Sunday, September 18, 2011

How Quitting Smoking Has Changed My Life

I remember going onto various websites when I first decided to quit smoking and reading the wonderful testimonies of people who had quit and were loving their newfound freedom. I had already smoked around 30 cigarettes that day. I was sceptical, to say the least.

I know all of my smoking buddies are probably just as sceptical as they read this. You think life will never be quite as enjoyable without smoking, right?

Just hear me out.

I was having a drink at Aandklas a few weeks ago when my smoking friend said: “So I see you’re a tree hugger now?”

“Yup,” I answered.

Not surprising that most smokers see environmentalists as a joke, now that I think about it.

People who know me personally know that my life has changed drastically in the past few months.  I’ve only realised now that all of the positive stuff that’s started to happen in my life started happening after I stopped smoking. It’s now been almost six months since my last puff.

I tried unsuccessfully around 30 times before I actually managed to quit. The few months that I tried and failed repeatedly were months of utter despair for me. If you don’t believe me, just ask my girlfriend or family members. I really wasn’t fun to be around and I wouldn’t wish the feeling on my worst enemy.

Eventually, after reading Allen Carr’s “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” at least twice and attending Smokenders twice I had the light bulb moment- smoking was doing absolutely nothing for me. It wasn’t even helping me to relax or making me look cool.

Time for the cheesiness…

Since I quit smoking I’ve really learnt to love myself again. Think about this: How can you possibly say that you love yourself when you’re intentionally inhaling cancer-triggering tar into your lungs?

Loving myself seems to have tremendously increased my ability to love others, with others including all beings in nature.

However, me becoming a “tree hugger” doesn’t have everything to do with quitting smoking. The whole anti-civilization thing started in October last year after reading an article in Men’s Health called “Recapture Your Wild Side” ( )

 It’s been a complete revolution for me since the day I read that article. Although I only became a non-smoker later, being free from nicotine has certainly increased that love for nature.

I have such a lust for life right now, and a lot of it is thanks to the fact that I’ve “kicked the habit”. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

I can see some of you shaking your heads right now. Yup, I too was and occasionally still am a bit of a cynical bastard.   

One thing I’ve realised however is that by helping others you’re actually helping yourself. In the past I dismissed this as a lame cliché. Now I know it’s true. There’s no greater happiness than working for something bigger than yourself.

That’s my deep and potentially cheesy musing for the day. Over and out.

“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your vocation.” - Aristotle


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nice. Really nice. I mean; REALLY nice.

  3. thanks alot ,, i haven't smoked for 42 hours,,am fighting so hard and you helped me to feel better

  4. Great comparisons drawn, it seems like a minor thing, yet its impact can be dramatic. I too felt like shackles had been released after quitting smoking. Smoking is a strange phenomenon, although it has historical significance, its one of THE most pointless human exercises to take place.

  5. “How can you possibly say that you love yourself when you’re intentionally inhaling cancer-triggering tar into your lungs?” – You made a very good point here. I can understand that smoking can sometimes acts as a coping mechanism for people, whether it’s to deal with simple boredom or chronic depression. But I believe there has to be a limit – one should soon recognize that smoking will not help him/her deal with his/her problems. Instead, it will only add to it. Additionally, the risk of cancer shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’ve heard some friends say they’ll die anyway, but I’ve also seen how my mother suffered from cancer (though not lung cancer), and it was a very difficult and painful process, not just for her but for us as well. I just hope smokers will see that potential consequence of their current actions.

    Elene Meyers

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