How to stop smoking one day at a time

There are some addictions that are so common you may believe they are normal like drinking coffee or for some people smoking a cigarette. I was probably 12 years old when I tried my hand at smoking one of my mother’s cigarettes. She’s since quit about 20 years ago before my sister was born. And it’s so funny after all these years of divorce my ddd still smokes the same brand, which shows they had at least this one thing in common. I ended up developing this habit early on in my teenage years, reaching it’s peak during my high school and university years. This was likely the age which was most impressionable. There was a sense at the time that smoking was cool, fun and the in-thing to do. There was also the drama of hiding or doing things behind your parents backs and even the thrill of being caught every once in a while.Anyway I later gave up smoking several times and once even managed it for about 1 and half years in my early 20s. This time I stopped about a year ago maybe beginning 2007. I learned to stop counting the days since my last cigarette as an affirmation that it’s not important enough and I proceed like I never smoked. And there is specific reasons I will never, ever smoke again. They include the very obvious ones like the risk of lung cancer and others. The reasons I should stop, always sounded good, and the benefits clear. Now I asked myself why did I go back to smoking in the past? The simple answer is because I did not think about the long term consequences and I also did not have any long term strategy in place to prevent me from going back to this disgusting habit. That was the key realisation, the long term strategy to kicking any habit is a crucial consideration to the process of reducing or removing your dependency from the addiction – whatever that may be. My health was also much lower on my hierarchy of values and now it’s much higher. this is what I did differently:

  1. I started cut down the number of cigarettes I smoked every day until it was about once per day.
  2. I reduced it to about 2 or 3 times over a weekend.
  3. I eventually had it down to about once a weekend.
  4. After this I began to associate smoking with people I didn’t like, places I didn’t like.
  5. I associated not smoking with people I liked, places I liked.
  6. I disassociated smoking with drinking – which is probably the most difficult link to break.
  7. I avoided places where people smoke like bars and clubs.
  8. I avoided people who smoke.
  9. I avoid women who smoke or when they did I would punish them by not kissing them and telling them why I am not kissing them.
  10. I always say no and move away from anyone offering me a cigarette with a mental note to avoid them in future.

Perhaps this sounds like a tedious measure but for me it has worked after quitting and starting to smoke several times over the last 15 years. The benefits of not smoking cannot be underestimated. For many people it’s a lifestyle choice and the ban on smoking in public and workplace in South Africa has made it easier to stop smoking. Today there is a complete turn off in my mind when I am close to or surrounded by smokers in public places to the extent that I leave the place to go somewhere else. Most women who smoke also turn me off the moment I see them smoking as well.

If you have any other suggestions for how to stop smoking post them as comments below…


Author: RJ Thomas

RJ Thomas is an International Relationship Builder. He was born in South Africa, and moved to China in 2013.

  • Allen Carr’s book worked for me. 6 years down the line, and I’m still grateful every day I don’t do that anymore…. YUK!!! So many people say they still enjoy it….. shame, it’s hard!

  • I’ve attempted to quit a couple times, including a period of 1.5yrs in early years at varsity. Unfortunately, I’ve bounced back and as a project manager and developer, I find myself drawn to smoking as a break from the desk or a moment of clarity. These are terrible events to associate with smoking, however this is the position I am in. About 3 months ago, I quit drinking coffee, completely cold turkey and I’ve stuck to it – I was drinking 5 or 6 cups a day, usually filter, but I kicked it. I would love to apply the same to smoking, but not only is the addiction intense, just everything else which goes with it is difficult to adjust or drop.

    Anyway, just sharing my bit of a story, thanks for an interesting read Ramon.

  • Pingback: Would you date a woman who smokes? — Ramon Thomas Blog()

  • Thanks for the review and info. I’ve been smoking for years but do want to quit, going to order the book for Amazon now. Thanks!

  • Bemused

    I packed it in a few weeks ago after many years. The wife still smokes. I decided that I just didn’t want to smoke. I didn’t look for any health reasons. I just didn’t like the taste of my mouth in the morning or the smell of ashtrays.
    And now it doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t miss it and if someone else wants to smoke, that’s fine. My sense of smell has improved quite a lot so I find that I tend to gravitate toward clean air areas. But, I try not to be arrogant or rude about my behaviour.
    So where I’m going with this is that giving up smoking is not that difficult as long as you start out with the right mind set.
    Stop because you really want to. Because you don’t like smoking any more. And it works. Really.

  • Thanks for the interesting article.

  • I had a relapse since writing this blog post. And I have since stopped because I have had other more important things to focus on. And as it stands today I have one more cigarette left for the rest of the year. So yes, I do feel like a hypocrite and I will update this post where relevant with my own smoking or non-smoking experiences.

  • Phuthu Challenge for May 2009: QUIT SMOKING

    With WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY coming up on the 31st of May, it’s a great opportunity to challenge every smoker to kick the habit.

    C’mon, you know you should. You know it’s inevitable, you probably want to see how long you can get away with it before you have to put a date to it, don’t you? Yeah, I’m onto you, baby! I smoked for many years; I know that the motivation and desire to quit has to come from within. No stop smoking advert or documentary – no matter how gross – actually had any effect on me. It’s a very hard decision to make and the moment you choose to quit, it puts a deadline in place, which is quite scary.

    Read more:





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  • Ldaries

    I love your article and will take it into consideration. At the same time I have learnt that what works for one does not neccesarily work for another. I am fully aware of what is at stake. Lol I mean my mom works at a tuberculosis hospital. When I was the age of 9 I saw first hand what a human lung contaminated by nicotene are tar pitch black. Yet that did not put me off. I know the pros and cons and the repocussions of me not stopping. I knw exactly what I should do. My biggest problem is not going thru with it.