I started smoking at the age of 13. I thought it was cool and felt so grown up at the time. It was really cheap to buy cigarettes for 25 cents a pack. Just about all of my friends smoked, and we really enjoyed how it made us feel. After we each got our own cars, it was really cool to drive around with the windows down, arms resting on the window, with a cigarette in between our fingers. Buddy, that was the life. Or so we thought.
When I was 21, smoking was not as much for pleasure or the coolness; it became a need/ habit. No matter how much I thought about quitting, I just could not beat this habit. I tried patches, pills and nothing worked. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I really didn’t want it to work because I was not ready.
For 31 years I worked in the food industry before retirement in 2000. Smoking was not allowed in the building and the smoking room was inconvenient, so the ability to smoke at will was limited for me. After retirement, I had it made. I could smoke all I wanted, and that I did. I also increased the number I smoked per day because I could. I had the time. Then my wife decided to quit smoking. Once again, I was restricted from the freedom to choose where I smoked. Yes, you got it. Smoking was then banned from our household and vehicles. Once again, my smoking fortress was forced to be out in the cold, heat, and every weather condition imaginable. There was not one thing about it that was easy. At times, the weather was so bad it was not worth the hassle.
I decided to quit for several reasons. One was due to the insurance cost increasing for smokers, the cost per pack was up around $5.00, and my health was not as good as it should have been. I spent more time feeling bad than good. I could be in bed at night, sound asleep and would wake myself up to the wheezing in my chest being so loud. My family could hear it too, if they were standing close to me. My chest hurt, I coughed like crazy, and my clothes, my hair and the pillow I slept on reeked of cigarette smoke. I know now that I stunk because I smell it on other smokers.
I decided to quit smoking, picked a target date that would be significant to me – Thanksgiving 2014. Yep, I did it. I sure did. Best decision I have ever made as far personal habits. I can breathe easier, have stopped coughing, and the best is I can smell again. WOW! Yes, I am putting on a little weight but heck its nothing compared to the way I feel. If I can stop smoking, I can sure make healthier food choices!
Has your life been affected by cigarette smoking? Are you a former smoker? Did you quit for personal health reasons? How long did you smoke? Are you a current smoker? Do you know someone who died after years of smoking? We are always looking for new stories for our Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Blog. You NEVER know when your story could help someone else and encourage them to stop smoking. Send us your contact information below so we can tell YOUR story.
You can say “Yep, I did it” and the Tennessee Tobacco Quit Line is an excellent resource. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW!
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