An Ex-Smokers's Lament: Why I Quit Smoking Cigarettes

   Even presidents have a hard time quitting
Even presidents have a hard time quitting | Source

An Ex-Smoker's Lament

I begin to write this Hub right smack in the middle of an urge to smoke a cigarette. This seems appropriate, does it not? I am in a literal sort of pain as I write these words. If I had a cigarette in front of me, I honestly don't know if I would resist the thing. That is addiction. That is also part of the story of my life.

I am a fairly new Hubber and consider HubPages to be my new writing home. The marvelous part of this relationship so far is that I have never smoked while 'Hubbing'. That sounds trite, I suppose, but to me it has huge meaning. The very fact that I am writing this is miraculous, since as a smoker I found it quite annoying to put my cigarette down for any reason. I smoked 2 1/2 packs every day for many years, and there is absolutely no evidence of that on my desk. Nary an ash!

Now, while I write this I am apt to give updates on the nicotine fits, etc., so please bear with me. I mention this because that last one has gone. I have found that it doesn't take long if you wait them out. A dear friend of mine likened them to waves, which do ebb. What a relief this is. Another friend told me to take very deep breaths when the urge to smoke became strong-"That's what your body really needs."

In telling a little of my love affair with tobacco, please don't misunderstand, I am not making light of cigarettes, addiction or smoking. I have been battling most of my life to quit this detestable habit and have only recently stopped. Relapse waits, peeking around corners, waiting to pounce. I have no sense of certainty or immunity. In fact I am much more apt to pick up a cigarette than most anyone I know. Humor has been a lifeline for me during this process, though, and I have seen it work for others.

I began smoking for the usual youthful reasons, peer pressure and boredom in school. Back in the early 70's, images of sociable smokers were all the rage, I seem to recall photos of quite attractive smokers lounging next to hotel swimming pools. The dangers of the habit were not discussed-or known-for a number of years. What with hippies and the old-fashioned 50's, well, cigarettes seemed middle-of-the-road, at the very best. My high school chums and I also had the dubious distinction of being students at the local girl's boarding school, which made every clandestine activity all the more desirable and sinister. We reveled in trips to the bathroom during study hall, managing to arrange trips with one another, one bringing the cigarette, the other, the matches. Ahh, cloak and dagger stuff, indeed.

And it was fun.

Now as an adult I can enjoy these memories thoroughly, and I fully understand why I took up smoking.

It was a social event.

I am concerned that today the desire to belong will overcome education's influence. But this is becoming a Hub about beginning the habit. I would like to focus more on the long term. Please indulge me here as I discuss smoking as a smoker, for that has been my identity for most of my life. Oh, boy, here's another wave....sometimes just writing about it sounds good.

Cigarette smoking is insidious because it becomes who you are. I know smokers who I do not define primarily by their smoking, but then they smoke so little that it seems incidental. Most of 'us', though, are bound by when, where, how and if we can smoke. Most people know all of this, although people who have never smoked have very little idea how defining this horror can be. When you smoke, the world is physically divided, and these days, it's the law. But even more than that it is considered a characteristic.

A negative characteristic. Which, of course, it is.

I am confused now, though, because I managed to quit. Does that now make me a non-smoker? An ex-smoker? How am I to behave? I am actually amazed that people become rabid ex-cigarette smokers, almost acting as if they have no idea whatsoever why smokers do what they do. They can be vicious, mistaking victory over addiction as some sort of superior morality.

Balderdash.

All I know is that I miss my friends. At smoke breaks, you understand. I choose not to hang out with them at these times because the smoke can be overwhelming, but they have as much a right to smoke outdoors as I have to simply stand there! As long as they take care of the trash, I really don't care.

So here I am, a new Hubber who has rambled on far too long about something important to me...sounds like time well spent.

And still, nary an ash! :o)


This is what my addiction looks like

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Comments 39 comments

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Ok, here I am going to comment that I have no idea how to work with photos! Sorry, folks!

Laurel


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut

I wish you so much luck - both with staying quit(I have failed multiple times myself) and your new adventure in hubbing! Hubpages can be quiet an addiction as well!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

I take it from what you said that you're still smoking, Amy Jane; well, more power to you for having the 'hutzpah' to keep reading tales like mine! I admire that in smokers, once they try to stop, they seem to inundate themselves with information until the time is right. Right? :o)

And thank you so very much for your words on Hubbing!

