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How Do I Quit Smoking and Stay Quit Long Term?

American author Mark Twain once said, "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it hundreds of times." If you've been smoking for any length of time, you've probably already quit multiple times yourself, and you recognize the grain of truth behind Mark Twain's quip.

I smoked for 35 years and I quit too many times to count. I tried everything from cold turkey to hypnosis to nicotine replacement therapy to prescription drugs like Zyban. But every time I quit, I eventually went back to smoking.

Until the last time.

In the fall of 2001, I was having a lot of trouble breathing, and I finally went to my doctor about it. I was diagnosed with emphysema in November of that year, and my doctor told me that if I continued to smoke, the emphysema would get worse until I'd have to be on oxygen all day just to be able to breathe. And if I continued to smoke after that, eventually, even the oxygen wouldn't help any more, and I'd die, gasping for breath like someone was holding a pillow over my face.

I didn't want that to happen, so I vowed to quit smoking and stay quit for the rest of my life. I smoked my last cigarette on November 19th, 2001, and I've never looked back.

How do you quit smoking? That's really the easiest part, and there are lots of resources that can show you exactly how to do it. The program that I used in November of 2001 was the American Lung Association's "Freedom From Smoking" Online program. It's still available, it's very reasonably priced, and it's an excellent program.

Other good resources are Allen Carr's "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" (available as a free download from many sites) and Patricia Allison's "Hooked But Not Helpless" (you can still get used copies on Amazon, and you may be lucky enough to find a copy at your local library).

How do you stay quit, long-term? That's the hardest part for most of us, but I've found that there are a couple of things you can do that will greatly increase your chances of success:

First, find a community of people who are either quit, or are in the process of quitting, and ask for support when you need it. You may be able to find a local support group; many hospitals, churches, and civic organizations sponsor such groups. The main problem with this option is that, even in a big city, it will likely be just a handful of people, and everybody has other commitments, so you may not be able to find the support you need at the exact moment you need it.

That's why I believe online communities are a better option: the larger forums have members from all over the world, so chances are good that you'll be able to find the support you need, when you need it, any time, day or night.

Second, and even more important in my opinion: offer your help to others who need it. You may think (especially when you're first starting out) that you don't have much to offer. But sometimes, the best support in the world is just knowing that you're not alone in going through a difficult challenge. Maybe all you can say is, "Hey, I know what you're going through; I'm going through it myself." But maybe that's the one thing that will make the difference between somebody giving up or deciding to hang in there.

Never underestimate the power of support, and remember: it's every bit as valuable to give as it is to receive.

By: Roger Ricafort

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  1. Kira- kira bisa diterapkan gak ya buat orang Indonesia?
    Kayaknya di Indonesia itu sulit banget mau berhentikan orang ngrokok soalnya secara gak langsung negara kita itu ngasih kesempatan orang- orang buat nikmatin rokok
    contohnya saja penjualan rokok secara bebas dengan harga yang murah :(

  2. To rizki_ris: Kalau mau menghentikan orang yang merokok tentu akarnya mesti diberantas (Pabrik rokok ditutup) tapi hal itu pasti akan menimbulkan banyak problema baru.

    di negara kita yang saya dengar bahwa rokok termasuk pemberi pajak terbesar bagi pemerintah. Dari pajak rokok tsb sebagian dipakai untuk dana pembangunan fasilitas umum seperti pembuatan atau perbaikan jalan yg setiap hari kita lewati.

    Untungnya Pemerintah cepat tanggap salah 1 contohnya dg munculnya perda-perda yg melarang merokok ditempat umum. dg begitu setidaknya antara perokok dan bukan perokok tidak saling bersinggungan.

    Tapi yang pasti merokok tidak baik untuk kesehatan, jd menghindari rokok semaksimal mungkin adalah cara yang bijak untuk melindungi diri anda dan orang lain... trims :)

  3. Hello my friend.
    very cloudy.
    Good Tuesday.

  4. To Tebinfea:
    Hello Teb... good day for you :)