbutrin is somewhat accurately known as the "happy, horny, skinny pill".
Posted by raku on January 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
37
My ex -heroin addict sister in law gave me this advice when I was quitting smoking and it really helped. If you find yourself craving a cigarette, say to yourself, I can have one if I really want to in a minute. It's surprinsing that when that minute comes you've actually moved on and are resolved again to not smoke. Also I found myself some 100% tabaco and nicotine free smoke (at the time American spirit had some-it was 14 years ago) that I smoked if I absolutely had to which was only a handful of times! Good luck!
Posted by anon1999 on January 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 36
Eh. I've been smoking for 45 years. It hasn't killed me yet. I'm not going to worry about it now.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on January 2, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
35
I've found the physical cravings for nicotine go away after three days. The rest seems purely psychological. If you can make the three days, your remaining urges are all in your imagination.

Nicotine addiction sucks. That stuff is pernicious. Your brain will use all of its tools when it does battle against your brain. Buproprion helps with this, I've heard.
Posted by six shooter on January 2, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
34
@30 I'm pretty sure her ability to 'knock someone up' is limited.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on January 2, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
33
Start a penalty jar - every time you smoke a cigarette, put one dollar in it. Put a big label the jar that says "American Crossroads", "Rick Santorum for President", "the catholic church", or whatever political figure/cause you despise most.

Any money in the jar gets donated to said cause.
Posted by fad on January 2, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
32
The 1-800-QUIT-NOW Line has a lot of useful tips and even sent me free gum and patches. But I cut down from about 15 a day for decades to 3-5 a day now with the help of those e-cigs, you get the nicotine but none of the chemicals. Great Photos BTW, I remember one year that was socked in and the top of the space needle was shrouded in clouds. It was very cool and surreal as if there was a war or alien invasion happening...
Posted by poptartpunk on January 2, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
31
I am addicted to Copenhagen snoose since the early sixties. I quit four times. All but the last one, the fourth, was pure hell. Someone told me to try chewing Dentyne gum; it was easy and it took. I haven't chewed since 1992.
Posted by ravenraven on January 2, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
30
I smoked and quit and smoked and quit etc. ad nauseum (literally) for decades.

I finally quit for good the day I found out I was going to be a dad.

My advice to you is - knock someone up!
Posted by codswallower on January 2, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
Warren 29
I quit cause I had a cold. I smoked for 10 years, got a cold and after just didn't want one any more. I feel like I cheated. Although there was the awkward not knowing what to do with your hands thing, that lasted about a month.
Posted by Warren http://notevensantafean.tumblr.com/ on January 2, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
28
I quit cold turkey about 15 years ago...
you just have to keep practicing not smoking and eventually (hopefully) it will stick.
start putting the money you would spend on cigarettes into a jar and save for something fun.

I really enjoy not smelling like a dirty ashtray.

you can do it!
Posted by Jenerate http://jenniferltowner.com on January 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 27
Oh, Good luck!
Posted by thatsnotright on January 2, 2013 at 1:11 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 26
Kelly, you've always missed the fireworks because you were inside of a bar at midnight. How did you get outside this year?

I quit by cutting way down over a couple of months then cold turkey.

Start by delaying your 1st cig of the day. Don't light up until way later than usual and not while you're having a coffee. Don't smoke before you eat a meal and wait as long as you can until after. These are "automatic" cigs. The idea is to think before you smoke. Don't go outside the bar with your friends to smoke. Wait until they get back and then go if you have to. Make it a chore, instead of a pleasure. Don't smoke in your car or on your balconey, go all the way outside.When you get down to 5 or less a day, try cold turkey. If you happen to have a cold, so much the better.
Posted by thatsnotright on January 2, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Fnarf 25
I followed @2's technique, 16 years ago. I didn't use any of that namby-pamby "snus" in packets, either; I went the full, gritty, greasy, grimy loose chew. Horrible, horrible stuff, like eating ground-up rotten corpses soaked in motor oil or something. But it helps you break the hand-to-mouth habit first, while still getting your nicotine.

Then, after a month or two, or however long you can stand it, stopping the chew is EASY, because it's so disgusting.

Warning: you will not be able to smile, let alone kiss anyone, for the duration. None of your friends will want to see your teeth, and will probably never stop hollering and making retching noises if they do.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
biffp 24
Agree with @11, loved the nicotine gum. Same rush or better, and could do it at my desk or watching TV. Ended up addicted to it for 5+ years after smoking for less than 2 years.
Posted by biffp on January 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
23
I've never actually been a smoker that needed to quit, but I read a study that people who are most successful in the long run are the ones that view themselves as nonsmokers from the time they quit. Those that still call themselves smokers-who-are-trying-to-quit are more likely to fail. That doesn't help with the physical effects, I know, but the mental component is a big part of it, too. Hope it helps- good luck!
Posted by S-Lo on January 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM · Report this
22
Just say no.
Posted by raygun on January 2, 2013 at 1:01 PM · Report this
21
Definitely Cold Turkey. It's delicious, full of protein, won't wreak havoc with your blood sugar, and eating it will give your mouth something to do instead of smoking. (I like it with a little mayo and black pepper.)
Posted by ignatz ratzkywatzky on January 2, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 20
Acupuncture did squat for me. Although along with the pricks, I didn't go the extra length and drink some expensive herbal direct from China concoction.
Posted by dnt trust me on January 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
19
Accupuncture
Posted by LunaDancer on January 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM · Report this
18
1 year tobacco free as of 12/29. Wellbutrin for 6 months also really helped. Also, calculated that my pack a day habit was about the same as a car payment. Spent the money on a car, which also meant I lost my favorite smoking den, the awful nasty "man van" who's interior was covered with a fine layer of ash. I still can't believe they gave me full blue-book on that horrifying vehicle.
Posted by Westside forever on January 2, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 17
I would guess that Miss O (the mysterious O) has enough of our sage advice. It's time to hear from her. What wisdom have you gleamed, Kelly?
Posted by dnt trust me on January 2, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
16
What's the big deal? As Mark Twain quipped, "Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it hundreds of times."
Posted by screed on January 2, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
15
About smoking - you might lay the groundwork by checking out the online goodies made available by Stanford lecturer and health psychologist Kelly Mcgonigal (bonus fact: her twin sister is a prominent game designer). Because, science: studies are shedding all kinds of new light on the proper care and feeding of willpower, and how to apply it to stuff we want to stop doing (smoking, overeating) as well as stuff we want to finally get around to in our lives. Hint: moralizing about it is the enemy. Here's Kelly doing one of those talks to Google: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5BXuZL1H…
Posted by gloomy gus on January 2, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
14
Washington residents have access to the Washington State Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW, 1-877-2NO-FUME in Spanish). Everyone can get free advice and some people are eligible for free nicotine patches/gum. Giving it a call couldn't hurt.

