I started smoking around age 14 or 15. My friends and I would sneak a cigarette from our parent’s packs and gather behind my garage to light it up. We shared our borrowed cigarettes. I remember thinking why can’t I blow out smoke like the rest of them but never said anything. It took years before I realized I was blowing on the cigarettes instead of sucking in on them. I was such a dummy; I had to learn how to smoke all over again.
My habit was strong. I smoked when I got in the car, after eating, talking on phone, all day at work, first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. I smoked more cigarettes than I can possibly imagine. I had stop smoking for a week then Mayor Bill Morris decided to ban all smoking in county buildings. I took that as an opportunity to go right back to smoking just because I could. It had to be my choice so I showed him, sure did. I NEVER said a word to Mayor Morris, it was the brave smoke habit talking. Going up and down 11 floors was not easy because by the time I got there, smoked one, break time was over. I really needed more breaks to cover the cravings they just were not available.
It controlled what I did and pretty soon it controlled my entire life. I wanted to quit but for some reason I was afraid to try anymore with so many unsuccessful attempts. I seemed to fail each time. My health was just so-so I guess. My chest always felt heavy/ cloudy, always going to the doctor for upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, always something.
In August, 1993, my daughter who has never smoked or dated a smoker found out she was going to have a baby after many years of trying. I was never going to be able to have my grandbaby at my house with me smoking.
I decided I was going to stop smoking no matter what. Labor Day, September 1993, I laid them down. I chewed wooden cinnamon sticks like crazy and kept my hands busy finishing up a quilt started by my husband’s grandmother. As each day passed it encouraged me to keep going for one more day. I have never regretted giving them up and fought hard to win the battle. It takes a little work to learn to smoke and it takes a lot of effort to stop. My overall health has increased 110% and I feel good about me.
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.