I started smoking almost 15 years ago, and even though I knew it wasn’t healthy and my family would often ask me to stop, something in me wasn’t ready. Smoking provided a kind of comfort during stressful times in my life, and frankly, quitting just wasn’t my biggest focus — but it should have been.

For years, I’d tried to cut back on the amount I was smoking during certain periods of my life. I thought, “half a pack a day is better than a full pack,” but in the end, I was still smoking. There were even times I talked about how I was “quitting in three weeks,” or quitting before an upcoming event, but the truth was I just wanted everyone off my back.

It took a second marriage and a whole new positive outlook to shake me out of my old habits. Suddenly, I wanted to improve all aspects of my life, and quitting cigarettes jumped to the front of the line. I knew there was no way for me to stop smoking cold turkey, so I tried everything – I even signed up for app that offered tips, tricks, and encouragement. Some didn’t work at all, and some worked for a little bit, but none could get me off cigarettes permanently. Finally, I decided to try NicoDerm CQ. I had always been skeptical about there being something out there that could relieve my cravings, but the NicoDerm patch honestly helped curb my desire to smoke throughout the day.

To say that my life improved after I finally kicked the habit is an understatement. Here are some big upgrades I’ve experienced since saying goodbye to cigarettes.

I Don't Smell Like Smoke

My family no longer complains that my breath and clothing smell like cigarettes, which is a real plus for my relationships.

I No Longer Have to Leave the House Three Times a Day

My spouse didn’t want me to smoke in the house, so I would always have to go outside to light up — no matter the weather. I’m happy to say I’m spending more time indoors now!

My Breathing Improved

About a month after I threw out my last pack of cigarettes, my breathing improved and my chest felt less tight and constricted.

Exercise Is Fun

OK, maybe “fun” is not exactly the right word, but I enjoy working out much more now that I don’t have to stop to catch my breath all the time.

Sleep Comes Easier

Learning to manage my stress was vital to my quitting journey, and because I am now embracing these methods — as opposed to embracing my stress — my sleep has improved big time.

Food Tastes Better

This is a big one for me since I’m a food enthusiast! The only way I can truly describe this change is that food tastes vibrant now — it’s like my mouth lights up every time I eat. Now I just have to be careful that I don’t become addicted to desserts and sweets!

People Came Out to Support Me

My journey to become a healthier version of myself began with the support I received from friends, family, and coworkers once I announced that I was quitting smoking. The encouragement and positivity actually overwhelmed me — in a good way. It opened my eyes to how many people care.

I've Got More Spare Cash

Cigarettes are expensive! Now that I no longer have a weekly cigarette stipend, I can spend that money on restaurants, clothes, and other creature comforts.

I Feel Mentally Tough

The longer I went without smoking the more I proved to myself that I could do it! Although it didn't happen overnight, I took the right steps toward a healthier lifestyle. This in turn helped me feel more empowered to tackle other challenges in my life.

*This article is from the point of view of a former smoker.

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