Some businesses offer help with smoking cessation in conjunction with their Employee Assistance Program. If you work for an organization large enough to have a HR Department you should inquire about whether you have this benefit.

Talking to your doctor couldn't hurt if you can afford it. They can offer medication that might make things easier and it wouldn't hurt to have an enthusiastic professional on your side.
Posted by restlessnative on January 2, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Report this
13
My father was a pack-a-day smoker for 20 years, working his way up to 2 packs a day. He was also a private pilot. After he realized the smoking was interfering with his ability to fly a small, unpressurized plane at any sort of altitude (due to the medium-term effect of ciggies on the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood, smokers lose a couple thousand feet of operable altitude), he quit smoking. Cold. It was rough for a while, and he gained a bit of weight. Later took up running and lost that.

That was over 40 years ago. He's still alive, living independently, and not smoking, even though he hasn't run or flown in decades.

I'm guessing you just have to really, really, really have the motivation to stop smoking. Nothing will work if you don't have that. It's a highly-addictive substance, and a very habituated activity, and the first few weeks are going to be very hard. If you can see your way through that, you can do it.

Shorter: Just quit.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on January 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Rotten666 12
Don't quit. Just change your habits so you only smoke once a week, or on vacations, or during the holidays. I smoked for the last 3 weeks straight for the holidays, and now I am done for about three months. Then I will go back to my habit of buying a pack on friday night and throwing what's left into the garbage on Sat or Sun morning.

You're an adult and you should get to do adult things.

Learn moderation and you will be a much happier person.
Posted by Rotten666 on January 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 11
I used nicotine gum for like three months, and it totally worked. It gives you that same rush, especially first thing in the morning. It seems expensive, but it pays for itself after a few months of not buying smokes.

Also, it's important to have something to do with your hands. It sounds silly, but I cut a straw to the length of a cigarette, then packed it with cotton. I took the new faux-cigarette with me to the bars and anywhere else I felt pressured to smoke. I've been (cigarette) smoke free now for 14 years.
Posted by Original Andrew on January 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
heywhatsit!? 10
I can personally vouch for Chantix. I'd tried many times to quit and failed. Chantix made it unbelievably easy. Haven't touched, or craved, a smoke in 4 years.
Posted by heywhatsit!? on January 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
wisepunk 9
Just look at Savage, and scream "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" everytime you want one. Eventually you will get embarassed and remember that you do it to yourself. That's what really hurts. Might as well take the boss along for your ride.
Posted by wisepunk on January 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
8
I had a buddy who quit with a behavior-replacement technique. Whenever he had the urge to smoke a cigarette, he'd take a notebook out of his pocket, make a tickmark, and replace the notebook. The theory goes, when you have the urge, you're doing something ritualistic, in the same way that smoking a cigarette is ritualistic, so your brain isn't constantly raging why aren't you listening to me?!? At the same time, you're teaching your brain that having this urge isn't particularly helpful, because it doesn't result in any sweet, sweet nicotine.
Posted by Ruke on January 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 7
It's simple (this is serious if you want to quit), only smoke in public spaces and always blow your smoke into someone's face. Give it a day or two, maybe a week. You're a socialite, so it should be easier than the typical homebody smoker.
Posted by dnt trust me on January 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
6
How to give up nicotine: study mindfullness and meditate when the urge strikes. This finally did it for me. however, I was still so irritable that I had to take time from work and go sit on a beach rather than be fired.
Posted by jmikel on January 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
seatackled 5
Nothing porn-related, work or pleasure, for 24 hours after your last smoke.
Posted by seatackled on January 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
4
Just stop buying cigaretts.
Posted by tkc on January 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM · Report this
3
I used the book and Welbutrin, and I haven't had a cig in over 3 years. I tried just the book first, but after a month I had such severe mood swings that I fell off the wagon.

Good Luck! It's worth it!
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on January 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM · Report this
JensR 2
Switch to snus. Basicly its nastier than cigarettes and since you're not used to it it will be easier to quit so you can use it as a bridge between cigarettes and nothing.
Contains more nicotine than a cigarette too and theres allot of different flavours and ways its packaged.

Trouble is its a bit costly in the US but on the other hand another argument for quitting it when you've kicked the cigarette thing.

Just remember to buy the snus packaged in tiny little thin packages (lovingly called "smurf diapers") and not the loose stuff.
Posted by JensR http://ohyran.se on January 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 1
Just keep trying. Eventually you'll just figure out all the fuss is unnecessary and quit for good.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 2, 2013 at 12:18 PM · Report this

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