This is some of my school work about giving up smoking. It’s very wordy and it’s really not written to be online but I don’t want to change it all and miss the point. It’s about a year old and sadly I decided that I’d start again anyway, you know, just for a laugh. So now I’m doing it all over again. Nearly 6 days, I’m not as smug as I was a year ago but I’m still as shaky and I’ve still got my patches. Hopefully this time will be better!
Giving up smoking is a miserable and lonely experience. I truly believe anyone who says different is a liar, which I think can be proved by the fact I’m writing this at 3.50am after waking from another Niquitin patch related nightmare.
It’s now been one week and four days since I decided to give up smoking and the thought of going down to the 24 hour garage in my slippers is still very appealing, though subsided from the urges of days one, two and three. I didn’t even really want to quit in the first place, but the realisation that I had £2 to live on for five days and the guilt I felt after stealing from the emergency hamster fund was too strong. It was time to give up.
Since moving away from home have worked my way up to a 30 a day addiction. That’s almost £10 per day. £280 a month. I cannot afford this. I need clothes and pretty things. It has also finally dawned on me that I smell awful and no one wants to kiss me, which can never be good.
Being 20 years old and deciding to join the leagues of the non smokers is especially difficult. Most of my friends smoke, the people I go to university with smoke, my flat mates smoke, the girls who want to be thin smoke, and no one seems to understand why I’m so keen to give up my habit. It’s also made harder by the fact that people seem to think I’m too young to worry about dying and that it should be easy for me, I don’t even look old enough to buy cigarettes, how hard could it possibly be? In the UK the highest rates of smoking are in those aged between 20-24 which makes me feel better. If people are giving up by the time they are 24 then it can’t just be me who’s decided the risks and the prices are too high.
I have been smoked everyday for the last 7 years, which translates as nearly a £2 price increase, the smoking ban the legal age of buying cigarettes being changed from 16 to 18. This happened to be the 1st October 2007. 5 days before my 18th birthday. I was lucky enough to be blessed with a best friend who turned 18 on the 28th September. In this year smoking fell to its lowest recorded level, 21% of over 16s in the UK.
I have since learned that someone who starts smoking at 15 is three times more likely to die from a smoking related cancer than someone who starts in their mid 20s. Before I would have ignored something like that but now it terrifies me.
So far this year 5 people I know have died. Four from cancer, two from smoking related cancers. And as much as I tried I can’t ignore things like this anymore. The fact is that if they didn’t smoke they would still be here now. One in two smokers will be killed by their addiction. Around 114,000 people in the UK are killed by smoking related illnesses. I’ve always avoided statistics and numbers like this but now they’re mean a lot to me. They’re scaring me into keeping away from cigarettes.
One of the first steps I made after burning away all of the nub ends from the ashtray was to set up a meeting with the stop smoking adviser at boots. She didn’t turn up. I waited an hour and a half after lectures for that meeting to arrive and be told she wouldn’t be coming in. It wasn’t a good start. A friend of mine who’d heard of my efforts through the student housing grapevine decided to lend a hand and drop me off some patches he’d gotten free when attempting to give up his own habit. Shame he handed them over puffing on a lucky strike. Good advert for the patches there.
They make me itch, give me nightmares and leave square red marks on my skin but I do think patches are helping. Firstly because I’ve heard if you smoke whilst wearing them you can get really sick. Also I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect but I really do feel better with them on. I don’t seem to have awful cravings or anything. I feel like writing a big thank you note to Niquorette. I already feel better. I have more energy, I can run further and everything tastes better. I know it’s awful but one of the main reasons I’ve been putting off quitting is putting on weight. I’ve seen it happen to people I know, one day they’re a tiny little 8 stone thing and then bang, they’re shopping in the maternity wear section. I refuse to let this be me. I’ve decided not just to give up smoking but to change my life. Since I now can I’m going to get fit. I’ve been eating healthy and running every day. Something I never dreamed I would do. But giving up smoking is about more than just not smoking. It’s a lifestyle change. I feel like I can do anything. I’m ready to face the world. Okay, that might be taking it a bit too far but I really do feel good. Better than I have for years and I’m only 20. I should always feel good.
As much as they insist otherwise no one will really be pleased for you when you give up smoking.
To your smoking friends you are now a deserter. With all the laws and proposals smokers stick together. They stand in the cold and rain bitching about the ban and mocking non smokers for being too health conscious, they’d smoke if they were braver. I’m out of the gang now. They make jokes I don’t understand, and I’ve already been left out of an outing as they all smoke and ‘wouldn’t want to tempt me’. That’s what they told me anyway, I know what they mean is they think I’m a bore, that I’ll tell them to give up and be spouting facts about how likely they are to die all night. The way I feel now they’re probably right.
The non smokers don’t want me back either. They’re wary of me, like I could explode any minute. I’m the new girl at non smoking school and no one wants to be my friend. I don’t even care, one day I’ll be a real member of the non smoking gang, the smokers will come to their senses and quit and everyone can exist in peace.
It’s still early days but by now I feel like it’s gone too far. I’ve had the cough and been unbearable, it should just get easier from now and i don’t think I could start from day one again. I know some people give up only to start again but I don’t think i’ll be one of them. Even from when I started it’s getting less and less acceptable, you can’t smoke anywhere, it’s expensive and it’s bad for you.
I know people have the right to do what they like and if people want to smoke it’s up to them, but it’s a stupid thing to do. Really, there is not one bit of sense in spending obscene amount money on something that does not have a single benefit and will probably kill you.