Casually mention to your younger brother, as he purchases a fresh pack of cigarettes, that today marks 4 years since you quit. And then, just for fun,chime, “And did you know smoking makes you impotent. And you’re single, right?”
Don’t get me wrong. Smoking, when I partook in the filthy activity, was totally enjoyable. Totally. I could easily puff my may through 20-40 cigarettes a day (more if drinking), and my bank balance felt it. Oddly, on a crisp winter’s day, standing outside admiring a fresh blanket of snow making everything seem clean, nothing topped it off quite like blacking my lungs and dusting the pristine ground with fag ash.
I quit using nicotine patches. I had also just left my smoking ex boyfriend and wanted to prove to myself that I was better than him. And that smoking was for (balding, university drop-out) losers. That tactic was very effective. On December 27th, 2007, I slapped my first patch onto my left butt-cheek, felt the burn (seriously, those things hurt), and waltzed into town feeling pretty smug. I’m going to save so much money. I’m going to smell amazing. I’m not going to have premature wrinkles or lung cancer. Thoughts like these kept me motivated through the inevitable bad days, even if the saving money part was a complete falsity – I spent more on scented body lotions, candles and perfume than I ever would have on cigarettes.
The best part about quitting on the 27th was the fact that when everyone else was gearing up to make their New Year’s Resolutions happen, I had a head start. On January 1st, I was well on my way, not dreading the start. I’d quit last year! No problemo!
4 years on and I’m glad I stuck with it. I enjoy running (obviously, as this is a blog about running) and smoking is pretty detrimental to running. I also enjoy not looking terrible, so while I have frown lines that have existed, I’m determined to prove, since birth, I’m in pretty good nick for 27. Definitely not a Faces of Meth contender. I also realized a few weeks ago that the price of cigarettes (in the UK) has exceeded 7 pounds, which is just ridiculous.
It could be argued that there are downsides to being an ex-smoker. I tend to find that the smell of smoke bothers ex-smokers more than non-smokers. I also find ex-smokers are more viscous and patronizing when they pass comment on other smokers. And, in complete honesty, there are some days where you think maybe I could have just one…
Clearly, the downsides are negligible and the benefits to your health, such as lowered risk of coronary disease, lower risk of cancer, and white teeth, make it worthwhile. And obviously smelling good is a useful tool in the act of making friends and attracting partners. But the best thing about quitting smoking for me? Knowing that my (balding, university drop-out) ex boyfriend doesn’t have as much hardcore determination as I do.