Wellness Guide: Smoking Cessation
How I Quit: LaTanya's Story
"I loved to smoke. I smoked three to four packs a day for 28 years. Cigarettes were my best friend; I had them wherever I went. I got mad if I went somewhere and I wasn't able to smoke, like a friends house or car. Sometimes I just wouldn't go. If there was an hour wait for the smoking section in a restaurant, I would wait. Then one day everything changed.
"One night when I was getting ready for bed I noticed some bleeding in the back of my mouth. A friend of mine had throat cancer from smoking so I was terrified that the same thing was happening to me. I basically became too scared to smoke. I stopped cold turkey that day. Although it turned out not to be cancer, I realized that if I could stop for one day I could stop for two days. Then it turned into three days. I have never smoked again and it has been more than 10 years now. I never believed it while I was smoking, but I really can tell the difference. I don't have a cough anymore, and I breathe a lot better. I really never thought I would be an ex-smoker. I mean I smoked for more than half my life! I had tried to quit before but I never stayed quit. Something would happen, some crisis at work, or fight with my girlfriend and I would start smoking again. I would feel like such a failure. But I have since found out that it takes most people several tries at quitting before they actually quit for good. After I quit for good I had to find other ways to deal with stressful situations. Sometimes I just had to pray for help or meditate. It got better though. I think the important this is to keep trying. I learned a lot about myself - that I am stronger than I thought. Now that I don't smoke I can spend all that cigarette money on other things." – LaTonya, 45 year old ex-smoker