I had my first cigarette at the age of 16. I was curious. My friend and I were at a girl friend’s house and we smoked what we could off a butt on the ground- gross, I know! But it didn’t take much for me to start up the habit that I held dear to me for 10 years. I loved cigarettes- and honestly, I would smoke one right one if it wasn’t for my pride of throwing everything out the door and what I worked hard for the last 1 1/2 years! All you non-smokers out there, when you are telling your loved one they need to quit, you also need to take into consideration the DIFFICUTLY of this task! It’s like us asking you to quit exercising, drinking wine, or stop being friends with someone- seriously! Its NOT easy and even though we know it isn’t good for us, we still continue to do it. Now anyone who is thinking right now “This girl is crazy and insensitive to write this about smoking or compare quitting to exercising or drinking wine!”, please don’t jump to the conclusion I’m supporting cigarettes or lung cancer- just read the entire post- then feel free to comment if you would like. I encourage comments- ALL of them :) No one is perfect and I think everyone indulges in something that isn’t good for you, whether it’s junk food or gossiping, you know it isn’t healthy for you but you do it anyway.
I decided to write this post not to talk about the struggle of quitting but to talk about the upside of quitting! So here we go:
- I was getting ready for my 8th knee surgery in October 2012. My new surgeon told me I HAD to quit because this surgery would not be successful if I continued to smoke. That was it right there- I had to quit! I hadn’t been able to exercise in years because of my knees and I didn’t want to risk it!
- My boyfriend smoked too and when I told him what the doctor said, he told me he wanted to quit as well and right before his 28th birthday we both quit. If it hadn’t been for him quitting too, I don’t think I would have been successful at kicking the habit! He is way stronger than me and I give him all the thanks in the world for quitting with me!
- We didn’t substitute cigarettes for anything! We went cold turkey! It was hard… actually, it sucked but we knew it was the only way to do it! We were moody and always on edge but after about 2 weeks, it got easier. We were able to break our habits we developed from smoking like the morning cigarette, driving cigarette, drinking cigarette, stressful cigarette…
- Once I quit I gained 20 lbs in 3 months (I know this isn’t encouraging to others, especially the ladies, but hear me out). I felt like I was being punished for becoming healthy! This made me more motivated to exercise- which I was able to do BECAUSE of my successful surgery! I had this fire ignited in me and I was going to take advantage of it for as long as I could!
- I have never felt better in my life! I can hike up hills and run long distances without getting winded. My body has never felt stronger and I want to keep it healthy! I’ve also managed to exercise when I’m stressed, rather than go for a cigarette. Its amazing how much more effective it is to go for a run than smoke!
- I don’t get sick as often. I used to get a cold a few times per month and the flu at least once a year. I can honestly say I did not get sick last year (or at least that sick that I can document when it occurred). I don’t have a constant cough anymore that smokers tend to get.
- I don’t get antsy when hanging out with friends. When I used to go out, I would always be thinking when I could sneak outside and smoke a cigarette, and it was more awkward when no one smoked. Now I can stay in all night and not worry about getting my fix!
- My wallet is deeper! We used to spend $7/ day on cigarettes. I would smoke 1/2 – 1 pack/day (depending on the occasion). Now we have an extra $2,555 per year!
- We were ready. We tried to quit before but it was unsuccessful because we weren’t truly ready! No one can make you quit- you have to WANT to quit or it will not be successful!
Again, quitting is hard and by no means should it be taken lightly! In America alone, smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths, and about 8.6 million people suffer from smoking-related lung and heart diseases. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease. For information and tips on quitting smoking go to www.cancer.org. And for anyone who wants their loved ones to quit, be supportive! Don’t discriminate or punish them for smoking. Cutting out articles of how to quit smoking and posting them on the refrigerator or on a co-workers desk is hardly affective- and in most cases, its offensive. Just be there for them and when they do decide to quit and are going through a hard time, be understanding and encouraging, because we are all in it together! Now, if the smoker is just stubborn, selfish, and doesn’t care who they seem to hurt… that’s just another story!
Ok, now its your turn- have at it with the comments….