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Here are some statements I would say to a 58-year old who recently gave up smoking:

  • If you, like many people, started smoking as a teenager, you have forgotten over the years what it was like to be 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 years old and free to run, ride a bike, or even skip--without a cigarette in your hand.
  • Stopping smoking is a gift you give yourself-- not just to yourself at your current age, but to the teen you were before you began smoking.
  • "This feels awkward" -- you've smoked so long, it feels awkward to not smoke. But the awkwardness will pass..
  • A cigarette craving only lasts seconds to a few minutes. You can manage it, often with very little will power.
  • A helpful hint is to think of craving as a TV program you hate. When it hits, "turn the channel"-- do or think anything other than the craving. You'll be surprised how fast it passes.
  • Expect fears and uncertainties. It is OKAY to not have all the answers.
  • You did not become an expert at smoking overnight. You had a lot of practice, over and over. So now, you'll need lots of practice in NOT smoking.
  • NO--you cannot have "just one puff". Best to not even go that route.
  • Things will taste and smell "weird" at first. It will pass. I bet you don't remember what biting into an apple tasted like at 9 yrs old either, or the sweet deliciousness of ice cream tasted like before you started smoking.
  • Every ex-smoker has different needs. If you need support, find it. If it helps to announce "I quit", do so. But if you prefer to keep it to yourself, that's ok too. When you are ready to tell someone, you will.
  • Use smoking cessation aids if you need them. They've helped millions.
  • Don't give up. Keep trying... if not for your 58-year old self, do it for your 10-year old inside who didn't know what smoking would do to you and who deserves to have you wind back the clock now.
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Q: What services advice suggestions and assistance might you give to a 58-year-old client who recently gave up smoking but is concerned about their general health?
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