Why You Shouldn’t Quit Smoking

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Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

[Note: this article is about quitting smoking, but the same principles apply to many forms of addiction.]

Stop kidding yourself. You’re not ready to quit.

And that’s okay. The sooner you admit that you’re not ready, the sooner you’ll be able to quit once and for all.

I smoked for over 10 years. A pack a day for most of that time.

I tried to quit 14 times. Some attempts lasted a few days. Others lasted as long as 9 months.

But all 14 attempts had one thing in common — I wasn’t ready.

“It’s easy to quit smoking.  I’ve done it hundreds of times.” – Mark Twain

Not convinced?  Still think you’re ready? Fine.  Then answer this question:

Right now, this very instant, can you honestly say that you are ready to never take another drag from a cigarette?  Not a single drag.  Not ever.   Starting right now.

If your answer was “no,” or if you found yourself arguing with the question, then you’re not ready.  But I already knew your answer.  How did I know?  Because you’re reading this article.

I’ve helped dozens of students to successfully quit smoking.  If you follow the steps below, then you’ll succeed too.  And you won’t have to fail 14 times like I did.

Step 1: Admit It

You’re an addict. There’s no shame in admitting that. I am an addict too. And I quit smoking years ago!

So why do I still call myself an addict? Once an addict, always an addict. Especially with nicotine, the king of addictions.

During one attempted quit, let’s call it attempt #5, I actually picked up someone’s half-smoked cigarette from the ground. It was surreal, as if I wasn’t in control of my actions. I stopped myself midway, as if waking from a nightmare, but wow — that’s addiction!

I can admit that I’m an addict. Can you?

Step 2: Know Thy Enemy

stop-smoking1Nicotine is powerful stuff. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and messes with your dopamine pathways. After years of smoking, those pathways get altered. In other words, smoking physically changes your brain.

If you’ve been smoking for a few years, then your brain has been conditioned to responded to nicotine. Think about how many cigarettes, day in and day out, you’ve smoked. That’s a lot of training. No wonder your brain changed.

Can those dopamine pathways heal? Probably. I agree with Dr. Rankin that there is “no such thing as an incurable illness”, and I’ve seen the incredible power of self-healing in myself and thousands of students.

But when it comes to nicotine, it can take years to heal those pathways. So it’s a conundrum. By the time your dopamine pathways heal, by the time you MIGHT be able to take a drag without getting addicted, you’ll no longer have any desire to do so.

Step 3: Know Thyself

I can sit in a bar, surrounded by smokers, and have zero desire to smoke. If someone offers me a cigarette, I say “I don’t smoke” without hesitation, and without a second thought. Even when major stresses come into my life, I still don’t feel any urge to go buy a pack.

So I’m “cured” of smoking, right? Yes. But you know what? Even after all these years without a cigarette, even with my daily Qigong and Tai Chi practice, even with all the acupuncture I’ve received — I’m still not sure if my dopamine pathways are 100% back to normal.

And it doesn’t matter. Because I’m not going to find out. Even after all these years as an ex-smoker, I believe that a single drag might be enough to reignite the dopamine pathways and send me right back into addiction. That belief, whether it’s true or not, serves me well. It helps me in my mission to remain smoke free.

I’m an addict, and I understand the addictive nature of nicotine. I’ll never take another puff in my life. I won’t risk it. Period.

Step 4: Make Peace

Peace_button_largeAre you bargaining in your mind? Are you trying to rationalize a future where you can smoke cigarettes now and then? If so — forget it. That’s the addiction talking.  Once you break the addiction, you’ll think much more clearly.

You don’t have to quit now (we’ll get to that part soon). But once you do, you can’t smoke ever again. Make peace with that. You don’t have to like this advice, but for your own sake, you should make peace with it.

If you do the research, you’ll find that all ex-smokers agree on this issue.  All of us have one thing in common — we’re completely done with smoking.  That chapter is over.

What about those people who can just smoke on weekends?  Personally, I think they may be aliens in disguise. I’m not sure that they’re human.  Certainly, they are not addicted like you are, or like I was.   They aren’t REAL smokers.

I desperately wanted to believe that I could be like them, and I tried really hard to do it.  But it didn’t work.   At least 8 of my quit attempts failed because I tried to smoke “just now and then”.

It doesn’t work.  Ask any ex-smoker.  The next time you quit, it’s got to be forever.

Step 5: Quit Quitting.

Now for the fun part.  If you’ve been stressed out thinking about never smoking again, then relax.  You’re not quitting now. In fact, I want you to quit quitting.

The next time you quit will be the last.  Until then, you’re  going to continue smoking — and you’re going to do it completely guilt free.

Right now, there are too many negative emotions surrounding the act of smoking.  Guilt, shame, anger, worry, fear.  In the world of Chinese medicine, those emotions represent energy blockages.  You need to start clearing those blockages BEFORE you try to quit smoking.

If you’re constantly trying to quit, and constantly failing, then there’s never a chance to clear those blockages.  You’re spinning your tires in the mud.  You’re just reinforcing negative emotions, and making it harder and harder to actually quit.

