The Painful Reality of My Life as a Smoker

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At just shy of 2 months smoke-free, Smoking Cessation Support Forum member Deck shares a few compelling words about what it was like to be a smoker.

Thanks for sharing Deck, and congratulations on quitting.

Why did I quit smoking? Which time?

Was it the time I was operated on my carotid artery to clean out the plaque build up from smoking?

Was it the time they put the stents in my legs to improve the circulation (and thereby hold on to my legs for a little longer)?

Was it the time I discovered brewer's droop?

Was it the time I found myself rummaging around in an ashtray for one smokable butt?

Was it any one of the times I heard about or witnessed people I knew dying at an early age from the effects of smoking?

Was it the day I decided I could no longer participate in any one of the activities that had always been a part of my life?

Was it the time I gave up singing as I sounded like a burst accordion?

Was it the day I really started coughing up the black stuff?

Was it the day I could no longer walk 50 yards without stopping?

Was it looking around the abandoned dinner table at Christmas, abandoned because all the younger generation were outside smoking, continuing on the family tradition?

Was it any of the times I spent hours trying to find a tobacconist in order to fulfill my all-consuming cravings for nicotine?

Was it the day I saw this tired, grey-skinned old man looking back at me in the mirror, you know the one, the one with the yellow teeth, the lackluster hair, the dry skin, red eyes and red-faced from coughing?

In fact, it was all of them. As far back as I can remember I have been surrounded by smoke, sickened by smoke as a child when Mother smoked in the car, impoverished by smoke as an adolescent - spending all available pocket money on cigs, and rendered powerless as an adult. Powerless to do anything without the consideration of where and when I could smoke.

 Avoiding all situations where smoking was a no go, and planning all activities around the dreaded habit.

I bought my first packet of cigarettes 40 years ago when I was 14 yrs old. Unbelievable as it may seem, in my country at that time it was legal for a fourteen-year-old boy to work full time and as a full time worker, do as all men did at the time - smoke. It felt so good to be one of the boys.

Yes, I did have some memorable quits in the meantime, memorable not for the difficulty in quitting but memorable for the good feelings of being free from an addiction, free from the slavery, able to breathe, able to run, able to smell, able to do so many things that are denied to smokers.

I am almost far enough along in my quit to be almost at the springtime of smobriety, when, as in the spring, earth is rejuvenated.  Once again we meet the smells of fresh earth, blossoming flowers and so many other good things. How good it feels to taste, smell, walk without wheezing, without coughing. I just can't give this up again.

Thank you all for listening.  I have so many reasons for making this a successful quit I'm committing to it in writing.


One month, three weeks, one day, 1 hour, 50 minutes and 6 seconds. 1592 cigarettes not smoked, saving 461,40 €. Life saved: 5 days, 12 hours, 40 minutes.

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