Smoking is a lost love, but it had to go!

Russel-Morgan Print of a Tramp smoking cigar w...
This is how I used to look!

I loved smoking, and did so consistently for about 10 years. I sometimes reminisce about it, like a lost love. I loved it right up until I could no longer tell if my bad chest was caused by a slight cold, or my asthna flaring up, or the fact I might have done some mild exercise. Like blind love sometimes can, it began to squeeze the life out of me as it consumed my every thought; we went everywhere together and I constantly spent money on it. All this, until one day, I couldn’t take anymore.

It’s been nearly three years now, since we parted. I stopped on the eve of the 2008 Champions League final, between Manchester United and Chelsea; remember that one? United won on penalties! As a United fan, I could not have chosen a more stressful night to kick this habit; but I chose this moment on purpose because it was hard, because I knew if I could get through that night, there was no excuse to not get through any other night. Any keen football fan or club supporter will know exactly what I mean…and the penalties nearly did for me, that night!

But here’s some thoughts on reasons to stop, or not stop, smoking.

  • That ‘No Smoking Day’ falls on the first day of Lent, is in my opinion, bad. Having tried numerous times before to stop smoking, the goal has ultimately got to be a lifetime choice. Give a smoker a get out of 40 days, and a lot might take it. Seriously! It’s like a countdown to your Birthday and the present is…a pack of 20 Marlborough Lights, please!
  • You don’t stop for the kids’ sake. That’s not the reason. Maybe its semantics, but I see it as a deflection of responsibility. The resulting guilt if you fail with that one (as I did on several occasions) can be epic.
  • Because millions of others have given up smoking is not a reason for you to give up smoking. It is a fact that millions have, but also a fact that millions haven’t. It’s nonsense. Maybe semantics again. However, I don’t care about the fact other people have done it. You want to make me feel bad that I hadn’t? That I was struggling to? Tell me “well, others have managed it, you should be able to”, and I would have replied with a few choice words.
  • Public and peer pressure is not a reason to give up smoking. I don’t do peer pressure. Sort of same as above really. It used to make me dig my heels in even more.
  • Thinking of all the money you can save is not a reason to give up smoking; you’ll only spend it on other crap. If there are any other ex-smokers out there that can tell me otherwise, please do. When you stop smoking it’s a bit like getting a pay rise at work…you soon find something else to spend it on (NB, for those working in the public sector, this is when your organisation fractionally increases the big number on the bottom of your pay slip)

To conclude, the only reason anybody should ever stop smoking is because they want to. Not anybody else. You! It’s hard, yes. It can make you grumpy, yes. It takes will power, yes. When you’ve managed it though, the results are worth it. I now know when I have a cold; I can walk and run again; I have more energy around my kids and family and friends; I have reclaimed my lungs as my own. Stopping smoking does not, I repeat does not, mean I am going to live any longer! But what it does mean is that I have a better a quality of life; that’s what I wanted, for me, and it just so happens that others close to me benefit from that.


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