This week we chose quit dates. It was one of those things that feels like it will never actually happen, so wasn’t that intimidating. Until the other participants on the course proclaimed theirs proudly, that is. I went to say the date I’d thought of, stammered and extended it.

This isn’t solely because of fear of stopping. I’ve got a trip away booked, which shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to stay smoke-free, but the real test will be St Patrick’s Day. A day which lends itself to joyousness and Guinness, I know myself better than trying to quit before such an event. It will not work; I am weak.

Speaking to our counsellors, we were introduced to the abundance of nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) on the market. We discussed using products like lozenges, gum, inhalers and similar.

Personally, I’m aiming to stop smoking cigarettes entirely by replacing them with my vape. I plan to cut down my nicotine level from 6mg to 3mg at the end of this month too. After that I will go to 0mg, then cut out the vaping entirely. Timeframe not yet confirmed. Others on the course are looking into using patches – they’re a great way to get ‘background nicotine’ hits, which should reduce cravings considerably.

Cravings are estimated to last around three minutes. We spoke as a group about ways to combat them, and also which situations we find are super difficult to resist. Anecdotally, our group leader told us about a man in India whose wife put a cage around his head and kept the key, only to release him for feeding time. While we had a laugh about that, it did get us to thinking that this is a willpower game – no cages would be provided.

So, the 18th of March will be my first smoke-free day. I will still be using my vape, probably more than usual, but if you see me with anything other than my metal vapour-producing friend, you have full permission to tackle me to the ground and steal the rollie from my withdrawal-struck fingers.

I’ll be updating my progress just after my quit date…

Read week 1

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