I Stopped Smoking Using Breath Mints

This inspiring guest post or story was submitted by Carl J.

Altoids helped me stop smoking.

Last January 6, 2011, marked my 167th day anniversary that I haven’t smoked.  See, I smoked for 27 years, & I’m only 43 years old.  That means I started smoking at 16 years old.  Shocking right?  I planned and tried to stop several times.  But, the problem was that I enjoyed smoking, and it was a significant part of my everyday routine.  If I stopped, I mean, something I enjoyed doing, I would have serious voids to fill that I wasn’t prepared nor did I know how or want to do.

Like clockwork, every morning my day started with nicotine.  In route to work, I had to smoke because that was the routine and my brain craved for nicotine based on consistent routines and moments.  My commute was 45 minutes one way.  In those 45 minutes, I smoked.  I work for the Federal Government, which for me consisted of 4 to 5 smoke breaks a day (not including an hour lunch).  My commute home on any given day consisted of 45 minutes to an hour.  I smoked then.  I smoked at home excessively during food, alcohol, sex, etc. consumptions.

See, these were my habits.  The key for me was to change those habits, and do it without any family or friend for moral support.  What did it for me was I had to convince myself that I really wanted to stop smoking.  I don’t have any serious health problems known, nor has anyone told me that I needed to stop smoking because it contributed to health problems.  I wanted to do it for me, and as a single father, for my son.  Remember, I have no moral support, no local family, no friends, nor did I belong to a support group or get any help.  I changed my habits, changed my routine, and replaced habits/routines with peppermints and nicotine patches.

Did the patches work?  Absolutely not!  It was more physiological than physical for me.  I tried the electronic cigarettes.  Boy, were those a joke – they just made me mad because I couldn’t get a serious draw off of those things.  What worked for me?  Sheer will power; the determination to want to stop something I really enjoyed; negative people!

Who said I couldn’t do it; other motivational things that I actually listened to and allowed to impact that change; and living the fact that I no longer wanted to enjoy smoking.  Washed laundry; cleaned house; and put all my work clothes in the cleaners.  After 30 days, I actually smelled smoke on other people.  I realized that I had arrived and the nicotine was out of my system.  I have no natural desire because of changing my habits to smoke.

The myth that you’ll gain weight is crock.  It’s natural to substitute one thing for something else, particularly Nicotine.  However, nobody said it had to be food.  I had cravings, but it wasn’t for food – it was Nicotine.  A Nicotine like minty feeling (peppermints; spearmint; cinnamon rock candy; Altoids (very powerful and my favorite); lifesavers; etc.) touching my lips and under my tongue in my mouth resolved the cravings – or water.  The secret was to suck on, or let these items rest under or on your tongue while you’re craving – regardless if you’re stressing, etc.  The cravings were really strong.  So, I had to couple the mint on the back end with water.

That did it for me, and so did discipline!  I can’t believe I use to smell like that!  It’s unbelievable!  Now, I advocate (not badger) for others who desire to stop smoking.  Most people experience what I experienced, but when I share my experiences, triggers, etc., etc., they seem to relate and say they want to stop.  Are they serious? I don’t know.  But, if I can tell my story and impact lives, it’s worth telling.  I’m so very proud of my accomplishment.

Although my son isn’t old enough to realize what I did, I’m sure he’s proud in some little way that I stopped smoking.  One day, there’ll be no need to count anymore.  One day at a time, one step at a time and it’s all in your mind.

Just do it and “I am curiously strong” – thank you Altoids.

***Note: Altoids are a brand of breath mints.

Thank you for sharing your story Carl and hopefully many will be inspired in quitting smoking. There are many effective methods and ways to quit smoking, just make sure you don’t replace smoking with another unhealthy habit that will make your life worse. Be creative and stop your nicotine addiction today!

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