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Your story: Julie calls it quits

Posted by Patrick: June 2013

JulieI had been smoking since I was just 13 years old, 16 years of smoking. I did try and quit a few times, but had no luck. I was spending about $80–90 per week on cigarettes, smoking about 12 cigarettes per day, more on weekends. A pack of 40 was not lasting very long at all.

Towards the end of 2012, cigarettes were tasting different. They didn't taste like they used to and the smell was like burning chemicals. Each cigarette was beginning to make me nauseous, especially at night lying in bed. I was beginning to cough at night time, the coughing sounded horrible. This scared the crap out of me and I figured that if I kept smoking there would be a time where I may cough up blood. I thought it was about time my body was rejecting the cigarettes, hopefully now I can give them up for good.

At first I decided to buy myself 1mg cigarettes (1mg is a huge difference compared to 12mg, it's like going from 3 teaspoons of sugar to 1 teaspoon). I got used to smoking the 1mg within a few days, so when I was down to 2 cigarettes I thought 'I'm not going out to get more, this is it, I'm done.' I was nervous, I really didn't want the cravings and the anxiety that came with quitting, but I thought I would give it a go.

I have noticed that I feel so much more relaxed in a way that I can breathe more easily. Before, when I was smoking, it felt like I had a constant weight on my chest and I wasn't able to take a deep breathe with ease. I have started exercising. I do get puffed out but my chest doesn't hurt any longer and I'm not gasping for air. My skin has become so much smoother and clear and not so dry. My hair no longer smells, I can actually smell the shampoo in my hair rather than smelling like cigarettes.

Previously I had quit about five times, but I was constantly craving. I had nausea and headaches. I did realise though, that each time I quit, symptoms were different. I did learn that you really need to believe that you can give it up. I have also learnt that it is all in the mind. If you can quit and trick your mind into thinking that you are still smoking, you will see that you will get through it so easy.

Quit's new ad (The Last Dance) is very sad. I feel extremely sorry for the wife and it makes me think how selfish he was to smoke. Smoking doesn't just effect the smoker, it affects people close to them. My fiancé was always trying to make me give up. He is really happy that I did.

I think it's horrible how our body becomes so addicted to something that is so bad for you. I think that if people knew someone close to them that was dying of lung cancer from smoking, I think they would quit no doubt. It does make you think twice, but a lot of people think that it won't happen to them.

My advice to other smokers who have recently given up would be to take it day by day. I found that really helped me. Keep yourself busy, stay away from places which involve socialising by the ashtray. Stay away from alcohol, unless you're around people that don't smoke. Cut down on caffeine and drink lots of water. Stay confident and believe in yourself.

For more information about quitting visit quit.org.au

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