I am having a ball and learning a lot, too.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

I hope you are still having success as a non smoker. I gave up in 2002 and haven't had one since. It is a wonderful feeling being able to say "I don't smoke." Say it now, it may be the momentum you need to not get hooked again. And you save heaps of money.


r2moo2 profile image

r2moo2 6 years ago from Singapore

Great hub! Just love the honesty in this.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks so much for your comment, r2moo2!


conundrum profile image

conundrum 6 years ago

I hope you stay quit too. In my current town, the majority of people smoke. In the town where I used to live, the city council practically outlawed it in and around all public buildings.

I have never smoked, so I don't know what it's like to try and quit for good. Several people I know who are smokers have tried, and they've told me how difficult it is. Several of my coworkers get very edgy if they can't take a smoke break during the day.

I admire you for quitting. Great Hub! Keep up the good work (writing and staying quit)!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks for your encouraging words, conundrum-I guess this is a good time as any to let people know that I started smoking again about 3 weeks ago. :o( I probably should have deleted it, but it still gives me hope, reading the words that still ring true.

I am planning on quitting again soon, but for leaving this here, I am truly sorry.

Laurel


jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

Wish you all the best in your smoke free new life.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

I stopped smoking on Dec 22nd 2008, and I did it based on a fabulous course with a lady called Lela Bryan, who I found here on hubpages, no drugs, patches, inhalators etc, yet it was so easy. I won't plug my own hubs here, but check out my profile on this is you want to know how easy it can be, trust me, I had tried literally everything else previously, Zyban, Champix, hypnosis, accupuncture, etc etc.

Good luck and keep it up :)


BEAUTYBABE profile image

BEAUTYBABE 6 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

Hi Laural I am so proud of you. You didn't ramble on, you spoke from your heart and you stuck to your guns. Just look at it this way, you did something wonderful not only have you saved your lungs and body from something terrible down the track, but you have won a battle, one that is one of the hardest battles to fight and win. When Richard gave up cold turkey, I thought it would destroy him, but it made him a stronger more determined person. It will do the same for you. Ever since I have known you, I have been more and more impressed by the way that when you set you mind to do something, you keep at it until you finish it. This is another example of your determination to not let this beat you and if hubpages was the place that you needed to do it, then you certainly have found the right place, because along with all of the hubbers that I can see behind you in your quest, I am up there with them too, even if it has been for a shorter time. So take heart, give yourself a pat on the back, and enjoy your cigarette free life, it will be much better and longer one for you now. God Bless Laural BB


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks so much, BB.


liminal 6 years ago

I hope you've managed to quit again; I understand addiction. Try transferring the addiction that you had for cancer sticks to writing or HubPages! That and think of the money you waste on a product that literally goes up in smoke! ;-)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks for the suggestion, liminal, I'll be quitting again in around 2 weeks. Promise.


franki79 6 years ago

I began smoking much in the sameway and the same reasons as you did,,, only my main reason was to rebel, followed by belonging and yeah, I guess boredom. But mostly it was a way of rebelling against my mom. I have smoked since I was 16 and battle it today (I am 30). Thank you for writing this.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thank you, franki, for reading. Now for the countdown, I'm quitting on Friday. I hope you quit soon, too.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Hubby and I so need to quit! I've cut down, thanks to my electronic cigarette - just not ready to make that final plunge. Enjoyed the read!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Good Luck, dear friend! It's the toughest thing I've ever done.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Hi, again. I think I could quit if I stopped writing! Most of my smoking is done in front of the computer.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Good to see ya...I wish I hadn't relapsed, but I did, and am still smoking, though only outside these days!


R. J. Lefebvre 6 years ago

Lorie, I used to smoke and I'm glad I quit. I wish I could get family members to quit, however I found there are many reasons why people smoke. Recalling dozens of times trying, I have to give them some space and work it out for themselves. I liked your smoking script and hope for the best for you and my family smokers. I finally quit when I told myself it was mind over matter; do it or not, but be done.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

I so appreciate your feedback, R.J. It is such a difficult addiction, and I hope your family follows your lead. Congratulations on quitting!

