a mother and daughter pull a single cigarette apart

Mom and I Quit Smoking Together

I can’t begin to count all the times that mom and I tried quitting smoking together. If you’re reading this and judging, I’m sorry. Even Santa Claus smoked when I was a kid, and advertisers said medical doctors thought better with “cool menthol”. Of course, we all know differently now, but smoking is still popular. Mom and I LOVED to smoke. We also tried on many occasions to quit smoking together.

How mom and I quit smoking together

We tried a few different methods of quitting:

Cut back

Initially, we tried cutting back. We would count out how many cigarettes we were going to have in a day. Then we would make a deal that neither one of us would cheat. I remember going to see her and finding she had switched to an extra-long 120 cigarette. First I pretended to be mad and accused her of cheating. Then I “bummed” one, and we both laughed so hard at how clever she was.

Cold turkey

Said to be a reference to withdrawal, where a person gets goosebumps, the term stuck and people still refer to it today. Mom and I made calendars and marked off our quit date. This never lasted for more than a week.

Vacay

Mom and I loved to travel with my grandma, (her mom) and my daughter. We had amazing times with four generations of women going across the country in grandma’s Pontiac. Of course, grandma didn’t smoke and neither did my daughter. That meant mom and I had to take turns. Every hour, one of us would smoke, with our car window cracked a few inches. It kept the air cleaner and was also a way to slow down on smoking and spend more money on souvenirs. We weren't going to quit smoking together on a vacay.

NRT or nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine gum

We thought this was going to be it. When the gum hit the market, it tasted like pepper and burned her mouth. In usual fashion, she wanted me to try it with her. I’ve got to be honest: She kept smoking while chewing the gum. The gum made my heart race, and I warned her that something bad was going to happen. After a few days, she gave me the unfinished box and said she was done with it.

Nicotine patches

I thought these were wonderful and used them to wean off of cigarettes for a few years. Mom never felt relaxed enough to do without her cigarette. She tried the patch off and on during the ’80s with some success.

Quitting Smoking Together

Trying to quit as a team had bonus moments and also a few pitfalls. I remember us getting into an argument on one of our trips. She left the hotel and came back with a pack. We went to the pool to smoke and make up. Years later, after she got out of the hospital, I brought her home with me and told her there was no more smoking inside my house. She made it through a couple of weeks, using the gum, and then went home - smoke-free, for several months. We later laughed about how hard it was.

More on this topic

A big part of our relationship was about having a cigarette together. We were close and also struggled with codependence. We had to grieve the loss. When she quit for good, we congratulated ourselves on being smoke-free together. She never smoked again. I did, but that’s another story.

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