Why don't people stop smoking

Smoking cessation


Some of the people shown in these testimonials introduce themselves with changed names at their own request.

Angelika Grosse

I'm Angelika Grosse, born in 1963, I smoked heavily for 28 years and have been a non-smoker since 2007. I've always enjoyed smoking. Me has
smoking also tasted. And I've never really thought about my health either.

In 2007 our employer made an offer to quit smoking. That said, it was a health insurer's program to go smoke-free in 10 steps. It was a great incentive for me to do the program in a group. On the one hand, because we knew each other, it was colleagues who were known. And the whole thing was connected with betting, e.g. if I made it to day X, then I'll get a meal from you.

The special thing about the program was that in the beginning it wasn't about reducing smoking, but simply taking stock: How many cigarettes do I smoke per day? And on what occasions and at
what conditions do I actually smoke? And then it was about
Reducing tobacco consumption means consuming fewer cigarettes every day
smoke until the end of day "X" came, which was then smoke-free.

I felt positive physical changes very quickly: The sense of taste and smell improved very quickly. The clothes no longer smelled of smoke. I had less palpitations, the shortness of breath decreased, I slept better, and all in all, I've saved a lot of money and time.

Withdrawal symptoms were of course an issue during my smoking cessation. Despite everything, they never lasted long. It's always only about a few minutes when the desire for the cigarette was very great. Of course, I motivated myself by trying new things. I just treated myself to something nice. I bought a bouquet of flowers. I painted the apartment. I tried having a cup of tea instead of coffee. I used to use two cigarettes after drinking coffee or breakfast. I brushed my teeth very quickly after eating and went to smoke-free areas. I've been out in the fresh air and I've just seen the positive things that I gain from quitting smoking. Nordic walking was one for me
important compensation after quitting smoking And the more regularly I run, the more fit I've become and the more my shortness of breath has decreased and I was also able to maintain my weight. I have dreamed about smoking many times and for months ... and was glad when I woke up and it was just a dream.

Knowledge is healthy.

Dieter Schmidt

My name is Dieter Schmidt. I was born in 1953. I smoked very heavily for 37 years. And in May 2016 I stopped smoking overnight.

I started when I was in the Bundeswehr at the time. That was what - how should you put it - group dynamic. Many have smoked and then you think: Okay, you belong - you smoke too. And then it's like some kind of drug. You smoke and you also think you can't stop.

The reason I stopped was because I had two heart attacks and I urgently needed heart surgery. And relatively quickly. I thought about it for a few days, I also knew that I had to stop. That was of course the step and that is also a "limit" if you go to a clinic as a "healthy" person and then have heart surgery. That's quite a step! Then I really made up my mind: you have to stop! Exactly one day before the operation I smoked the last cigarette in front of the hospital and that was it for me.

I didn't need a method to stop. This is a pure mental story. Because: if I stop, then I stop. And I am consistent there. I can't go and say, I only smoke 10 cigarettes a day - that's no good! I'm not getting anywhere with that. So: either - or.

I meant, of course, that I was addicted. And then when I quit smoking I would somehow be missing a pleasure. But the opposite is actually the case. I noticed for myself that - when I stopped - I was enjoying a lot more. By making the food taste better! The air smells much more pleasant. And you are much more free, because you don't necessarily look for a place where you can smoke.

I had neither withdrawal symptoms nor any other "cravings" - as the saying goes - to smoke a cigarette again. Not at all! Some switch must have been turned and it said: Stop smoking!

I haven't touched a cigarette since that day in front of the hospital building. It's always a mental thing, because I don't just have my head between my shoulders to go to the hairdresser. But that should also rule over my body. And when the head says you have to
stop, then you have to stop. My head or my brain still determines what I do as a personality, what I do and what I don't do.

Today I consider smoking a mistake. I shouldn't have done that. Because it probably also led to my two heart attacks. You can tell when you've got a "shot over the bow" like that. Life is finite! One should always think about that.

Knowledge is healthy.

Florian new territory

My name is Florian Neuland. I was born in 1987. I have been a heavy smoker since my early teens. In 2016, after 13 years, I finally stopped doing it.

In principle, I've tried all the methods. I had nicotine gum, nicotine patches, acupuncture. I've read through books, listened to lectures, watched videos ... But basically I found out for myself that the real point why it didn't work - was myself! The decision really had to come from within, it had to be my decision. And not the decision of the others.