Quitting smoking is stressful.  Of course, smoking is also your way of de-stressing.  If you quit too many times, you’re creating more stress than you’re eliminating.  You may actually be lowering your stress threshold rather than raising it.

Step 6: Enjoy Smoking

enjoy-smooth-smokingIf you’re reading this article, then you’ve probably gotten to the point where you hardly enjoy smoking any more.  You smoke because you’re addicted, because of the habit, because you would feel terrible if you didn’t smoke.  Gone are the days when you truly enjoy smoking.

We need to reclaim that.  I know it’s counter-intuitive.  But if hating smoking made it easier to quit smoking, you would have quit already, right?

So I’m giving you a free pass.  For the next 3-12 months, you’re going to smoke guilt free.  In fact, you’re NOT ALLOWED to quit smoking for at least 3 months.  If anyone questions you, tell them that Sifu Anthony said so, and they should take it up with me.  (It’s okay.  I know Tai Chi.)

For 3 months, I want you to savor each cigarette.  Be present.  Smile from the heart, if you know how.  Be here and now.  Notice the cigarette, the color of the cherry, the feel of the drag, the shape of the smoke.  That’s Zen.

Here’s what’s NOT Zen.  Lighting a cigarette and smoking half of it without hardly noticing.  And then needing to smoke another one immediately after because you missed the first one.

It’s critical that you don’t feel guilty.  Guilt just creates a negative loop.  You feel bad, and then you want to smoke more, and then you feel worse, so you smoke more.  You need to break the cycle, and the way to do that is by feeling good.

Step 7: Add Good Habits

lifting-sky-dockIn this article here, I talked about why most people fail with their New Year’s Resolutions.  They fail because they try to subtract bad habits rather than adding good one.  Don’t make the same mistake.

Don’t take anything away.  Add good habits first. The article above gives some examples of good habits that you can add, like walking, practicing gratitude, etc.  Make sure to read the article.  In many ways, it’s a companion piece to this article.  Here’s the link again.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on 1 main habit: The 2-Minute Drill.   It’s easy.  And it only takes 2 minutes.

The link above tells you everything you need to start doing the 2-Minute Drill on your own.  Eventually, I strongly recommend that you learn Qigong face-to-face. Learning from a website is a good start, but it’s not enough.  Go find a teacher (but keep an eye out for bad ones).

Learn the 2-Minute Drill ASAP.   If you’re not going to learn it right this instant, then schedule a time to learn it.  I’m serious.  If you finish this article without scheduling a time, then no matter how good your intentions, you won’t do it.  So put it on your calendar right now.

You first goal is to do the 2-Minute Drill twice a day, once in the morning, and again at night.  That’s harder than it sounds.  You’ll probably be okay for a few days, but then you’ll forget.  Keep trying until you succeed in doing it every day for 30 days.

Step 8: Set a Date

Keep smoking, and enjoying yourself, until you have made the 2-Minute Drill as a daily habit.  All of that enthusiasm and energy you periodically have toward quitting — put all of it into the 2-Minute Drill.  It’s not time to quit yet.

Once you’ve managed to do 30 days of the 2-Minute Drill (and not before), then you can think about setting a quit date.  There’s never a perfect time.  You’re going to be an absolute mess for a few weeks after you quit.  But you’ve got to do it sooner or later.

Remember, this next attempt at quitting is going to be your last one ever.  No more trying.  Do or do not.

Set the date far enough in advance that you can continue to do two things for a few more months — enjoy smoking, and practice the 2-Minute Drill.  So let’s say that you’ve successfully done the 2-Minute Drill for 30 days.  You decide to set your quit day 3 months down the road.  Until that day, you’re going to continue smoking, and continue doing the 2-Minute Drill.

Step 9: Get Ready

With your quit date set, you have time to get yourself ready.  Gradually start to arrange things for that day.  For example, collect all of the ashtrays in your house, and throw out all but one.  Tell people that you’re going to quit.  Obviously, you’ll also need to get rid of all your extra cigarettes.

I’m a big fan of the acupuncture protocol called NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association).  If you’re in Gainesville, my wife offers it at her clinic for $20-35 per session.  You should start doing this roughly 1-2 weeks BEFORE your quit day.  (If you’re not in Gainesville, then look for a NADA practitioner near you.)  This will help you to get ready for the big day.

But most importantly, get your heart and mind ready for the big day.  You’re gradually psyching yourself up, reminding yourself of all the reasons you want to quit.

Step 10: Say Goodbye

So the big day is approaching.  You’ve told all your friends so that they can support you (and not tempt you, if they’re smokers).  You’ve gotten the house ready.  You’ve gotten rid of all but a few cigarettes.

This is a personal choice, but I’m a big believer in the power of ritual.  I still remember the last cigarette that I smoked.  I made a little ritual out of it, and said goodbye, as if saying goodbye at a funeral.

I recommend that you smoke your last cigarette at night.  That way, you can wake up the next morning and start fresh.  And that’s exactly what you’re going to get — a fresh start on life.

