36 hours as a Non-Smoker : I Quit Smoking

i quit smoking
image credit

Two weeks ago I decided that I wanted to quit smoking. It was something I had talked about and debated a lot in the past six or so months due to the cost, inability to run long distances, ex-smokers bragging about their good health and my bad skin. As vain as it sounds, bad skin played a pretty big factor in this decision for me as I refuse to cleanse, tone and moisturise every day to still have big breakouts with little to no warning. At the age of 23, I can only put that down to smoking heavily and it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice my health for something so pointless. I don’t gain anything from smoking, I just lose.

I have been a smoker for over eight years now. I began when I was 15 (and stupid) and I never had any reason to quit. My family is probably 50% full of smokers and as my European friends will tell you, smoking is a totally acceptable thing here. In England, it’s pretty common for people to smoke as teenagers and a lot of them will carry the habit into their twenties. Some never stop.

I thought I’d never quit. It seemed impossible to consider the idea that I would go without a cigarette for more than four or five hours, let alone for the rest of my life, but here I am 36 hours later and I haven’t touched a cigarette. I’d also like to point out that although Dan is quitting with me, we also have a friend living with us right now who is still smoking. So we are surrounded by temptations several times a day.

The process of quitting is actually a lot different to what I imagined it to be. From what I had read and heard from ex-smokers, the first three days are the hardest and so I was fully prepared to be a raging bitch. Now, I won’t lie and make out like I haven’t said and done some terrible things in the last 36 hours, but how I have felt on the inside hasn’t been much different. The odd craving for a cigarette has come and gone, but as I am denying myself cigarettes through choice, it’s not completely unbearable. The cravings pass within 15-20 seconds of me noticing them and they are definitely not non-stop.

I’m also happy to report that an increased appetite from quitting smoking is most definitely definitely a rumour based on people’s choices when they quit. I had read online that the reason people gain weight is due to substituting cigarettes with food, so I decided to make a conscious effort not to do this. I have been eating less (if anything) since quitting smoking because I am consciously trying to be healthier. Every time I get a craving for a cigarette, I drink some water, do a little cleaning or start working on a new project and the craving has disappeared within a few seconds.

Speaking of eating, I have already started noticing how much better things taste and smell in such a short space of time! I could smell a chocolate bar that Dan was eating from across the room yesterday evening, which was both shocking and impressive. Maybe I have a hidden talent here?!

The reason why I am sharing about my journey to quit smoking on my (travel) blog is because I want to be held accountable for the decisions I am making with my life. I fell off the bandwagon a little bit with my running, so I decided to start training for a marathon and since that point, I’ve generally just wanted to improve on my health. More water, no cigarettes, less alcohol (well… I will try on this one!) and more home cooked meals are on the agenda for this girl!

Are you a smoker? Have you quit smoking? How did you find it?

  • Go girl! This is great news! I have never been a smoker, but have definitely noticed that a lot more people smoke over here in Europe than they do back in Australia. Good luck!

    • Kate

      Thanks Sammy! Yeah, Australia seems to be a lot more health conscious in general!

  • When I first met Sam he was a smoker. And had been for over 10 years. I can say it was pretty difficult for him. He had to use the nicotine for a long time but he’s been ciggie free for a good portion of the past 3 years!

    • Kate

      That’s great for him, I bet you were a good influence ;).

  • Way to go, Kate! I’ve never been a smoker, but a lot of my family (immediate and extended) has struggled with it. My mom smoked for something crazy like 35 years but she quit around 10 years ago and never looked back. My sister is also a smoker and I’ve seen her try to quit many times. Different things work for different people. Seems like you are dedicated and I think that is a huge part of it!

    • Kate

      Thanks Sara :).
      Wow, 35 years is a really long time! I agree that different people need different things. I think for me I just needed to deny myself a cigarette just once to see how it made me feel. I won’t lie that it’s been easy, but if you are certain in your mind that you don’t want to do it anymore, it definitely helps!

  • Way to go girl! I have never even tried a cigarette but I have heard from many who have quite how challenging it can be. Best of luck, you health will thank you for it!

    • Kate

      Thanks Kaelene! 🙂

  • Yay for getting through the first 36 hours 😀 I can only imagine how good getting to 36 days… and then 36 weeks without smoking is going to feel!


    • Kate

      You’re right! I can’t wait for those milestones :).

  • Kate this is awesome! I’m so proud of you. I only really smoked for a short time in my life – started in college and ended in college but I stopped when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer (due to smoking!). It’s a huge thing to give up cigarettes, so I applaud you for it!

    Also I totally know how it is writing about things you want to accomplish and publishing it on a blog. Its like “Oh now people have read it so I better accomplish this so I don’t have to write about how I’m still doing (or not doing) something” 🙂

    • Kate

      Yeah, my Dad’s cancer diagnosis has definitely helped kick me up the bum over it all. Thank you Marianne!

      Exactly, I don’t want to have to admit failure now ;).

  • Smoking has gotten to the point of being downright taboo in the US. I only know a handful of people that smoke. I always wonder why people still smoke since we all know how unhealthy it is not but I can only guess that it’s probably just not that simple considering that a lot of people still do. And once you are addicted it’s got to be hard to stop. I have never smoked, never wanted to. I’m so glad that you are taking steps to quit forever. Your body will thank you!

