I seem to be surrounded by a sudden flurry of friends and work colleagues that are giving up smoking. A move which I applaud wholeheartedly. I've seen a bunch of people who have tried to quit, some with success, and I've seen how hard it is.
I don't usually hassle people about their smoking, but I'm quite strongly anti-smoking. My late Dad was a chronic chain smoker all this life, and even a quadruple heart bypass, an aneurism and a collection of small strokes wasn't enough incentive for him to quit. He'd been smoking since he was about 13, so I guess it was like oxygen to him after all those years. Before the awareness of passive smoking I can remember being trapped in a smoke filled car wherever we went, and having ciggie smoke be a normal thing around the house. I can't really remember my Dad without a lit cigarette in his hand. It's no surprise that my sister and I have both had a history of chest problems, given the smoke we were exposed to as children. My oldest sister was raised by my non-smoking grandparents when she was small, as my mother was in hospital for a bunch of years with polio, scarlet fever and tuberculosis. So I guess she missed out on the effects of passive smoke when she was little and at her most vulnerable.
My Mum was a vehement anti-smoker, which made for a source of tension in the house. She always resented the cost of Dad's smokes, and before I was born we had some lean income years in England and she would sometimes have to cut her own food budget to be able to afford his smokes. A concept which just beggars belief. It's cruel irony that the cancer which finished her off was lung cancer, although given that it was a secondary cancer from her breast cancer primary it might not have been directly related to passive smoking. Both my sisters smoke, something which even as adults they tried to keep a secret from Mum as they knew how strongly she felt about it.
I don't have an addictive personality, jokes about my DVD 'habit' aside, so I have never formed an addiction to anything. I used to enjoy drinking socially on weekends, but one day just stopped. I tried smoking to be cool when I was about 13, probably smoking about 10 cigarettes in total, and hated it. I resisted drugs of any sorts in my 20s, had a few mild experiments in my 30s but could count them in total on both hands. So I understand the physical aspects of addiction, and I think I have a fair idea about the mental aspects, but the mind set isn't something I can directly relate to. I struggle to comprehend how someone can do something that is that physically bad for them, and especially persevering through the early stages of smoking when it is pretty gross. I guess most smokers start young, when the peer pressure (or whatever motivation for it) is strong enough to overcome the discomfort.
So, those who decide to give it up, I salute you! Any smokers (or ex smokers) care to weigh in on this?