Three Years Quitversary

I remember it well. At just gone 6pm, exactly three years ago, I pulled down the blind at the ticket office window. My working day was done. I went out the back door. It was a dark, damp evening. I lit up a cigarette. A Pall Mall Red, with a little menthol cartridge in the filter that you can squeeze if you fancy a blast of minty smoke. I didn’t know it then, but that was to be my last cigarette.

I puffed away and then stubbed it out. At that point, as I ground the butt into the pavement with my heel, I knew that that cigarette had been my last. I couldn’t breathe. Really couldn’t breathe. I’d suck in as much air as my lungs could hold, and still I felt starved of oxygen. The Mystery Virus I’d been hit by two months earlier had properly wrecked my lungs.

I have an app that recorded my quitting data. It congratulated me yesterday, having completed three years as an ex smoker. It’s full of handy facts. I’ve saved £9,399.15 from not smoking the 21,935 cigarettes that I would otherwise have turned into ash. I’ve regained 274 days of life. I’ve not wasted 76 days of my life actually smoking. I’ve decreased my risk of heart disease by 100%, lung cancer by 30% and a heart attack by 20%.

How do I recommend someone go about giving up smoking? It’s really very simple. Don’t put a lit cigarette in your mouth. That’s all there is to it. Any other recommendation is over complicating things. Sure, nicotine replacement therapies might help manage withdrawal symptoms. But you still need to adjust to a life without nicotine. You just have to ride out the waves of withdrawal pain. They pass. They always pass.

Is giving up smoking the best thing that could have happened? No. The best thing that could have happened would be for someone to invent a cigarette that improves your health, makes you smell nice and doesn’t cost a fortune. Because I quite liked smoking, truth be told.

11 thoughts on “Three Years Quitversary

  1. Stew and I quit smoking AND drinking at the same time about 35 years ago, as part of some sort of kamikaze self-improvement campaign that took about four or five tries before it worked. I don’t miss the booze that much but even after all these years, when I’m having coffee after a nice dinner, a little voice whispers in my ears: “A cigarette would be really nice right about now, wouldn’t it?” Of course, you don’t dare have even one, because a second and third one come after that, and before you know it you’re running to the store to get a pack or maybe carton. Did that many times. Anyhow, congratulations!!!


    1. I do sometimes fancy a cigarette. It would be nice. But I don’t need one. That’s the key. And like you, I’ve had enough ‘just one sneaky smoke’ fails to know how it works.


  2. In Ireland we used to grow tobacco, there was quite an industry there at one time and of course everyone smoked. I remember one of my grannies smoking right down to the filter with a long unbroken line of ash. Two hundred fags was the usual gift at Christmas for all my smoking uncles and cigars in metal tubes for the others. I loved the smell of cigars though not so much the smell or taste of cigarettes but they were an extravagance I wasn’t willing to indulge in. However there was a cigarella type cigarette made by Woodbine with a dark brown paper which fit the bill. The papers were infused with plumb wine I think. They only were sold in a pack of ten and I used to smoke about two or three packs or so on weekends. My hands were too busy during the week for smoking as I used to work two jobs after work. The Woodbines had the smell and taste of cigars but at an affordable price and the lingering smell on my clothes was favourable.

    My grandfather started smoking around the time he went into the coal mines in Coatbridge at eight years of age but he graduated eventually to smoking a pipe. He had a favourite meerschaum pipe which he smoked on special occasions. He smoked the odd cigar too and broke up the butt and put that in his pipe to finish them off. Make Maltan your tobacco…

    I gave up smoking in my early twenties after turning my favourite jacket into a blazer when the nylon lining caught fire and incinerated it. It wasn’t too hard although most of my friends puffed away a Spanish holiday every year for eons it would seem. My savings produced a couple of new motorcycles and several French holidays, an engagement ring and honeymoon.
    When Carm and I eventually said our “I do’s” and went off on our holliers to the Canaries I bought a coupe of boxes of cigars some of which went to the usual suspects and to my new father in law and one I kept in case there was a special occasion which happened to occur a year later. So with a little intoxication and several cigars later I decided to forget smoking altogether.

    So now you have it in a nutshell! I haven’t had a puff for at least thirty six years give or take second or two. Of course breathing better is a bonus but tasting food is another often overlooked dividend rarely mentioned.


      1. He was quite a remarkable man. As a boy he used to escort children and teenagers to Donegal to pick potatoes and flax. They would take the cattle boat from Stanraer in Scotland on the Derry Boat which was the cheapest form of transport.
        He had a great ear for music and learned to play the fiddle, in his teens he toured with a travelling circus and played his fiddle at crossroad dances and weddings.
        Later on he became a teacher,
        and headmaster. He got involved with teaching Irish dancing. Quite the fellow.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent story, worthy of a blog post in it’s own right. Yes, breathing is great. An improved sense of taste is good too. Although for a few months I found myself unable to tolerate spicy food as well as normal. My mouth burned if I chomped on a chilli.

      The sense of smell is supposed to improve too, although that seems to have passed me by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If I gave up smoking, I wouldn’t have a hobby. And a man should always have a hobby.

    When I was a kid, I used to make plastic airplane models and such. The Tester’s cement turned out to have psychedelic type properties similar to mescaline.

    Then I tried alcohol. That one was okay for about 5 years, very bad after that.

    Then I tried women. Worst hobby ever.

    Anyway, I’m almost dead probably, so it makes no diff. 🙂


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