Readers share strategies to quit smoking; see tips


Is it better to stop smoking abruptly or gradually? Using drugs or physical exercises as a weapon? Or, are the outputs nicotine-based products like gum and patches to aid in the process? All these were alternatives pointed out by readers of the Sheet to give up smoking.

For World No Tobacco Day, May 31, they shared their strategies for quitting smoking.

Fear of developing diseases, improvement in physical performance and appearance, body odor and clothes, in addition to watching loved ones suffer from smoking are the main reasons that led them to stop smoking.

During the process or after quitting the habit, readers noticed improvement in breath, appearance and sexual performance, they also say that their teeth were cleaner and they have more sensitivity in the taste. On the other hand, many complained of weight gain.

Retired Roberto Eduardo De Faria, 60, smoked about 30 cigarettes a day and began to stop by reducing the number of cigarettes. After the first pack of the day, he decided not to open the second. With that, he established that it would be 20 units daily for a month. Over the next 90 days, it continued decreasing until it reached zero.

“[Me sinto] totally better in everything: sexually, I have the breath to walk, swim, “he says. “My skin has cleared, my taste has also improved a lot.”

Paulo Cezar Coutinho, 71, uses a similar strategy. He smoked about a pack of cigarettes a day. Today, there are 10. Even though he still uses tobacco, he feels better.

There are also those who choose medication. Substances such as bupropion help in the process of quitting smoking.

Readers also treated the cause of the problem, such as anxiety, and with the help of anxiolytics, they stopped the addiction. In this case, the drug must be prescribed by a doctor and follow-up is usually done by a psychiatrist.

This was the strategy of Pedro Macedo Duprat, 34, who opted for drug treatment. Today, he feels the tastiest food, looks better and sleeps better. The quality of sexual relationships also increased.

The process is not always quick. In the case of doctor Cecilia Amelia Fazzio Escanhoela, 64, it took more than ten years. A smoker since the age of nine, her first strategy was to light her first cigarette only after lunch, with a proportional reduction in the amount she would smoke for the rest of the day. She did this for five years.

Then Escanhoela decided that the first cigarette would come only after dinner, which he kept for about five more years. The ultimate decision was to gradually decrease how much he smoked before bed, going from three units to one.

“I confess that withdrawing that single cigarette before bed was the worst phase. But, 2 years and 4 months ago, I stopped definitively”, he says.

Readers also report that they chose a day to quit smoking. They set a date, which could be the next day or in a year, and they stopped. They prepared themselves so that after this day there would be no more ashtrays, cigarettes, lighters and other products that stimulated the habit of smoking.

Often the process gets even more difficult when alcohol is involved. Many then chose to stop drinking during the process, as habits are often associated.

Psychoanalyst Bruno Cervilieri Fedri, 42, for example, stopped going out with friends, especially those who smoked. “Also [parei] going to bars, because beer made me want to smoke. It was in 2018 and since then I never went back or missed it. Today I go to bars with friends who smoke and I don’t feel the slightest desire,” he says.

Another drink readers avoided to help with the process was coffee. “I avoided coffee because it stimulated my habit”, says businesswoman Adriana Zazula, 48. “I feel much better. The cardio, the smell, the skin and the mood.”

There are those who start attending support groups, which can involve qualified technical staff to assist participants in the process, or it can also be just a meeting with people who want to stop smoking and support each other.

Participating in one of them for a year was what helped retired Márcia Gama de Almeida Reis, 64, to stop smoking about 15 years ago. Even with the weight gain, she considers it a “win”.

Federal servant Eliane Augusta de Souza Cunha, 52, noticed the end of hoarseness, a decrease in tiredness and an improvement in taste. “I was tired as if I had run a marathon,” she wrote. On the other hand, she remembers that she gained 15 kg.

With publicist Tassio Souza Couto, 40, the opposite happened: he lost weight. He was able to run with more intensity and gain muscle mass, thus improving his form and physical condition. “My appearance has improved a lot, I look like I’m the age I am again,” he says.

The smell of clothes and body also changes. It was one of the first effects that publicist Juliana Dantas de Andrade, 52, felt when she quit smoking.

“First, I saw improvement in taste, breath, smell of clothes, hair and hands. Then you realize that you walk much better, go up a more peaceful staircase. But the biggest improvement is in self-esteem, realizing that if I am able to let go of this addiction is so complicated, I’m capable of almost anything. This willpower is the driving force for many other life projects”, he says.

Feeling the taste of food with intensity again was another factor mentioned by readers frequently. Art critic Sheila Leirner recalls, for example, that it was “wonderful” to be able to taste the grated carrot.

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