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I quit smoking cold turkey

As young as 16 years old was I when I first lit a cigarette of my own. It was during a school trip. My girlfriends and I took turn in lighting a Virginia Slim in our hostel room. Checking our reflection in the mirror with a slim cigarette in our hand seemed cool for teen girls like us back then. We felt as if we were adult, mature.

From then on I started to smoke more and more, secretly. Fast forward two years later, I regularly bought my own pack of cigarette. In that period of time I had switched from brands starting from the very light Virginia Slim to Dunhill Menthol to Marlboro and the heavy Sampurna (Indonesian cigarette brand with a dash of clove, no filter. It tastes sweet). One day that pack of cigarette peeked out from my school bag, catching my mum’s sight. She saw it! I was terrified. That evening came the verdict from both my parents: they said they wouldn’t raise my week allowance to which I replied, no problem because at that time I earned extra from dancing.

I remember my father told me he prefered me smoking at home for he was aware there was no point of forbidding me not to. He said, he was young once and he recalled the teen psyche, the urge to experimenting with things. And me, I was so relieved and happy having such cool parents. My father was a bohemian/hippie comic artist so it was not an average Indonesian parenting style. Some of my girlfriends who also smoked, whose parents were friends with mine, happily came to my house to enjoy some cigarettes on regular basis.

Then I met my husband. He was not a smoker. When our relationship got serious, I considered to quit. One year before we got married I came visiting him for 3 weeks. I managed not to smoke while I was with him. A year later after moving to The Netherlands I quit, cold turkey.

It was hard the first couple of days, apparently my body was busy detoxing itself from nicotine. Note: I smoked a pack consisting 20 cigarettes in two days. There were times when I longed for a cigarette for example after meals, hanging out with friends or just in the morning by the tea. That was when I began to explore why I needed to lit one. Was it the taste, the feeling of having something in my hand or just a habit? The answer was different day by day, depending on the mood but I had successfully quit smoking. That was it! I underwent no special treatment, I read no book, used no nicotine patches and the likes, I just quit smoking cold turkey. It was in 1995.

I was able to differentiate liking, needing and wanting the cigarette. According to neuroscience, there is a reward center in our brain that release the pleasurable neurotransmitter dopamine. In to this article from Harvard How addiction hijacks the brain

Dopamine release is so consistently tied with pleasure. Addictive drugs (read: nicotine) provide a shortcut to the brain’s reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine.

I wrote this as my contribution to World No Tobacco Day. As an ex smoker whose father passed away due to lung cancer I would gladly spread the awareness of nicotine danger. In the short-term after quitting smoking your taste buds become better, no bad breath and the skin glows. In mid/long-term it will reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Read more about World No Tobacco Day on WHO site.



Good luck to those who are trying to quit now or even some who plan to!

Featured image is from Freepik

23 thoughts on “I quit smoking cold turkey

  1. Wow bisa berhenti merokok sama sekali? Hebat!
    Aku bukan perokok, suami, ayah, ibu kakak dan adikku sama sekali tdk merokok (kaka dan adik semuanya lelaki) tapi bibi dan nenekku perokok berat.
    Dari teman dan kenalan yg merokok adalah hal yg mustahil bisa berhenti merokok menurut mereka, bahkan yg ingin berhenti krn urusan kesehatan.

  2. Papaku dulu perokok berat juga, pas aku SD aku inget dia juga berhenti cold turkey. Alasannya katanya dia ingat keluarga dan bisa nabung, uang rokoknya dimasukkan celengan hehehe lucu papi

  3. Cowokku juga ingin berhenti tapi niatnya masih kalah sama rokok 😦 aku sejak kecil gak pernah ngerokok, bahkan gak pernah niat untuk coba coba merokok.

  4. Hi Mbak..papaku dl quit merokok setelah sakit 😏 kasian sik dl dia stres berhentinya secara ngerokok sejak kelas 5 SD 😅
    Tp dia bs berhenti. Aku ga pernah tertarik merokok krn bengek kalo kena asap rokok, suka sebel makanya kalo ada yg merokok di dekatku, apalagi di angkot..

    • Wah orang merokok di angkot atau angkutan umum lainnya yang tertutup itu nyebeln ya Pit. Aku kadang juga kesel kalau di Indonesia ke salon, terus ada yang merokok di dalam ruangan salon yang biasanya berAC. Wah, ngga ada sirkulasi udara dan bau asap.

      • Ada cerita unik dl mbak, ada kakek2 ngerokok di angkot, akhirnya di tegur temenku utk matikan rokok. Eh, dia matikan rokoknya dengan cara itu rokok masih nyala dia masukin ke mulut, jadi matiin di lidahnya 🤤kita syok, bapaknya cengar cengir

  5. Dulu papaku perokok juga, kelamaan kebiasa di Jerman katanya, pas aku SD kayanya masih merokok, sehari satu pak. Terus suatu hari gara2 temennya sesama geng ex Berliner kena serangan jantung, langsung berhenti hari itu juga… Sekarang lari nya ke ngemut permen, kebiasaan setelah putus rokok cari permen melulu, cuma untungnya permen davos kan lebih murah 😅
    Aku sendiri juga engg suka rokok, benci asepnya (meskipun suka bau tembakau dan cengkehnya, maklum besar di kudus kota kretek), makanya hepi banget waktu si papa berhenti ngerokok…
    Thank you for sharing kak Yo 💕

  6. Pingback: Addiction Isn’t A Choice, You Are Just Hurt – Life on the Sober Side

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience Mbak. A friend of mine died at young age because of lung cancer, he was a heavy Dji-Sam-Soe-smoker. One can only hope that someday, Indonesian government could impose a heavy tax on tobacco, although people won’t stop smoking.

    • That’s so sad, a young life is one by nicotine. I’m rather sceptical about rising the tax on tobacco in our home country to be honest.

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