I'm Begging, Please Quit Smoking Cigarettes?

Now that I have your undivided attention . . .

let me just say this to you, the smoker. I understand. More than you think. It's rough. And getting rougher to be a smoker in today's 'health-conscious' society of 2011. I am not against you, but for you, my friend, for only one who has been where you are now, can truly understand.

I am a former smoker. No, I am not here to preach to you. Condemn you. Judge you. Or throw you, as our society today has become way too good at doing, to the masses of outcasts, social lepers that for some lofty reason, do not fit into the perfectly-molded and squeaky-clean image of the 2011 society. I am not your judge. I am not going to insult you and your sense of morality and say that you are less than person for smoking. I am not a vengeful man. So, may I just talk to you one-on-one for a moment?

I remember it like it was yesterday

the day I picked up my first cigarette. I was at the tender, uneducated age of six. My dad and my brother-in-law were both smokers, but let me quickly add, they were both great men. Solid citizens. Great neighbors. But loved to smoke cigarettes. That was their only vice. My dad or brother-in-law were not into alcohol, cheating on their wives, gambling or beating their children. Still, they loved to smoke cigarettes. I remember watching them take the cigarette out of the packs in the front pockets of their shirts, light the cigarette with a match, inhale the first puff or "draw," in smoke-talk and exhale the smoke with a certain allurement that I just had to see what it was like to smoke a cigarette. My trusting eyes burned from the smoke, but that didn't matter at the time. I wanted a cigarette. If it was good enough for my dad and brother-in-law, hey, it was great for me. These men even smoked in front of our preacher when he ate lunch with us. That sealed the deal. If the preacher didn't bark about smoking, then it was smooth sailing for me to take up this habit that made men look more manly than just sitting around and chewing their Wrigley's gum.

I found my system of smoking . . .

to be so easy. And comical. I would patiently wait until my dad threw down his Camel unfiltered cigarette (his favorite brand) and pick up the 'butt' (again, in smoke talk) or unsmoked portion of the cigarette and place it in my mouth just like a fully-grown man. I didn't inhale (sorry for the Bill Clinton pun) the smoke, but just puffed the cigarette butt to the delight of my dad and brother-in-law who laughed, slapped their legs and told my sister and mother to, "hurry up and see Kenny smoking like we are," and they would come to the living room to see me standing on the hearth of our fireplace with cigarette in my mouth and join in the gala celebration of my discovery of smoking cigarettes. Yes, I was on way way to an almost-lifetime relationship with cigarettes and the nicotine they possess.

Years passed . . .

and I was still much in love with smoking. But at the age of nine, maybe ten, my dad became concerned at my puffing away on unsmoked cigarette butts. My dad was the only smoker in our home, no, my mom smoked with dad in the mornings with their coffee. My brother-in-law and his wife, (my sister), had joined the local church and gave up this sinful habit. Good for them. I was too young to understand the connection of joining a church then quitting smoking. My dad must have not understood, for he kept on puffing those unfiltered Camels. I guess, looking back on these days of discovery and growth, it would be hard, maybe tough, to lecture a man like my dad who was the sole breadwinner of our family who worked from sun up until sundown to put food on our table, about the evils of smoking. And besides in 1965, the Surgeon General of the United States, leading doctors and health officials, were not against smoking. Not at all. Fact was, the television, radio, newspaper and magazines were full of pro-smoking ads--telling men and women that smoking was relaxing, tasty and socially-tasteful. I remember those colorful ads that had men dressed in fine suits and ladies in pretty evening dresses all holding a smoldering Chesterfield, Winston, or KOOL cigarette in their soft hands because men in these cigarette ad campaigns did not plow fields, work in factories, like my dad, but these men all had office jobs while their pretty wives stayed at home with their perfect kids. I am just telling it like it is.

Then my teenage years rolled in . . .

and I was still smoking, not inhaling, but I was what was known as a "secret smoker," "closet smoker," "a sneak-around smoker," all ugly names for any teenager, girl or boy, but I endured and was never caught by my dad who did lay down the law to me to "not take up (his) nasty habit" of smoking cigarettes for as one of his noble lectures was, "he wanted me to play football for my high school," and be a sports star. A gridiron warrior who didn't smoke. What a dream. I almost bought-into this fantasy, but my now-late cousin Donnie Avery, also a "closet smoker," kept talking me into being loyal to the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and their fine cigarette brands that he had memorized. Donnie was a smart cousin. He would either 'sneak' cigarettes from his brother, Michael, who was an Air Force man, and as you know, back in these days, all servicemen smoke cigarettes, or simply ask Michael to give him a few cigarettes to smoke when their parents were not home. Michael pretty much didn't care either way if Donnie smoked. And that was great when I would stay at Donnie's house on a Friday night when our high school football team, the Hamilton High School Aggies, were playing home. Donnie lived within walking distance to Sargent Stadium where Aggie games were played and we would take our sweet time walking to the game--smoking our cigarettes like older guys and men. We were careful to not let anyone who knew our parents see us with these 'devil sticks' in our fingers. We were two crafty newbie smokers. And loved it.

