How It All Began!
Just like so many others, the first time I had tried a cigarette was when I was hanging out with my friends. It had all started with the thought that, I won’t get addicted to it because I would only be smoking when I am out with my gang. However, slowly but surely I started smoking once a month, then the frequency increased to once a week, once a day, once in an hour and eventually got addicted to it to an extent that being away from it would cause me lot of mental discomfort and I would only feel better once I had taken a drag. During the peak time, I used to smoke about 20 cigarettes per day and the number would eventually increase to about 30 when hanging out my friends.
I was an athlete during my school days and running had been a big part of my life but I could no longer do it with ease thanks to smoking! I would gasp for breath even after a short run or a mild trek. I would get tired very quickly and I just couldn’t do things I could do with great ease before I started smoking. In short, I started missing all the excitement of a healthy lifestyle.
Stuck in the Vicious Cycle:
After smoking for about 6 years, I finally decided that enough is enough and I need to quit and quit at the earliest before it got any worse. (It’s a different story that, I had decided too many times about quitting, but would start again after a few hours or days at times). It all started with a strong determination that I should QUIT as it was causing a lot of irreversible damage to me and if I continued at the same pace, it would go on to wreck even more damage (lifelong) to my health. I began by watching some scary videos on YouTube and other channels about the harmful effects of smoking to one’s lungs and other parts of the body. I marked one random date (Would help even better if it’s your / your loved one’s birthday and treat it like their birthday gift) on the calendar after which, I would quit smoking FOREVER. A few days before the marked date, I increased my frequency to such an extent that I got bored of smoking. It was more of a mental preparation that I am going to QUIT FOREVER and whatever little desire I have, I should fulfil it now and leave nothing for later. I even started making an announcement to my friends, colleagues that I’ll be stopping after the said date and if anyone finds me with a cigarette ever again, I owe them a party at a place and date of their choice. This helped me even more as I had no intention of embarrassing myself any further (Went through it many times in the past and this time around, was very much determined not to repeat it again).
The D-Day arrived and it was exceedingly difficult for me to control the temptation. I avoided my smoking group and took as fewer breaks as possible and buried myself completely in my work. With great difficulty, I began to see the days through without smoking a cigarette successfully. Being able to see through the day was a big moral boost for me and I got back the confidence that if I could do it for one day then I could do it forever. The next few days proved to be very challenging for me as it was quite difficult to control the urge, but my rock-solid determination helped me to stay on course. I even stopped hanging out with my old group for some time and started taking road trips/treks with new friends who didn’t smoke. This way, I could distract myself and also cultivate an active hobby which would help me stay away from smoking.
After a few days, I could see a positive difference in my energy levels. I could actually feel my stamina getting better compared to the before when I used to smoke. Added to it, a healthy lifestyle contributed even more towards a better health. I began to complete tasks, that used to tire me out before, with greater ease now. Having seen a positive improvement, I was able to kill the urge/thought to smoke and from this point, it became less difficult as I’d seen a better me and the things I was capable of doing.
After I Quit Smoking – Benefits:
After I quit smoking I began to see benefits that would never had been possible had I continued to remain a smoker. These were:
- I could blow 100s of balloons during my daughter’s birthday year after
I thanked myself for quitting and the look of happiness in her eyes was incomparable.
- I could participate in marathons. I completed a 10k marathon around an hour.
- I began to enjoy treks and started completing them with greater ease.
- I managed to save lots of rupees both directly & indirectly. A smoker, not just pays for a cigarette, but also for a cup of Tea / Mint to go along with it.
Depicted below is a ball park estimate of the ₹₹₹ saved by me
ever since I quit. Although I had taken into consideration tobacco products (and the expenses involved) when setting up my budget at the start of a month, my monthly expenditure would have only been on the rise had I continued to remain a smoker. In my case, it’s been about 12 years since I quit and
it translates into a rough saving of INR 12 lakhs till date and if I take
the future time-frame into account with my average life expectancy of
60 years, a rough calculation points to a figure of INR 70
lakhs which is not less by any standards. With regards to indirect
savings I now spend less on healthcare as I’m less prone towards
- My productivity at work has increased manifold as I don’t need to take extra breaks for smoking. Even a 10 minute smoking break per day, we are looking at about an hour every day spent in smoking. I’m better off utilizing
this time towards work, reaching home early and spending quality time with my family.
- Given that kids, on most occasions, follow their parents’ foot
steps, I now have moral rights to instruct my kids about not getting into
these habits for their well-being and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Techniques to Quit Smoking :
- If you are trying to quit, do so permanently. Saying to yourself that
I’ll smoke only once in a blue moon when out with my friends,
will only make it worse. It doesn’t work. Trust me. I have been there.
- Find ways to get through withdrawal symptoms. Cultivate a new hobby
which will help you to stay away from it. For example, in my case, I started bike.
trips/treks with a group that did not have smokers.
- The urge to quit should come from within you. No amount of external
pressure will help. External pressure only works for a while.
- Keep aside money only for your daily expenses (needs) and try getting through the day with that.
- If the attempt is to first reduce the count and then subsequently
quit, avoid buying an entire pack of cigarettes. This way, you can
reduce the count at first and then slowly work towards quitting it
At first, I didn’t even like smoking, in fact, I never even liked it while I was doing it, but it had become a bare necessity; without a drag, I would constantly feel that something was amiss. It was only a matter of time before I could overcome it entirely and now that I have been able to get over it, life’s been great ever since! Couldn’t have asked for more! Here is hoping that my article would inspire other people to follow in my footsteps and give up on smoking once and for all.