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Can I just cut back on Smoking?

I know most folks here are probably trying to quit smoking cigarettes all together; so this is a question directed more at people who can help me learn to just cut back on the total amount that Im smoking per day.  Is there a best way to "step down" your smoking?

Im a 28 year old grad student and I pride myself on being an independant young woman, although Im also a true believer in the Lord's gospel; although I also openly admit that Im a somewhat unrepentant chain smoker. I know we are all sinners in our hearts; and although I dont really consider smoking a sin, because nothing in the scripture says anything about not smoking; I know that I need to learn more self control. The Lord has blessed me, in that I habe been able to do the majority of my work these past ten years at home in front of a computer, which in turn has allowed me to smoke nearly all day. However, now Im about a year away from (hopefully) finishing up my grad degree program and I need to be able to start mentally training myself to be able to get work done without constantly needing another cigarette.

I know smoking in excess can sometimes be undesirable, but Ive been doing it along time and deep down, I really do love it and dont particularly want to quit. I think I was one of those people who was just born to be a three to four pack a day smoker, and I smoke so much that I sometimes used to drive my ex-fiancee crazy (and he was a soldier and also smoker himself, just not nearly as much as me). Even though every roommate Ive had for the past decade was also a smoker, I used to drive all of them nuts too; because I literally cannot do anything without a cigarette in my mouth: I smoke while watching TV, and I smoke when Im driving and I smoke when Im sitting on the couch reading; I smoke while doing dishes, and I smoke while Im cooking, and yes, I even smoke while Im in the bathtub. Worse, I sometimes smoke while reading my daily scripture lesson! (although I know the Lord forgives these minor transgressions from my smoking, and that this shall not keep me from spending Eternity with Him if my faith remains pure) However, in my mortal flesh, Spending most of the past 10 years being permitted the luxury to smoke while working in front of a computer for 10 or more hours a day has made it such an ingrained part of my life, I dont know that Id ever be able to fully break from my cigarette addiction, even if I wanted to (which I dont).

Although my parents were non-smokers, they also did not know the Lord. I found the Lord when on a Church retreat while in middle school, and shortly thereafter I met a cute boy in the youth group who gave me my first cigarette. I dont want to say something so cliche as "the Lord works in mysterious ways", but even though I may have started going to church youth group more regularly partly so I could share another few cigarettes behind the church in secret with the boy who was to become my first true love; it still lead me to the house of the Lord twice a week. Shortly thereafter, I began dating that boy, who was almost 4 years older than me, and while being with him, I turned into a routine closet smoker throughout the rest of middle school and high school. He enlisted in the Marines after he graduated high school, and a few years later when I was a senior in high school we became engaged just before he was deployed and sent off to fight the radical muslims in Afghanistan. I will always cherish those last cigarettes we shared together before he left for the flight line, and I never saw him alive again.

After his funeral, my chainsmoking really started to get out of control my senior year of high school. The cigarettes were there for me when no one else was. By the time I graduated and left for college, I was a committed chain smoker, who had been burned by loss but still knew the Lord. In applying to college, I made a point to request a smoking room/roommate, which you could still do back then at the all girls dorm I picked, which had a "smoking floor". With as much free time as I had back then, and a somewhat OCD personality, it was no time at all before I was constantly chainsmoking my way through two then three packs a day, oftentimes much more than that. Of course, I certianly didnt mind the fact that smoking as much as I do has really helped me keep the weight off and maintain my lithe, girlish figure; since I smoke so much I often times miss meals without even noticing. Seeing how many other young women always worried about their weight, or having other self-image issues; made me glad that I had a trusty cigarette to help me through the hungry times of the day. Perhaps it was inevitable that I would submit myself to chainsmoking my days away. Now its not uncommon for me to finish a fourth pack of cigarettes before calling it a night.

