When I woke up one morning as we approached our 25th birthday, after some simple math, Pierre-Adrien has been smoking for 10 years and I realized that if I did not quit smoking before I was 26, I would have smoked half my life!
I then quickly took an appointment with my doctor to talk to him and see if he could give me solutions, some help to quit.
I had already tried to quit smoking with some willpower and with Nicorettes and Nico-patches. The patches gave me palpitations and the Nicorettes disgusted me.
Our reasons to quit smoking
As mentioned above, I started smoking when I was young and I absolutely wanted to stop before I turned 30 🙂 Of course, our main reasons to quit smoking are like most people: health and money.
Quit smoking for money
Not so much money after all… We didn’t realize how much we smoked as we smoked roll-ups, but it didn’t cost us that much. I had done the math once by looking at my bank account, I spend an average of €40 for cigarettes per month, €500 per year. €500 is something, but it is not huge!
Quit smoking to travel more
It’s not really true! As we don’t spend so much on cigarettes, it won’t allow us to travel more. At least, not in the near future.
The goal was also to quit smoking before going to Canada, so we wouldn’t be poisoned by this disgusting habit once on the road. Can you imagine us living in a camper, smoking while driving, with all of our stuff that stinks of smoke, and sleeping there… No way!
In the meantime, cigarettes cost a lot of money in Canada, so we will be able travel longer without this expense.
Quit smoking for health reasons
It’s hard to say that you are in bad health when you are 25 years old, because for now everything is going very well. We know that we will not be able to say the same thing later and we will be angry to have smoked until 25. But at least, we should be limiting the damage by quitting now.
Personally, I have not seen much difference, apart for my breath… but, I admit that I run better since I stopped. For Pierre-Adrien, it was more a matter of dental hygiene that pushed him to stop. According to my parents who have seen us a lot before, during and after the quitting period, we have a pinker skin color.
Quit smoking for the smell
I also think that we smell better, but my parents are smokers so they can’t smell the difference :p I was tired of stinking cold tobacco, because even as a smoker, I felt it and it was unpleasant. I think I didn’t feel it as much as today, but I was already aware of our stench.
Trying to be a minimum ecological and respectful of our planet, I rarely threw my cigarette butts in the street and if I did not have a pocket ashtray, it went straight into my pocket. A nice smell followed me everywhere. As we smoked indoors, and even if we opened windows constantly, all of our clothes in the closets reeked of the smell, our sheets smelled, the kitchen towels smelled…
Since we no longer smoke in the apartment, I really feel a difference. I now know the smell of my laundry and the apartment no longer smells like an ashtray.
What still annoys me is my car which still smells a lot. As soon as I turn on the ventilation, whether it is heating or air conditioning, I can smell cold tobacco. And the fabric of the seats probably stinks too.
Quit smoking with Champix
My doctor told me about Champix, a drug tested as an antidepressant that had proven itself as a treatment to stop smoking. The majority of the test subjects on this antidepressant had stopped smoking after a certain time.
What is Champix?
I am not going to retype all the instructions for the medicine, because it is very long. To make it simple, Champix is a drug that contains an active substance called VARENICLINE. As I understand it, varenicline replaces nicotine in the brain and in the synapse receptors of nicotine and thus reduces the pleasure of smoking, relieves the need for smoking and the needs associated with quitting.
How is the Champix treatment?
The Champix Starter Pack
First, you start with the Champix Starter Pack which consists of two weeks of pills.
One pill of 0.5 mg per day for 3 days to take in the morning then two pills of 0.5 mg per day for 4 days to take in the morning and evening for the first week.
The second week of the starter pack, there are two pills of 1 mg per day for 7 days.
Normally, you are supposed to set a quitting date during or at the end of those two weeks of the starter pack. So you continue to smoke while taking the treatment at the beginning.
My doctor had advised me to stop after the first week of the starter pack. We set the date we wanted to quit smoking and we started the treatment a week before.
The rest of the treatment
The rest of the treatment is like the second week of the starter pack, i.e. two pills per day to be taken in the morning and evening. You should take the treatment between three to six months according to the doctor’s prescription. It is then renewable if necessary.
The side effects of Champix?
I will certainly not quote them because the list is gigantic (like any antidepressant). The side effects are even classified by frequency ranging from very frequent to rare and some effects are quite scary. If you are curious, I am sure you will be able to find a notice of Champix on the Internet. To keep track of our treatment and to note possible side effects, we kept a logbook during the first few weeks of treatment.
Our logbook during the Champix treatment
The last week of smoking
- From the second day of the treatment, I started to feel a little disgusted by the cigarette when I was smoking. The taste was less good and the feeling less enjoyable.
- On the fourth day, I was smeared all day, and I did not eat anything.
- The next day, P-A had a headache and made absurd dreams when, in ordinary times, he never remembers his dreams.
- On the sixth day, it was my turn to have weird dreams and to have a headache.
- For our last day as smokers, we were going really well!
The first week without smoking (or the second week of the starter pack)
- A first day non-smoking without too much discomfort and from the first night, we slept really well. We do not know if it was thanks to the Champix or because we no longer smoked, but we were really sleeping like babies. Like the impression that we had not slept properly for years.
- Then the urge to smoke was constant but very light so it was bearable. We had no crisis as we can know when quitting without substitutes.
- Our first weekend as non-smokers was a bit difficult, but we locked ourselves in the apartment not to be tempted 🙂
- From the 6th day without smoking (day 13 of the treatment), I no longer felt the craving for my morning cigarette with coffee.
Second week without smoking (or 3rd week of the treatment)
After the first two weeks of the starter pack, I had to reduce my dosage from 1 mg to 0.5 mg. I did not feel ready as I was starting a tiring and stressful week. I stole a week of treatment from Pierre-Adrien to be able to have the big dose for another week.
And fortunately, because that week, I was in Paris for training and then in Berlin for a trip. Back from Germany, I was starting a new job… I had plenty of occasions where I could have smoked a cigarette, but with the help of my mom with whom I was in Berlin, I held on.
Third week without smoking (or 4th week of the treatment) and the following
- I started my 4th week of treatment with the reduced dose of Champix from 1 mg to 0.5 mg. I felt ready and above all, I was not stressed anymore. We were on the 20th day without smoking.
- Around the 30th day without smoking, we decided to gradually stop taking the treatment by stopping the evening pill.
- At the end of that same week, we stopped taking the treatment completely. We were tired of not being able to sleep in on Sunday mornings. 🙂
- The urge to smoke is rare today. It comes every once in a while, but we are confident. With willpower and chewing gum or a mint, we know we won’t start smoking again.
Quit smoking date: 10/10/2017