01/19/2012 11:47 EST | Updated 03/18/2012 05:12 EDT

A Grandmother's Warning to Young Smokers

I am the aforesaid grandmother of Miranda Frum, whom she mentioned in her quitting smoking blog. A couple of comments:

I started smoking around the age of 16 when it was still glamorous (!) and no warnings of cancer, back in the early 50s. I worked myself up to a pack a day in my late teens, then smoked for the next 20 years. Everyone (including my parents and siblings) smoked in those days.

Every so often, when cigarettes increased in price, I would try to quit but the incentive just wasn't there. It wasn't till I met my present husband (a non-smoker) at the age of 35, that I truly needed to quit. He hated the habit, my young children scolded me for smelling of cigarettes when I kissed them goodnight, and, worst of all, by that time a pack costs 67 cents!

In the interests of health (by this time, we knew about lung cancer), economy ( I couldn't afford them), and not wanting my kids to follow my bad example, I quit cold turkey. Kept it up for six months, fell off the wagon, gave it up again for about three months, fell off, then finally the miracle happened.

I have not smoked for almost 42 years, and thank God for it. None of my kids smoked, and only one grandchild (Miranda) has taken up the habit and is now desperately trying to quit.

Here's my recipe for quitting:

. Tell everyone you are going to quit and do so immediately;

. Try to avoid drinking alcohol or beer and even switch from coffee to juice or water until you've gotten over the urge to smoke (the two go together in your mind);

. Try to avoid stress (easy to say, of course) but it's easier to stay off cigarettes if your life is reasonably serene;

. Take up some form of exercise

. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER put a cigarette in your mouth again. Even after 40 plus years, I would never dare light up even one. For months after I had quit, I used to have nightmares that I had started again. It was such a relief to find I'd only dreamed it.

It may take as long as six months, but it will be worth it.