In the end, my health situation was no longer good. I had developed severe asthma and almost permanent breathlessness. I found myself in a real vicious circle. I woke up early and found it hard to breathe and then had to smoke one to cause a coughing fit. When I coughed freely - only then could I breathe.

And the day I finally made it, the day I hadn't planned on quitting. I woke up early, got a surprisingly good breath and thought: "Today is a good day not to smoke!" I knew that, in principle, it was the nicotine itself that kept crying out for the next burst. And that day I had a day off, went to a thermal bath, sat in the sauna to consciously escape the call for the next train. I sat in the sauna, "detoxified" and at that moment I could just relax and put the addiction aside for now.

When I had overcome this point, the point of the strong call for more, I already knew -okay- I haven't smoked for so long and I would be stupid if I would go on again and smoke again. Then there was a bit of motivation - thanks to what has been achieved so far!

Actually amazing when you consider that it was only a few hours. But they made you proud! I think the attitude was finally there. It finally got inside me. It came from my gut, not my head, that I want to stop now.

It is often recommended that everything that reminds you of smoking should be put aside. And then really stops from one moment to the next. For me it was more like that I had half a pack of cigarettes in my pocket - which I actually still have somewhere to this day! - could stop. As a result, I simply had the certainty that if I had to smoke, then I would have them at hand.

There were moments when I just wanted to smoke in the evening. You also have habits, e.g. when you sit in front of the television in the evening. That you go out in the advertising and smoke one. Interestingly, I did that too. I went out in the commercial to NOT smoke. I was just so used to it that I kept doing it, just without smoking.
Surprisingly, it was a lot easier than I thought! I was always afraid of withdrawal symptoms, no idea what could happen. But when I just pulled it off, none of my fears came true.

I had started exercising again a year before I stopped. As a smoker, I climbed a mountain in the Alps. And I almost didn't get up the mountain. I had to stop so often because I was just having trouble breathing, because I was coughing. As a non-smoker - a year later - I remembered the situation and I went back there and went exactly the same way and was surprised. I went back next year and tested again. And I found it easier again! And I also intend to go there again and again on the same day in the next few years and just see what happens.

My health is very, very good today. The asthma has basically disappeared, one can say. I am a free, self-determined person. I no longer let a cigarette tell me how to live. I live my life the way I want it to be.

Knowledge is healthy.

Meier family

I'm Alfie Meier, I was born in 1992 and I smoked heavily for 5 years. I'm Ines Meier, I was born in 1969 and I smoked heavily for 27 years. I stopped with my daughter in 2013, but started again afterwards.
In 2013 my husband developed cancer. Then my daughter and I said: "We're going to stop now!" For me, my dad's illness was the icing on the cake, so to speak, that I manage to quit. I always wanted to quit smoking. It always bothered me. But because I was scared to death for my father and then felt that it was my fault - I made it.

Quitting smoking is extremely difficult. Especially when you are alone. After 14 days the moment comes when I get annoyed, when I get irritated. Because you always have this need, you have to smoke one now. Then there is the crux of the matter: "Can I do it or not?" Do I then take the cigarette to calm down again? Or do I find anything else? The whole time I was looking for something to put in my mouth like a substitute: chewing gum. Mints. I ate a lot of grapes or pretzel sticks. And my hands were always busy painting, including painting by numbers. I started to write a diary. So that I practically no longer had the opportunity to take up a cigarette because I was busy all the time.

It meant a lot to me to quit with mom because I wasn't alone. In the moments when you get weak, someone is there. Who then also says: "Come on - I don't smoke, you don't smoke!" "We can do it together!" - That helped a lot.

We then put ourselves away from smokers. We no longer had anything to do with smokers. Just to protect ourselves and not make it harder for us. And we talked a lot.

After 4 years of smoking free I came into a situation where it was extremely difficult for me. Then I picked up my cigarette again. I said to myself that every now and then one is ok.
When my mom started smoking again, I was very angry and disappointed. I also try to support her so that she can stop. I also keep telling her: It's so expensive! Think about it, what could we do with it? We could go on vacation with the money! Or, or, or ...

