Since I started flying airplanes at 16 I’ve carried more passengers then I can count. It’s impossible to remember all the passengers I’ve flown through the years. There is one passenger though, that I’ll never forget. I call the little shit my Dark Passenger, like from Dexter, except I’m not a psychopathic serial killer. My Dark Passenger I’m referring to was my addiction to nicotine and smoking cigarettes. It took a while to get rid of him but like any clingy ex girlfriend, I finally broke free. Besides starting a family and loosing 100 lbs, quitting cigarette smoking was the best thing I ever did. If you think cigarette smoking is trending downwards, thinking again.
- About a third of the male adult global population smokes. Holy shit that’s a lot.
- Smoking is on the rise in the developing world. Tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year.
- Between 80,000 and 100,000 children worldwide start smoking every day roughly half of whom live in Asia.
- Among young teens (aged 13 to 15), about one in five smokes worldwide.
- Evidence shows that around 50% of those who start smoking in adolescent years go on to smoke for 15 to 20 years.
- Nearly 80% of the world’s 1 billion smokers live in low to middle income countries.
- About 15 billion cigarettes are sold daily or 10 million every minute.
- The tobacco market is controlled by just a few corporations namely American, British and Japanese multinational conglomerates.
Death? Money? or Both?
Notice I didn’t put any death stats up there? Because frankly when I was a cigarette smoker I almost became numb to the fact that smoking was bad. I use to always say “Yeah sure it will kill me, so will getting hit by a bus”. At the time I never realized how bad of an attitude that was. Sure if you get hit by a bus one day it’s shitty, but no one in their right mind goes out looking to be hit by a bus. You choose to smoke cigarettes knowing the consequences. I didn’t quit cigarette smoking for the cost savings either. Here’s a nifty calculator for shits and giggles. Although looking at the cost savings of quitting cigarette smoking is kind of neat it did not motivate me to quit. I quit over 4 years ago and I don’t find I have an extra 10 bucks in my pocket every day or let alone $3600 every year.
Well here’s the reason why I quit. I quit to break free from the prison of always looking for my next opportunity to smoke. Think about that for a second. Smoking is a drug addiction. Yup don’t shake your head! Nicotie is the drug and the cigarette is the syringe. I think having someone actually call me a drug addict finally did the job. I never thought of myself as a drug addict before. As a smoker you are always a prisoner to your next cigarette. Always looking for your next opportunity to get your fix and replenish your nicotine levels. Most smokers are already thinking of their next cigarette before they even finish the cigarette in their hand. I know I was. For me it got to the point where I would be choosing my monthly flight schedule on the basis of flight time. The shorter the flight time meant that quicker I could be back at my airlines parking lot lighting one up again. How pathetic. I knew it was time. It finally clicked.
Unless you’ve ever been a cigarette smoker, you don’t realize the effects the addiction has on you. Nicotine is more addictive then hardcore recreational drugs. On top of that you have the habitual addiction to deal with as well. If you think you’re not a smoker or that it would be easy for you to quit because you only smoke casually think again. Studies have shown that its harder for a casual cigarette smoker to quit.
What Finally Worked
I’m not going to lie and say it was completely easy. It took some work. I tried everything. The gum, the patch, hypnosis, cold turkey. Nothing worked. One day a friend casually referred me to a short paperback book. I thought he was full of shit. A book to quit smoking? Why don’t I just pray to the Tooth Fairy or sprinkle ash above my head and dance around in a circle like an idiot! I shrugged it off until one day I found myself in my local book store. Long story short, the book changed my life. It was a surprisingly easy and short read. The book is called Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. The book did wonders in helping me to quit but it isn’t some miracle hocus pocus trick. You need to be ready to quit and willing to commit to the process. If you can do those 2 things you’ll be able to break free from the little nicotine monster living inside of you.
Practice makes perfect.
As with most skills in life, repetition is the key to mastery. Like in weightlifting….reps reps reps! It’s okay if you don’t succeed on the first try as long as you keep trying. I lost count of the times I attempted to quit smoking and failed. Once you finally do quit it might seem like temptation is everywhere. As time goes on it gets easier and easier until one day you have that moment of utter realization “What the hell was I thinking?” I can’t even imagine myself still being a cigarette smoker now that I have a family. I barely find the time to write posts for this blog, let alone the time to sneak away every 30 minutes to have a cigarette.
Random Benefits I noticed
- Improved sleep quality.
- No more headaches or throbbing.
- No more early morning cotton mouth or dizziness.
- Improved taste. Can finally taste vanilla yogurt and ice cream.
- I can wear a shirt more then once now without smelling like cigarette smoke.
- Improved energy, no more lethargic feeling.
- Improved skin colour.
- Improved blood flow.
- No more planning my day around opportunities to smoke!
All about Choices.
If you’re a cigarette smoker I hope something in this post inspires you to quit. And if nothing did well too bad for you it’s digital. You can’t use your cigarette butt to burn this page! All jokes aside, life is all about choices. Choosing to quit cigarette smoking was one of the best choices I ever made. I know its made me a better and healthier person because of it.
Since I stopped smoking cigarettes I still sometimes enjoy the odd Cuban cigar and Scotch. GASP! Yes I know it’s still bad for you. Yes I know it’s still considered smoking. Sue me. For most people they need to give up all forms of nicotine and tobacco completely in order to break free. I myself was hesitant and waited quite a while before I had a cigar. I won’t sit here and tell you cigar smoking is better or healthier for you. It isn’t. It’s still considered smoking. For me it’s infrequent and does not affect my ability to stay cigarette smoke free.
So has anyone else here quit smoking cigarettes? If you did how did you quit? As always comments are always encouraged.
Keep the blue side up.
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