20 Reasons Why Smoking Made Me Worry

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As smokers, we all think we have (plenty of) time to quit before the health concerns that come with smoking can affect us. We also tend to think that the bad stuff happens to other people with regards to smoking-related disease, not us.  And because tobacco is usually a slow killer, we are lulled into complacency... until we start to feel the effects of smoking, either directly, or when it steals the life of a loved one.

The following excerpts were compiled from a discussion on the About Smoking Cessation support forum regarding why we quit and what scared us most about smoking.  

Many thanks to all who contributed.

1) "I was worried that the bones holding my teeth in were shrinking because I was smoking and I want to eat a steak when I am 80."

2) "I was wheezing so badly all the time it scared the bejesus out of me."

3) "I was terrified of getting cancer."

4) "My mom died of emphysema.  She came back to haunt me last year.  There she was, looking back at me in my bathroom mirror every morning, frowning at me as I lit my first cigarette of the day.  
"Ok, so it really wasn't a ghost.  It was just me, turning into my mother.  That's .mostly a good thing, but I realized it was just a matter of time until I started wheezing and gasping for air.  No thanks.  I don't want to go through that, and I don't want to put my kids through that."

5) "I was afraid of getting wrinkles, of having a prune mouth, large pores, yellower teeth and dark color on my lips."

6) "Looking into the future, I didn't want a doctor to tell me, "Well if you had quit smoking you wouldn't have ~fill in the blank~". I smoked for 34 years and I knew that if I continued to smoke I would develop smoke related illnesses.

I just hope I quit in time."

7) "My father died of lung cancer 8 years ago, and for the last 18 months or so I haven't been able to sleep normally; I was worried sick of ending up the same way."

8) "I hate worrying about getting too close to people for fear that they smell cigarette smoke."

9) "Welllllll...  I did something I'm not very proud of. I read my daughter's diary. I was really surprised about the things I read in there. I thought most 14-year-old girls would be writing about boys and school stuff. Mine was writing about her fears. She sees tobacco for what it is - a drug.  The words she wrote will haunt me forever.  She wrote that she prays every night for her mom to stop doing drugs. Quite a wake up call huh?"

10) "I couldn't keep waking up at 2 a.m. praying to God that I wouldn't die and leave my children without a Mother. My heart would be racing and I'd be covered in sweat."

111) "I was 27 when I quit smoking, had been a smoker for over 12 years, and I was afraid I was going to have a heart attack in my sleep.

I have a physical job and the shortness of breath became too much for me to handle.  Coupled with the strange feelings I would get shooting down my left arm, it forced me to start thinking about quitting."

12) "I quit smoking because I cannot walk up a flight of stairs. I have arteries that are clogged. Was operated on in December of '05 and had stents put in each leg.  Doctor told me to quit, but I didn't and within 6 months had the pain in my legs again."

13) "Before I quit smoking, I could not breathe without gasping, was on three different bronchial inhalers about six times a day, and was on the road to using oxygen. I just felt horrible.  My brother sat me down and really talked turkey about how he felt I would not get a chance to spend  my pension when it comes next year.  Then, the following day his wife, my best friend, had a mild heart attack.  This women is fit, she walks, works in her garden and mine... although she is a smoker. This scared me into seeing the doctor and getting a prescription for Zyban."

14) "I quit because I was told on the 3rd of April that if I didn't I would not celebrate my 50th birthday. I'm 46 with coronary artery disease.  I've had one stroke, one heart attack, and my chest x-ray looks like a train wreck. I've had pneumonia 30+ times in my life and both my parents died from complications from smoking."

15) "I quit because I was tired of living in fear that I would find myself dying young from a smoking-related illness."

16) "I was still a smoker after my recent double bypass.  I had to go to a different hospital after leaving the cardio specialty unit because my breathing was so affected and oxygen levels were insufficient without inhalation therapy. I spent an extra 9 days in rehab and was still going out to the smoking area for an occasional cigarette. I started taking Chantix while still in the hospital and I really think that this is what helped me with the cravings we all suffer when trying to quit. 

17) "I actually quit because of another family member's heart condition. My cousin called me the same week that I was having my procedure with a message from her husband. He wanted me to know that he was going back for a repeat double bypass after only 12 years since the first one and that he blamed the continued smoking for that early repeat."

18) "I got to thinking about all the surgical chest pain that I had recently suffered and was still suffering with when I sneezed or coughed and decided that I finally had a tangible reason to actually put an end to my 45+ years of smoking. It didn’t really take very long after that to give it up."

19) "I worry about the statistic that says smoking kills about half of all long-term smokers.  I'm already a long-term smoker, and those odds really scare me."


If you're still smoking, do yourself a huge favor and use the personal perspectives offered here to fuel your determination to quit smoking.  It may be uncomfortable to begin with, but you'll feel better faster than you think, and fabulous once you beat nicotine addiction to the curb for good.

Get started:  Quit Smoking 101:  An Educated Quit is a Successful Quit

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