I suppose like most people, I started smoking in my teens. Back then it was socially acceptable (for adults) and there were no dire warnings on the sides of the packs. Cigarettes were readily available to anyone. No age checks. You could even buy them from machines. And I did.
Of course we teens had to hide from our parents. They never found it acceptable for us to be smoking. Mostly I would snitch a couple from my (evil) stepdad and head off to the roller skating rink with my best friend. Sometimes I got brave any stole a whole pack thinking he wouldn't notice.
As a smoker for the last
When I was an older teen and living in Ohio, where I knew no one, I became one of those kids who smoke across the street from the school every morning. Once in a while I would try to sneak one in the girl's bathroom. There was always an increased chance of being discovered in there. I never was though. When you didn't fit in with any other cliques you always fit in with the smokers.
Years flew by. My children were born and yes, I smoked through each pregnancy. By then warnings from the Surgeon General were more prevalent. We smokers usually ignored them. Smoking was still 'ok' to do.
Then the no smoking campaign began in full force. Public places began segregating smokers from nonsmokers. My kids came home from school full of information. They thought they were saving my life by taking a cigarette from me and breaking it in half. Basically it just pissed me off. I needed those cigarettes.
Not to mention the price was close to a dollar a pack now. I think most smokers told themselves when cigarettes went over a dollar they would give up the habit. I know I did. I know I told myself that when they went over two dollars.. then three.
Fast forward to present times.
Smoking is no longer cool. For anyone. (Maybe still for teens.) Whole buildings have gone no smoking. I think there's a whole city somewhere that has. No longer can people smoke anywhere they want to.. grocery and/or department stores, movie theaters, restaurants, airports, hospitals. Joe Camel can't be shown. Neither can the Marlboro Man.
I know people who died from cancer. My aunt survived but had a mastectomy. My ex uncle-in-law had to speak through a tube thingy in his throat. My brother had to have a kidney removed last year due to cancer. After each of these things I told myself now I'll REALLY quit. Of course I didn't.
Fast forward to a month or so ago.
The strain of the bad economy hit the Skittles household. Mr. Skittles began having shorter work weeks and week long layoffs every couple months. Our outgoing money was exceeding the incoming money so things had to change. We pared down some expenses and totally cut others. We were still short.
Then it hit us. Cigarettes had reach $7.39 a pack here in Michigan near where we live. We were paying almost $400 a month for our cigarettes. $400!!! We can't pinpoint when we accepted it was ok to spend that much money. Probably it just crept up on up sneaky like.
We both decided to quit. We tried Chantix. It worked for Mr. Skittles but it exacerbated my mental health issues and I had to stop taking it. I switched to lozenges. Mr. Skittles had his last cigarette three weeks ago. I was more of a sissy baby and smoked almost a week longer.
It's not gotten easier. I still want a cigarette. A LOT. I've changed some habit that trigger the urge to light up. I stay away form the computer a lot. I can't talk very long on the phone. Instead I'm doing craft things that keeps my hands busy. I'm going through Dum Dum suckers like crazy. They do help. Somewhat.
But.. a couple days ago I saw a woman flicking ashes out of her car window and instead of coveting that cigarette in her hand I thought how expensive that cigarette was. I'm smart enough to realize what a big deal that was for my thought process. Go me!
Thanks to all who have been and still are encouraging me and for being my cheerleaders. Ya'll look cute shaking your pompoms.
(This may very well be the longest post I've even written.)