Step 11: Go Cold Turkey

quit-smoking-cigaretteForget the patch.  Forget the gum.  Cold turkey is the only way to go.   Again, just ask ex-smokers, and the successful ones all agree — go cold turkey.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you.  It’s going be rough for a few weeks.  You’re going to go through withdrawal from one of the most addictive substances known to man. But that’s a necessary part of the process.

The suffering that you experience during the withdrawal is part of the equation.  Don’t wimp out of this step with the patch or something similar.  Going through the hell of withdrawal is necessary.  A few months down the road, when you’re craving a cigarette, you’ll remember how awful it was when you went cold turkey.  Because of that memory, you’ll be less likely to go backward, and more likely to go forward.

Use your tools, especially the 2-Minute Drill.  It will be your life vest.  It will also help you to detox faster.  During the first 2 weeks, you may need to do it 10 times a day, or even more.

Don’t expect the 2-Minute Drill to make everything okay.  You won’t be okay.  You’ll probably be miserable.  But the 2-Minute Drill will make it tolerable, and give you the strength to get through.

(A small percentage of people don’t experience the hell of withdrawal.  This has advantages and disadvantages.  The advantage is that it’s easier to quit.  The disadvantage is that it’s easier to start up again.  If you’re one of these people, then you need to stay vigilant, especially 3-6 months after you quit.)

Step 12: Visualize the Future

embracing-cosmos-manMaybe I should have started with this part.  Do you start with the good news, or the bad news?  In this case, I started with the bad news. So here’s the good news.

Once you make peace with never taking another puff, and once you get through those first few months, once you quit for good — life becomes beautiful.  All those little things that you’re worrying about now — how you’ll drink coffee without a cigarette, how you’ll go to a bar, what you’ll do after a meal — all of that stuff will seem trivial once you’ve broken the cycle of addiction.

Take it from me — it’s worth it.  You haven’t felt so alive in years. 

I know that, from where you’re standing, it’s hard to imagine life without cigarettes.  But take it from an ex-smoker.  From where I’m standing, it’s hard to imagine life WITH cigarettes.  Like I said, that chapter is over for me.  My life is so much fuller and richer now that there’s absolutely no need for me to smoke again.  Not ever.  Not even one puff.

Let’s use the comments below as a community support group.  Those of you who have already quit, please post your stories below.  And those of you who are getting ready to quit — come back to this article and post your thoughts, questions, and concerns whenever you need a little help.  I’m here for you.

If you haven’t already downloaded your free ebooks and free audio lesson, then make sure to grab them here. 

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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51 Responses to Why You Shouldn’t Quit Smoking

  1. Andy January 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    I have never smoked, and never will. But insofar as taking an approach to and having an attitude toward an addiction–this is genius.

    • KIathy Craigsley May 11, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

      Seems to me your using a bit of the AA programme here. And as for ONLY going cold turkey, well I know many people who have used whatever to help and they remain quit.

      • Sifu Anthony Korahais May 12, 2015 at 11:20 am #

        I didn’t intentionally incorporate principles from AA, but I’m sure there’s plenty of overlap.

        Cold Turkey is the way that worked for me. It’s also the method I’ve seen the most long-term success with. I’m sure other methods work too.

    • Lori Cordova July 8, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

      Wow. So powerful. I quit an 11 year habit 12 years ago, only to pick up again 2 years ago in the wake of a family tragedy. I stopped 4 days ago on a whim. I’m miserable. Did not prepare and can’t stop obsessing. Not looking for permission 😛, just expressing that I may not be ready. My quitting is centered around shame and not self-love.thanks for your words

  2. Judy January 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Have you been reading my mind again? I’ve tried all ways and many times to quit smoking – I know I’m strong enough to do it because I’ve already quit addictions to alcohol (not one drop for over 40 years) and prescription pain killers (legitimate use). But you are so right, every time I fail makes it harder and harder to even attempt. My heart tells me you’re right in your approach. I’m already getting the acupuncture treatments and will do as you prescribe and keep you posted.

    Thank you for the fresh take on the whole thing!

  3. Robin January 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Sifu speaks the truth.

    I smoked for twenty years and seriously quit about five times, once for nearly three years. I used the patch or chewed the gum and each time I quit I was miserable, felt deprived and depressed, not just for weeks, but for months on end.

    I was also envious of every smoker I saw–deep in my bones jealous, almost angry that I couldn’t light up. And the dreams. I constantly had smoking dreams. All that thinking about cigarettes was exhausting.

    Until the last time I quit.

    The last time I quit it was easy. I actually ENJOYED quitting. I imagined the withdrawal as a strange flu and treated myself gently for a week, but my relationship with nicotine was over the second I put out that last cigarette. I was not depressed, I was not envious of smokers and I no longer obsessed about cigarettes. I was free and it was awesome.

    Though this happened long before I met him or learned of Qigong, so many things Sifu outlines above were a part of the plan I used to quit. That I gave myself permission to smoke meaningfully and not mindlessly until I was ready was key. That I had a method was key. That I had a ritual was key. That I quit cold turkey was key.

    Sifu says, “… once you quit for good — life becomes beautiful.”

