Mid-September 2011. The Eurobilltrackers, an international Internet Community I am a member of, had its annual summer meeting in Barcelona, Spain. Still enjoying my cigarettes and with my sometimes crooky attitude towards life, I was attracted by a fun-T-shirt in one of the souvenir shops. It has shown the puma of the self-same sports company, depicted in the same style, but with a burning cigarette in its mouth. The writing was not “PUMA”, but “FUMA”. This is Spanish and means “He / She smokes.” (This trifling with words goes in Italian language as well.) My girl friend was not extremely happy when
she saw me with that shirt…
A few weeks later, there was this article in Reader’s Digest magazine about the findings of Israeli researchers. They have stated that the very first cigarette in the morning, right after waking up, is the worst! This was bad news because many smokers consider this to be one of the most delicious ones. So, what was I supposed to do now?
At first I have stopped rolling me a cigarette and smoking it right after waking up. I went to the bathroom instead to brush my teeth, have a shower and shave and get dressed. Back in the living room then… the first cigarette was lit. Not exactly the purpose of what these Israeli researchers might have had in mind when announcing their findings, right? And now smoking with freshly brushed teeth!
But well, let us be honest: It was a beginning!!! Because smoking, that addiction, has got a lot to do with habits. And it was a goddamned habit to have a first cigarette fresh from waking up. This habit was disturbed now.
For the next few hours and the next day it slipped through my mind that there might be more habits to break – for example the cigarette when waiting for the bus, then the cigarette when waiting for the train, the one after arriving at the railway station of my destination, then the last cigarette before I entered the premises of our company and so on, you name it. Well, it was no tremendous success. Here and there I did refrain from smoking automatically my usually cigarette but probably more often I did not. And still let us be firm: The habits started to be broken, and this is so important!!!!
It might have been around early November 2011 that there was a promotional flyer of a therapist who offered a programme for smoking cessation. It sounded good; a combination of talking you an ear off for two hours and a subsequent laser acupuncture. Time had not yet come to make an appointment but the flyer was well kept, always in a way that I had to see it every day on my desk.
Friday, November 11th. Bad day. At 9.30 a.m. I have come back to my desk from the backyard, the designated area for smoking in our company. (Smoking inside is forbidden in very most German companies and it is probably the same in many other European countries). 9.30 a.m. and I had finished my seventh “coffin nail” already! (Sargnagel – coffin nail – is a popular figurative word in our language, because smoking does speed up your way into the coffin.) I sat down on my chair and like a flash of lightning, THE question flashed through my brains: Why the ..ck are you doing this?
As if remote controlled, I opend my drawer, grabbed my calculator and made a rough calculation about how much money is blown in the air each year, of course with a rising tendency because taxes on tobacco rise almost on an annual basis. The result was exactly 1.003 Euro (today 1.368 U$). The real result must be higher as I did not always roll my cigarettes, due to convenience; each month I bought at least two ready packs of cigarettes, which is more expensive. If we calculate some 95 Euro (130 U$) per month, this might be more realistic.
On that same day I did not have my lunch cigarette and many of the “regular” cigarettes while waiting for the bus, the train etc. have not been lit as well. Saturday and sunday I managed to lower my consumption significantly, from up to 30 cigarettes per day to 5-8 only. Right on monday I made an apointment with that laser therapist, further reducing my tobacco consumption, and on friday, 18th November, I was down to one piece per day. The ability to taste and smell has already started to increase again.
So I have spent my friday afternoon with the therapist, underwent a very uncomfortable laser puncuation and – went to the restaurant where I was to meet a couple of friends; all of them smokers!!!! Don’t ask me how I made it, but it was a nice evening, without any desire for a cigarette!
Today, 2,5 years later, I am still rather clean. To be honest, the desire to have a cigarette here and there still persists and almost daily, and once or twice a months one is lit. But it all works out. Against the craving I suck strong lozenges that in fact do away that taste in my mouth which led to another smoke. (I buy these lozenges in wholesale packs!.) My senses of taste and smell are much stronger again and my condition is increasing.
Today I do some jogging which was impossible during the last years of tobacco consumption. There is no more coughing in the mornings, no sounds in my lungs when I breathe and no more clearing my throat all day.
And the money? Well, there is not really much left of the economies. A part goes into another insurance to increase my old age funds and the other half goes into the contract for my smartphone which I bought last year. But as prices for tobacco consumption have been raised there is a little something left for my pocket. .
What about you? Do you smoke and wish to quit and might like to “talk” to someone? Have you quit and restarted again or are you smoke-free as well since a couple of time? And what are your experiences? And from my side: It is no shame to confess that you have started to smoke again – remaining strong and not relapsing into this old habit is more difficult than expected. To quit might be easier.
Let us close this report with the infamous word of Mark Twain:
„Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.“