Health Magazine

St. Patrick's Day and My Last Ciggarette Anniversary!

By Healthhungry @Healthhungry
Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?  Some of my favorite memories of this day were spent at my mom's best friend's house.  She and her sister had homes right next to each other, and they were strong Irish-Catholic families who threw huge fun parties!  That seems so long ago...
St. Patrick's Day and My Last Ciggarette Anniversary!
Meatball loves to celebrate!
St. Patrick's Day has become a special day for me because it is a special Anniversary; 6 years ago today I smoked my last cigarette.  Any of you who smoke, or who smoked in the past know what a huge accomplishment that is!  I had quit many many times before, but this was the time that finally stuck.
I smoked my first cigarette the first time I got drunk; I was 16.  I remember being taught how to hold it, how to inhale, etc.  I also remember how HORRIBLE it tasted, and how immediately my lungs rejected it, as I sputtered and spewed out the nasty smoke.  Then I tried it again.(Everyone else was doing it, so I had to keep up...)  By the time I was 20, I LOVED my cigarettes - though I was always ashamed of the stinky habit, I was addicted.
I didn't know it at the time, but as I lost weight in 2003-2005, cigarettes helped me curb my appetite, sped up my metabolism, and gave me another outlet for my uncomfortable feelings.  How much they helped, didn't become clear until I gained the weight back.  Now I see how much more challenging it is to lose the pounds without that crutch.  Though I sometimes romanticize it - I KNOW it's the best thing I've ever done for my health.  No question about it.
I read the book; The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.  I believe it was particularly helpful because;
1) It allowed me to continue smoking while I read the book, in fact he encourages you to smoke while your read it.2) I knew my addiction was not physical after the first three days(which I had gotten through a thousand times) so the book helped me deal with the desires as they presented themselves, and boy did they.
I believe that it was just over the past two years that I have ceased to crave it periodically.  I am not tolerant of the smell at all, but my two lasting triggers are; 1) seeing it in television and movies and,2) when I am drinking(which I rarely do either.)  Second-hand smoke kills, so if I am going to suck up someone else's smoke(think smokey bars, yes they still exist) my thought is, "I'd rather enjoy doing the damage..."  Obviously, I don't go - which is preferred for a number of reasons.
I knew gaining back weight was a risk of quitting smoking, but I didn't care - I hated being a slave to that nasty addiction and it was expensive then, let alone now!!  I felt smoker shame all of the time, I can only imagine how much that has increased for people over the past six years, and I honestly think it's a good thing.  Not that smokers deserve to be discriminated against, or shamed, but social pressure can be motivating.(Though interestingly, I don't feel that way about losing weight, hmmmmm)  The reality is, you do have to want to quit - just like any bad habit, you are the one who lives with the consequences of your choices - no one else.  Unless you smoke in your house or your car, with others in it - then I say; stop being SELFISH!
If you are a smoker, even socially(if you aren't addicted and just have "one or two" a week, etc.) then why do it at all?  It's not romantic, or cool, or bad-ass, or any of those things you believed at 16.  It's disgusting, and it's completely a result of Big Tobacco intentionally DRUGGING you, to steal your hard earned income, and your health.  They own all of the smoking cessation gums, drugs and treatments too - so do yourself a favor and do them a big EFF YOU, and buy the book instead.  I promise you, you can quit too, and St. Patrick will bless you with the luck of the Irish.  Okay, maybe not - but you will be so glad you did it! 
For interesting health stats on quitting smoking, take a look at this chart!  I am in the "long term" health benefits(yay!), but I remember being stoked about what happens within 24 hours.  In fact, I used to have a poster of these stats hanging on my fridge for the first few years after I quit, just to remind myself.  The slightly scary statistic, is that it can take up to 15 years to resemble the insides of a non-smoker; but it CAN happen - and after being a smoker for 16 years myself, I'd say that's a miracle!
Top O' the Mornin' to YA!

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