Smoking For The Fail

antismoke

I’m 31 now, and have been smoking solidly since I was about 14. And I’ve had enough of it – I want out. I don’t want to get sick and die gasping for breath in some hospital ward, so l’ve 99% ditched the smokes.

Sounds like a cop out right? 99%… Well yeah, it does sound that way – but I don’t think it’s so bad. Like Kanya West – ya gotta lemme finish! ;)

What prompted all this was that I got a chest infection the other week, and it really kicked me to the kerb. Think severe respiratory distress hospital run at 6am for nebulisers & oxygen type sick. My heart’s hammering away around the 120 bpm mark, even when the drugs had stopped me having to fight so hard to just get air into my lungs, I couldn’t get the oxygen into my system from the chest infection dropping my lung function to really low levels.. Just horrible.. And lasting for day after day after day while the antibiotics cleared me up.

So with that wake-up call ringing very, very loudly in my ears – I’ve dropped the fags. And I’m doing pretty good with it after coming on two weeks.

Before we kick off on all the reasons to quit, let me just say that when you’re ill is a fantastic time to ditch the fags because you already feel like shit, so smoking’s gonna be the last thing on your mind. The physical addiction mechanism for nicotine is in effect for 3 days – so 3 days after your last fag you don’t have any nicotine left in your system – you’re clean! – the only thing left is the mental addiction / routine of smoking. I wouldn’t wait ’till you’re ill or anything – just pick a day and do it. Keep yourself busy and don’t dwell on fags and it’s actually not that hard a habit to break.

It really is inaction – to give up you JUST DO NOTHING! How hard can that be? Answer: Not hard at all. Really isn’t. Just read a bit, play some video games, listen to music, go about your life! Simple!

To keep ya motivated and give some good reasons for quitting, lets go with some facts that smoking sucks serious ballz because:

  • It’s retarded. Why the hell deliberately inhale large quantities of smoke to damage your lungs?
  • It increases your risk of heart disease, strokes, lung and other cancers (leukemia anyone?), blindness, erectile disfunction and all sorts of other nasty shit you don’t want to even think about until you get ’em. And by that point it’s probably imminent Game Over.
  • It costs a decent whack of money – which you could spend on other super-cool shit like holidays, CDs, clothes, tech malarkey.
  • It smells really bad. Your breath, your clothes, your fingers. You can’t smell it when you smoke, but it reeks. Especially when you get wet.
  • It makes you wheezy & unfit (especially if you’ve got asthma like I have).
  • It turns you into a social pariah where you have to leave pubs/clubs/bars/restaurants to stand outside clutching some stinking cancer stick like a junkie.

Well f*ck that for a laugh, eh?

I’m not saying there’s nothing good about smoking, because there are definitely some good points:

  • I like smoking. I dunno why, I just do. Prolly just cos I’m used to doing it.
  • It gives you something to do (i.e. it’s a distraction activity).
  • It’s good to get a break from work for 5 mins while you have a cheeky puff. But really, you can just go as if you’re going for a smoke, then just take a 5 min stroll, or just go out with your workmates who smoke and have a glass of water or a cuppa or something..
  • Smoking and drinking go together very, very well indeed.

So really what I’m getting at is that there needs to be moderation. I’d smoke 15 to 20 fags a day easy on a normal day, up to twice that if I was having some beers with it – which if I do every couple of weeks or so, we’re looking at an average of around 20 cigarettes a day. And that’s too damn much.

Why? Well, lets look at smokes per day versus chance of dying in a morphine daze because you’re cancered to death:

smokingcancer

Not hard to spot the trend is it?

So, I’ve come up with a compromise that works for me: I’m not going to smoke every day, I’m not even going to smoke every week – I’m going to smoke when I have a couple of beers every couple of weeks or so. And on those days where I’m enjoying me some beer, I can smoke half a pack if I wanna and chill the hell out guilt-free.

Doesn’t sound a lot like giving up smoking does it? Well, yes and no.

If you look at the number of cigarettes smoked per day we’re going from 20 a day, or 280 per fortnight, down to a top-end worst-case-scenario of about 10 per fortnight, or around 0.7 cigarettes per day. Which when we look at the graphs of getting sick, not being able to watch your kids grow up and dying in agony compared to smoking – with levels of approx 1 cigarette per day the stats are negligible above the background noise.

So, by the numbers, I can still smoke occasionally and not get any more messed up than a non-smoking spod.

And it’s this that makes the not smoking in the first place all the easier – I don’t feel “Damn! I used to love smoking! Now I can never smoke again!” – it’s more “Don’t wanna smoke now – I’ll grab a six pack and a pack of smokes next week or whenever.“.

So lets wrap up the options:

Option Pro’s Con’s Rating
Keep Smoking – Easy. – Significantly increased chance of slow, painful sickness & premature death
1 / 10

Not advised if you have any intention of:
1.) Having kids
2.) Celebrating their 16th birthday with them.
Full Stop – Cheap.
– Super healthy.
– A bit dull.
– Not easy.
8 / 10

– Really it’s the right option to pick, but… mmm, not quite yet, thank you.
– I’m not going to take up yoga, do pilates and eat crunchy granola while singing Kum Ba Yar either.
Smoking Occasionally – Still get to smoke a bit.
– Barely costs a thing.
– Cigarettes go really well with beer.
– Very small additional risk of sickness & death over non-smoking.
– Possibility of falling off the wagon if you’re a pussy.
r3dux rating: 9 / 10
Real rating: 7 / 10

Good solution involving minimal damage to health, wallet and prospects of being alive to look after your kids and enjoy life. Should really go with complete stop, but in my eyes an acceptable compromise.

I think I like the occasional smoking plan a hell of a lot more than smoking as normal, or not smoking at all – and it’s working for me atm – so all good in the hood. I feel fit and healthy, am not wheezing or coughing as much and apart from times when I’d traditionally have a fag (after a meal, with coffee first thing in the morning etc.) I don’t really miss it too much at all – and even when I get some big cravings you can just ride them out for 5 – 10 mins and they’re gone. Have some sweets or ice-cream or crisps or coffee or what-not as a distraction substitute and the craving passes in no time.

I can give up smoking, you can give up smoking. If you don’t smoke you can start smoking then give it up to prove how awesome you are! (Nooooo!) =P

Anyways – don’t smoke cos it’s rubbish. And if you start to falter (which you won’t) – read some of the nasty shit they put in ’em and what that does to your insides!

It’ll take the gloss right off it.

P.S Yeah, thinking about smoking constantly for a couple of hours while writing this has made me feel like having a smoke, but then you just look at something like this or this, and go: “Nah.”

Simply. Not. Worth it.

Update: Found this interesting video from the Horizon documentary We Love Cigarettes. You can download the documentary via here.

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