10 Creative Ways Smokers Finally Kicked the Habit
Creative ways to quit
Quitting smoking is hard—just ask John Mellencamp. The 58-year-old rocker had a heart attack in 1994, but he still smokes.
Mellencamp’s son Speck created a Facebook group in 2009 called "1,000,000 to Join, My Dad John Mellencamp Will Quit Smoking". If it attracted 1 million people, Mellencamp swore he’d kick the habit once and for all.
But you don’t have to be a rock star to find creative ways to quit smoking—though you’ll feel like one when you do. Here, some ex-smokers share the crazy things that finally helped them kick the habit.
Bury the evidence
"I once wrapped packs of cigarettes in a plastic bag and buried them in a flower pot on the back porch so that I would have to dig them up, extract a cigarette, and rebury the pack every time I wanted a smoke. That was 18 years ago!" — Pat Owens, Valley Stream, N.Y.
Eyes on the prize
"I quit smoking on a dare in February 2002. My friend bet me I couldn’t quit and—the competitive type I am—I took up his bet. The bet was I had to quit for one month and if I made it, I got steak at [the renowned] Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn. Funny story is, it took so long to get my dinner—nine months!—that I made him take me for a second dinner at a different steakhouse!" — Eric Katzman, Queens, N.Y.
Pay a fine
"Two of my very good friends agreed to quit smoking or pay the other person $1,000 if they could not. Being honest, competitive, and broke, it worked! Neither one of them has had a cigarette since." — Mike P., Newport, R.I.
Kill the craving
"My cousin smoked for 20 years. She quit in an interesting way—she started eating Milkbone dog biscuits! She chewed on them to kill the craving and she quit." — Chris T., New York, N.Y.
Make a deal
"In exchange for giving up the costly habit of buying a pack of cigarettes each day, I made a deal with myself that I would be free, anytime in my life, to buy a lottery ticket, with no feelings of guilt. I’ve never smoked a cigarette since that night over 25 years ago, and it’s safe to say I never will do so. I would like to say that one of the lottery tickets has won me a million dollars, but that has not happened—at least not yet!" — Liz Rubin, North Potomac, Md.
Kick back a baking soda cocktail
"I read a newspaper article quoting a doctor who said to quit smoking, mix a tablespoon of baking soda in an 8-ounce glass of water and drink it, twice a day for the first week, then once a day for a second week. I had been smoking a carton a week then, or about 30 cigarettes a day. I drank two glasses on Sunday and Monday. It tasted like a flat Alka-Seltzer. On Sunday and Monday I smoked two cigarettes. On Tuesday I think I smoked one cigarette and then quit altogether. I continued to drink the baking soda concoction for the rest of that week. I don’t think I even needed it the second week. I have not had a cigarette in 20 years." — Joanne Fanizza, Farmingdale, N.Y.
"I am a licensed psychologist in New Jersey. Back in 1976, I already had my doctorate, had some training in hypnosis, and smoked about a pack of cigarettes a day. At a New Year’s Eve party, a friend asked how my hypnosis skills were coming along and if I could stop her from smoking. We spent about an hour with her in a trance. The next week, my friend and I spoke on the phone, and she was smoking. In that moment I realized I had not had one cigarette the entire week. I had hypnotized myself! Once or twice I had the urge, but now I can’t even think of it; I have not had one cigarette in more than 30 years." — Sheila Sidney Bender, PhD, Florham Park, N.J.
"I made a deal with myself so I could quit. I could have one cigarette a week if I stopped my pack-a-day habit. Last summer I only smoked two cigarettes and during the fall I didn’t smoke at all. I guess I’m done!" — Kevin Gerard Kilpatrick, San Diego, Calif.
"My late grandmother tossed all her smokes except one single, solitary cigarette, which she tucked up on top of the range hood unit in her kitchen. When it came down to it and she had to have a puff, she’d grab that cigarette, light it up, take one puff, and then extinguish it and put it back. Over time, as things on one’s range hood do, it became greasy, dusty, and foul. That ‘emergency’ puff looked less and less appealing over time, and finally, she tossed it. I never saw her smoke again after that." — Jessica Ward, Kent, Wash.
Say it out loud
"It was in stating aloud [to my doctor] that I had been essentially smoking a pack a day for 28 years and was not even quite 40 that I realized this madness had to stop." — Renee Cooper, Santa Barbara, Calif.