(the credit for well writen English goes to my American sis;-)

I do not smoke anymore for:

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Quitting smoking!  Never before was this topic as hot as it was in 2003:
For more than 40 years I was an avid smoker.  Two and a half months ago on September 16th,  I quit smoking (mainly because of an infection of my bronchial tubes) and to be perfectly honest, I’m still having a hard time with it.  On the 75th smoke-free day I decided to expand my website with a page that deals with quitting the smoking habit.  How it is going to turn out or what the page will exactly consist of and ….. whether in time I can still say, I don’t’ smoke anymore……I don’t know.  However, at the moment I am pretty confident that smoking, at least for the time being or maybe forever, will be a thing of the past.  If I would be overcome by weakness, then, hopefully, I will have the presence of mind to remind myself that in the year 2003 a list of arguments existed, so extensive and so irritating, that to start smoking again would bring too much aggravation.

   

After all, the smoking addiction is more stubborn than alcohol- or drug addiction:
If you had predicted last summer that I would add a page to my website that dealt with quitting smoking, I would have laughed heartily and I would have declared you to be nuts. Me? Quitting?  Being a confirmed smoker who considered the cigarette to be his best friend, who couldn’t keep his hands of cigarettes for 40 years, who had been smoking more than a pack a day?  No way!  I would like to stop but would it be worth it having to go through hell?
After all, the smoking addiction is much more stubborn than alcohol or drug addiction.  (I read that somewhere).

Why this “stop smoking” page:
Not because all of a sudden I know it all and want to help the reader to quit the habit as well.  It doesn’t work that way.  As a matter of fact, I myself am still in the middle of kicking the habit.  But maybe this page will serve a double purpose and will also provide me with a shot in the arm to remain committed and strong.  After all, it has been two months and there still are moments every day that I have the urge to want to grab a cigarette. Particularly, in the very difficult begin period; I looked for support on the Internet.  For instance, I went to Google with the phrase “stop smoking”.  I found all kinds of sites.  I especially wanted to read about the experiences of others and I wasn’t interested in utterances like: be strong, hang in there, you can do it, etc.  I had a bucket full of that kind of advice.  And I sure didn’t want to hear things like “oh, it’s not too bad”…..  No, I wanted to hear it confirmed by other people that they were also going out of their minds.  I wanted to hear it confirmed that it is a fact that the symptoms of kicking the smoking habit can have an enormous impact on your daily life.  I wanted to hear from fellow sufferers who could share my grief and who could give me hints that would be of help.  I found a website where, aside from professional tips and hints, visitors could share their experiences by way of “letters from readers”.
It's a Dutch site so no use to give you the address. However, I found a few good ones in English too. At the end I'll show the addresses.

Camels without filter:
Do you see the cartons of cigarettes in the background?  Those are Camels without filter.  “Camel cigarettes contain a blend of choice Turkish and American tobaccos to bring you full smoking satisfaction with Camel quality.”  Yeah, yeah…ughe ughe.  Two full cartons and 4 packs remaining in the other package, 24 packs of 20 cigarettes each, bought in Luxemburg.
As I am working on this page they are still on top of the closet, even though I haven’t smoked since
September 16, 2003 .  Today it is December 2nd so they have been laying there for 77 days waiting for a new owner. Interested? 10 euro per carton (once a business man, always a business man J)
What is it that you hear people often say?  When you quit smoking, throw away the cigarettes.  Remove all smoking paraphernalia from the house so you don’t have to resist the temptation.  Well, I see it somewhat differently;  if a cigarette that is within easy reach can tempt you today to light one up again, then you will, if that cigarette is not available, very likely go out and buy another pack. And if that would be the case, your mind isn’t ready yet to really quit.  Is your body ready to quit?  Hmmm………after 77 days, I have the feeling that the body will never be ready for that.  Still, I hope that this will soon change.  On the other hand, what are 77 days if you consider the addiction has lasted for 40 years?  But luckily, common sense tells me: keep your paws of those coffin nails.

Smoking and doing sports:
Maybe you have read by now that I have been jogging for 20 years? No? Well, then you know now.  Road running and running shorter distances on the track.  I can’t count the times that people would ask in amazement; “You, running marathons and you’re still smoking?” How do you manage to do that?  I would always reply; better to smoke and run than to only smoke.  That may have been true but the smoking sure put a damper on my performance. Even being a smoker, with intensive training, you can build up endurance, but be assured that it is a lot easier for the non-smoker.  This I have noticed after 2 months of not having smoked.
I have an enlarged heart and always used to have large lung capacity. The reason for this is playing the clarinet and the saxophone for years; it was part of my profession.  But when you hang up a job like that and only blow Camels, it’s pretty logical that the lung capacity diminishes.  I realized that it was the smoking that caused this but…. You refuse to do something about it, because you don’t want to give up your very best friend, THE CIGARETTE. Pfffff!

77 Days:
After 2 months of not smoking, I was quite impressed with myself and figured that I had gone through the worst of it.  Today, after 2 months and 17 days and having gone through a couple of very rough days, I have to admit that I’m still not out of the danger zone.  At the moment, the mind has the body pretty much under control, but I dread it if the mind would suddenly get an unexpected jolt.  Hopefully, my mental stick behind the door will prove to be strong enough so that I won’t grab for the cigarettes again.

