At the start of the year, I posted my resolutions and one of them was to quit smoking. I had hoped something less dramatic than a baby would’ve been encouragement enough, but apparently not, and a couple of weeks after I found out I was pregnant I kicked the habit and decided to go cold turkey, which means I didn’t use anything to replace the habit.
I’ve quit before using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as patches and an inhalator, but this time around I wanted to come off the nicotine completely since I didn’t like the idea of it being fed to my growing bump. At the time I was extremely anxious about it since I had a heavy smoking habit – 26-30 a day – and I was scared what sort of psychological problems I’d have by suddenly depriving my body of something it had come to depend on for almost 17 years. However, having tried both methods, I strongly recommend going cold turkey and just quitting it all if you want to do it properly.
With NRT, you’re replacing one addiction with another. I know that in a way it’s a good way of slowly weaning yourself off the habit and breaking away gently, but I know quite a few people who end up on NRT for years and they can ‘t come off it. I know of one guy who quit quite a few years ago and the two times he’s come off the NRT, he’s had a cigarette within the hour. Obviously this is an extreme example, but my thoughts are that you’re better of putting yourself through hell for a few days going cold turkey and then becoming free for good.
With cold turkey, I had around 3 days where I was pretty miserable, followed by 1 day where I felt intensely depressed and was in bed crying for several hours (although that’s probably the pregnancy hormones too!) and that was pretty much it. A week after quitting I felt like a non-smoker. I didn’t really have cravings and smoking felt like something from my faraway past. It’s a strange psychology, but I just felt like I had kicked the habit. Obviously it’s only 37 days since I quit but it really doesn’t feel like an issue for me. I do like to be around smokers as I still like the smell, but I have no inclination to have a cigarette. There’s every chance this is the pregnancy taking over – there have certainly been quite a few cases of women finding smoking repulsive for the duration of their pregnancy – and I’m not saying I’ll never smoke again. However, I am pleased I decided to go cold turkey as I feel so much more free than I ever did when I was on NRT. I think NRT keeps the fear of being a non-smoker alive, whereas cold turkey allows you to face the fear and push through it.
If you’re thinking of quitting smoking then best of luck and I promise you won’t find it half as hard as you think you will!