I had my first cigarette when I was eight years old. In those days, it was fashionable to smoke, my older brothers practiced the habit and, there was a certain distinction about a kid who could drag down a fag and not be violently ill.
Of course, smoking was purely a social recreation at that stage and hardly habitual, until I was older when it developed into a pack a day dependency. I continued to smoke for many years and while I was young, I suffered no apparent ill effects from indulging in the habit.
There were no serious health concerns for smokers then, the only negative statements come from older people, who did not smoke, and consisted of “smoking will stunt your growth”. This however, was not supported by the fact that a countless number of smokers where six feet plus tall.
As the years rolled by I developed a compulsive cough and was prone to regular bouts of bronchitis. My sense of smell was almost non existent, my appetite was poor and food was tasteless. Health concerns were brought home to me as my body became lethargic and any strenuous exertion left me breathless.
I made an attempt to cut down on my smoking, as I had done in the past, but I did not want to stop smoking, because I really enjoyed a cigarette. Naturally, my feeble attempts to “cut down” were not successful and my health started to deteriorate, noticeably.
The government of the day introduced an anti smoking campaign warning people of the health risks associated with smoking. Tobacco companies were required to put warning labels on cigarette packs and tobacco taxes were being raised at an alarming rate. This campaign was not sincere though, as it lacked the fortitude to totally ban the production of tobacco products.
Bronchitis was a constant affliction and bouts of ‘flu and pleurisy were becoming more regular. The health warnings were omnipresent and once again I considered cutting down the number of smokes that I had per day. This however, was not a sincere attempt to quit the habit, as I still really enjoyed a smoke.
The day came however, that I realized smoking tobacco was making me sick and if I continued to use the product I would become terminally ill. I awoke just after dawn as usual and savored the warmth and comfort of my bed for some time before I decided that I was breathing easily, felt good and looking forward to the daily chores. I put my feet on the floor and sat on the edge of the bed for a few minutes, I could here the rooster crowing and the animals stirring. All was well.
Then I stood up, and as I moved towards the wardrobe, I started to cough uncontrollably. I spent all of ten minutes with my head between my knees, coughing up copious amounts of phlegm and mucous garbage before I was able to attend to my toiletries and get dressed.
I went out and attended to my chores and the day passed as per usual, but for one exception, I did not take a smoke.
Finally, I had found the reason to give up smoking, that was, that it was making me sick. If I continued to smoke then the practice would kill me. I kept thinking of that day when I stood in my bedroom with my head between my knees, coughing incessantly, praying for release from this dreadful drug that possessed my body and mind.
Sure, I continued to cough for a while and I developed pseudo hunger pains that food could not satisfy but after two weeks I was in control. My sense of smell returned, I could actually taste my food, my hunger pains subsided, and in the morning, I could stand erect and breathe easily.
Tobacco is a drug and smoking tobacco is addictive. Quitting the habit takes a great degree of determination. What better reason is there to quit smoking, than for the sake of your health?