    He is so right on.

    If any needs a quit buddy, I’m available. I enjoyed quitting so much that I love helping and encouraging others to have that same awesome and freeing experience.

    • Nikki March 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      Thank you for your message; I really clicked with it. I just quit 2 days ago and I am happier already but am prepared for the withdrawals to begin. I am married for 6 months and my husband hates the smell of the smoke and to tell you the truth, so do I! I smoke in the house and have spent so much money on glade candles its insane! $3.50per candle is the regular price and I have collected about 75 jars (this doesn’t include about 50 I have thrown away). I added it up and welp, Im done. I would appreciate emailing you from time to time if that is okay. Thanks

      • Sifu Anthony Korahais March 5, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

        Nikki, I didn’t even think about all the money I’ve saved, but I’m sure it’s a lot!

  4. Hunter Rodriguez February 1, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    This is a good post if the addiction is something you want to get rid of. For example, if you are addicted to happiness, (which I am proud to say I’m addicted to,) then this blog post is likely not for you.

    • Hunter Rodriguez February 3, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      Correction: This blog post is likely not for you if you are addicted to happiness, or love.

      • Hitch March 25, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

        Addiction is about behavior; when you are addicted you are not mindful or present with the thing, and you do not truly appreciate it. So in fact you don’t really want to be addicted to love or happiness, and I know you meant that lightly but I think its a valid point for many!

  5. Rainey February 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I’ve never smoked for years, or even for more than for a few months, so I’m not sure if my experience with quitting will be as relavant for people who have smoked for years, but I’d like to share about it.

    When I first started smoking, it was a really deliberate decision. I lived on a farm at the time and it just felt right. I bought a pouch of organic American Spritis and would roll myself one, getting better every time, and sit on the porch either watching the sun set or enjoying a good book. I loved it so much, and I was careful to moderate myself… only one or none a day. I didn’t want to get addicted. When the pouch would start to run out, I just wouldn’t buy another one for months at a time, and I found it easy to take those breaks.

    Things changed when I moved and started a new job. My job was incredibly stressful, and I started smoking on my back to back 16 hour shifts as a way to get breaks. Cigarettes went from being a leisure activity, to the thing I needed to escape the constant low level trauma that was my workplace. It worsened when I started getting pre-rolled cigarrettes. I lost my ritual. I quit a few times, but of couse rough days happened.

    What finally worked for me was to get a pouch of the best tobacco I had ever tried and to really savor the experience of rolling (which I miss more than the smoking!) and enjoy every drag, like what Sifu recommends. I committed to never buying tobacco again, and never smoking anything that wasn’t quality, hand rolled tobacco that I would really enjoy. That was way easier than committing to never smoking again, and it felt good because it was a way of valuing myself. And it worked, and continues to work… I haven’t smoked since, and especially now that I have other, better ways of managing stress like practicing Taichi or Qigong, and an even greater commitment to my health, smoking doesn’t even cross my mind as a way to de-stress anymore. Thank you so much Sifu!

    So my two cents: consider upgrading what you smoke before you quit… you might enjoy it more, and miss your old smokes less.

  6. David Young March 14, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Quiting Smoking is something I am wanting to attempt. My past failures are mostly due to parents in the home who still smoke. . . I am torn between wanting to quit, and seeing the cigarettes lying around and being more tempted to pick on up again.

    There is no way I can get out of the home, seeing and smelling the cigarette smoke, and the withdrawl is what has me returning to smoking every time. I am at a loss of what to do, besides locking myself in my room and dealing with the withdrawl.

    With things that I want to do and achieve, continuing to smoke is not my answer, this much I realize, but I need a way that will help me quit amist’d smokers in the home. I plan once again to try and quit. I know that it is not going to be easy cold turkey, given the years, but it is something that I have to do to improve my over all good health. What I need is a way to accomplish that with smokers around me.

    • Hitch September 29, 2014 at 5:29 am #

      I’ve had the exact same problem. I think it is a self-limiting belief to be honest. I live with 2 smokers (close siblings) in the house and for months (even years) I kept telling myself it’s impossible to quit as long as they are smoking as I will be constantly surrounded by the smoke and it will be 100 times more difficult.

      I reached a point where all that didn’t matter. I hated smoking. I hated this addiction. I simply did not want to take another single puff and from all the times I attempted to quit and stay off smoking, this time has been by far the easiest. I literally haven’t had a single craving during the past 3 months since I quit, even though I’m constantly surrounded by family and friends who do.

      Don’t think you need to move out or to have your parents quit smoking in order for you to do it. In my opinion, you just have to deeply know why you want to quit and to believe that, instead of believing your self-limiting beliefs.