I will honestly keep your words in mind when I next-honestly-try to stop.


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

Dearest Laurie...

I am starting from the beginning so I can comprehend your tobacco diaries. I can relate to what you said at this moment of writing the hub. I used to smoke. Quit for 11 years and in a stressful nervous wreckage while living in Japan, I took it again! I have started to prepare myself to do it again, this time for good, for it hinders my spiritual progress...But Believe me! I can relate to this very clearly!

Thumbs up!

warmest regards and infinite eternal blessings,

Al


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thank you so much, Al. I wrote this last year, relapsed, then have now quit again. What a devilish addiction it is.

I'm still smoke-free after 7 days! I just have to lay off the ice cream...take good care!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

This is so true. I grew up on a cattle ranch and, well, if you didn't chew "snuff" you were either into men or you were "a girl" and not in a way that would make it fun to shower with yourself. So, shocker, guess who was an addict by 13.

I quit too, a long time ago, and I so totally get what you mean by saying hubbing is something you did that doesn't have a smoking memory attached to it. God, I couldn't STAND watching movies for the longest time because I had like, almost never seen one with out a "dip."

I still crave it, 13 years later. I even joke all the time about how "the moment they announce the cure for cancer, I'm going STRAIGHT to the store and buying a can." I'm not joking. I am going straight down there if they ever announce that.

(sigh)

I feel you on this one.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks, Shadesbreath-No, I feel YOU on your comment! :) Man, 13 years and you still crave the stuff? That's mighty depressing. I relapsed again...Jeeze. I have never chewed, but I get the part about movies-TV, too. I'm writing my third installment of the Tobacco Diaries and hope you stop by for some fantabulous justification!

Thanks for coming by.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

As an ex smoker myself all I can say is you got it spot on. Well done again!!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Thanks so much for stopping by Eiddwen-what a battle!


Pulse101 profile image

Pulse101 5 years ago

Tried quitting for a few times - the longest is 1 week, but failed. Maybe I can truly quit when I get sick because of it. :(

Your story is inspiring. I hope I have the determination like you.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Boy, Pulse-I should have updated this hub! I'm glad you found my words inspiring, but the truth is that I am smoking again. But I was a non-smoker for 3 months! That was so cool.

I am about to start seriously thinking about quitting again; I have to have a hip replacement surgery asap and I must be 6 weeks tobacco-free for them to operate.

Thanks for these reminders, really!


Joyce F profile image

Joyce F 5 years ago from USA

Why I quit was for my health, why I stay quit (smoked for 25 quit 16 years) was partly the smell (me and my car and house smell better) but at some point, I didn't want to start back because it was so hard to quit. I never wanted to go through that again.

To quit I kept giving myself places I couldn't smoke. New car, can't smoke there. New house, have to smoke outside. Where I worked then became smoke free. The restaurants in town were smoke free. I finally got down to 4 cigarettes a day and went cold turkey. From 2 packs (or more) a day to 4. Good luck!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Congrats, Joyce. I wish I had been able to quit successfully, but it lasted only about 3 months. Your reasoning is marvelous, smoking is best attacked when you know the 'pros' and cons.

Thanks for the visit!


Bill 5 years ago

Still Smoking, Lorlie6?

Hope not. Took me three "real" efforts before it stuck--and no way do I feel that I am in the clear. I stopped for 18 months then had a few with beers and poker one night (one and done-- for me anyway). Then I stopped again pretty quickly for 7 months and thought I could do that whenever I wanted. Wrong! Three years later I finally quit and have yet to pick up and on June 1, 2011 it was 2 full years.

I don't know if you will be very receptive to this but I will say it anyway-- the more you talk about it, the more you write about it, the more you think about it-- the tougher it will be.

Don't talk, write or think about it. Easier said than done? HELL YEAH! A B----!

I would also not hang with my friends outside for a smoke break and for me, it's been no more poker games. I really miss poker (and smoking).

It's really tough but you seem determined and I am willing to bet you either have quit (I see your last post was 7 months ago) or will. And it will stick one day.