Just what is to 'love' about smoking cigarettes . . .?

I can answer that. But you have to understand my answer from that period of my teenage life. I, with Donnie, and hundreds more of teenage guys just like us loved smoking because . . .

  1. It made us look 'cool,' 'hip,' 'in' with the social climbers of our school.
  2. Smoking gave us confidence to do what we wanted to do. Actually the correct term is 'false confidence' for smoking cigarettes has nothing to do with having confidence.
  3. Smoking, we thought, looked attractive to the 'easy' girls we wanted to attract. Sorry, ladies, but I am only telling the truth as it was to me at this stage of my life.
  4. We loved the taste of cigarettes after we ate a meal. Or drank some coffee.
  5. We thought smoking made us look like grown men.
  6. We thought that if we smoked, the 'bad guys' in school would respect us. They respected us alright. They extorted cigarettes from us at recess.
  7. Smoking fed our youthful rebellious spirit we had against 'the man,' and 'the system.'
  8. Smoking was 'the thing' to do if you wanted to be accepted in the cliques in high school. We didn't want to be called weaklings or panty waists.

These are only the basic reasons why I smoked cigarettes as a teenager. A habit? Are you kidding me? I can quit anytime I want, I would argue with people who didn't smoke in my classes. People actually cared for me and my lungs and I didn't take time to realize what cigarettes were doing to my life. And health. Just 'burn the cigarette (and candle) at both ends," and live it up. That was my motto after I graduated high school in 1972 and continued to smoke cigarettes now in front of my parents because my dad, still a smoker himself, said to me one day. "if you're going to smoke. Smoke in front of me. I have no use for a 'sneak,' okay?" And with that, I went wide-open smoking with my dad. What a great feeling. Doing something you thought was wrong and now do it with your dad's permission. What a lucky guy I thought I was. I was lucky alright. More like living in a dream world of pro-smoking propaganda that actually made young people want to smoke. And I was all-in as I took some money from my lawn-mowing job and gave it to my dad who bought my cigarettes for me. I just didn't have the guts to walk up to the clerk in the grocery store, who just happened to go to church with me, and plop down a pack of Winstons (in the red pack) and say, "Yep. I smoke. I love it." I wasn't that much of a Jame Dean type of teenager.

Solid Reasons TO NOT Smoke Cigarettes . . .

1. Cigarettes contain over 300 various poisons in the tobacco. Imagine for a moment what this does to your lungs, circulatory system and arteries.

2. Cigarettes ARE LINKED TO LUNG CANCER. Consider how many people overall, die from smoking cigarettes in the United States in one year. More probably than those who abuse illegal drugs and alcohol.

3. Cigarette-smoking harms your lung's ability to produce needed-oxygen for your body.

4. Cigarette-smoking can CAUSE strokes, high blood pressure, and other health issues.

5. Cigarettes produce a DEADLY SECOND-HAND SMOKE which has been proven DANGEROUS to non-smokers around those who smoke.

6. Some insurance companies in some states charge higher rates for smokers than non-smokers.

7. The deadly nicotine in cigarettes, can literally marinate your lungs with tar, embedded dangerous poisons and cause heart-failure.

8. Cigarette-smoking CUTS DOWN on your stamina making it difficult to walk long distances.

9. Cigarette-smoking is growing more and more illegal in most restaurants, public and government buildings and other properties.

10. Cigarette-smoking is more EXPENSIVE that you think. Some places such as New York City, charge as high as $5.50 PER PACK of cigarettes.

I ask you honestly, as a friend, and someone who literally cares about you as a human being, "is it really that important to you to smoke cigarettes?"





1. I sleep much better at night.

2. I am not as nervous or on-edge.

3. My body and clothes do not smell like an all-night poker palace with the smoky rooms.

4. My food tastes better.

5. My breathing is GREAT.

6. I can relax much easier without smoking.

7. Stress is not a problem for me being a non-smoker.

8. My grandchildren ARE ALL PROUD OF ME.

9. I am proud of me.

10. I enjoy my life more without cigarettes.

More by this Author

Comments 28 comments

shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

You have a way with words! I love the ads, too. In January, I went on a diet and a friend said, Start smoking. Just smoke when you want to eat and you'll lose weight. The thing is, I know I'll lose weight, but I used to smoke 15 years ago and quitting was KILLER!