  7. Igor April 29, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    After 7 years of non-smoking, I again started 4 years ago (as a relief during a very stressful period; stupidly so, I know 🙂 ). I’m determined next time I quit, I quit for good! (i.e. – never light a cigarette again, no matter what the situation or circumstances)
    I’m not much afraid of the trouble of breaking off the addiction since I did it before and can do it again. But this time I have another issue which impedes me from letting go of it: several years ago I suffered an ameba intestinal infection in India and since then I’ve had continuous problems with digestion, tensions, pains, blockages in the abdominal region, incl. morning constipation. For the latter I’ve tried various remedies, but nothing really worked much; the only thing that really does work for me is drinking some warm water or tea (sometimes with lemon juice added to it) AND smoking a few cigarettes in the morning – that’s the only thing that activates my digestion.
    So, before quitting smoking, I think I should find a solution for this issue first. Can you give any advice or recommend a specific qigong exercise to help restore healthy digestion?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais April 29, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      Hi Igor. Yes, I recommend that you add Qigong to your morning routine before you worry about quitting smoking. The article above will give you some tips, and when my book is finished, that will teach you everything you need to know in detail. You’ll be amazed at the results.

      • Igor April 29, 2013 at 8:38 am #

        Apart from “lifitng the sky”, is there any specific qigong exercise to activate the qi flow in the abdomen/intestines in the morning?

  8. Alan September 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    I started smoking at 14 years of age, I will celebrate my 60th birthday in October,apart from 4 or 5 attempts at quitting , which lasted 24 hours at the most, I have smoked everyday. going cold turkey I believe will be the only way.

    I am so glad that I discovered this site, as I have been wanting to quit but dreaded the thoughts of withdrawal symptoms. when I do decide my date I will quit for good. there are so many points covered in this site that are relevant to my situation that I feel I have a chance at last to be smoke free

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Alan, good for you! Let me know if I can do anything to help you to quit once and for all.

  9. rich October 6, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    Totally agree. I had the same experience, smoked 12 years and then went cold turkey. Was fortunate enough to have worked out the principles of the above method on my own, but had I not, this is an excellent guide, and I speak as a nicotine addict. Have now been smoke free for 10 years and that’s the way its going to stay. Best decision I ever made – everything got better afterward as I started to have more ability to have control over my life and the other decisions I made. Life stopped happening to me, and I started happening to life.

  10. Andrew B. February 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    I have to say that I completely disagree with this approach. Please read Allen Carr’s book if you really want to quit smoking.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais February 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      Hi Andrew. I’m not familiar with Allen Carr’s books. If his approach works, great! But that doesn’t mean that this approach does not work. It does.

      Also, the latest theories about willpower and habit tend to agree with the approach I mention in this article. I don’t know how Allen Carr’s method differs from the one I listed here. Perhaps you could explain the differences to us?

    • Jean March 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

      I found Allen Carr’s books helpful, but they didn’t work by themselves(for me). That being said, there are similarities between Allen Carr’s approach and this one. You have to keep smoking while you read the book, and only setting a date once you have completed the book and ready to implement the tips he outlines therein. That’s kind of what Mr. Sifu Anthony has done here. I think doing both may be helpful to some people. So, as a firm believer in Allen Carr’s methods as being helpful, I can’t disagree with what has been said in this article. I quit for two years using zyban and Mr. Carr’s guidance. And then I started again. So I think this time I’m going to try something new.

    • Lynne March 24, 2016 at 4:14 am #

      But Allen Carr suggests cold turkey is the only way.
      I think the reason Allen Carr’s way of stopping smoking was so successful was that he explains about nicotine addiction so well.
      I was on The champix drug to stop but was struggling 10 days in so picked the book up and it helped so much.
      Just goes to show the power of the mind eh!!
      I’ve been quit now for 6 weeks after a 25 cig a day habit for 47 years.
      And as an added bonus I’ve saved over £300

  11. Camila August 19, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    Hey all,
    I’m just finishing day one of quitting. I’ve had an awful, awful cough for the passed 4-5 months, and I knew it was due to smoking. I’ve been a smoker for 8 years.
    The cough has gotten increasingly worse, and finally when I did research, I found out I had 3-4 of lung cancer symptoms. I laid in bed all day and cried (I’m only 23) and I decided on quitting right then and there.
    It’s now 12:40 in the morning, and I’m already suffering. The fact that every thought I’ve had all day has been about cigarettes doesn’t help. I’ve been battling a very constant inner war with myself all day.
    At times I feel so strong, like this will be so easy. And then I get these waves of feeling so helpless, unable, and frenzied for just a pack.
    Smoking became my lifestyle. It was a part of my identity, and something I deeply enjoyed. I feel as if I’m losing my best friend.
    I’m taking the cold turkey advice, however even now I’m itching to reach for the electronic cigarette.

    I need your support. I can barely breathe anymore from smoking. I need to quit. I’m not ready for cancer.
    Please help

    • Gary January 10, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

      Dear Camila I feel for you be-leave you me.,I was diagnosed with C.O.P.D. about a year and a half ago and I have been wanting to stop smoking ever since and I just have had so much stress since then I can’t seem to quit!.,Well I will tell you something that will make you get serious about it.,on December of 2014 I be-leave that I stopped breathing or my heart stopped,I can’t really say,but I think I died and left my body!.,I started spiraling down and got scarred and thought I was going to hell,then I slammed back into my body,gasped for air,then I saw myself lying in my bed,then the next thing I knew I was flying up out of my trailer,got scared and then I slammed back into my body,gasped for air and then I woke up!,SCAREY TO SAY THE LEAST!.,To make a long story short,you have to quit unless you want to die!,Please quit!!

