By Libby Sentz
July 20, 2008

libby-cigarette-jarLibby Sentz is ready to quit smoking but needs some help! will be pairing her with smoking-cessation experts and also counting on readers (that's you) to egg her on and give her your input. Look out for updates in her future posts.

Oh, I cant wait to stomp out that last dirty cigarette on Sunday night! But I will keep on smoking until my quit date, because with my new mind-set, Im finally experiencing how terrible cigarettes are. I never want to romanticize my smoking years. I want this disgust to be my memory.

After reading the comments from you, my beloved readers, and adopting the amazing deprogramming tips you guys gave after my first and second posts, I am excited to quit. Heres the advice Ive taken this week, all thanks to you!

Ditch your brand
As per one ex-smoker friends suggestion, Im smoking only brands that I find to be truly revolting and Im losing that taste for tobacco. While I crave the nicotine inside, Im noticing that each puff feels forced, uncomfortable, unwanted, and just plain yucky, so Im putting them out quicker.

Sniff butts
Thanks to commenter Pauly, I filled a jar with ashes, old dirty cigarette butts, and a touch of water to sniff whenever I think I want a puff. It looks putrid. Ill wait and take a deep whiff if the urge to smoke creeps in after I quit.

Go to the pros
This week I visited my doctor for a very basic physical. Now I am hunting for a cognitive-behavioral therapist (as recommended by commenter Son of Wordy Neighbor). Im also eager to get someone to screen my lungs. Should I hit snags or suffer severe withdrawal symptoms, its off to my hard-core acupuncturist. I do have nicotine gum/patches/lozenges on hand (as many of you suggested) in case I panic, but Im going to try to avoid nicotine replacements and just clean out my system in short order by going cold turkey.

Erase the evidence
Ive banned myself from smoking in my apartment and relegated my final cigarettes to outdoors (hat tip to commenter Veronica). The ashtrays are gone, Ive wiped up my ashy desk, and the windows are open. By the time I return from my lake trip this weekend, I expect the room to smell fresh. I will never again muck it up.

Shed the fear
My outlook has transformed as well, thanks to the wisdom of folks like Shel, who wrote, "Instead of being terrified to quit smoking, try being thrilled!..." Also, after a skeptical start, Im now three-quarters of the way through The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr (a best seller recommended to me by reader ES and loads of ex-smoker friends). It has me excited about killing the "little monster" inside me that smoking created. I cant wait for the next chapter!

Get busy
My calendar for next week is getting full, thanks to the advice of commenters such as Peggy and Norty. Its not crammed with social events, but with books to read, massages to get, dance and yoga classes to take, beaches to bike to, skills to learn (baton twirling, sewing), chores to do (one friend suggested removing and cleaning every key in my keyboard), stories to write, kisses to give to the hubs.

I still havent quite decided what to do on that first day, though—please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Read previous posts:
Can I Walk and Not Smoke at the Same Time? (July 15, 2008)
Dare Me to Quit (July 9, 2008)

Read Katherine's quitting blog

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