Tips from Ex-Smokers

While everyone’s experience with quitting is different, it can be helpful to hear
from people who have successfully quit smoking and know what you’re going through.
That’s why we’ve collected tips from ex-smokers from across our region on strategies
for how they were able to successfully quit.

Practice Makes Perfect
How Mustafa used a practice strategy to finally quit smoking. 
Free from Cigarettes
How Sandy became a successful ex-smoker.
Do It for Yourself

“Generally I’ve attempted to quit because of people asking or forcing me to. I made it sound good in my mind because they wanted me to. Generally, my pattern was: I’m going to quit tonight, I’m going to wake-up tomorrow smoke-free. I had so much anxiety that night there was no possible way. So it doesn’t work when you’re doing it for somebody else. It definitely has to be for yourself, 100%.”

Mustafa. Orleans. Reduced to 7 cigarettes a day.

You Are Strong Enough

“I’m proud to say after 43 years of being a smoker; I’m a year and a half smoke-free. The whole first month, there were many tears shed and a lot of screaming and a lot of cursing, but I didn’t smoke. I’ve learned something from every quit. Every quit I learned I was strong enough to do it.”

Sandy. Ottawa. Non-Smoker. 547 days.

Breaking Old Routines

“I used to have a smoke when I did almost anything; having a coffee, driving, hanging with friends, watching TV, whatever. Quitting felt like losing a friend that I did everything with. I got through it though by using Champix and changing the routines that made me crave a cigarette the most, like chewing gum after dinner instead of having a dart. It’s not been easy, but it’s been worth it.”

Teagan. Barry’s Bay. Non-Smoker. 66 days.

Trigger Strategies

“My coach taught me that it helps if you have a plan to deal with your smoking triggers. Now I know how to fight the cravings when they hit.”  

Marjorie. Richmond. Non-Smoker. 25 days.

Tips on Dealing with Cravings and Temptation

Waking Up

“I used to wake up and reach for a cigarette right away. It was the hardest smoke for me to give up, but drinking some water when I wake up instead helps me to get over the craving. It gets me off to a better start in the morning.”

Jessie. Lancaster. Non-smoker. 97 days.

Having a coffee

Morning Coffee

“I knew that when I quit smoking it was going to be hard not to have a smoke with my morning coffee; that has been my routine for as long as I can remember. There was no way I was going to give up coffee, I’d be no use to anyone if I did, so I switched to a flavoured coffee and now I drink it in the kitchen instead of the living room”.

Susan. Eganville. Non-Smoker. 721 days.

While driving

Driving

“Lighting up in the car was as automatic to me as putting on my seatbelt, and well, it was hard to stop, especially because I drive a lot for work. I had to throw out the ashtrays and lighters in the car and I decided to get it detailed so now it smells good. I don’t want to stink it up again.”

Saad. Barrhaven. Non-Smoker. 243 days.

Watching tv

Watching Television

“I’m able to distract myself enough during the days; it’s at night when I’m watching TV that I most want to smoke. My coach helped me find strategies to keep me from slipping up. When the cravings get real bad I take the dog for a walk to distract myself, and I always keep a nicotine inhaler by the couch, just in case.”

Ronald. South Mountain. Non-Smoker. 62 days.

Having a drink

Having a Drink

“I’d quit smoking for 3 months, then one night at a party at the hunt camp I borrowed a smoke off a buddy and before I knew it I was right back to smoking a pack a day. Now I’ve quit again and I know that I need to not drink so much if there are people smoking around me so I don’t start up again.”

Kenny. Lanark. Non-Smoker. 22 days.

Success Strategies

Managing Stress

“It seemed impossible to deal with stress without a cigarette, until I realized that non-smokers do it every day. If they can, then I can too. I’m learning.”

Farnaz. Nepean. Non-Smoker. 112 days.

“There have been a lot of times I’ve wanted a cigarette, but having a cigarette isn’t going to change what happened.”

Christina. Orleans. Non-Smoker.

How to Talk to Friends and Family

“I think it is just as important if not 100% equal, for your spouse or family or whoever is a support to you quitting because they are so lacking knowledge that it actually pushes you the other way and drives you nuts. [My coach] said “if you’re turned off by that or you’re having difficulty ask them nicely just to never ask you again until you give them the key to ask you again. Just don’t allow them to ask you again.”

Joe. Non-Smoker.

“I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was quitting smoking in case I failed. So I didn’t, and within a week I was smoking again. The next time I quit I figured I needed to do something different so I told my friends and family ahead of time that I was going to quit. It was nerve-wracking, but it actually helped because I felt accountable to people and they supported me through the rough patches.”

Doug. McDonalds Corner. Non-Smoker. 215 days.

“The guys didn’t want me to stop smoking, they kept cracking jokes and trying to tempt me with a smoke. But once I told them that I was really serious about it, they were good and stopped smoking in front of me and offering me cigarettes. Now, some of them have even come to me for help to quit.”

Dave. Arnprior. Non-Smoker. 365 days.

Keeping the Weight Off

“I gained a bit of weight after I quit smoking. But if I’m strong enough to quit smoking, then I’m strong enough to lose this weight”

Maria. Dunrobin. Non-Smoker. 94 days.

“I put off quitting for the longest time because I didn’t want to gain any weight. Now, I’m cutting back and starting to be more active and I haven’t put on a pound.”

Louise. Casselman. Cut-back to 5 cigarettes a day.

“At first, I replaced smokes with food. But then I started to put on some weight and I thought “This is stupid, I’m quitting to be healthier for my kids and now I’m gaining weight??” So I replaced the chips and candy with veggie sticks and dried fruit. And I started going for a walk every lunch time with the ladies at work. I feel great now and I’m even able to keep up with my kids!”

Colette. Plantagenet. Non-Smoker. 200 days.

Other Smokers in the House

“I decided to quit smoking but my wife wasn’t ready. It was so easy to have a few puffs from her cigarettes here and there. She wanted to help me out so she only smokes in the garage now.”

John. Deep River. Non-Smoker. 89 days.

Mood Swing Strategies

“I wanted to yell and scream each time I had a craving, I wasn’t a fun person to be around. I had to start recognizing when I was about to snap at someone, and then leave the room. Taking a few deep breaths and using some nicotine gum usually helped me calm down. And it has gotten better over time.”

Caryn. Carp. Non-Smoker. 90 days.

“Boy, was I ever moody the first few weeks that I’d quit. Luckily I warned my family and co-workers ahead of time, they were very understanding.”

Tran. Kanata. Non-Smoker. 45 days.

New Ways to Socialize

“I struggled the most with quitting during my breaks at work cause I couldn’t go out and hang with my buddies. So now on my breaks I walk around the office and chat with people so I still get to be social and away from my desk but I’m not tempted to bum a smoke.”

Matt. Petawawa. Non-Smoker. 411 days

When Things Don’t Go the Way You Planned

“Your odds of success are better each time you try. Every time you go through this you’ll do better, you’ll learn more and they’ll (the coach) learn more about you. Everybody quits a gazillion times, until finally one takes.” – Jonathan. Ottawa. Non-Smoker. 730 days

“Never quit quitting.”

Andrew. Cumberland. Non-Smoker. 74 days.

“Be ready to quit smoking. Because you don’t want to not be ready, and then try and fail, and try and fail. You want to be ready to do a good job. Each quit you learn something and become stronger.”

Sandy. Ottawa. Non-Smoker. 547 days.

Join the Community

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