The stick behind the door:
What was actually my greatest incentive to want to stop smoking? Not wanting to cough anymore?  Wanting to feel healthier? Have better taste? Not having to listen to the annoying anti-smoker anymore?  No filled ashtrays or fiddling with cigarette butts in the car? No gnawing urges anymore in an airplane, public transportation or public places, etc.? No longer blowing 1500 euros per year into the sky?  No burn holes anymore?  No, an addict defies all those inconveniences easily. My biggest incentive was my asthmatic bronchitis which became worse and worse and it eventually culminated into such choking attacks that smoking would have been tantamount to suicide.  When you really think, you’re going to choke, then you’re willing to stop smoking!!  But what if the body becomes stronger again after good medication and that little nicotine devil starts to prey upon you again?  That’s when the real withdrawal process begins.  Therefore, I think that as far as I’m concerned, a few weeks should be deducted from the 2 months, if I want to draw up the correct balance sheet at this time.

What is the best way to quit?
I don’t have a clue!  I think that it is a very personal thing and it depends on several factors.  How much do you smoke, how long have you smoked, what is your character like, what is your reason to quit, etc.  I don’t intend to burn my fingers on something I don’t know enough about while there are others who have especially studied this subject.  In any case, I myself have chosen a method that is definitely not the easiest one, namely, cold turkey!  To quit on pure will power without any help, no chewing gum, no patches, no acupuncture, no laser, no books, etc.  Is going cold turkey the best method? I don’t know, as a matter of fact, I don’t think so.  However, if you almost choke to death because you can’t breathe and you never want to go through that again, then you develop that will power real quickly. Ok, but does a person first have to get an asthma or a heart attack to be motivated enough to quit?  Not really, if the decision to quit has not been triggered by illness or other physical affections, then it seems to me that the best way to seriously attempt to quit is professional supervision with proper aids and resources.  The links below will direct you to sites about smoking where you will find all kinds of information.  For me it’s too commercialized here and there but what can you expect in 2003?  Quitting smoking has become HOT business.  Mountains of gold are promised….. As long as you pay.

Now I see the man with the hammer:
"Looking back, it wasn’t that bad!"  This is what an acquaintance said to me recently, someone who had quit 2 weeks before I did.  Grrrrrr….then I get upset and I don’t really want to hear it.  After all, looking back, I thought that it had been difficult, very difficult and I’m still going through hard times. But…..the first 7 to 10 days were pretty easy.  First of all, smoking was a virtual impossibility.  I think that I would have burst out in terrible coughing fits if I had lit a cigarette. And…remembering the severe asthma attacks, believe me, you don’t want to smoke.
But then… a little later, the body says, “hey…enough of this torture, what happened to my usual dose of nicotine? You’re not so sick anymore that you don’t want to light up a cigarette. The result is that the body starts to protest and you start to get second thoughts.  I didn’t sleep well, became nervous, irritable and came down with a severe cold, not having had many serious colds over the years that I was active in sports.  A cold that didn’t want to go away and involved all things that come with a cold, sore throat, chest pains, coughing, lots of mucus, sinus pressure, etc. I also became cantankerous because I had lost my constant companion and I didn’t enjoy life anymore.
In short, I had reached the point where a marathon runner would say: “Now I see the man with the hammer!” Fortunately, those signs turn out to be temporary because otherwise, life would become unbearable.

What about the positive effects?

Yes, there are many and that’s a good thing.  They provide the very necessary support from time to time to not fall back.

1.     First of all I noticed (maybe this is a personal thing?) a much easier stool. It wasn’t bad before but now: I get up, wash and often before having breakfast: hollikidee! So what about the “poop” cigarette? Evidently, not need for it anymore.

2.     What else did I notice? Of course, no more smoker’s cough.  This was something that had gotten worse and worse. Boy, unbelievable, how I had coughed for years. That cough was actually gone after the first week, the smoker’s cough that is.  I now cough in the morning and sometimes a little bit at night but that is not relevant and can be blamed on the asthmatic bronchitis.  But luckily, that is also improving and getting better every day.

3.     Do taste and smell improve? You bet! Everything tastes stronger and what you used to like, you like even better now.  But not smoking that cigarette also triggers hunger pangs, at least it does with me. As a result I eat more snacks between meals.  I also eat more fruit but that doesn’t seem to satisfy enough. Doing sports I drank a lot of water regularly, now I consciously drink even more water.  It does repress the hunger a little bit and the urge for nicotine becomes less as well.

4.     In the morning I experience a very important advantage.  When I wake up, I feel a lot fitter and feel much more refreshed.  Feeling good is obviously the motivation for many things in life.  To satisfy the desire of lighting up that cigarette was also very pleasant.  I enjoyed it very much for 40 years.  But the price you pay for it in the end is simply too high, (and then I don’t even want to talk about the ridiculous price of a pack of cigarettes these days).

5.     Are there more positive things to mention? Of course!  My gums have never been very good.  Because of special treatments we had kept the problem within bounds but I notice now that not smoking anymore has had an extra positive effect.  You feel it when you brush your teeth.

6.     Despite the asthmatic bronchitis, I notice that on good days, I breathe a lot more air.  Asthma knows its ups and downs but there are days that when I do sports it goes very well and I clearly profit from my smoke-free lungs.  Who knows, by not smoking anymore, maybe in time, I will be able to eliminate this asthmatic little devil. Hopefully, hopefully!  In any case, it will be an extra incentive to stay away from cigarettes.

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http://www.quitnet.com

http://www.quitsmokingsupport.com/

http://www.quitsmoking.com/

http://www.chriscor.com/linkstoa.htm

http://www.lungusa.org/partner/quit/

http://quitsmoking.about.com/