Salutations. Mr. Know-It-All here. And seeing as I am Mr. K-I-A—meaning I know all, by definition—I certainly do know that it’s time to give up smoking soon, as the smoking ban in literally all air-conditioned spaces is going to take effect in July, and will especially affect bars and clubs. Singapore’s propensity to snuff out all pleasure has already led me to give up my afternoon cigar (now it’s TWO afternoon brandies to compensate). So from now on, I’m saying goodbye to my trademarked cigar and giving up the habit for good—and maybe it’s time you do it, too.
Afraid of cancer, stroke or heart disease? Have erectile dysfunction and a low sperm count? Think cigarettes here are waaaaaay overpriced? If your answers are yes, then quit. But it’s hard, you say. I know (again, I’m Mr. K-I-A). But for any project to succeed, you need to set clear goals. So think through the disadvantages of smoking, in terms of money, health and your appearance. Don’t jumpstart your cessation regime until you are fully ready. But once you are, then you’ll probably find it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Step 1: Analyze it
Knowing more about your enemy always gives you an advantage. Jot down in detail when and why you feel you must smoke. Be alert at these moments and try to suppress the urge to smoke. “If you find yourself not smoking after dinner when you used to, then you are on the right track,” says Keiko Cheung, who has successfully kicked her 10-year smoking habit. For instance, I wrote, “Smoking makes you sexier.” And, of course, I’m pretty sexy already so I found out how redundant that was. Huh.
Step 2: Dig your toes in
List all the reasons why you must quit. Let them do the magic and convince you that kicking the habit does you more good than bad. “If you have the will power, you can quit,” says Abby Wong, a 51-year-old housewife who had been smoking for 20 years. “It took me a year to completely kick the habit, but I don’t remember having a hard time fighting off the urge to smoke.”
Step 3: Set a quit day
Pick a quit day. Let your friends know about your revolutionary move in order to secure sources of support and pampering when you go cold turkey. Make a scene of the announcement so big that if you ever take a U-turn, you’ll set yourself up to be the coward of the century. “If your friends don’t smoke, you are less likely to smoke too,” says Marcus Chan, who recently quit. So if you have a bunch of annoying smoking friends, you finally have a decent excuse to ditch them.
Step 4: Find substitutes
Chuck out everything in your house that is related to smoking—lighters, ashtrays, pipes, rollies, ciggies. You can also use nicotine patches, gum or inhalers to soothe the withdrawal symptoms. “Do something to divert your attention, such as going to the gym,” recommends Marcus Chan. Chances are that you’ll turn into a gym rat, but hey, we are all addicted to something. It may as well be something healthy.
Step 5: Watch your diet
The first four weeks of quitting are the most arduous, which may send you looking for support in high-calorie foods. But this is a vicious cycle as it can end up making you more irritable. So stay away from greasy food and keep a balanced diet with an abundance of vegetables and fruits.
Say these steps aren’t enough to kick you into action? Then check out Mastersoft Mobile Solutions’ “My Last Cigarette,” a computer program for people who want to quit smoking. It calculates the number of cigarettes you have smoked, days you have been a non-smoker for, your life expectancy before and after you quit, the money you will be able to save, the amount of toxic substances in your body, the number of smoking-related deaths that occur while you are quitting, and more.
A Last-Ditch Attempt
If you have tried to quit many times before without luck, then try this: Binge on cigarettes. Just smoke and smoke and smoke—a carton a day for example. Hopefully this will be so disgusting and make you so sick that you’ll purge any desires for tobacco you may have ever had. Hey—if this is the only way to go, so be it.
Unconventional ways of stubbing out the habit
The effect of the smoking ban and places where smoking will be disallowed
Two people shared with us their cautionary quitting smoking tales