Great hub!

JGoul profile image

JGoul 5 years ago

I had a brief dalliance with smoking earlier this year. I smoked a handful a day for as long as it would take to finish the pack, then I'd be too lazy to stop and buy another for a week or two, then I'd break down and buy another pack and do the whole thing again. I never felt the pull to smoke more, and I never had the slightest difficulty stopping.

Periodically, I'd stop altogether. If I smoked half a pack or so in a day, I'd wake up the next day and toss the remnants of the pack, because I hated the taste it left in my mouth the next morning when I smoked too much. So I guess the flip side to the whole "nicotine addiction is easily formed and can hook you almost before you notice it" line is: that's not true for everyone.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Shea...THANK YOU, DEAR FRIEND, for the sweet words. I didn't know how good I felt until I gave up the smoking. I am NOT saying that non-smokers are BETTER thabn smokers. NO WAY. For me, it was the right thing to do. Thanks so much, Shea for your loving comments. God bless you richly~~~~~~Kenneth

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

I hear ya' JGoul! Smoking in 2011 is a lose-lose situation. If the expenses don't get you, the lung cancer or other diseases will. And the scornful looks from self-righteous non-smokers (which I am NOT) on the OUTSIDE of the cafe, are more than I could stand. Now let 'em feast their eyes on this overweight but smoke-free 57-year old throwback to the 60's guy. Thanks for YOUR great comment. Kenneth

LeisureLife profile image

LeisureLife 5 years ago from USA

Just toking along at this point...This article makes me want to go enjoy a cigarette.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Leisure...LOL, that IS hilarious. Even though you might not have intended it to be, but this caught me not looking and I needed a laugh this early today. Thanks, LeisureLife...come back often. Nice touch! Kenneth

BethanRose profile image

BethanRose 5 years ago from South Wales

What a great hub with your own outlook on it, I loved reading it. The message you protray is completely true and it's crazy to think that once upon a time it was fashionable to smoke. Seeing those images of cigarette posters was quite a wake up call. We all know how bad it is for health and my boyfriend smokes way too many cigarettes each day. I'm gonna sit him down and make him read this hub! Voted up, useful and interesting!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

"THANK YOU SINCERELY . . .BethanRose!" That makes my day. And that was my goal. To get ONE person to just THINK about the harm that smoking does to them. I appreciate very MUCH your comment and allowing me to follow such a talent as you. I am very glad I found you on hubs. Much happiness and peace to you and if you want, keep in touch. Sincerely, KENNETH

rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

Great hub, Kenneth. So glad that you managed to give up smoking! Congratulations. Now, this is not about judging. I have a seriously debilitating disease. When I struggle with breathing, I must admit that I find it very, very difficult to understand how someone can willingly choose to use something that is bound to do physical harm, especially as far as breathing is concerned. Having a healthy body is a gift to be treasured and protected in every way possible. Just my 2 cents...

Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 5 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

A wonderful hub and it has me thinking harder about giving up this nasty habit. Its hard to do.

I started much as you did Kenneth and gave it up once until I thought I could take a couple drags one day. I think its even harder to give it up the second time.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

RSUSAN . . .THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this nice comment. That makes the research worth it. Only one. One person I want to reach who just quits for 1 day...that is my goal. It is hard. Very hard to quit smoking. I know that first-hand, but the weeks and months AFTER the nictone has left your system is like having a rebirth. It feels that good. Thanks again, RSusan..You are a great friend and writer. Kenneth

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Froggy213...thinking is the first step. Many people make the honest mistake of NOT thinking about stopping cigarettes, and just rely on willpower and the urge to quit..and soon, they fail. Thinking it out..making a workable, personal plan that works for you is what I say. And again, I am NO better than anyone who DOES smoke. I judge no one. Thanks for your great comment, Froggy. Keep in touch and keep writing your great hubs.

rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

Froggy213 Come on, I am rooting for you! You can do it! I want to read your hubs for many, many years to come! As Kenneth says, thinking is the first step...

rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

Kenneth, how about adding some tips regarding how you did this? How did you go about it? As you mentioned above, many people don't think ahead and plan the process. I am sure this must be one of the hardest things to give up. What helped you to get through those first days and weeks? I think many people won't know how to do this. How long before it became easier? I know many people who are afraid that they will gain weight if they stop smoking. Did this happen with you? Just thinking that this might help, coming from someone who has been there.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

RSusan, I am with you in supporting Froggy213..well, I basically, prayed first each day and faced the fact that smoking was a bigger mountain to climb that I could manage. So then it was a slow process of mentally putting myself into situations like work, after meals, relaxing--times I would light up and imagined how hard it feel and if I were truly dedicated to quitting. When an urge hit, and honestly, they will hit, Get this...I ate an apple, not all of it, or maybe I took a big sip of orange juice, a great alternative for nicotine...these are a few home remedy ways I used and that patch stuff may work for some, but they didn't help me at all. Just do this, Froggy, condition your mind and thoughts and if you can convince YOU that do NOT need cigarettes..then that is half the battle. I might write more tips later. Thanks, dear friend, RSusan!

shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

Ken, prayer is number one on my list, too. Every day, I thank the Lord for all the blessings I've received.