  12. Mike November 26, 2014 at 5:16 am #

    This is great advice, after 16 years of smoking a pack or so a day I finally stopped smoking cold turkey. Stopping to Smoke is the best thing I ever did in my life. The withdrawal symptoms and cravings are not easy at first but do get easier with time, I just said to myself when I want to smoke that I won’t smoke now but maybe later and I just continue to postpone that craving. Eventually after about 2 months I do still have random cravings but the idea of inhaling smoke into my lungs doesn’t make sense as I finally started to enjoy a smoke free life.

    The withdrawal symptoms the first 2 weeks were very intense but knowing that the cigarette companies had specific engineered chemicals injected into the tobacco to make me feel like this was empowering and motivated me to stop even when I was feeling down and sad without a smoke.

    No need to Quit Smoking, just stop smoking, if you fail and light up after a few days no need to panic you stop smoking again until you completely stop smoking.

    The idea that smoking is so hard to stop is part of the manipulation tobacco companies have subconsciously used. Nicotine will no longer be in your body a few days after your last cigarette.

    Good luck to everyone that wished to stop, in the short and long term it will be the best decision.

    An honest Smoker will tell you that it is harder to live a lifetime Smoking then living as a Non-Smoker that is the raw truth.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais November 26, 2014 at 10:18 am #

      I really like that last line there, Mike! (“An honest Smoker will tell you that it is harder to live a lifetime Smoking then living as a Non-Smoker.”)

  13. jeff in the desert May 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    Coming in here a bit late, but I suspect you will be getting readers for years–even decades–on this particular post.

    I never set a date. I’ve been intending to quit for months (almost a year now) and I decided to take a different–gradual–approach (right or wrong), but I’m looking for guidance. I turned to vapor, and decided to dial down my smoking. It has been successful (of sorts), but i’ve sort of plateaued. I smoke half of what I had when I started vaping. But that’s all I’ve been able to get to. I would set periodic time targets (up to 3 or 4 hours) and they have mostly worked. I guess my thinking is that I don’t want to overdo it. I’m in sales, and I can’t afford to be irritable. Maybe it’s an excuse, but I believe that it’s working. I committed to 20 hours last night, and I’m 2 hours shy of that goal today (my longest yet). Yes, I’m “crutching it” with nicotine gum and vaping, but my cravings have been almost unbearable for the last 2 hours. But I didn’t set a date.

    I’m looking at May 31 (my parents 40th anniversary), which is almost 3 weeks away. I have 1.5 packs at home and i’ve committed to limiting myself to that over the 3 weeks.

    I guess I’m asking if anyone knows whether my strategy will help or hurt prior to my date, in cooperation with the plan outlined above. I consider myself as “quitting” because it’s a goal that I have set, but that’s just sort of how I think. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. Am I deluding myself? I really don’t want to, although I consider myself a target/goal oriented person. I never tried quitting because I knew I wasn’t ready. I believe I’m on the verge of being ready (by ready I mean cold turkey–never again)

    I’m starting my 2 – minute drill tonight.

    I guess there’s another question. Since the triggers are there, would it be helpful or harmful to vape with 0% nicotine when my date hits? I’m thinking about hand-mouth triggers. That’s something I’ve always considered because I sucked my thumb until I was in hs. I’ve had ex gfs even tell me they’ve caught me in my sleep, when I had no idea. It’s embarassing, even though they said it was cute. So with regard to other addicting aspects (beyond the chemical), is this relevant?

    I hope I’m being clear, despite my rambling. I’m jones’n hard right now.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais May 13, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

      Hi Jeff. I went through a lot of the same kinds of thinking when I quit. Your line about being in sales and thus being unable to afford irritability stuck out in my mind.

      In the end, I chose to go cold turkey. At the time, I also couldn’t afford irritability. On the other hand, I also couldn’t afford to continue smoking.

      There are other methods of quitting, but cold turkey, and committing to never taking another puff are the tricks that worked for me (and many others).

  14. Valerie June 2, 2015 at 12:07 am #

    I’ve been a smoker over 20 years and I’m 33 I have to stop smoking but I don’t have months to prepare because I am pregnant and really wanna stop 2 months ago..any suggestions I want to rite now but my brain won’t let me.. I’m stressing even more now cuz I feel absolutely terrible that I’m still smoking while pregnant. .this is my first child and I’m driving myself insane..Please I’m really open for suggestions also I have high anxiety so it’s just horrible inside my head!!

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais June 2, 2015 at 10:26 am #

      Hi Valerie. My advice is that you quit cold turkey. Pick a date next week, and then quit. Start preparing your home. Tap into smoking cessation support groups. Tell your family and friends. Summon up all of your spiritual and mental energy. And then quit. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But it’s not for you. It’s not about you at all. It’s about your baby. Let go of your guilt and shame, breathe, and focus on your baby.

