I've been smoking for so long. I'm not sure I can quit even if I wanted to.
Even if you have been smoking for most of your life, you can still quit. Many lifelong smokers have quit successfully. But most of them had to try quitting more than once. If you're in the "tried that, no thanks" camp, just remember that every time you try to quit, you learn more about what works and what doesn't work for you. Your lung cancer scan is a perfect opportunity to put what you have learned to work. Even if you've tried quitting before and it hasn't "stuck," that doesn't mean you won't succeed when you try again.
I just don't have the willpower. I might not even want to quit.
It's ok and normal to be uncertain about quitting.
Here's a secret: Quitting is not just a matter of willpower or wanting to quit.
Here's why: Smoking actually changes your brain.
When you smoke, nicotine receptors in your brain are activated, or "turned on." The more and longer you smoke, the more those receptors grow and multiply. It's like feeding little monsters in your brain. After a while, they get used to getting their regular dose of nicotine. When you don't smoke, they get very angry and make you feel anxious, grumpy, or frustrated. That's withdrawal. In other words, your own brain is working against your efforts to quit. See why it is so hard?
Luckily, we have tools that that can tip the odds in your favor.
- Medications: Using quit smoking medications can help feed the nicotine receptors in your brain. That way you can deal with changing your actions (what you do instead of smoking) without having to suffer the feelings of withdrawal. In fact, using medications can DOUBLE your chances of quitting. Information on EX can help you learn more about medications, and how to pick the right one for you. If you’re a heavy smoker, you’ll want to make sure you get the right dose of whatever medication you choose. Talk with your doctor to make sure your dose is right for your current level of smoking.
- My EX Plan: You also have your personal quit plan that you can always come back to and follow when you’re not sure where to go, or what to do next. And you can sign up for text messages or email support that will come right to your computer or phone when you need them.
- Support from other ex-smokers: Still don’t think you can quit? Check out the stories of thousands of other people who have quit or are in the process of quitting in the EX Community. Their practical advice and no-judgment attitude has been the key for many people just like you, especially if you’re not sure whether you want to quit yet or not.
Whether your scan results are positive or negative, just having the scan can be the motivation you need to decide to quit. Deciding to quit is an important step, but it isn’t the only step. It takes time for your brain to re-adjust to your new ex-smoker status. And it takes time for those nicotine receptor monsters to calm down. Medication, advice and support from other ex-smokers, and a personal plan can make it much easier to make this quit the one that will stick.