I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I’ve not had a cigarette in 6 months.
I’ve smoked since I was around 16 but I have never classed myself as a “full time smoker” (smoking daily). I have always smoked when I drink alcohol, which generally occurs around 2/3 times a week. However throughout my university and college years I worked in a bar and I could quite easily smoke most days of the week. The strange thing is I have never really smoked when I’m not drinking. I’ve always seen it as a social thing that accompanies a pint and my night/day out.
My last cigarette was at a party at the end of September. Prior to this party I had purchased an E-cig from a local shop in Macclesfield. This thing was brilliant. Not only was it “healthier”, it was also more convenient, cheaper and it didn’t make me smell. I picked an “ice mint” flavour which didn’t half give a good kick on ye old throat and I found myself toking on this right from the off. Throughout this party I was toking on both the E-cig and fags simultaneously. As I became drunker I think at one point I was toking both at once!
I woke the next day with that all too familiar disgusting taste in your mouth after a night on the booze and fags. It’s a ritual of mine to brush my teeth immediately as I awake as the taste makes me cringe, however it becomes more bearable when you’ve been smoking several years. I don’t think I planned to stop smoking fags but I experimented on a few nights without any. I was saving money a fair amount of money and I could smoke this E-cig inside pubs and bars, it was much more convenient. One drawback of the E-cig was that it was initially a little bit embarrassing smoking it in public. You do get a few funny looks but they seemed to be incredibly popular in the area and most people didn’t bat an eyelid.
I did continue to fancy a fag for a few months and it was a constant battle with temptation. I did try a bit of one on a lad’s day out in York. I took one drag and although the hit on my throat was lovely the aftertaste was disgusting. When I was a young kid I licked an ashtray for a dare, toking on that fag brought back memories of that disgusting taste. I didn’t have another drag that’s for sure.
As the months passed it became apparent that this E-cig was just a novelty. I did say to a few people that I was planning to finish smoking altogether after Christmas but I didn’t honestly believe that I could do it. After smoking for so long I couldn’t really imagine not smoking when I’m drinking.
I carried on with some heavy nights out until the 2nd week in January and one night in particular was so fuzzy that I ended up losing the E-cig somewhere. The past few weeks of constant drinking had left my body – particularly my throat – in bits. I decided to have a stab at a “drinking only” night. The night was particularly challenging and I often found myself instinctively reaching to my pocket looking for something to drag. I found myself drinking much faster than I would normally. The moments where I was missing a quick drag I found myself taking a sip of my beer instead. Safe to say I went home absolutely legless.
This continued for a few weeks and it seemed to get easier and easier. A month later I can safely say that smoking doesn’t cross my mind at all. I’ve found myself scowling when get a whiff of a fag blown from a nearby pedestrian. Although I have always been pretty fit I’ve found my stamina levels much higher since stopping. I’m very close to a sub 22min 5km, which I don’t believe I could have done 2 years ago when I was fitter but still smoking. Presumably this is because I can breath easier and therefore pump the oxygen to my muscles faster?
It all seems to have happened so fast and I think back and I’m amazed that I’m now a non-smoker. It feels so good to refuse a fag without having any temptations at all. I think the same thing about university and how much a blur that was, and how incredibly difficult it was at times but I’m really proud I got through it all. Addictions are really bad things and they are incredibly difficult to overcome. Everyone had addictions, some are healthy and normal such as love or compassion but others such as smoking, drugs and drinking are far more sinister.
The moral of the story is that I’ve quit smoking and I think that you could too if you wanted to. Don’t give in to temptation, smoke so much that your throat is in bits or maybe buy one of those E-cigs. All those things were my saviours.
Here’s to a smoke free life.