  15. Lynne Huysamen October 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    Hi Sifu

    I loved this post, great tips and very very useful. I am now on 3 weeks and it is absolute hell! I am on such a roller coaster and it is worse now than it was 1 week ago.

    However I have something very useful on my side. 7 years clean from drugs and alcohol. I have been there, done this and made it. I can say one thing though and that is that this is a different monster. I can tell you that in my personal experience so far cigarettes is more addictive than alcohol, cocaine, marijuana or speed!

    This has been a tough journey, but my first time quitting smoking ever. I will not go back to smoking and that feels good. I just wish I could stop feeling so uncomfortable now!

  16. Lucas December 15, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    Hi Sifu

    I quit cold turkey 5 weeks ago, with the help of accupuncture. The first four weeks weren’t great but I managed. However the last couple of days I’ve had really bad cravings again, due to some stress. I think you’re article is great for someone wanting to quit. I really don’t want to start smoking again – would you have any tips to help ?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 15, 2015 at 8:42 am #

      Hi Lucas. Those cravings can be intense. I remember some cravings that almost drove me mad.

      There’s no easy solution, unfortunately. You’ve done the hardest part already — you quit! That’s amazing. But your resolve will be challenged many times not only the next few weeks, but the next few months.

      Lift the Sky. Breathe. Practice gratitude. Whatever you do, don’t take another puff. You can do this!

  17. Donna December 27, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    I have read the article and most of the comments for strength.
    I stopped smoking 9 weeks ago and although I do not wish to smoke again I am struggling to cope with my moods.
    I read a separate article earlier, whereas it explained that dealing with stress as a smoker does get surpressed due to the fact that … long story short, it makes you smoke and we forget the whole feeling we felt 2 minutes earlier. Now not smoking I am faced to deal with my daily stresses plus the surpressed feeling have started to surface giving me panic attacks and panic feeling from waking to sleep.
    I don’t want to smoke but it has been so hard dealing with the aftermath. The nicotine withdrawal was the easy part. Emotional warfare is hell!!
    To add my young son was diagnosed with an terminal illness 4 years ago so my surpressed feeling are probably more than most.

    Just wanted to know if anyone else has found the aftermath so bad?
    Though I’d be home free after 2 weeks lol

    I actually quit under a similar system to this article and once you take the pressure away and learn the power of acceptance you crack it! I smoked for well over 20years at 20 a day.
    I had tried to quit under every available option to me previously making it no longer than 3 days.

    I don’t want to sound negative because I have achieved something I never thought possible and I do feel free like you won’t believe.

    To all who will read article and thread, you will be here because you feel you can’t, YOU can, the key is to stop trying.
    Good luck

    Donna x

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 27, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

      Hi Donna. Yes, I also found the aftermath bad. It was totally terrible. The emotional warfare was definitely worse than the nicotine withdrawal, at least for me.

      You don’t sound negative. You sound like someone who is locked in a spiritual battle and needs to vent. Stay the course. You’re winning. Nine weeks!! That’s amazing. Keep up the good work.

  18. Chris January 9, 2016 at 2:20 am #

    Step 6:

    I’ve been a pack a day smoker for ten years. For most of that time I’ve just mindlessly smoked and hated it 90% of the time. This past week or two cigarettes have been very enjoyable and the taste has been surprisingly pleasant. Yesterday I had one of my favorite cigarette and coffee mornings of all time. I haven’t smoked today. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t planning on quitting but it just feels right. It’s funny that I was just starting to enjoy it for the first time in ten years and I want to quit now.

  19. Jenny January 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    I guess I am an alien… I have smoked off and on for over a decade. I never have “chain smoked” or had more than 5 a day (unless I’m drinking). Sometimes I go weeks or months without a craving at all. Heck I went 5 years with not a single drag. Yet I can never say never again. What do I do to jot want it anymore?! I feel like it will always want it in the back of my mind.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais January 12, 2016 at 8:46 am #

      Hi Jenny. I don’t really have any advice for you, other than to try qigong and see if it helps. I’ve known people like you who can smoke casually, but I truly cannot relate. My experience with smoking was completely and totally different. If you can go weeks or months without having a cigarette, I think you’re in great shape to tame the cravings somehow.

  20. Sean January 12, 2016 at 8:50 am #

    Thank you for this article. For these comments. These have helped me in more ways than I can mention. I am actually on my quitting date as of today and I never read the comments until now.

    My reason for quitting has only a small amount to do with myself however, I could probably smoke the rest of my life and not give a damn even though I honestly HATE it. (Minus occasional guilt and other negative emotions) . I am quitting for my fiancé. We have been dating 8 years now, and I have been telling her that I will quit for most of it. She told me recently that me smoking terrifies her because of the way I cough, and all of the things it can do to you. She want to be with me as long as possible and she (and I) believe that me smoking will take away from that. I am only 24 years old but, I have had a truly crappy life. Between an abusive negligent father, struggling in school due to disabilities, and giving up on college to help my family get away from my father; it added up to using smoking to get away from that stress, and a lot of it is still there. I would sit in my room at night and hold a knife to my wondering if it was all worth it. Then one day, when i was in tenth grade, the high school band teacher (he knew me because my older brother was in his class) walked up to me with an eight grade girl next to him and said “Hey Sean! This is Alayna, and I am not gonna be around the next couple days so I want you to do this for me” and he messed up her hair. “Because she hates it.” And smiled and laughed as she glared at him then me. And I thought… ‘That sounds fun’.

