House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Lori A. Johns, a family nurse practitioner at Sutter Coast Health Center in Brookings-Harbor.
Ask a smoker about quitting, and you may hear a lot of possible responses:
• I do not want to quit. I like smoking, why should I quit smoking? I hate everyone nagging me about smoking.
• I have tried to quit before, many times, and failed. But I am thinking about it.
• My health outweighs the reason why I smoke. My mind is made up; it is time for a healthy change
• I am taking action using a method or methods to help me stop smoking.
If you are a smoker and your response is any of the above except the first, here is one method to help you stop smoking.
Say you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Start the first week by saving one cigarette out of each daily pack of cigarettes and place the saved cigarettes in a zipper type plastic bag.
The second week you save two cigarettes from each pack every day and place the saved cigarettes in the plastic bag. Each week start saving one more cigarette a day.
When you reach the point where you are saving 10 or 11 cigarettes a day you will no longer need to buy cigarettes for awhile. Take the money you would have spent on cigarettes and place it in a separate account at your bank or credit union.
When you get down to zero cigarettes being smoked and you really need a cigarette, you can go to your bank or credit union (during regular business hours not the ATM) and take out the exact amount of money for buying a pack of cigarettes.
Withdrawal symptoms of nicotine addiction are the worst the first few days after stopping smoking. When the urge to smoke strikes, take a deep breath, drink water, do something with your hands, do a puzzle, wash your car, anything to delay your urge to smoke, because the urge lasts three to five minutes.
This is the time where you are working to stay smoke-free. You will have learned activities to avoid smoking when you have an urge.
Hopefully when you are no longer smoking any cigarettes you will not need to buy any more, and the money in your credit union or bank can be spent on something for you to celebrate your freedom from cigarette smoking.