Meet Barbwire11. She is a QuitNet ex-smoker, and an active member of the Qmunity. She's also one of the winners of QuitNet’s Great American Smokeout: Picture Your Quit contest; see her winning submission above (and log into QuitNet to view the contest page). We asked Barb to share her experience, strength and hope with us:
1. Can you tell us about your inspiration for your contest photo: "I'm
keeping my quit just so I can hang out with my grandson, breathing while I
laugh with him.”? How has your grandson inspired you to keep your quit going
I actually have 3 grandsons, this one is Ryley the youngest. His last visit is the first time he got to be around his Omi without a cloud of smoke following me & a butt in my hand. This the first time in his 14 yrs I could laugh spontaneously with him & not go into my "smokers choke" worrying if I 'd black out again. When they were young I referred to him & his brother as my heroes but they truly are; they taught me it was time to grow up & take control of my addiction. This young man is a straight A student, a super soccer player who refs other games when he has the time. How could I not possibly be inspired by him?
2. How many times have you tried to quit smoking? When did you quit, and how did you do it?
I've lost count of the number of times I tried to quit. I know every night at bed time I would tell myself I have to quit. I'd never gone one 24 hour period without a cigarette from age 13 to age 59. I'm 62 now, and I quit on Jan 25, 2010. I knew that if I made it 24 hours, then 3 days, I would become an ex smoker. 59,402 cigs not smoked over 33 months is huge to me.
I had my prescription for Champix (Chantix
in the U.S). I joined Quitnet. I read profiles of many that could have been about me & came to the realization I wasn't the only one whose main priority in life was smoking. Smoking was and had been controlling me. I joined the Chantix Users Club, where there was a ton of care, support, friendship and laughter.
Someone on the Q posted the link to Alan Carr
's book. It clicked for me somehow. I got angry at tobacco companies, I got angry at the government for knowingly allowing tobacco companies to add addictive additives to tobacco products. I got angry at me for being so stupid, not believing I was poisoning myself. I admitted to being an addict. I read every article I could about addiction, smoking tobacco, the ingredients of a cigarette; to me, knowledge is power. 3. How much did you smoke? What made you decide to quit?
I smoked for 46-47 yrs, never taking a break. I was up to 3 packs a day. If it was a long day I was known to open a 4th pack. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had quit 28 yrs previously. It was getting harder for me to walk & breathe at the same time. My denial was over.
4. How did you learn about QuitNet? And how long have you been a member?
It was advertised on British Columbia Canada radio and TV. I was getting tired of hearing about it, I'm like, "This is going to help .......HOW?" I can be arrogant, but am also known to eat crow, and I am curious, too.
Short answer is: almost 3 yrs. My newest addiction began December 2009 when I joined QuitNet! I was still smoking then but I would not smoke while on the Q -- as if they could see me! I've left and returned many times, I just can't stay away from so many caring people.
5. What's your most memorable experience on the Q?
I can't name just one experience but I do know this -- of all the times I tried to quit alone, I never made it to 24 hours. With the help, support, information and caring on the Q I finally have my freedom from nicotine, my breath. 6. What are some of your favorite quit smoking tools?
Sliced apples chewed really, really, really slow. As long as I was chewing I could forget about smoking. For the hand to mouth part it was a glass of water; to this day I have a drink in my hand, could be water or wine but that is what I reach for these days.
7. What would you say is your most valuable piece of advice to others trying to quit smoking?
Get support. Talk and read about others who have walked these steps before you; you may learn some tips. Get to know who your enemy is, admit to being an addict, and plan your quit. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, do what works best for you.
Smiles, and KTQ,
Meet Peggy. She is a nicotine addict. Today Peggy celebrates over 1241 days of being smoke-free. She is also the first place winner of QuitNet’s Great American Smokeout: Picture Your Quit contest and the inspiration behind this weeks’ Qblog.
After 20+ years of smoking, Peggy tells us, “The changes to life seem to evolve like quitting…I tend to embrace more of life now instead of hiding with a sickerette.”
