My First Month Nicotine-Free Has Already Changed My Life

From saving money to breathing easier, it’s surprising how much quitting cigarettes has already changed my life.

Today marks the end of my first full month without nicotine in years.

Although a month may not sound like a long time, I’m proud of myself for getting through a difficult withdrawal process.

I’m also pleasantly surprised by how many positive changes I’ve already seen in my life.

It really doesn’t take long to start seeing the benefits of going nicotine free!

My Attempts to Quit

I started smoking in high school and became a daily smoker a few years later. Since then, I’ve smoked a pack a day throughout most of my adult life.

This isnt my first attempt to quit, but it is the first time in quite a while that I’ve made it this long.

Throughout nearly this entire year, I’ve been trying to quit with the help of nicotine patches. They did a good job of getting me off cigarettes, but I had a very hard time transitioning off nicotine entirely.

Every time that I was due to stop taking the patches, I’d end up going right back to smoking.

Eventually, I realized that the patches just weren’t working for me, and decided to quit cold-turkey.

That was one month ago, and I haven’t touched a single cigarette or nicotine patch since.

Last week I wrote a post going into more detail about what I did differently this time, and why I think I’m finding more success:

How My Life Has Improved

Now that I’ve hit a month without any form of nicotine, I’m surprised by how many changes I’m already starting to notice.

I’ve already saved a ton of money. Cigarettes in my town average about $5.50 per pack. At a pack per day, I would have spent $165 on cigarettes over the past month.

Nicotine patches were much cheaper than cigarettes, but they still ran about $30 for a box of 14. Each patch lasts one day, so that works out to about $60 per month.

Regardless of whether I’m comparing this month to the cost of smoking or the cost of wearing patches, I’ve saved quite a bit.

I really don’t spend much money in general, so the difference in my credit card bill has been very noticeable.

I don’t notice my breathing being any different in my day-to-day life, but when I go running I feel like I’m breathing much more easily.

It’s no surprise that quitting cigarettes has helped me breathe better. I’m a little confused though why I seem to be breathing more easily than when I was wearing a patch.

It may just be a placebo effect, but if that’s the case, I’m happy with it anyway.

This month I’ve also noticed my sense of taste and smell improve. It’s renewed my love for cooking because I’m able to really taste all of the ingredients again.

On the other hand, spicy food is starting to taste way spicier to me. I’ve been having to slow down on my favorite ghost-pepper chips because the heat is just too much to handle.

Finally, I’ve noticed that I really have saved time by not smoking.

Each individual cigarette doesn’t take too long to smoke, but the time adds up.

Four or five minutes per cigarette, multiplied by 20 cigarettes a day, ends up taking an hour and a half of my time.

Without smoking, I feel like I’m having way more time to get things done.

This month, I’ve been using the extra time to write nearly every day. It feels way more productive and ultimately satisfying than smoking ever did.

Perhaps the biggest change that I’ve experienced so far is that it feels as if a weight has been lifted off my psyche.

For years, smoking has been the last major vice that I felt like I needed to get rid of. After having two grandparents die of lung cancer, it turned into a major source of guilt that really weighed on me on a daily basis.

Now, every day that goes by without cigarettes is a day that I feel proud and guilt-free.

More Improvements to Come?

I hope and expect that this is just the beginning of the benefits that I’ll experience from not smoking.

I smoked for well over a decade, and that’s a lot of damage for my body to recover from. More than just one month will take care of.

At this point, the major withdrawal symptoms are all gone, but I’m still experiencing some of the secondary symptoms: trouble sleeping, a cough, cravings, and dreams about cigarettes.

I hope that the next major change I experience will be for these symptoms to disappear. That might still be several months or more away though.

Regardless of what happens next, I’m still extremely proud of how far I’ve come, and I’m committed to never touching nicotine again.

Written by

I’m a lawyer and teacher from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, running, and more.

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