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Winning The Battle...
When I quit smoking (the last and final time), I
knew I would be tested many times to see if I could make it in the world of non-smokers.
The ultimate test was coming up at my mother's annual Christmas family get-together.
Spending the long cold Canadian winter months in Florida, she always has a family dinner
just before they depart south. Out of the fifty people that attend, about 25 of them
smoke. I knew that this was going to be my "big" test as a non-smoker. I had
been thinking about this gathering for at least a week and I had some apprehensions about
whether I would make it through it and come out still smoke-free. All of the normal cues
for wanting and having a cigarette were there for me. You know - the drinking, family
members,good food, discussions about everything and anything.
Well, guess what.....I MADE IT OKAY!!. I didn't even think of having or for that matter
wanting a cigarette. I was so proud of myself. I congregated in the den where everyone was
smoking and perhaps I got so much secondhand smoke that I was satisfied from that alone.
My cousin, a nun, was even smoking. The only time that she indulges is when there is a
family get together. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if I could be that kind of
a smoker. Well, I know that I can't - in fact only about 5 % of smokers can be that well
controlled to only smoke certain times.
I let it be known to everyone when I entered my
brother's house that I was not smoking he smokers in the group could not believe th
quit for this long of a period. You see, even smokers can be supportive! Anyway, I could
finally say that it felt good being a non-smoker.
To those of you who have quit cold turkey and who are only in your first few days, please
listen carefully when I say this! It DOES get easier after each passing day. I never
thought that I would be in the position to be saying this. You see, I never in my wildest
of dreams ever felt that I would last this long. We'll I am darn happy to be a non-smoker.
I have dreamed of this day for many years.
The best advice that I can give to someone who is trying to quit smoking is to take it one
day at a time, remember that it gets better with each passing day, and that the health
benefits are worth every bit of effort that goes into the quitting process.
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Characteristics of Successful Quitters...
This is a post that I made to a discussion group
that I belonged to called "Smoke-free" on Saturday, 18 Nov 1995. I was 1 month
into quitting smoking and I really felt that I had the upper hand on this terrible
Quoting from Dr. Tom Ferguson, he states:
Those who succeed in quitting are much more likely than unsuccessful quitters to come to
some important realizations about themselves. Successful quitters are typically highly
dissatisfies with themselves for their smoking, perceive themselves as being overly
dependent on cigarettes, and see themselves as more negatively effected by their habit.
They are more flexible and more strongly determined to quit. They make more efforts to
minimize the obstacles to quitting. They are more willing to tolerate discomfort, but in
fact have an easier time going through withdrawal than the unsuccessful quitters.
I have now been almost 5 weeks smoke-free and I must confess that I believe that these
characteristics are very important in the success of someone quitting or not. Many
unsuccessful attempts have in fact allowed me to get where I am now. I have learned from
them. The strong will and desire to be smoke-free is the most important quality that
distinguishes the successful versus the non-successful quitter. I firmly believe that this
is the main reason why I am still not smoking. For you newbies out there that are still on
your first few days of being smoke-free, just take it one day at a time and firmly believe
that you can quit and you really want to quit this deadly habit. Believe in your
convictions and you shall conquer and win out. Also remember that it does get easier every
minute that you go without a cigarette.
Have visions of improved health and well being. Realize that you will gain personal and
rewarding insights about yourself in this process of quitting. You will be a better person
for it in the end. Above all, think of yourself as being a non-smoker.
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Memories of Being A Smoker...
We had one heck of a freezing ice storm last
night. I woke early this morning, and, just as well, because it took almost 40 minutes to
clean the 1/2" ice that was deposited on all the windows of my truck. It was bitterly
cold and the wind chill factor made the temperature feel like 15 f. It was so windy that
it was impossible not to breathe in the cold right down to the bottom of the lungs.
While I was scraping away I had a very vivid deja-vu and it was so clear that I had to
stop and think of my place/time for an instant. I have never had this happen so clear
before. It brought back a very disturbing memory of the "old" Blair (not
literally) when I used to smoke a pack and a half a day.
