Impressing a guy as a teenager led me to start smoking, but it’s taken me a lifetime to give it up!
I had my first cigarette at about 14-years-old. Friends and I would steal tissues from our parents and we’d roll grass and smoke it. It made us feel sick but we kept going back. At 15 or 16-years-old I had my first proper cigarette because I was trying to impress a guy I was dating. He asked if I wanted a smoke and I remember thinking, I had better if I want to impress him! I remember coughing and feeling sick and my throat was burning. That should have been my warning! But instead, I never looked back.
Back then, smoking wasn’t a bad thing and it quickly became a part of me. It was ingrained in my lifestyle. It was like breathing!
I would never count how many cigarettes I was smoking or how many times I would empty the ashtray during the day. I didn’t really think about the money I was spending either while I was smoking, but of course I noticed the increase. When I first started they were about $.50c a packet for 20, now they’re $30! I would go through a packet a day usually, sometimes I would have a couple left over.
I gave up once for about three years. My son was shifting away and everyone in the family had a phone, but I didn’t. I was desperate to stay in touch with my son. I remember there was a sale on at the Warehouse for a phone. I had a decision to make – do I buy a phone or another pouch of tobacco? I decided the phone was more important and, after years of smoking, I quit cold turkey. I remember contacting Quitline and they referred me on to the Southern Stop Smoking Service. That was about six years ago now. (It may be a “brick” now, but I still have the phone!)
Three years later, a series of traumatic events sprung up in close succession in my life and so, as a way to deal with the stress, I started smoking again. But a year or two later I was getting sick of smoking again. The smell of dirty ashtrays and having to constantly empty them was becoming too much. I knew smoking was my life but that wasn’t what I was put on this earth for.
I remembered the support I received from Anita Clouston the first time I stopped so I decided to get back in touch. One-on-one contact is much better than a phone call and I found the Co monitor to be a real eye opener!
I used patches and they worked for me and I chew chewing gum (not nicotine gum). I have been smoke free for about two months now and I’m loving it!
I am starting to notice the extra money – bills are getting paid off faster! My teeth are still stained, and I will leave it that way for the moment because they are a constant reminder not to start smoking again! Eventually I will have them cleaned professionally – I never thought about white teeth before but I do now.
I don’t miss smoking and I’m definitely sleeping better. I will continue to do my best to stay off it. I am taking it day by day and trying not to put pressure on myself. I haven’t promised anyone anything, I am just doing it – the worst person you can break a promise to is yourself!