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!
Taco Hand Pies
8 hours ago