When I was 16 years old, I decided to pick up, light, and inhale a cigarette. From this point on my smoking progressed into a habit, and I continued to smoke until recently. During the holidays of 2012, I decided at the age of 30 I was going to quit smoking. I have been smoke free for 8 months, and do not have a desire to smoke again.
Honestly, I was a smoker only for the habit. I did not like the smell, taste, or yellow fingers; however, I continued to do it. In my brain, the cigarettes were my “best friends” and I do not know why. I guess every person has unhealthy relationships in his or her life, whether these relationships are with negative people or negative habits. Besides the previous reasons on what I did not like about smoking, I also witnessed my grandmother’s health decline rapidly until she passed away in 2007 from smoking-related health issues. Fortunately for me, I made the decision to quit before my health began to deteriorate from a condition I could not recover from.
As the majority of smokers know, smoking is not an easy habit to quit. Before my most recent and final attempt to kick the habit, I tried to quit several times using many methods: cold turkey, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, and nicotine patches. Each time I failed because of excuses I would make. “I was too stressed.” “I forgot my crutch that was helping me quit.” “I can have one last pack.” The worst excuse I would make out of the many excuses I had thought of was, “I do not have any health issues from smoking yet.” However, breaking the habit was different this time because I am a mother now. This time I had someone else to answer to instead of only me. I also did not want to be one of those parents that preaches to my child about the dangers of smoking, and then walks outside and lights one up. In my opinion, these actions teach a child that his or her parent is not being honest, and any advice given in the future becomes ignored. Unfortunately, my opinion is a result of my own experience between my mother and me in regard to smoking. I was about to fall into the same situation with my daughter if I didn’t break my habit.
One would think that having a child, and someone else to answer to, would be plenty of reason to quit without any help. However, smoking was a psychological addiction for me. Like I stated, the cigarettes I would smoke were my “best friend,” and mentally I would feel lost without them in my hand. I needed help, and I had no idea how I was going to succeed at this for my daughter on my own. As I was talking to a friend about wanting to quit smoking again and the fear I had of my daughter witnessing me fail, my friend recommended trying electronic cigarettes this time around. The recommendation by my friend sounded promising, so I began to shop around for electronic cigarettes to end the relationship with my “best friend.” I tried several electronic cigarettes: brands, flavors, disposable ones, and rechargeable ones until I found the kind for me. The good thing about this method is the only thing I inhale is flavored vapor instead of multiple harmful chemicals, tar from smoke, and nicotine. In the beginning, I did choose the electronic cigarettes with nicotine, but with electronic cigarettes a person can choose to wean his or herself off the nicotine as well. I recommend to every person in a situation like mine to try this method. I no longer have cravings for a real cigarette, and the majority of the time I do not need my electronic cigarette either. There are still times when I participate in certain activities and the habit rears its ugly head, but these are activities I would participate in and smoke a large amount of cigarettes; for example, talking on the phone, long drives in a vehicle, and drinking alcohol. However, I pull out my electronic cigarette, and my habit is satisfied because I can participate in the actions without ingesting harmful materials. I no longer feel like I “need” to have a puff, and my wallet has gained substantial weight.
Besides the gratification of breaking my habit and more money in pocket, there is also a lesson I learned from quitting smoking – the importance of my health. My worst, and most frequently used, excuse was proven wrong. What I learned was: even though a person does not suffer from a serious condition yet, his or her life can be deteriorating from a habit that can eventually kill him or her without noticeable warning signs. After quitting smoking my blood pressure lowered even though it was not considered high at the time of quitting, my breathing is better than what it was before I quit, I do not have an annoying cough in the morning, and my anxiety levels have decreased. I was slowly damaging myself, and did not notice these changes to my body from smoking until a couple months after I quit.
Because I decided to break this habit and invest in electronic cigarettes to assist me, I can now preach to my daughter about the negative effects from smoking without guilt, maintain our current relationship status, and I learned the importance of maintaining my own health. I did not realize that I was already damaging my body because of my mentality and false justifications; however, in reality I was. Thank goodness I quit before the reversible damage, that I was not aware of, became a permanent condition like the one my grandmother suffered from. After all this time, and so many struggles, I finally got it; In order to have a healthy life tomorrow, I have to live healthy today.