|The No Smoking sign, designed by one of the members of AIGA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I've known many people who smoke. Many of those smokers say that they'd like to quit. At times they may have tried unsuccessfully, only to go back to their old smoking habits. Some have tried varying methods such as the patch, hypnosis, or substances like Nicorette gum. In the end they often will go back to their old habit. If they do manage to curb the habit they may suffer withdrawal symptoms or have overbearing cravings. They are addicted--or so they say.
I have never had to deal with much in the way of addictive behavior other than my cravings for sugar and salt. I suppose these could count as my addictive substances, but tobacco was never a problem for me to kick. I had two heavy smoking periods--one from 1980 to 1983 and the other from 1990 to 1997. During these periods I smoked a steady two to three packs a day. I think that qualified me as a fairly heavy smoker.
At the end of each of these smoking periods there came a time when I just decided to quit and did. My experience is different than that I've heard from many life-long smokers. The excuse (I'm going to call it an excuse) is that they've smoked since teenage or even childhood years and the habit is too ingrained. Some might say they have a physical addiction to smoking and actually suffer withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop. I'm not sure if there is credible research about this or not, but I am more inclined to believe it's mainly a psychological addiction and for some a crutch that they don't want to let go of.
There were several factors that led me to stop smoking. A big one was the economic factor. When someone asked me how much it cost me just for the cigarettes (that's not including the health costs down the road), I figured I was spending over $2000 per year on cigarettes during my second bout with the habit. When buying one pack or a carton of cigarettes at a time, the scope of the cost wasn't so evident, but to look at the cumulative figures was eye-opening. I might as well have been burning money.
The other factors were my health, my kids, and the way I smelled. Then I met the woman who was to become my present wife. She was a non-smoker and though she accepted my smoking, I knew she didn't like it. When I recognized that we were looking at a future together, that's when I decided to just quit. I finished that last pack and never bought another after that.
Quitting had virtually no effect on me. Sometimes I might smell someone else's cigarette smoke and have a brief craving, but that was about it. I'm glad I stopped. I feel much better. And cigarettes are more expensive now than they were when I was smoking back in the '90's. That's money that I can put to far better use.
Do you or have you ever smoked? Have you ever quit smoking or tried to quit? How did it affect you? Do you think that cigarette smoking is actually physically addicting?