Smoking: Will You Quit While You’re Ahead?

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Ok so what do we all know about smoking?

1.       Gives you lung cancer
2.       Gives you skin cancer (yes it’s true!)
3.       Can lead to respiratory problems
4.       Makes you unfit for exercise
5.       Causes plaque,  hence the yellow teeth
6.       Gives you bad breath
7.       Ect…

Somehow, we found a way to overcome all of these “problems”. Yes, we always carry chewing gums in our back pocket. We found a way to convince ourselves that not everyone who smokes ends up with cancer. And, we brush our teeth as often as possible!
It’s true though that our health is already jeopardized by so many other things: the food we eat, the air we breathe, the sea we swim in, the public bathrooms we go to… Even the water we drink. So why should a couple of extra cigarettes be dangerous?

Ok so before I drag you into this psycho mind of mine… let’s think about the reasons we smoke, ok? Now you have to bear with me for a second!

1.       We’re not sure why, but everybody does it.
2.       We started smoking when things took a wrong turn and we haven’t stopped since!
3.       It’s cool! Uhu, uhu!
4.       It’s a way to let go of the anger…
5.       Coffee is just not coffee without the morning cigarette. Or the afternoon one, or the evening one for that matter.
6.       We’re clubbing, it’s ok if we smoke a couple of cigarettes (that somehow always turn into a pack or two)
7.       We’re alone at night thinking about stuff and the smoking goes well with the whole lonely night in deep thoughts theme.
8.       Smoking after a meal! Duh!
9.       Stress! Stress! Stress! From your family, relationships, studying… aaahhh! The stress! I need a smoke!
10.   And my absolute favorite: I’m on a diet!

Now just to be clear from the beginning, I am a smoker myself so I’m not being condescending! I get the whole “need” for it! I mean I’ve been saying ever since I started smoking:” I can quit whenever I want to! I’m not addicted to it. I just like it!” The truth is I can’t quit! I already tried! You see I’m a very proud person and to say this out loud really bruises my ego: I don’t have the will to quit! I just don’t!

But lately, whenever I hold up a cigarette and light it, it just feels weird! I hate the smell of it on my hands, on my clothes and the worst of all, on my PILLOW! And each time I have to see my parents I have to go through all this cycle of washing my clothes, taking a shower if I had the time. If not, I just bathe in perfume and stuff four chewing gums in my mouth! Oh but what’s even more fun, is when they show up unexpected at my place and I start sniffing the room and hiding the lighters ( because I have dozens lying around… come on! I know all of you smokers have the same stock!).

Every time I take a picture I have to make sure my cigarette is not in the frame and if it is, I have to keep checking my facebook account in order to make sure that the catastrophic picture of my big secret will not be tagged. I mean it’s sad I know, but parents now have facebook accounts believe it or not!

And when I go on a date with the whole romantic candles, delicious meal, flirty conversation… well you know it kind of leads to: “my place or yours?!”  And we get into the room and we’re very flirtatious and sensual but each time one of us comes close I mean the smell is awful! It’s on her neck, in her hair and on her hands!

I started smoking at a time where I thought my parents were splitting up. I was 14. And then months went by and somehow they found a way to work it out. But I didn’t stop smoking. You see the first time I smoked it was in a time of need for an escape maybe even attention. And ever since in my head smoking was associated frantically with fear, stress and loneliness! I can still remember the first time I smoked. It felt so good to get that rush in me. This moment where I rebelled. It was a starry night. So bright. And my two cousins and I were sitting on the balcony suffering from a hellish summer. That was the night I smoked my first cigarette. It was just the three of us under the vast sky. The options were unlimited and no one was there to hold us back:” Liberté toujours”. Ever since, each time I become fearful, dreading what is ahead, each time I get stressed, each time I need to close up, I light a cigarette.  And then it became this habit I didn’t seem to mind. This part of me.

I had a pack on me since the first day of university. So people tagged me as a smoker. Now I’m not saying that I care about being labeled. But whether I do or not is not even relevant. The thing is I was a smoker, and the people I hung out with were smokers. So at first it was kind of bizarre hanging out with the guys. But people started “coming out”. At first girls would ask me for a cigarette in private, and then this girl just used to reach for my pack in the cafeteria and have a smoke. Another group was really bizarre: these girls gave me so many comments and critiques about me being a smoker and how it was bad for my health and how it generates a lot of problems. And then I eventually was told that this group actually smokes like an old train each time they go out together in private!
Go figure!

The thing is smoking, for each and every one of us, is associated with many different aspects. Whether it is for sanity, rebellion, refuge or social acceptance… it doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day the reason why you started smoking is nonexistent anymore. But look at you now you’re still smoking. You’re wasting 40$ per month on an unidentified need. And not only that, the problems it’s causing are exceeding the benefits of the safety, acceptance and relaxation it used to get you.

Some of us start shaking because of the amount we smoke per day. Some others have this unbearable nasty cough. Others have the most appalling smiles ever. And so on and so forth. Seriously, do you notice how when a group of people are sitting at a table drinking coffee and hanging out, when one lights up a cigarette the  other six do it as well?

Now don’t get me wrong. Probably, the most delicious and thrilling experiences in life are those who are bad for you. But if they lose the sense of it,  it becomes pointless. I started cutting down on smoking. I used to smoke 17 cigarettes per day… easily! Now I have 2 per day barely. The thing is it tastes so much better! I mean when I do smoke I have my own reasons but it tastes good. But having gotten used to smoking with my coffee, after my meals, while hanging out, at parties… I lost the sense of it.

I’m not going to be all high and mighty. I can understand why you might like your cigarettes and why you might want to still get caught in it. But you don’t have to smoke your lungs out in 2 years. Life is still long… you’d better stay healthy to keep up the whole 9 yards, don’t you think?!


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