Is quitting smoking a real hard thing?

I am a smoker. I haven't tried to quit but I am in the stage where I am thinking about trying to quit. In fact, even maybe a stage past that. I'm gearing myself up to quit and probably the biggest reason for that is when I learn more about second-hand smoke, with children in your home. I have a daughter who has asthma. I've only smoked for the last five years. I'm 39 and I never smoked until five years ago. What possessed me to start then I don't know but it didn't take long to become a habit. And I would occasionally at a wedding reception or at a get-together smoke someone else's cigarette but it was never a habit. There was never a habit formed there, but I don't know exactly, I can't tell you exactly when it happened but about 5 years ago I started smoking. And it surprised me that I smoke now. And my youngest daughter has a little bit of an asthma problem. I've seen the difference in her asthma problem, too, because I smoke in the house. So that is one goal is to smoke outside and try to keep the smoke out of my home. It is stop smoking is hard. As a matter of fact, I have quit for short periods of time, but I've never stuck with it long enough to say, "No, I don't smoke any more." Because I went back a couple of different times. That's a hard thing to get over. It's not due to lack of knowledge because it's not like I don't know what is going to happen to smokers. It's not like I don't know how it affects the people that live around me. But to quit smoking is a real hard thing. I think you have to be ready and I think you have to gear yourself up and just make up your mind. Also, I think you need a lot of support.


What do you do about quitting with other smokers in the house?

My husband smokes. He has said he's ready to quit smoking. Well, no, he hasn't said that. I better take that back because if he ever sees this he'll say I didn't say that. What he has said is we have got to quit. I have said we have got to quit smoking. And he has said yes, we do. And at different times he has said we have to quit smoking. We have to quit. And so I think that when it comes to a point where we can support each other, I think that is when we'll see that happen. Because it is very hard to quit when you have a smoker in your home. It's like almost fighting double there to quit. So, I feel bad that I haven't quit yet, but that's a goal for the future.


Do you have a support system to help you stop smoking?

My family. I know my family will be supportive. Everybody has their own support groups and methods and I'm not exactly sure yet. If my husband quits with me, we can support each other and also our children are there...they make comments. And I feel like when it gets to the point where our children are making comments about it, they're going to be supportive for us also. I personally, I probably won't go and get a patch to quit smoking or any of that sort of stuff because I truly think the best way to do is just make up your mind, set a goal and see if you can stick to it. But I know one thing they always say, never quit quitting. Because like I said, I've quit several times but I've never stuck to it.


Do you keep the smoke away from your children?


We usually smoke outside or, to tell the truth, we still smoke in the house. I try to keep a window open but that's just something to make me feel better. I don't think that does all that much for the kids. But to tell the truth, we don't do near enough to keep the smoke away from them. A good friend of mine does. They don't smoke in their house at all. She smokes and he smokes but they will not smoke in their home. We've not come to that point, so we just don't. But that is something that we are going to need to do.


Do you allow others to smoke in your home?

Yes, I do. I do. We don't entertain all that much. I never discourage people to. But that is getting easier all the time because so many people are quitting. So many more people are not smoking. The people who smoke are much fewer than they used to be. My sister-in-law lives right across the driveway from me and she smokes. But I don't usually ask her not to smoke in my home. We still allow people to smoke in our home.


Do you respect non-smokers?

I definitely think that the smokers are being discriminated against. I smoke and I think that is a wonderful thing. I'm not opposed to that. In my opinion, if there is a non-smoking section I think people have the right to that. If I have to, I will go somewhere else and smoke. I don't intentionally want to put that on anyone else. And there are a lot of smokers who are very irritated because they can't smoke anywhere and anytime they want. And they think that is offensive. And it is not for me at all. I think because I feel like the non-smokers are right. I'm in the wrong. So I will just deal with it. But as far as socialization, if I go to a household and I realize that they don't allow smoking that doesn't bother me at all. Also, another thing is I never smoke around children. Small children, babies, infants. I just think that we know too much about it. That is respect and I mean, I don't need to do that.


Would you not attend a party if it is non-smoking?

It would not be a deterrent for me. I would go anyway. I would just not smoke. So for me it would not be a deterrent. And I like to see that situation because it is a message that our children are getting. And it's also to us, it's "Okay,I can't smoke here." But it is beginning to be second nature to them. You just can't smoke at any of these places. So it is not a deterrent for me. If people don't allow smoking, I'm going to go anyway. I just won't smoke. I think maybe because I've only smoked for the last five years. Maybe someone who's smoked since they were 15 would have a different outlook on that. I don't know. But to me if it is a choice between visiting with some friends that I care about and smoking a cigarette, I'm going to visit with my friends.


Do you think smoking is addictive?

It is definitely addictive and I feel as though I do not have an addictive personality. I also feel that I have a very strong personality in a lot of different ways and I am surprised at how hard it is to stop smoking. People say you just have to put your mind to it. But it is a little bit more than that, I think. The physical addiction is amazing to me. It is actually something that has a lot of control over you and I've never had a situation where anything had much of a control over me, if I didn't want it so. So, it's definitely addictive. Highly addictive. It's amazing. I guess I better quit smoking now that I know all this.


Do you think quitting is like learning to ride a bike?

When you're talking about quitting smoking? The comparison? Yes, I think it does make a lot of sense to me because it is. And due to the fact that you have a lot of failures. It is very discouraging and the more discouraged we get.... You have to make those goals and you have to make them little by little. And I think that if I quit smoking that is what is going to be for me. It is going to be an every day thing. It's not going to be a long-term one. So the failure, and then you think, "Oh, I have to have a cigarette." That is discouraging for people and it's hard for people to get back up and try again. So I definitely agree with that scenario. It is amazing that something like a cigarette could have that much control over a lifestyle or something that you really, truly in your heart want to change.


What can people do to stick to a goal?

Reward yourself. If you make a little change, reward yourself. I think rewards are very important. You have to find your own type of reward. Just like you have to find your own type of exercise otherwise you won't do it. A reward for me might be, $10,000. And for the next person it's pure gold. One works for one, not the other. So you have to find what rewards you want and really make a goal and then reward yourself. It is hard to reward yourself. You're always more apt to reward someone else for a good job done. But not very often do you say, "I really did a good job. I'm going to reward myself." Without reward, goals get kind of boring. And when they start to get a little bit boring, then we're not going to stick with them. If we don't stick with them, it is not going to be a lifestyle change.


Can we give ourselves rewards?

Give me two hours by myself with a book that I like with no one interrupting me in a quiet room and that is my kind of reward. So everybody has their own reward. They all have to. But you have to find your own reward. And moms, young moms sometimes with young children, quite often they're not even sure what their reward is anymore because they're so busy thinking about the kids. So busy thinking about how to be a good mom. Am I doing all the right things? That they have to actually stop and think, "If I was going to get a reward, what would it be? What would I choose?" So it is important to stop and think about things like that. And then it just makes you think "I'm worth it. I'm worth a reward." That is something that we all kind of put in the back of our mind because our lives are so busy.