We all experience these feelings of being there before. What I remembered was thoughts of
me scraping my windows with a cigarette in my mouth, cussing and cursing the cold
conditions that I was exposed to, feeling out of breath and wishing that I was still in
bed sleeping. I would always have a cigarette lit, like a chain smoker, until all the ice
was removed from the windows. I hated these conditions, the cold, wind, snow.........
We'll, not this time. I was actually enjoying it! The cold was not bothering me and I was
not out of breath. The drive to work was also treacherous to say the least. Previous
driving conditions would have caused panic attacks, pains down the arm etc. all caused by
the stressful condition. We'll, not this time either.
I was as calm as could be, not feeling under any stress at all. What a difference 6 weeks
without smoking makes, not only physically, but psychologically as well. I am a changed
person for the better. I am sure that all of you out there will agree that you have
experienced similar feelings about yourselves since you quit. These positive self
awareness feeling are good and very beneficial in the quitting process.
Ex-smokers are different. They are more sure of themselves, their actions and their
consequences. As a result they are much better off than before. This may sound corny to a
lot of you, but stop and think about how you have changed since you quit. Write down the
positive and the negative items and I think that you will see that you are a better person
than you were when you were smoking.
For one thing, you are now treating your body with the respect that it deserves. You have
become aware of the damage that you have already done to your body and at the same time
decided to take a proactive step to begin the healing process. Quitting smoking is the
best thing that a person can do to improve their overall health. It is never to late to
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Let me tell you how I feel now that I have quit smoking and
how I think that I've changed since I quit. I am sure that there are a lot of you out
there who can identify with most of these items:
I do feel better, not a lot but enough that I'm glad that I quit. A lot of my
"mysterious" ailments are gone, ones that I used to experience on a daily basis.
I know for a fact that my stomach pains are gone due to the decrease of stomach acid since
I quit. People with any form of stomach irritation should not smoke. They will find that
these irritations heal the first few days off cigarettes. Most doctors claim that stomach
ulcers won't heal for people that smoke.
I feel more in control of my actions and a lot of people have told me that they think that
I'm more sure of myself and more in control. Before, if I had a problem at work, I would
go outside and have a smoke and hope that it would go away on its own. Now I seem to be
able to confront the problem and solve it without having to hide behind something. I
actually find that I enjoy challenging problems at work as I take delight in the fact that
I feel confident enough in my ability to win out. I also find when I deal with my
employees that I am more positive and sure of myself. They seem to notice this and a few
of them have told me that they like this change. Maybe I am giving them more direction,
something they were not getting before.
It is nice to be able to talk up close to people and not fear the smell of cigarette smoke
offending them. When I used to smoke I was always careful to keep my distance from people,
knowing that my breath always smell of cigarette smoke.
I find that I have a lot more patience. I used to blow up quite easily before at work and
at home. My wife used to say that I was "like a stick of dynamite ready to blow
up." I was like that at work as well. I feel at lot calmer now. I find that I am not
rushing everything I do. I take the time. The University where I work should be happy
because they are getting more work out of me. I am much more productive and the work that
I do is getting done better.
I find that I have the time to do things that I have wanted to do for a long time. Even
simple things are a joy to do now. Sitting down and reading a computer magazine from front
to back is enjoyable to do. Before, when I was smoking, I would rush through it, put it
away, and never look at it again. I guess I've missed out on a lot of the simpler things
in life for the past 20 years!
I used to hate the winter and the cold. Now I find it tolerable. I find that breathing the
cold air doesn't bother my lungs the way it used to.
When I wake up in the morning I want to get moving. I used to feel sluggish before and
found that I had to literally kick myself in the rear end to get going. Now I feel like I
had a good night sleep and am eager to get on with the day.