    • Kate

      I’ve noticed it’s a huge taboo in the states and as a lot of my readers are from the U.S.A., I try not to bring it up too much (the smoking). Now that I’ve trying to quit, you guys seemed like the biggest supporters I could get ;).

  • I’ve gone through phases in my life where I’ve picked up smoking, though no more than two or three cigarettes a day. Then I realize I’m on a bad path and stop (though always smoke when I drink–that’s where I’m stuck). I think that when you make the decision to do it for yourself, and pay attention to how much better you feel, it’s a lot easier.

    I also found it helpful to look at the health benefits you don’t notice but happen almost immediately: Within 48 hours, damaged nerve endings start to regrow, within 72 hours your body is nicotine free, and within 2 weeks nearly all negative withdrawal effects end (increased anxiety, irritability).

    Also, you can now refer to yourself as a non-smoker. That’s important psychologically. The minute you put out your last cigarette, you became a non-smoker. Don’t think of it as deprivation, but that you are now rewarding your body by allowing yourself to not smoke.

    Good luck, and congrats! 🙂

    • Kate

      I wish I had decided that sooner and stopped before I went down the path. I just buckled to peer pressure at 15 and have never looked back. Not that I am blaming others, as I wasn’t forced into smoking, but it was deemed “cool” in my friendship group at the time.

      It was super helpful to read these health benefits yesterday! I am now only 11 hours away from being nicotine free!

  • I am so happy for you and to hear you are quitting! That is a huge step! Keep it up and be so proud of the health you are going o gain going forward! XOXO

    • Kate

      Thank you Rebecca! 🙂

  • That’s awesome! I’ve never been anything more than a very casual, social smoker but even I’ve noticed the effects and it ain’t pretty. Good luck (and please try not to kill anyone)!

    • Kate

      Haha, I think I am almost out of the almost killing anyone phase, which is a good feeling… and a relief!

  • bri

    Go You! That is awesome you decided to make a healthy choice and quit! (And Share it here!)

    • Kate

      Thank you Bri! 🙂

  • That’s great- well done!

    • Kate

      Thanks Lizzy!

  • GO YOU!!! Ilhan has been trying to quit smoking too and I know it’s a really hard habit to kick. But I know you can do it!! It’s one of the best decisions you can make for yourself.

    • Kate

      Thanks Marla :).
      I am sure Ilhan can do it too! It’s all mind over matter!

  • Congratulations! That is a wonderful start! I wish my sister … and a whole lot more of my family would try to quit.

    • Kate

      Thank you Verushka! I hope they all will eventually.

  • Congrats on making the decision to quit and on holding strong in the face of constant temptation. I’ve only smoked cigarettes a few times. I’ve never had to deal with the challenge of quitting. I know you can do it!

    • Kate

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Best of luck quitting Kate! It’s one of the hardest addictions to kick so take it one day at a time 🙂 You got this! It’s definitely good to stop now so it doesn’t “catch up” with you so to speak. Hope you have a great weekend love and Happy Friday! -Iva

    • Kate

      Thank you Iva! I agree, the sooner I kick the habit, the less I have to worry about in the future. 7 days strong as of today :).

  • Wow! Congrats girl! First of all, I did not know you were 23!!! You have lived enough life for a person twice your age! But back to the point, I wish you the best of luck and hope your new, improved sense of smell and taste will keep you motivated! I mean, smelling a chocolate bar from across the room is impressive!

    • Kate

      Haha, oh really?! Thank you and there I was thinking I was getting old already ;). Just kidding, that’s a super nice thing to say dear, so thank you!

  • Well done! I know it can’t be easy quitting a habit you’ve had for such a long time, but you’ll get there and you will never regret it.

    • Kate

      Thank you Amy! So far I am 7 days in and definitely not regretting it :).

  • Congratulations! I’m a smoker and really want to stop. Looking forward to reading your progress.

    • Kate

      Thank you Jess! I’ll be posting another update this week as I am now 7 days in. I am actually surprised at how manageable the cravings have been!

  • Congratulations – that is a brave decision, especially to announce it publicly as well. I started smoking at 16 and smoked 20 a day for 8 years. It has been nearly 10 years since my last cigarette and quitting was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. For the first couple of months, my hubby bought me a little treat at the end of each week that I didn’t smoke – just silly cheap things to make me smile – it really helped! Wish I’d been aware of the food thing though, I went up two dress sizes when I quit :-#

    Best of luck Kate.

    • Kate

      Thank you Michelle! I am so happy I did announce it publicly, as this (amongst other things) has given me sound accountability.
      I know, I feel like the food thing is kind of obvious once you know about it, but until someone connects those dots for you it doesn’t seem to click into place! I’m still managing to avoid the food cravings with water and hot drinks, but will update more on my progress once I am a month or so in. I did also read nonsense about how smoking boosts your metabolism and quitting slows it down, but unless you are smoking 40-50 cigarettes a day, it wouldn’t make that drastic a difference! Plus some people find their metabolisms boost when they quit as their energy (and abilities to have more stamina for sports) kicks it up a notch!

  • Drummer802

    Congratulations you are doing a great thing….although I must warn you, this is a lifetime commitment. I smoked from 17 – 24. I began smoking again at 38, quit again for a year, quit again, and I’m now trying to quit AGAIN (36 hours in). Cravings will always be there, especially at times of stress. DO NOT PICK UP ANOTHER CIGARETTE!