Sunday, 30 December 2012

Nicotine on Brembos

In December 2011 I made a new year’s resolution to quit smoking, I had been smoking for eight years and from somewhere out of the blue it struck me, why don’t I consider getting rid of this habit. A whole year is going to be completed in a few days and I felt it would be good to share my experience with others who might want to quit this year. If you have been a smoker for a while It’s a great new year’s resolution!

It all started as it always does, I wanted in the group of the most desired and not a nerd which I felt like I was becoming so I started smoking and a few other things I would not like to disclose at least in this post. Began with Marlboro Menthols and quickly switched to lights and later to Hards. Once the budget cornered me I had to switch to cheaper brands such as Goldleaf until after a few years that I could afford the original imported Duty Free Ones again.

I have met and seen so many people who want their loved ones to quit, buying nicotine gums, patches and electronic cigarettes but the reality is that the biggest help is the will to quit. I never used any form of urge suppresser and I can tell you that you just need to give the smoker a reason to quit or hope that he/she finds one for themselves.   

It might strike you as unusual but I always considered smoking a pleasure and never a weakness, even though I smoked a lot. As in all cases around us (at least everyone who is reading this) the smoker knows the health risks associated with tobacco but still persists to smoke, maybe because at that young age the idea that we cannot heal ourselves from anything is too distant. I similarly knew the dangers but I also knew from day one that I will smoke only till my problems last, once I have the perfect life I will quit. What happened last December was a reckoning that my problems are never going to end cause no matter how many of them I overcome new ones keep surfacing. It’s a never ending cycle and these are with everyone no matter how fortunate they are in life. So whether it’s the job, the girl, the car, abs, life, visa stamps there is always somebody who has it better than you. Even though the thought is simple but yet it’s like Morpheus said the difference between knowing the path and walking the path. 

The first few weeks are tough both psychological and biological urges kick in especially when you are with friends or you watch movies where characters are smoking (that’s exactly why tickers run on responsible content operators about smoking hazards, it makes so much sense now). It all gets easier as every day passes you just need to stay steadfast with the aim to refrain from even a single puff. Many websites offer tips and guides to quitting, there were however two things that worked best for me. A reward system where you buy yourself something from all the money you save by not smoking and second a psychological eating cover for the time you spend smoking e.g whenever you have an urge just go outside or wherever you smoke and eat something like a candy, gum, peanuts, etc . In my case I always smoked outside in the balcony, the stairs or while driving and usually with a beverage. Whenever I felt like smoking after quitting I would have the beverage go out to the same spot where I smoked and eat something instead to simulate the feeling.

There are things I miss about smoking because lets face it it’s the best way to kill time, skip awkward meetings, excellent socializing time when you are with your friends on a smoke break and a great conversation starter. Even though I feel strong that I will not start again but the chances of a relapse exist. 

I am not sure if its just me or a general feeling that more people around us are smoking than lets say 10 years ago, the acceptability has somewhat increased. I can recall that in my childhood smoking was considered a sin with severe penalties set by the family, today however school going kids can be seen smoking. The parents and society maybe feel a little lenient that at least they are not into drugs. I cannot be someone worthy of asking people to quit cause I myself never listened to anyone but I truly hope that people find what they are looking for before its too late. I know there is more to the tobacco industry in Pakistan than just hoards of people wanting to buy more cigarettes than ever before. Lack of opportunities and our declining economy is compelling masses to fall for all sorts of nuisances. We have been hearing that more stringent measures are being taken to enforce smoking control but simplify increasing prices (through taxes) or availability (prohibited sale around schools & universities) alone will not be able to tackle the situation until and unless the reasons that make people fall for it in the first place are not handled.