Froggy, it's hard to quit, I know, but ask for strength. One thing I;ve learned, God has HIs own time schedule.

good luck.

rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

That's great, Kenneth. I think you discovered the one crucial secret. It's not just about white-knuckling it. That simply won't work on its own. It's about replacing the one habit (smoking) with other, healthier habits - such as grabbing an apple when the urge hits. This is where planning and conditioning comes in. Good stuff!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

THANK YOU, shea and rsusan, you are both GREAT writers, but also GREAT friends and I sincerely, Appreciate YOU as people, writers, and being of such help to a person like me. I too, an least of the least in God's eyes, who, does have HIS own timetable. It is I who has to it in to His plans. And Froggy, we are ALL for YOU and NOT against YOU. Okay?

profile image

Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi Kenneth,

I am glad you stopped smoking.

My dad died from the complications of having emphysema caused by smoking.

I tried smoking when I was a teenager because I heard it was good for calming the nerves. Not for me. I didn't get any enjoyment or satisfaction from it at all.

Voted up and awesome.

Have a good weekend my friend. :-)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, my DEAR friend, Sueswan! Here it is October 21, 2011, At 11 p.m./CST, and I Really THANK YOU for this comment, Sue, and the votes. I smoked for years..got up to 2 packs a day...chest was paining, breathing hard, I was headed for a certain heart attack or worse...cancer. I am so grateful to God for the help in stopping this habit which I have said, did NOT make me worse than a non-smoker or being a non-smoker does NOT make me better than a smoker. I just understand it all. You too, have a safe weekend, Sueswan. And get some rest. Thanks again, Kenneth!

Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

One thing comes to my heart with this theme: Philippians 4:13 " I can do all things through Him who strengthens me".

kenneth avery 5 years ago

Dear Lastheart, you are so right! I love this particular verse--read it just this morning in my morning Bible reading. Thank YOU for reminding me of how "we" are able to do the things we do. Even write. Lastheart, I admire your comment. You are a great lady. Peace to you. Kenneth

AEvans profile image

AEvans 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Eloquently written! I read this to my sister over the phone. You have a light-hearted way of saying, "Put it down". I hope she does and I pray that many others do too. Enjoyed! Thumbs up! :)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


Dear AEvans, hello. Thank YOU so much. That comment humbles me. I don't know if I am worthy of 'eloquent' or not, but I accept that from a DEAR friend and very-talented hub writer: YOU! And I also hope that your sister 'puts it down' for good. Life, to me, is much better now than when I would have to duck out for a smoke. And my clothes, which are not designer, but Walmart brands, do not smell like Marlboro's. Thank you so much, AEvans, I have been missing your comments. Have a great day filled with laughter, love, and peace of mind. Warmest regards, Kenneth

aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

This is an amazingly powerful message. I'm working up to giving up, but I only smoke chemical free tobacco now so that's a start. I'll remember this and I hope it motivates me. Thanks for caring about smokers now you've stoppped and congratulations!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

11/24: Happy Thanksgiving, aslanlight!

Thank you VERY MUCH for the uplifting comment. And I have faith in you that you can and WILL stop smoking. And yes, the chemical-free tobacco is a terrific start. A great first step. I will pray for you to accomplish your goal. Keep in touch with me and thanks for the visit. Sincerely, KENNETH

Theresa_Kennedy profile image

Theresa_Kennedy 5 years ago from Minnesota

Another great hub! Again, the comments from your fans and your replies are just as good to read as the hub itself. I finally quit smoking Labor Day 2011 after many attempts. I vape (e-cig) instead, which fooled my brain and body into thinking I still smoke. Made quitting painless. For me, it works. Congrats to you and your fans who have quit. And sending prayers to all who are in process.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Im very PROUD of YOU, Theresa! Very proud. And that system is fine to quit smoking by. It is fantastic to be smoke free as well as alcohol-free too. Once in my life, I abused alcohol to almost my death. What a merciful God we have.

He allowed me to live long enough to meet you on hubs. What a blessing YOU are.


    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article