I smoked my first cigarette as a child of 10, and was regularly sneaking smokes in the alleyways and back streets within a couple of years. When I was 13, my parents gave me permission to smoke, and by the time i was 15, I’m pretty sure i didn’t go anywhere without my cigarettes.

The first time I quit for any length of time, I was in my early 20s: I made it for about 3 years before I bummed a smoke at work one day and was back to a pack a day by the end of the week.

I can’t even tell you how many times I tried to quit after that, but none of those quits lasted more than a few months at best, so I can tell you a lot about how not to quit smoking.

After 30 years or so, I got my payoff: I was diagnosed with an advanced case of emphysema that put an end to my career as a professional musician (i was a trombonist and singer), and the doctor told me in graphic detail what my life would probably look like if I didn’t quit.

That was my wake-up call.

He gave me a sample bottle of wellbutrin (bupropion hcl; same drug as zyban), and I took them for a week, but when I stepped up to the full dosage (the day I quit), the side effects were so unpleasant that I stopped taking them and went cold turkey instead. I’m glad I did. I’m also glad that I had the experience with the bupropion, for reasons that will no doubt become clear as time goes by.

What was much more important than the wonder drug was the american lung association’s freedom from smoking online program: I found the program googling “emphysema” the day I was diagnosed, signed up, went through it in a week, and it helped me prepare for my final quit.

I smoked my last cigarette in a little private ceremony just before midnight on November 18th of 2001, a week to the day from the day I was diagnosed with emphysema. Since then, I’ve helped lots of people get quit and stay that way, and doing that has been instrumental in helping me to stay free.

The idea for this has been percolating in the back of my mind all those years, and now that I’m in the 10th year of my quit, and have hosted a quit-smoking support forum for 8 of those years, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on what works and what doesn’t.

I believe that if you truly want to be free, and you follow the advice you’ll find on this site (or at least have a reason why not besides, “oh, that’ll never work for me.”), you will get free and stay that way.

I’m looking forward to working with you. let me know how I’m doing.