My delima is this: I know that Ive been living in a smokers paradise for the past decade, but that most Americans are not allowed to smoke while at work. Sure, many folks can take the occasional smoke break, perhaps one before lunch, one during lunch and maybe one after lunch; but something I learned in my breif summer internship year before last is that anything more than about 3 smoke breaks during an 8 hour day is going to draw negative attention. That summer, even while wearing two nicotine patches, and chewing the nicorette gum, I was having to take at least 5 or 6 smoke breaks each day, and often times would go spend my entire lunch break in my car chainsmoking one cigarette after the other to get enough of a nicotine fix to tide me over for at least a few hours. Thats the same was I was when I was driving into the internship in the morning, and just as soon as I hit the door in the afternoon I already had a cigarette waiting on my lips.

I mean, I know I need to one day quit all together, and I have set an "initial target quit date" of my 40th birthday, about 12 years away - for when I want to "really attempt to kick smoking for good" - because I figure by then I'll probably finally find the right man to marry since the Lord saw fit to call the other one back to Him. Perhaps, Lord willing, one day after Im 40, I'll have children. But since I dont really want to have kids before then, and I have no plans for marriage anytime soon; I plan to continue smoking until I'm 40 and have a reason to quit.  

So - blasphemous as all of that probably is, My question is this: once Ive spent so long being spoiled, letting myself smoke almost whenever I want to; is there any good recommended way to first cut back to maybe two packs per day, then gradually step down to smoking only one pack a day?

I really think that if I could mentally condition myself over the next year into getting by most days with only one pack of cigarettes, that I could possibly get to where I could function in a "normal" 8 hour work day with only a few cigarette breaks. Plus, Id save a boatload of money if I cut back from 4 packs a day to 2 packs a day, then eventually 1 pack a day. Right now I have to order most of my cigarettes online to be able to afford them - and even then, it isnt cheap. The other thing is that I figure if I can get myself in the mindset where I only need to smoke 1 pack a day to be content; then perhaps I can have a much better chance of legitimately attempting to quit after I turn 40.

I know thats probably way way too much info; and that everyone will probably just tell me to own up and quit for real - but please try to bear with me and understand my situation: Im not ready to quit all together yet, and the Lord doesnt want me to quit yet, I just want tips for cutting back - if anyone can suggest any kind of a program that's geared towards merely decreasing consumption rather than an outright quit.

Thank you in advance for any thoughful tips or helpful suggestions on how to cut back, I really do appriciate it. God Bless you.

- ClaireBear

4 Responses
1494818 tn?1362668058
Hi Claire:   If you're trying to cut back on smoking I found the best way to do it was to allow your self so many cigarettes a day for a week.   So if you smoke 4 packes a day take out 10 cigarettes for the first week.  The next week take out 11 and so on.  You will get use to spacing them out during the day.  Just take out the amount and put them away til the following day and only have whats left in your purse or wherever you are.  I hope this helps.  Good luck.    Lauren
326505 tn?1304169225
Tapering is not a proven method but whatever works for you is better than smoking 4 packs a day!
Try reading some of the literature at whyquit.com and keep us posted as to how things are going. And Claire, no offense intended, but can you be less wordy ; )
Good luck you two!
1533352 tn?1307054656

    Yikes! 4 packs a day is crazy scary. I'm not sure about the "gradual cut back" method, but it might work for you, although im sure there are probably better ways. I've had mixed results with that method myself: I used to smoke around 2 packs a day for years; then I tried cutting back one cigarette at a time, one week at a time, but I only ever got down to where I was still smoking about one pack a day. Thats why I said it only sorta works.

    Best of luck with cutting back on your smoking!  =)  Rachel
1534282 tn?1294328945
I agree with Rachel, 4 packs a day is way too many, you should try to do anything you can to cut back... thats got to be crazy expensive!  I've never really had much luck staying quit from smoking myself, and I always somehow end up taking it up again, but its never too late to give quitting another chance!  

Consider it a Christmas present to yourself!  
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