Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Quit Smoking Plan

"He who fails to plan, plans to fail."

I am not sure who said that, but there is a lot of truth in it. If you don't have a plan, you are going to fail. Imagine trying to build a house without a plan. Or go through school without a plan. What would the results be? Probably not very good. The house would probably collapse on top of you, and you would probably never finish your education.

If you have ever tried to quit smoking, you know that it is a HUGE undertaking. Although some smokers are able to wake up one morning and decide they will never smoke again, most of us simply cannot do that. We need to have a plan. We need to figure out how we are going to overcome nicotine addiction, what methods we intend on using, and what support systems we are going to use.

To me, my smoking is 2 things. It is an addiction, and it is a habit. I am addicted to nicotine, but I also find myself smoking out of habit. When I started thinking about quitting again, I looked back at my previous attempts at quitting and tried to figure out why I failed. It occurred to me that in all of my previous attempts, I focused on the addiction and not the habit. Let me explain. In one of my previous attempts at quitting, I used the nicotine patch. A nicotine patch provides a steady, controlled dose of nicotine throughout the day, thereby reducing the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Patch strength is reduced over time, which weans the smoker off of nicotine gradually. The patch helps people quit smoking by gradually reducing the amount of nicotine that enters the body. So, in essence, the patch fights the addiction, but really does nothing for the habit. The habit is going for a cigarette even though you are not craving one. For example, every morning when I wake up one of the first things I do is go out for a cigarette. I don't even have to think about it. It is like second nature. When I get to work, I have a cigarette while I am walking from my car to work. Again, I don't always feel like I 'need' a cigarette. It is just habit. And this continues throughout the day. Does that make sense? Do you see how addiction and habit are 2 different things? Since I feel that I have to fight both the nicotine addiction and the smoking habit in order to become a non-smoker, I have come up with a plan. There are 2 phases in this plan.

Phase 1
In Phase 1 of my plan, I will work on the addiction. During this phase, I will decrease my body's dependence on nicotine. I will use a combination of Nic-Out filters and a device called SmokeSmart. I have reviewed Nic-Out in a previous post. You can see the review by clicking HERE. I will review SmokeSmart in the near future. Both Nic-Out and SmokeSmart reduce the tar and nicotine in cigarettes. I will slowly wean by body off of nicotine. When I feel that I have gotten my nicotine intake to a low enough level, I will move on to Phase 2.

Phase 2
In Phase 2 I will work on the habit part of my smoking. When I am at work, I currently have a cigarette break every 2 hours. During this phase I will slowly increase the time span between cigarettes. Instead of every 2 hours, I will have a cigarette ever 2 hours and 15 minutes, then every 2 hours and 30 minutes, and so on. There are a few habitual cigarettes that are going to be hard to change...like the 1st cigarette of the day, and the last cigarette of the day. I have not totally figured out how to deal with those yet. But I figure if I start with the habit cigarettes that are easy first, then the harder ones might not be as hard when I get around to working on them.

So there you have it. I have 2 things to work on in order to give up smoking, and I have a plan that will work on each of those things individually. There is 1 more thing that my plan needs...my quit date. I originally though that August 1st, 2009 would be a good date to shoot for. It was far enough into the future that I would not have to rush my plan and still give me a month until the baby is born. But someone at QuitNet talked me out of it. They thought that quitting smoking and then have a baby soon after would be too stressful. So I have changed my quit date to July 4th, 2009. It may seem that July 4th is too far into the future, and maybe it is. But like I said earlier, I do not want to rush this quit. I want to take it slow and easy. Besides, I like the thought of quitting on Independence Day.

Wish me luck!

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