If you’re a smoker, then I am probably your worst nightmare. I am The Ex Smoker.
You know, that ego inflated wanker that knows how it feels and thinks you should just give it a go.
It’s a strange thing how you can go from smoking around 20 cigarettes a day to thinking how strange it is to stand outside in the rain sucking on a stick. For pleasure?
When people stop smoking, the decision to do so can happen suddenly, or over a period of time where you slowly come to the realisation that this probably isn’t worth it.
When I was younger, my best friend’s dad smoked. He smoked for a lot of years. When my friend was 5 or 6, she came home from school sobbing and sniffing and saying ‘I don’t want my Dad to die’.
She had just learned about smoking and how it is bad for you.
Seeing her so upset, he immediately stopped stopped smoking and hasn’t touched a cigarette since.
For me, it was a much longer process.
My smoking story.
My brothers smoked growing up. I was that annoying younger sister, preaching to them how bad it was. How you would die and how disgusting it was.
I started smoking when I was 16.
By the time my family figured out my dirty secret – they had quit and I was the only sibling that smoked.
A friend had just started smoking and I started doing it too. Mainly because I heard it suppresses your appetite, speeds up your metabolism and is a good substitution to food. It seemed like a great idea because I was at the start of my self destructive decade and was totally up for anything that would:
- Make me thinner.
- Be harmful to me.
In my first year of university I was 19 years old. I decided to be kinder to myself. I ate well and stopped smoking. It was difficult but I managed to do it. I stopped completely for about a year. Then, when I went out with friends I used to steal their cigarettes. I would feel guilty so buy my own just for nights out.
I moved to France for a year when I was 21. A german boy who was sharing the flat with me smoked. After feeling guilty for asking for his smokes, I started to buy my own. In France, it was around 3 euro for a pack of 20. About half the price of cigarettes in the UK.
I became a fully fledged smoker again.
I tried to stop a handful of times after that, but nothing more than 2 weeks at a time.
Every morning I would smoke on the way to work and feel a bit ill and dizzy. I started to think more and more about the reasons I was smoking. Why was it a good idea? Why was I doing this? Why was I making myself feel this ill?
I would roll another cigarette, smoke it, then ask myself the same. The negatives of smoking just were becoming to much for me. I started to worry about my healthy, worry about my ability stop stop. Worry about my skin, teeth and how bad I smelt.
Enough was enough.
I had spent money on some e-cigerettes a few months prior but never got on with them. I promised myself I would give it another go.
E-cigerettes just didn’t give me the same hit as smoking did. That feeling at the back of your throat, just in the right place. It wasn’t helping me.
Something was different though. I started to feel embarrassed to smoke. I felt ashamed walking down the street and people seeing me with a cigarette in my hand. I always thought of it as a dirty habit and I always told myself I would stop one day. One day. Tomorrow. By the time I’m 30. By the time I have children.
Last October, I joined Stoptober. I announced to a few close friends that I was stopping, made sure I had my e-cig on charge and felt 90% positive I could do it.
The first few days we’re okay. I had a migraine and was ill in bed for 2 days on day 4 and 5 of stopping smoking, which helped me get through the worst of it as I didn’t feel like smoking.
After about 2 weeks, the e-cigs started giving me the same hit that cigarettes did. I was a little worried that I had just replaced one bad habit with another.
Over time, I started using e-vapour with no nicotine in. Then after a few months, I naturally just stopped using it less.
I think the last time I used it was in July.
My tips for stopping smoking:
- Search the internet for articles about how bad smoking is for your health.
- Give e-cigs a few weeks if they don’t help you straight away.
- Notice how bad other smokers smell – you’ll realise this once you’ve stopped for a few days.
- Add up how much you’re saving.
- Search the internet for articles about the benefits of not smoking.
- Read the book: The Power Of Habit.
- Stay away from alcohol until you feel mentally strong enough.
- Keep reminding yourself of how you want to stop.
- Join Stoptober.
Have any one of you stopped smoking, or are thinking about quitting?