Brazil asked readers who used to smoke about how and why they quit, and here’s what they said:
“I allowed myself to smoke only really bad cigarettes.”
“I decided to stop smoking because I tried to walk up a ramp on my college campus, and I almost died from shortness of breath. After three years of smoking, I quit it.
The strategy: I allowed myself to smoke only really bad cigarettes, with terrible taste. The taste and the feeling of smoking these cigarettes were so bad that not only did I quit, but they also gross me out now. And, also, I would always eat baby carrots whenever I felt like smoking.”
“Don’t be afraid to try and fail.”
“I decided to stop smoking when I was about to turn 30, and it was like, ‘Wake up, you’re killing yourself a little bit more every day and you have a daughter to raise!’ I decided that on my 30th birthday I was going to smoke for the last time, and so I did. Choosing a day to quit smoking was crucial because I had tried quitting before. I smoked from when I was 15 until I turned 30. I couldn’t do this anymore.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, I wish you a bunch of strength! Don’t be afraid to try and fail, and don’t give up!”
“Quit something else that you love when you decide to stop smoking.”
“I started smoking when I was 13. When I turned 20, I let it all hang out and started smoking in front of my parents. Since then, I’d go back and forth between smoking tons of cigarettes and smoking almost none. Nowadays, I am 32 and I have a kind of allergy-induced eczema that is so strong I wasn’t even supposed to be smoking.
At the beginning of this year, I started a stronger treatment to control the allergy which included strong medications and cutting some things like refined wheat, milk, and other dairy products indefinitely. Since I had to do all that anyway, I decided to quit smoking as well. I smoked my last pack of cigarettes during New Year’s, and I haven’t bought more cigarettes since.
My advice is: Quit something else that you love when you decide to stop smoking because then you won’t miss your cigarettes that much. Sometimes I forget about the cigarettes, but cheese… I think about it every day. I even dream about it.”
“I made the promise that if I got into college, I’d quit smoking.”
“I smoked from when I was 15 until I was 18. It started out as a one-time thing, but then I got addicted. I stopped when I made the promise that if I got into college, I’d quit smoking. And I did.
It was the hardest thing to do because all my friends smoked. But I realized that I only smoked in certain moments and places, always during the breaks between classes, for instance. When I got into college, my habits changed and my desire for cigarettes began to decrease over time. Nowadays, I don’t even smoke when I drink beer, which used to be one of the things I loved the most, and I hate the smell of cigarettes.”
“She died of lung cancer, and her death hit me really hard.”
“My grandma began to smoke when she was 11 years old, and everyone in my family smokes as well. She died of lung cancer, and her death hit me really hard. I developed depression, and I promised myself I would never smoke again. I never did, either, in honor of my grandma’s death and because of my health as well.”
“I realized I couldn’t even climb up the stairs in my house without feeling like I had just run a marathon.”
“I smoked from when I was 16 until I was 20, when I got pregnant. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding, I smoked for another year, but then I realized I couldn’t even climb up the stairs in my house without feeling like I had just run a marathon. The day I had to stop and catch my breath in the middle of the staircase was the day I decided I had to quit smoking. Ultimately, quitting was easier than I thought because I only wanted to smoke when I drank alcohol. I’ve smoked a couple of cigarettes since, but I am proud to say that next March I will complete six years without smoking.”
“I had a massive asthma episode. It led to cardiopulmonary arrest and I almost died.”
“I live in Portugal, and I am almost 33 years old. I began to smoke when I was 11, and I found out I had a severe case of asthma when I was 19. That didn’t make me quit smoking. It actually made me smoke even more — in the past few years, I began to smoke two packs a day. I tried everything to quit. In one of the treatments, I spent over 400 euros on medications that were supposed to help me stop smoking.
Last October, I had a massive asthma episode. It led to cardiopulmonary arrest and I almost died. After a few days in the hospital, I came back home and I thought, ‘I spent so many days without smoking, I think I should try and not smoke today as well.’ And that’s how it’s been since last October, one day at a time! I WON’T SMOKE TOMORROW EITHER.”
—Joana Magalhães Ferreira
“It makes me feel really proud.”
“I quit smoking four years ago. My husband and I had a pretty junkie life. When he had a cardiac arrest and almost died, it left me in shock. We decided to lead a ‘clean lifestyle’ because if that wasn’t enough to make us rethink our lives, then nothing else would.
I was a heavy smoker and I’d say things like, ‘Smoking makes me feel relaxed, less stressed, and if it doesn’t bother me, then I will never quit.’ I even doubted that I could quit. But after the second week without smoking, I let go of it, and nowadays it makes me feel really proud. I thought that even if I stopped smoking, seeing other people smoke would make me want a cigarette as well. I was so wrong. I don’t feel anything nowadays. Good luck! Some advice: Eventually you won’t feel like smoking, and it’ll be such a relief.”
“I also started drinking a loooot of water.”
“I quit smoking for good over seven years ago. Before that, I tried quitting for two years, failing miserably every time. One day, I thought I was going to relapse because I was feeling nervous, but as soon as I put the cigarette in my mouth, I had acid reflux. It was then that I understood that my body was rejecting the cigarette, even though my mind would ask for it in critical moments. Nowadays, I can’t even smell the smoke without feeling my stomach churn. It makes me feel sick.
I also started drinking a lot of water every time I wanted to smoke and I developed the habit of having water around me at all times. Thanks to that I might be a screw up in life, but I am super hydrated.”
—Erika C. Silva
“Every time I lit up a cigarette, I would think of her praying for me.”
My mother found out I was smoking and started to pray for me. So every time I lit up a cigarette, I would think of her praying for me until midnight and I’d feel a lump in my throat.”