Yes! It stinks. It must not be. It's unhealthy and expensive. Actually, there are so many things that speak against it. She's annoyed that I'm annoyed that she smokes!
And I'm just annoyed when we're somewhere and we can't go in right away, e.g. when shopping and then she has to smoke another one.
When I smoke at home, I go out on the balcony. I try to smoke "secretly" so that you don't see it that way. In principle, I am uncomfortable when they see that I am smoking.
I think why I managed not to smoke and started her again: I developed the real disgust about smoking. In my head, I think I was never a real non-smoker. I was jealous when people smoked. I wanted to do it again for the whole four years. In my head, I probably never made it.
I wish my mom that she can stop too. And in the long term. And that she will then have exactly the same experience as me. That she says herself: "Oh - great!" She can taste more or she can wear perfume again without smelling of smoke. And she has more money in her wallet, which she could possibly spend on her grandchildren. I wish her that!
In the 4 years I have had this experience. I actually thought it was great!

Knowledge is healthy.

Expert interviews:

Expert Dr. Vitzthum from the Institute for Tobacco Cessation & Smoking Prevention at Vivantes Klinikum Neuk├Âlln:

After quitting smoking

For many, quitting is one thing - persevering is another. Right after quitting smoking there is this addictive pressure that comes from within. So it is really important to have immediate help on hand. E.g. to bite into a lemon or take a very hot or very cold shower. Or maybe listening to music very loud or quiet, so that you create a strong physical counter-stimulus. It also helps many if you brush your teeth 10-15 times a day. You can't gain weight and the desire to smoke is always relatively low after brushing your teeth.

As a rule, it is often the case that the withdrawal symptoms are frightening. And of course that is now also a physical process that some underestimate a bit. That means that many people are used to getting a "reward kick" very quickly from smoking. And for that we have nothing adequate in the normal world - which immediately has the same effect as smoking. And here it is again important to prepare (substitute) rewards for this. It varies from person to person: for some it may be a flower that you enjoy, for others it is something you have cooked yourself and for others it may be some kind of little gift that you might not otherwise have given yourself.

Ex-smokers still know the smoking break. You should definitely keep it - only you should change the content. The breaks remain, but now, for example, you go around the block, you drink something nice, you maybe do some pleasant activity, e.g. B. a pleasant phone call or listening to a bit of music to allow yourself to continue to treat yourself to these islands of calm in everyday life.

One thing in quitting is physical withdrawal and detoxification, the other is of course habits and rituals. As a rule, one can always proceed in such a way that one tries to avoid certain trigger stimuli, to change them or to adapt the mental cinema. So the classic coffee - you could replace it with tea, for example, i.e. avoid it completely. You could drink from a different cup or in a different place in the apartment. You can also say to yourself: Well, there are also non-smokers who drink coffee !? That would be the "classic possibilities" of how to deal with every stimulus in everyday life.

Knowledge is healthy.

Long term non-smoker

The initial euphoria after quitting smoking usually subsides a bit after 6 - 8 weeks. It is important to remember: What was it like when you quit? What did I find difficult? What happened and what did I have to go through?

If you keep a diary when you stop, it can be of help to take another look. Because one often quickly forgets this inconvenience and thinks: Now I can smoke another one. I can manage that, then quit, now I haven't smoked for so long. This is often a fallacy. The slip can easily turn into a relapse.

Also helpful: that you look back a little bit overall. What did I experience in that time? What has already been implemented of my rewards that I imagined back then, before I quit smoking, what I will then treat myself to? These are again "emotional nudges" that bring you back and keep your motivation high.

After 2 - 3 months you usually feel like a stable ex-smoker and also get a little cocky and maybe dare to drink more again or maybe go into the company of smokers. These are again situations where you might unexpectedly be offered a cigarette. It is always a good idea to do a "dry run" and to prepare secretly, quietly and quietly at home.Who will I meet there? How do I react to such offers? So that this moment of danger goes by and I don't fall into a trap.

After all, everyone has a goal that they associate with quitting smoking. For some it's health or money or that one smells different,
so the smell, so to speak. Of course, these goals remain true - even after 3-4 months. And when you recall that - what was actually my goal, for which I tormented myself while quitting, then it helps to get into this emotional state again. And then perseverance becomes easier again.

Knowledge is healthy.