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After being a smoker for eight years, I finally changed my life and quit. 

It started off as something that I thought would make me look cool and fit in with my friends. Then, it turned into an addiction I couldn’t live without. Cigarettes ran my day-to-day life. Everything from my thoughts to paychecks were consumed by my addiction. 

For eight years I was addicted and I have finally quit. It wasn’t easy, but surprisingly it wasn’t hard... but that’s because I wanted to quit. I think if I was quitting because I knew I should and didn’t have that desire, I wouldn’t be successful. You wouldn’t believe how fantastic I feel. I have more energy, I can breathe easier and I have more money. If you smoke, you need to quit. Trust me, if you truly have that desire and want to stop, you can.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2012, 18.1 percent of all adults (42.1 million people) smoke. That’s 20.1 percent of males and 14.5 percent of females. It is the leading preventable cause of death. More than 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking. I knew I didn’t want to be a statistic anymore.

Why did I decide to quit smoking? All I thought about was smoking. Not only was I spending hundreds of dollars a month to smoke, I could feel my health deteriorate. I got wheezy from easy exercises like stairs. Additionally, my husband and I want children soon and I saw how much it was hurting my friends and family around me.

My husband and I both have smoked for years so we quit together. Since we had each other and actually wanted to stop, it was easier than we thought.

We stopped cold turkey and while we certainly had some cravings, we immediately felt better. This smoky haze was gone and we could see clearly again. Cigarettes didn’t run our minds anymore. I had more energy, slept better at night, my smoker’s cough went away, my blood pressure instantly dropped and I was happier.

I didn’t gain any weight. A couple times I used food as a crutch but I kept busy. I worked out vigorously, cooked fantastic healthy meals, did some fall cleaning and organizing in my home, worked extra hours and focused on my hobbies.

The fact that I have smoked for all these years was destroying my friends and family, but especially my parents. When they found out I was trying to quit, their support and love was so encouraging that I knew I couldn’t let them down.

Need more incentive to quit? In just 20 minutes after you quit, your heart rate drops to normal levels. In two hours, your blood pressure drops, in 12 hours that deadly carbon monoxide found in cigarettes starts to leave your body, your heart attack risk drops in just one day, your ability to smell and taste is enhanced after two days of quitting, and in one to nine months, your harmed lungs will begin to repair themselves.

There’s also a ton more benefits to quitting that occur even 15 years after you quit. You won’t realize how much you’re killing your body until you learn the facts.

Take it from me. Try to quit. It’s a tough road ahead but if you can do it, you’ll be saving yourself from yourself.


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