I am now at the point where I can honestly say, without a word of doubt, that I do feel
better. Like I said earlier, not a lot better, but enough that I don't want to start up
again. For all of you less than a month smoke-free'ers, give it time and you shall see
that the benefits of not smoking are overwhelming. You will start to feel better every day
you stay off cigarettes, and true to fashion, the old saying "Time heals," will
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We are all in control of our destiny. We are all
mature adults that have decided to take control of our lives in an attempt to make a
positive health improvement. You can talk about quitting smoking all you want but until
you pick a quit date and get on with the task you will never quit.
We have all seen the effects that smoking has had on our health. I'll bet there is not one
smoker out there that hasn't experienced some form of health related problem from smoking.
There can be no denying that we feel better without smoking. Anyone that says that smoking
doesn't cause health problems is an absolute fool.
There is an abundance of data out there correlating smoking to hundreds of health
Of the over 4000 chemical compounds produced when tobacco burns, here are a few of the
potentially lethal ones:
If these aren't enough to deter you from ever smoking again, I don't know what is!
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I find that I am constantly examining the
reasons why I quit smoking and asking questions like "Why did I ever start to smoke
in the first place", and "Why did I ever continue to smoke knowing full well the
consequences of such actions." Some say that people who smoke have a "death
wish." There could be some truth to this. How could someone poison their body knowing
full well the consequences of such actions.
I find that I notice people that are smoking in public places. For some reason I stare at
them and think how ridiculous they look. I almost feel like walking over to them and
telling them the benefits of quitting and how much better off they'll be if they give them
up. This may sound foolish, but it is my way of re-affirming to myself that I am now a
non-smoker and wish to continue to be so. I find that it helps me if I continually dwell
on the bad things about smoking. The more I do this, the stronger I seem to get.
Don't read me wrong. I am not a "born again" ex-smoker. If people so choose to
do harm to their bodies, it is their right. Hell, I did it for 20 years before I finally
saw the light. My whole waking life used to revolve around cigarettes and the act of
smoking. It just so happens that now I have chosen to live without smokes. If I'm going to
continue to be smoke-free I'm going to have to learn to live with the smokers of the
world. They are always going to be there. There will always be puffs of smoke floating by
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Much Can You Expect to Shorten Your Life Based on These
The average person today can expect to live to the age of 78. However, there are a number of bad habits that can take years off of a personís life. Below are some of the habits that can cause you to die before you reach your 78th birthday:
Smoking is by far one of the worst health habits that you can develop. It offers no benefits, and it greatly increases your risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease. Smoking one cigarette takes about 11 minutes off of your life. If you are a heavy smoker, you will die about 10 years sooner than the average person.
Stress is an everyday part of life. In fact, some stress is good because it gives us the motivation that we need to complete our daily tasks. If you are chronically stressed, however, you are putting yourself at risk for developing cancer, depression and heart disease. Prolonged stress can take about 10 years off of your life.
We have all had to stay up late to complete a project or take care of the kids. If you go a couple of nights without sleep, it probably will not have any (lasting) ill effects on your health. However, if you are chronically sleep deprived, you could be taking up to six years off of your life. You are also three times more likely to develop psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression.
Lack of exercise
Studies have shown that nearly half of American adults are not getting the recommended amount of exercise. If you are in that statistic, you are doubling your risk of developing heart disease. The Center for Disease Control has stated that nearly three percent of the deaths that occurred last year can be attributed to a lack of exercise. It is also estimated that sedentary living will eventually become the leading cause of death.
You have to eat a wide variety of foods in order for you to body to get the nutrients that it needs. Not only is the typical American diet very high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar, but it is also lacking many of the essential nutrients. Poor diet has been linked to diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Nearly 17 percent of the deaths reported in 2004 were caused by poor diet.
Smoking, stress, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and poor diet
are just a few of the many factors that can increase your chances of dying
prematurely. The good news is that you can increase your life expectancy by
making a few simple adjustments. Leading a healthier lifestyle and making sure
you get regular check-ups with your family physician are health measures that
are integral to your longevity.