It’s not easy to quit smoking, even after a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) diagnosis. For many members of MyCOPDTeam, COPD was a wakeup call that helped them quick smoking, which may help slow the progression of the disease. They provide advice and support to those members still struggling to stop smoking.
“You gotta get scared enough to quit,” said one member. “I quit by making it a personal battle between me and Nic (nicotine). It was a hard fight, but I won,” explained another. “Quitting ‘the habit’ was the single hardest thing I EVER did! I still have COPD, but the quality of my life has improved, and I may have gained years, too. Who knows? At least I smell better!” shared one ex-smoker. Members who still smoke worry about their health and express frustration with their progress. “I’ve attempted it several times since my diagnosis and failed terribly. The patches, gum, vape pens, even cold turkey (which I wouldn't recommend)! Any support I can get will be very appreciated!” said one man, echoing the concerns of other member smokers.
Successfully breaking the addiction involves addressing habits and routines that support it – and not beating yourself up for failing members advise.
“When you’re trying to quit, you’re battling a two-headed demon: The physical and the psychological,” shared one member, who stopped smoking three years ago. “I kept falling off the wagon but always stood up, brushed myself off, and got back on.”
Members have tried various smoking cessation approaches. Some members go cold turkey. Others use a stepped-down approach. “I cut down to one cigarette every four days. When you get down to one a day, it’s much easier to give it up,” explained one member.
They’ve also used one or more prescription medications, such as Chantix (Varenicline) and Zyban (Bupropion Hcl). “This is my third time with Zyban - previous attempts had me smoke-free for 19 months and 15 months. Every time I've gone back, I've smoked less than before,” said one member.
Alternative therapies have helped some members. “Acupuncture worked for me. I haven’t smoked for 14 years – and no cravings!” said one woman. Another was able to go cold turkey using a form of hypnosis. “I listened to a quit-smoking CD that was slightly hypnotic. I’ve not touched another smoke for 31 years.”
There are many scientifically proven medications, therapies, and resources to help you quit smoking. Consult with your doctor to find the best approach for you.
Even after years without a cigarette, members of MyCOPDTeam admit they still get cravings. Although those urges may pass, having a “trigger strategy” can help stop a slip.
One member carries “patches and Nicorette mini-lozenges for intermittent cravings.” Another member swears by an app called Smoke Free. “It keeps me honest, accountable, and eager to continue keeping my body smoke-free,” he said.
Others find ways to keep their hands busy. “When you get the urge to smoke, have a hard candy - or play with a pencil or stress ball - until it passes,” suggested one member. One woman “started doing crafts that used both hands, such as knitting, crocheting, and beading, while another member “takes a walk when the smoking urge strikes,” he said.
Many members of MyCOPDTeam stop and start smoking several times before they finally quit for good. But don’t beat yourself up, they advise others.
“Three little words: ‘Don’t quit quitting.’ It took me eight attempts over a couple of years, but it was the absolute BEST thing I’ve ever done for myself,” shared one man.
When members slip or relapse, positive self-talk has helped them get back on track. “People have difficulty quitting because they put too much stress on themselves. Just start each day with, ‘I’m not going to smoke TODAY.’ Get through that day, start again the next day. One day at a time” advised one member.
Others remind themselves why they’re still alive. “It has been 31 years since I gave up smoking,” said one 84-year-old member. “I still have COPD, but it’s under control. I wouldn’t be here now if I’d still been smoking.”
On MyCOPDTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with COPD, members talk about a range of personal experiences including quitting smoking.
Here are some conversations about quitting smoking:
Can you relate? Go to MyCOPDTeam today and start - or join - the conversation. You'll be surprised by how many others share similar stories.