Giving up the smokes at 60 102



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At 60 years old, giving up smoking is not the easiest of things and if you have been smoking for decades you are probably so set in your ways that it is going to take a mammoth effort to find success.
I tried everything:

  • I cut down daily till I ended up smoking one cigarette a day. I lasted a few months and then slowly increased back to a packet a day.
  • Then I cut down the strength of my cigarettes to 2 mg thinking I was saving myself by smoking lighter.
  • I tried Roll Your Own cigarettes.
  • I tried the patches and lasted two months without cigarettes.
  • I hid my cigarettes but then would spend endless hours trying to find them.
  • I would put them up on top of the kitchen cupboards and would have to get a ladder out to climb up.
  • I would leave them at home… and end up borrowing from others.
  • I would cut down to one less cigarette a day until was on one cigarette… never did seem to get off that last one.
  • I tried chewing Nicotine gum.

At the end of the day I was not committed enough and would always fall back on the old habit. Today I can say I have not had a cigarette in 10 years and it seemed so easy to give up in the end. My husband went to hospital with a heart problem and was taken into emergency. He spent four days there and the doctor told me that I had to give up smoking before he came home.

My husband was made to give up cold turkey when he was taken to hospital, and the doctor explained the worst thing for his heart was cigarettes and if I was still smoking he would probably take it up again. I went home the first day and bought some patches for my arm. I put a full patch on and immediately cut my smokes down to half. The next day I put half a patch on and cut my cigarettes down to a quarter of the amount I normally smoked. The third day I put a quarter patch on and allowed myself one cigarette. Finally the last day it was no patches and cold turkey.

I treated stopping smoking as if I had a form of alcoholism and could not afford to touch it again. Yes I had all the withdrawal symptoms but the main problem was keeping my fingers busy as they just wanted to hold something out of habit. I avoided parties and places that were heavy in smoke and found I could easily cope if I kept my mind in other places. 10 years later I can stand next to a smoker and not feel any urges to smoke…but I will refuse to have a cigarette always, on the basis I cannot afford to smoke at my age as it is the worst thing for my health.

Have you quit smoking before? How did you do it? Share your story below.

Gill Johnston

  1. i finally gave up after 40 odd years. tried a few times and failed. just remember never give up giving up

  2. I wish that my husband would stop smoking….. he is 64 this year. Three years ago suffered a mild heart attack and had a stent put in one of his blocked arteries. I honestly thought that would have scared him enough to want to stop however on the way home from the hospital stopped to buy cigarettes !!!! Yes I could not believe it. He has cut down but has not stopped. It pains me to see that he cannot realise the danger he puts himself in each day. I have told him that whilst he keeps smoking he has to continue working as I will not keep working to fund his habit !! So of course not only is it the medical issue it is also the financial issue. I never started to smoke but he was in the merchant navy when he was younger and started then. My daughter told him that she will not bring the grandchildren around to the house whilst he continues to smoke and that does not deter him so I have to visit my grandchildren in their home. Sad really ……. No use nagging as he is the one who needs to make the decision and nagging just makes him more stubborn ! Do any of you have any suggestions of help please ?

  3. Well done Gill. I am 62 and havent had a cigarette in 15 years. I have a health problem from smoking. I think it would have killed me in the end.

  4. I read a book which said you don’t have to give up any thing.just stop doing it.think about it.Then reward yourself in a year with $6000 you have saved

    1 REPLY
  5. its a hard road but i did it at 60 its been a year and i just went through another tough time but no smokes, so i am happy

  6. Yes mind set. 15 years ago I said to all I don’t smoke and that was my mantra. It worked and never smoked again after that statement.

  7. have been trying for a few years, patches for 5 yrs finally cut down to no cigarettes at work, still have the odd one at home.. can’t seem to shake them..

  8. Just started giving up 2 weeks ago so far so good

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  9. Yes but they have to WANT to stop smoking. My partner had a mini stroke a few years ago and gave it up for over 6mths and took it up again which I will NEVER understand or accept.
    I HATE smoking, HATE what it does to your health, HATE the money wasted on it, HATE the stench of anyone that smokes. HATE the mess it makes of your house. They come near you and it is like there is a stinking cloud around them and everything reeks. When I used to travel on the trains you would get people having their last puff before they got on the train and they would sit in front of you and I would nearly vomit from the stench. Cigarette butts thrown everywhere so they are also irresponsible and don’t give a toss where they toss their butts and what it does to our environment. My partner and guests are NOT allowed to smoke in the house, don’t care how cold or wet it is.
    If they smoke inside like my mother did, the walls were brown with nicotine & everything has to be thrown away. I scrubbed the walls down in one place & could not get it clean again as the tiles were brown & it wasn;t until I cleaned them that I realised they were actually white. The ceilings were brown & I couldnt clean that or the walls and the carpet had to be replaced as it was stained with nicotine. When we moved her clothes from the cupboard there was a brown ring around them in the wardrobe so the sticky nicotine cloud goes everywhere. When we put Mum in the nursing home (where she can’t smoke) I took some of her favourite things and to the day after 18mths you can still smell the nicotine when you walk into her room.

    4 REPLY
    • Also wanted to say as a teenager growing up Mum used to smoke at the kitchen table as she didn’t wait until we had finished eating. When i used to have my breakfast in the morning she would be smoking and coughing like she was going to cough up her lungs and I would be trying to stop wretching and losing my breakfast. So much passive smoking for me & my brother. Neither of us ever took up smoking. She even used to buy cigarettes for my 13yr old son when he lived with her for a while due to family breakdown. Will never forgive her for that as the “effing bloody” cigarettes ruled her life so much. Yes she now has emphysema and when she had to have surgery does not get much oxygen now die to massive damage to her lungs.
      People GIVE THE DAMN THINGS UP. Do WHATEVER it takes to stop. Your families are also smoking along with you and are being affected by YOUR choices. Also due to the cost they are missing out on opportunities because of your addiction, it is a drug, treat it as such. If someone is on drugs they get help & it is frowned upon, yet we ACCEPT smokers, NO difference. Your decided to take up the drug then your ARE responsible for stopping the addiction. Think about your families for once, If you have a stroke your family are left to deal with the fallout of YOUR CHOICES.
      Do one thing for me and other passive smokers, ASK your families how they feel about you smoking & how it affects THEM. Don’t smoke around your children, Don’t smoke in a food space. YES we CAN breath in the smoke as you walk past us so we have no choice as you decided for us. STOP THIS TODAY and stop thinking about how hard it is for YOU to stop. Disgusting. Sorry guys but gone on WAY TOO LONG and WAY TOO MANY EXCUSES.

    • Anyone who has succeeded in stopping I absolutely applaud you as I know from watching the struggle my son, mother & partner have in stopping just how hard it is, but I think in some ways mine are happy to NOT stop which I find so so sad. I will have to pick up the pieces at some stage in my life.

    • well said and I really think you should have this letter on the main blog as it is so true and intense Well said and written xxxx

    • Might hit hard and hold no punches but I have heard ALL the excuses as to how hard it is to give up, yet see them take it up again. Mum stopped once for 2 yrs then took it back up & was on around 50 a day on a pension when she had her falls & had to go to a nursing home. Thank god she can’t smoke there now. My partner rolls his own & it is a sore point with us but I think he likes smoking so he won’t give it up.
      Maybe we need to get the smokers to see past their addiction and how it affects other people and their families. No doubt it is hard to stop, but there are no excuses really & there are programs around to help. Just people won’t help themselves as it is too hard so they keep smoking

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