I stopped smoking in December 2020 after 34 years of around 10-20 cigarettes a day.
I smoked throughout my 1st pregnancy, I reduced it dramatically during my 2nd pregnancy and was down to one every few days with my 3rd pregnancy. I've smoked in the house and in the car with my kids.
I grew up in a smoking household, where my father would smoke during breakfast, lunch and dinner, in the car. He'd ask me to pass him a cigarette, light it up for him and taught me how to make cigarettes with tea leaves, the dog end and newspaper like he did when he started smoking at aged 10.
If we couldn't get a seat in the smoking section, my father would take us elsewhere.
I smoked on the school/college bus. I smoked on trains and I'm old enough to have smoked on aeroplanes.
My dad stopped smoking around 10 years before he died of a stroke, after surviving a heart attack. He was 77, he always said if he made it to 80 he'd start smoking again. He missed it everyday. He loved the smell of other people's tobacco.
I married a smoker also, although he has stopped for a couple of years at a time, he has returned to it, he now smokes Heets and is on a program to giving up over the coming months.
I've had little, if no praise for stopping smoking. People who drink get congratulated and people who lose weight get celebrated. I'm not here to judge but I personally don't think being obese or an alcoholic is healthy either and I do understand the argument about passive cigarette smoking. But it's actually been surprising as to how many people have said that they didn't know I smoked anyway, people from the now and people from the old days.
So how did I give up?
I made several false starts then decided to cut down on the number of cigarettes I smoked a day over a period of a few weeks, then as I got closer to not relying on the cigarettes any more, I picked a date to stop. Then I just stopped.
I didn't use alternatives, I just stopped.
The first 5 days were the hardest, my husband had been shut behind Saudi borders, it was Christmas, I was on my own in Dubai, so my whole routine and plans had changed and it got easier and easier.
The hardest part was the 'I would normally be smoking now, so what do I do instead?'
When you're used to going outside for a cigarette, or you smoke after a meal, getting out the car, before bed, with your morning coffee, it's hard to break the routine. The desire to smoke for comfort was greater than the need for the nicotine and the by the end of the first month I absolutely detested the smell of cigarette smoke. I could smell it in cars as they drove past, near railway stations, outside shops, on some occasions it made me physically gag.