Bye and good luck. Lorlie6

-Bill


Anthony Newcomer 4 years ago

I smoked for ten years and within a few months of starting to vape i was not only able to give up tobacco entirely but i enjoy ecigs way more than i did with tobacco. I liken it to enjoying the experience of smoking again instead of doing it out of need. And Now I feel so much better physically and mentally that i will never go back to tobacco products and I can actually be proud of being a smoker who successfully quit for good.


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 4 years ago from The Sapphire City

A very addictive habit and I LOVED to smoke—but it can be beat if you keep in mind that every poison puts the body and (more importantly) the brain into a kind of orgasmic stupor.

I had to take a course to make myself more conscious of the habit and what it was physiologically doing to me. The toxins bring a rush of endorphins and then a debilitating depletion and craving—an endless cycle of slavery.

Whenever I see people smoking (especially at the cost of the habit, today) I think, why the hell don't these people just go up to an idling bus and breathe in the fumes for an even bigger and cheaper high?


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 4 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Anthony-More power to you! I don't like ecigs myself. Tried 'em, but they taste strange to me. To each his own, as they say.

Wizard-An "orgasmic stupor', indeed! I love what you said about the bus fumes; they do give off quite the high-not that I've tried it ;). Why the hell!!!

Unfortunately, Wiz, I've yet to give it up-relapses and all. Damn.

I LOVE to smoke these days-any days, and maybe one day this will stick-I mean sticking to quitting, of course!

Take great care, Wizard,

Laurel


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 4 years ago from The Sapphire City

Thanks Laurel. When you really see your habit for what it is, I mean in your core, you will have the will to stop and you won't give up.

In the course I took, they allowed us to smoke, at first, as much as we wanted with the one stipulation that we had to wrap our packs with a piece of paper on which we had to write down the time, the reason we wanted to smoke and how badly we wanted it (on scale of 1 to 10 (10=had to have it)).

This got us in touch with just how unconscious we were with the habit. After awhile we realized that most of cigarettes never came close to 9's or 10's. So when we decided to cut back we got rid of the easier 1's and 2's. This progressed and we still had the safety net of the higher desired ones.

Gradually, however, we came to look at smoking for what it really is and gaining in confidence that we could cut down provided we just followed the rules of always making smoking a conscious rather than an unconscious activity.

We "learned" how to quit by learning to break the triggers that kept us unconscious.

They also gave us tips for not lighting up, like the 4 D's . . .

When the desire and impulse to smoke came we

1. Take a Deep breath . . .

If that didn't work . . .

2. Take a Deep breath and take a Drink of water . . .

And if that didn't work . . .

3. Take a Deep breath and take a Drink of water and then DO something (anything to occupy your mind)

And then if that didn't work finally . . .

4. DON'T!

And if that didn't work . . .

http://www.smokefree.gov/


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 4 years ago from Bishop, Ca Author

Wow, W.O.W., ;) would YOU be my quit coach? I mean, this course of yours sounds a lot like a course I took eons ago in Palo Alto, CA. While I didn't read the entire article at www.smokefree.gov/, I did vote for a quit coach and answered the question that the 'thinking about quitting' was the answer for me.

My class took it a tad further than yours, (I'll find out when I read the article in toto if this is true), in that after wrapping

"with a piece of paper on which we had to write down the time, the reason we wanted to smoke and how badly we wanted it (on scale of 1 to 10 (10=had to have it)).",

we followed that by each day adding a new activity, like putting the ashtray-only ONE ashtray allowed by then-in an inconvenient place, then washing it EACH TIME! And so on, until it became so much of a hassle to smoke we WANTED to quit. TOO much BS!!

So, WOW, thanks for the advice and hope you'll consider my question re: quit coaching!

Laurel


Wizard Of Whimsy profile image

Wizard Of Whimsy 4 years ago from The Sapphire City

Yes we did the same with ashtrays. It's all designed to make you more conscious of the habit.

But you have to want to quit first and then all is possible—nevertheless, and at the very least, you can cut down significantly if you just stay conscious. The problem with that tactic is that nicotine is an addictive substance, so smoking just a little will keep you addicted and the brain wanting more—meaning you will, at some point (usually under stress in your life) go on a binge-smokeoff, putting you in the addiction-gutter yet again. I wasn't joking, it's really "slavery."

As for being your "quit coach," how would that work?

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