I've been a smoker for 37 years. I started "full-time" at the age of 14. I used to steal them from my (evil) stepdad. Me and my best friend would act all cool smoking them at the skating rink. I also acted all cool smoking them across the street from school in the mornings.
Cigarettes were so much easier to obtain back then. Remember? We could buy them out of machines, which were conveniently placed just about everywhere. For about 45 cents a pack. There wasn't the big deal about the Surgeon General's warnings back then either. People could smoke in restaurants, movies and even department stores.
About the time my kids started school, the whole view of being a smoker changed. The aforementioned Surgeon General started issuing some very strong health warnings. Schools told kids to come home and throw away their parent's cigarettes. (Yeah.. mine tried that. Once.) No Smoking sections started popping up. The machines that dispensed them slowly went away and you could only purchase them at stores after showing ID.
The price went up. We all said we'd quit smoking when they hit a dollar a pack. Then two dollars. Then three dollars. Some of us did quit. Some tried. Some didn't. Now they are around five dollars a pack. Smokers will always find a way to continue buying them, though. Even back when I was counting pennies for groceries, I always had my cigarettes.
I've known people who have died from cancer. It was never enough to scare me away. I may have thought about quitting, but never made any serious attempts except for once when I quit for about four months. I knew that with my obesity and diabetes I was a walking time bomb. I still didn't quit. Or cut back for that matter.
I've had the occasional smoker's cough for a while. Recently though, probably in the last month or so, it's gotten bad. Really bad. More recently it's been an almost around the clock thing. I haven't been able to sleep from coughing all night long. I'd be out of breath almost constantly. I knew it was time for me to reconsider this whole smoking thing.
A couple days ago I started making it harder for myself to smoke. I made it so the cigarettes weren't by my side all the time. I made it so I'd have to walk to a different part of my apartment to grab one. I stopped taking a whole pack with me when I leave home.. instead I just take one. I don't put them on my nightstand at night anymore.
Since I made these small changes I don't think I've even smoked a whole pack. In the past I might have smoked three (or more) packs in the same amount of time. I know right now that although I have only about a half a pack left that I'm not feeling panicked or deprived from knowing I'm close to running out. I'm not planning an Ohio run to buy a couple cartons like we've been used to doing. (Ciggies are cheaper there.) If anything, I may just buy one pack when I go to Walmart in a little bit.
I've been able to get almost a full night's sleep every night since I started this change of habit. I hardly ever go into one of those five minute, turns red in the face from being out of breath, coughing episodes. When I have, it's been because I smoked a whole cigarette instead of just part of one. That of course reinforces the fact that I need to continue weaning myself off them them.