Giving up smoking

In the future people will say 'I remember smoking'... it'll be one of those passing phrases like 'I remember floppy discs'. Smoking will become an old fashioned, passée activity. A dying trend and not in the cool retro sense like victory rolls or knitting. The smell will be associated with 'old people' the same way some might say moth balls or lavender is. Kids will associate smoking with something their grandparents do and for that very reason will be a reason to not do it. 

I remember feeling outraged when the smoking ban was announced in the UK. This felt like a personal attack on me and my choice of bars and clubs I frequently visited. Having grown in a society where smoking was perfectly acceptable, and extremely common amongst everyone I knew, the thought of not being allowed to smoke indoors was like being told we were not allowed to talk indoors. Endless drunken debates with my friends (and anyone who I would make listen to me) ensued as to why should we stop smoking in public places. As much as I talked about it I was still in some kind of denial about it and believed that something would happen to turn it around again - a bit like the disbelief that Michael Jackson would perform 100 concerts but not knowing why it wouldn't happen, and then he died. 

There was many a debate within my social group. I was head speaker. My opinion was that it would be as fair to introduce a law which meant everyone must smoke - then there is no reason to ban it due to poor passive smokers working in bars and restaurants, who incidentally, had CHOSEN to work there in the first place! And why stop there, smoking could even be taught in schools so everyone knew what to do. That seemed just as fair as introducing a ban. So fast forward a few years and ask my ex-smoking self about the smoking ban! 

The smoking ban is one of the best legislation ever passed in this country. I gave up smoking nearly two years ago. I always knew that I wanted to give up before my thirty fifth birthday for two main reasons. One, I didn't want to develop the smoking lines that my mum had - even though she had stopped smoking about ten years before they appeared, and two, I was always told that the contraceptive pill I was taking couldn't be prescribed to a smoker thirty five or over due to possible links to heart disease. It seemed such a long time since I was given this information but wow how that land mark birthday soon came around! It is actually coincidence that I gave up just before that age. My boyfriend had given up and I was getting tired of the social setting I was in and everything associated with it. I made the decision to stop, realising I wasn't enjoying it anymore, and that was pretty much that, maybe the odd puff here and there when I was drinking in the those first few months but I was soon completely free. 

And what a turn around. 

To even see someone smoking brings up a nauseous feeling in my gut which then travels up to land in my throat. I can feel my throat tightening and I experience flash backs to the dry flaky lips and dehydrated face after a night of heavy smoking. The inside of my head felt dehydrated. Even smoking without drinking could easily give me a hangover the following day. 

And don't talk to me about the smell. Urgh! My nostril hairs are screaming in agony just writing about it! The thick, strong odour of poisonous fumes that surge up the nose and attack my senses. I swear it didn't smell like that when I was a smoker. It's become an odorous cocktail of chemical, manure and hot tarmac. It is so thick and engulfing the smell and the fumes compare to nothing else - perhaps maybe a nuclear plant blowing up. I never could've predicted I would feel like this once I had given up - if I didn't know better I would think that someone had used hypnosis using all those nasty associations to replace any craving I might have ever had. 

There are no more phlegmy coughs or smelly hair or stained fingers. Air is fresh and it is a pleasure to breath it. If I'm stuck behind a smoker as I'm walking somewhere my natural reaction is to cover my mouth and nose and quickly over take them. The sickness I am feeling in my stomach as I write this speaks for itself.  

Somebody gave me an electronic cigarette in those early days but I soon weaned myself off of that.  It was the taste and the drying of the throat which put me off...and it wasn't even as strong as a real cigarette so it just made sense to completely quit.  

Haha, I win; smoking, you lose!  Now I will never look back.

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