Wednesday, April 1, 2009

12 Years, No Cigarettes, No Fooling

Today marks the 12th anniversary of my giving up cigarettes. I had decided that I was a fool to have begun smoking in the first place, so April Fools Day was an appropriate day to stop smoking.

I took my first drag off of a cigarette when I was about six years old. After that, my friend stole cigarettes from her mother a few times over the years, and we would sneak off to the bus barn to smoke them.

By the time I was 12, I was smoking fairly steadily. We would sometimes walk up to the corner store and buy cigarettes. Yes, they would sell cigarettes to twelve-year-olds. As a kid, my best friend was even known to drive up to the store (at ten or twelve years of age) to buy milk or cigarettes for her mother. Such was the way in her unstable home.

By 17 I was smoking at least a half pack a day. I found that I could easily buy the cigarettes out of machines. No hassle, no risk of being denied for lack of ID.

By the time I quit smoking in 1997, I was up to two packs a day. I coughed all of the time. I had yellow stains on my fingers, and had no idea at the time how bad my house smelled or how bad I smelled. I still will occasionally crack open a book that I was reading or studying back when I smoked, and it STILL smells of cigarettes, fifteen years later!

The best decision I ever made, the best thing I ever did for myself, was to quit smoking. Especially since I have since been diagnosed with asthma. I now know that my coughing was caused as much by my asthma (previously misdiagnosed as simply "bronchitis") as by my smoking. Having emphysema and lung cancer rampant in my family, it was imperative that I did this for myself. It was my only chance for a healthy life.

So here is to 12 years smoke free! Here's to me!

9 comments:

NVG-WmsFam said...

Major congrats for being smoke-free for so long. I only did it (this last time!) for just over 2 years now. I don't remember the date but it was right around the time I got engaged to a man who refused to kiss an ashtray. We've been married almost 2 years (Apr 13!). So... good for you! Vikki at www.wwudi.blogspot.com

Neas Nuttiness said...

As a person, who has asthma, and is greatly affected second hand smoke... I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Congrats, and may you remain smoke free for ever!!!

Neabear said...

Congrats on being smoke-free for 12 years. That is wonderful. I can't believe you started so young. But good thing you came to your senses earlier rather than later. My hubby quit in 1999.

ciara said...

congrats on your 12 yrs! i grew up w parents who smoke. my bro smoked for a long time until he got w his wife about 13 yrs ago. i 'tried' them, but never got into them. i'm hoping my kids won't want to try them when they're older tho my 21 yr old son smokes occasionally :-/

anyways, i just came by way of UBP. congrats again. :)

KerryLee said...

Big Congrats on your non-smoking anniversary. I just quit back in October, the day before I found out that I was pregnant. I really REALLY hope to stay "quitted" this time, even after baby comes.

Kathy said...

I've smoked a couple of times and I did not find it unpleasant at all. It really gives me an appreciation of the effort it would take to quit.
You rock, Heather! Congratulations!

Terrence said...

Hey,

Congrats! I know it is very difficult to
quit smoking
. I have been trying to do it from the past 7 years.

carolsnotebook said...

Congratulations!

Rebecca :) said...

Wow! Major congrats are in order! I am very happy for you! I smoked very briefly- that is, from about March 1999 to November 1999. I did it to just see what the fuss was about, really. It was my senior year of high school and I wanted to fit in, wanted to lose weight, and it gave me both. I knew I was lucky when I stopped smoking cold turkey because it was too cold outside to smoke and I couldn't smoke in the dorms. I did not get addicted and I cannot believe that. I was probably doing something wrong. lol But I know how hard it must have been for you and you should be SO SO proud of yourself. Treat yourself to something deliciously sinful like a small shopping spree at your fave store or buy a book you've been lusting over but keep putting off getting. You deserve it!