    That story goes on and on with me teasing her and her and starting to be friends, me finding her looking at me during choir, her staring at me in shock when I tried out for a solo (to impress her) until two weeks later, I blindly blurted out that I was going to be at the dance in two days. (I am rather antisocial, so I almost threw up. Yes literally.) And then dancing with her and telling her that I wanted to date her. And her smiling and crying happy tears and saying yes. And that night, after the dance, I looked at that knife in my hand and smiled as I threw it out my window, knowing it wouldn’t be a struggle to live anymore. That was when I wanted to quit smoking as well, though the stress in my life didn’t leave with my depression.

    I was also diagnosed with “high functioning austism” while in high school. She doesn’t care, and helps with doing things normal people do, ie. paying for groceries without a panic attack due to a rather large fear of social interaction. However, she does have a some fear that due to being mildly autistic, I will not be ready to be an adult. (I develop slower emotionally and mentally, so in reality I’m 18 mindset wise) which makes that my second reason for quitting. To prove that I can do anything as long as it is for her. (With roughly 7 attempts to quit per year over the last 8 years that means something.)

    She has been the only light in my life, she has helped me believe in miracles, she is my tether to sanity. And she believes the same about me. Losing me to smoking… Would hurt her. Badly. That is my reason. The love of my life. The woman who stood by me through my hell, and didn’t leave. Who showed me her hell, and cried when I told her that it would be okay, because I am still here. Who knows I’m messed up, and has let me lean on her. Who knows she is messed up, and has leaned on me. And now finally thanks to you, all of you, I can prove that she is worth all of it. I just feel kinda stupid, that it never occurred to me. I will do it for her. And now I also have the tools for it. Thank you. I know I can do this now. And it means quite a bit to me to say that.

  21. Bryan January 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    Powerful article. I am addicted to chewing tobacco and believe this will help. My 3 months starts now. Thank you

  22. Marek March 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm #


    The same here – TED

  23. Harrison Walter May 4, 2016 at 6:22 am #

    Its like i am begining to give up. Smooking for over 20 years now has left me with much addition that fear jumps into me by just thinking of quitting. I drink heavily as well and this go with smooking as high as 2 packs daily. I have tried to quit on multiple occasions to no avail. I hope this will be my final bus stop to this?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais May 4, 2016 at 7:50 am #

      Harrison, I hope you’ll take the advice in this article to heart, and start by adding qigong to your routine. It can make such a difference with the fear and also with your willpower!

  24. Max Cherry July 12, 2016 at 10:56 pm #

    A nasty cold has been a blessing in disguise for me. Until now I have had no intentions at all to quit smoking other than 1 time where I quit for 2 weeks just to prove to myself I could. I’m going to quit for good now. It’s only been a day.. but I can feel a clarity of mind that I’ve not felt in a long long time. I feel great… no withdrawal… nothing. I don’t understand it in the slightest but it feels good not to have that taste in my mouth and to feel the fresh air pumping through my lungs for the first time in years.
    Now I’m just thinking to myself what I used to before I got addicted. Why bother? It doesn’t do any good. I’m not scared of cancer or any disease correlated to smoking.. I don’t even believe smoking is that physically harmful which is probably why I’ve not quit before now, but when I think of how much time I’ve wasted rolling up cigs and smoking them, how much energy I’ve given away to tobacco, all I can say to myself is “not anymore”.
    The distraction… taking away my attention from what I really care about, stopping me from reaching my potential without giving anything back of worth. I think everyone needs a reason to quit that resonates with them.. if the reason is solid in your own eyes you will have no desire to continue.

  25. ebony September 18, 2016 at 11:40 pm #

    I have 3 year old twins and I’m a stay at home mom. I quit smoking when I was pregnant, however I picked back up the habit once I finished breastfeeding. I guess it was part bordem part loneliness. It’s very isolating being home all day with no adult interaction. Babies are cute but they just slept most of the day. Now I have hobbies and exercised, but the cigarettes were like an old friend I had missed. Silly I know, but true. I regret starting because now my boys are 3 and drive me nuts daily ( I mean that with love). Now I’m overwhelmed stressed, no longer borded, but the only me time I get is when I am smoking. I go days when I don’t smoke and my body feel great. I actually think I have more patience when I don’t smoke. Then all of a sudden panic sets in and I have to have one, the urge is so intense. I just want to stop now, I hate it, it cost too much, I’m tired all of the time. I just can’t seem to get past that urge I get every single time I’m doing good.

  26. Caroline September 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    I quit smoking two weeks ago and I have been so miserable…sick, tired, I really don’t ever want to smoke again but just thinking maybe I should so I can feel better…how crazy is that rationale?

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