Peggy found QuitNet in 2007. But it wasn’t until 2009 that she felt ready to quit. She joined the Chantix Users club—one of many clubs on QuitNet— and has made friends for life. In fact, the winning contest photo she submitted depicts her “QFriends” from the Chantix Users Club whom she met during a 3D meeting in Chicago. She explains, “We have grown close; this quitting journey had led us to exploration and discovery of ourselves, with each other.”
And it’s been quite a journey. On July 7, 2009, after over 20 years of smoking, Peggy turned to Chantix and the support of QuitNet, and turned away from cigarettes. She attributes being able to stay quit due to the education and shared experiences on QuitNet. She felt a bond with other Q members which kept her accountable to her quit. Shared stories, shared interests, shared laughter and shared tears brought Peggy closer to the Q. She learned a lot about her fellow Q members; she also learned a lot about herself.
While she holds onto many memories, she recalls a pivotal moment in her quit, when the advice of another fellow Q member kept her from almost losing a 6 month quit. She had just found out one of her close Q buddies had relapsed. And this advice was just what she needed to hear to stay on guard:
“Peggy, be careful if it was a close bud to you. For some reason when someone slips it can open a door to other buds to do the same. It happens a lot so please be careful, Peggy.”
Peggy considers herself privileged to have had her hand held and, in turn, has held the hands of others through difficult times. Ultimately, the accountability she felt for keeping her quit for her Q buddies shifted to keeping the quit for herself.
An important part of her quit day is the Morning Pledge. Each morning, she repeats these powerful words, “I pledge not to smoke today and offer my hand in friendship and support to the next." She still reads the list of pledgers and looks for newbies and other folks who may need an extra hand that day. There is nothing like the power of the pledge.
Congratulations to Peggy on her quit and her win! Keep the quit and keep on being an inspiration to others!
Many people make New Year's resolutions, with quitting smoking being high on the list. One of the most common questions I get from people is: "What is the best way to quit smoking?"
While there is no simple answer to this question, one thing is for certain: the greatest factor in quitting successfully is YOU. You make your quit work. The most effective quit programs will capitalize on multiple tools: a quit medication (to help take the edge off of cravings and withdrawal), coping strategies, and support.
Using an FDA approved quit medication can potentially double (if not greater) your odds of quitting. These include nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, nicotine inhaler, and nicotine spray), Bupropion (Zyban, Wellbturin), and Varenicline (Chantix, Champix). But like all medications, quit medications have both benefits and side effects to their use. Also not all of these medications are available over-the-counter; some require a doctor's prescription. Regardless of over-the-counter availablity, it's a good idea to let your doctor know that you are quitting. You and your doctor can come up with an effective and tailored quit plan that will be right for you.
Choosing a quit method involves taking into consideration different factors, including:
- Cost. Some medications are more expensive than others to use. What fits into your budget? Note: although the upfront costs of quitting may seem costly, in the long run, quitting is by far less costly in terms of cost of cigarettes, health, and work time lost.
- Convenience of use. Quit methods come in a variety of forms (pill, patch, lozenge, gum), doses & frequency, and required skill of use (i.e. you have to "chew" and "park" the nicotine gum). What method seems to best fit your lifestyle? For example, if you have trouble remembering to take pills, maybe Wellbutrin or Varenicline are not the best options for you.
- Medical history. Any medical conditions that might rule out the use of a quit method (unstable high blood pressure? uncontrolled diabetes? etc.)
- Nicotine dependence/use. Do you light up regularly? Or intermittently? If you smoke regularly, you might consider using a method that provides more continual support (i.e. nicotine patch) VS a medication that can be used "as needed" (i.e. nicotine gum or nicotine lozenge).
- Interest. What are YOU interested in using? Read up on various quit methods. What appeals to you most?
Ultimately there is no perfect quit method. There is only the perfect quit method for YOU. Cheers to a happy, smoke-free New Year!
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist