Mandy

When I was a teenager I tried smoking briefly, but quickly lost interest. Smoking was a way to be cool and fit in with friends. As soon as I figured out I don’t have to smoke to be cool, I stopped. I think it also helped that my parents didn’t smoke. Since then, I’ve had no interest in smoking.

I wish my partner Leigh didn’t smoke. Right now we have a smoke free house, so Leigh smokes outside, but she smokes in the car, which I wish she didn’t. I don’t like the smell and at times it irritates my lungs, making me cough.

I’ve volunteered for a long time at the palliative care ward, so I’ve seen people die of lung cancer. My experiences there have had a real impact on me. I learned about what is true and important in life and the importance of making healthier choices – physically, emotionally and mentally. The connections between my experiences there and with Leigh have crossed my mind, not only because she is 15 years older than me, but also because she’s already had a stroke.

Leigh quit smoking when she had the stroke, so I know she can do it. When the cost was too high, she quit. I know she really wants to quit, but I see this as her decision. I don’t push her, because I know this is a decision she has to make for herself.

Leigh

I’ve been smoking for 30 years.
Making the decision to quit is tough. You’ve got to have the will to do it. It’s a decision I’m just going to make one day. Right now, I’m doing well cutting down. Sometimes, instead of smoking, I’ll chew on some nicotine gum, and I have plans to use the patch again.
Mandy, my partner, has been great. She’s very tolerant of my moodiness and always smelling like an ashtray. One of the things I love about her is she always has words of support for me. She understands that it’s an addiction.

I know if I don’t quit I may die from this. I also know the health concerns are astronomical. My father had addictions including smoking. I’ve watched some people in my family suffer or die from heart disease and cancer. I’ve already had a stroke.

I quit for a while after the stroke, and didn’t smoke for four months after, but I fell off the wagon. It’s difficult because I enjoy it. I have a habit of always using smoking as a reward for accomplishing things. I’ll say to myself, “Okay that’s done,” and I’ll reach for a cigarette as a reward. You start to notice your triggers, whether it’s a reward or a stress-relief trigger.

I’ve also worked really hard in my life to overcome a recreational drug addiction. Sometimes I justify it in my mind that it’s alright just to be a smoker, because I’ve already overcome a more serious addiction.

When it comes down to it, I haven’t quit yet because I don’t want to fail. I know the buck stops here. I’m saying to myself and I’m saying to you, just shut-up and try! Just start trying, no matter how small the success.

Small steps…whatever you’re comfortable with. Take comfort in any small success that you do. Be aware and don’t get caught up in the ‘shame game.’ You don’t even have to tell anyone about your attempt to stop. We’re not bad people; we’re just addicted to an insidious drug.

 

 


Stephen W.

Believing in myself was a process of understanding that I’m bigger than this monster that resides inside me.


Mark W.

Reducing the amount I smoke is a more feasible a starting point for me than quitting altogether.


Mandy & Leigh

Leigh quit smoking when she had the stroke, so I know she can do it. When the cost was too high, she quit.


TroyJackson, Singer

I started smoking socially because I had a lot of leftover social anxiety from years of denying the fact that I was gay.


Gina G.

Now being healthy is all about breath. I've been practicing yoga for many years now and it really makes a difference in my life.

 


Sandra L.

For First Nations people, tobacco is sacred and shouldn't be abused by us.


Jonathan C., the Artist

It’s great when you suddenly realize that you’ve always had the power to change your life in anything you strive to do.


Jaylene
Princess XXVII,Golden Eagle IV
Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society

Because I had reached a point of desperation in which the pain out weighed the gratifications, I was able to make some life changing decisions that have molded who I am today–clean, sober and smoke-free.


Avel J.

Smoking isn't as cool as it used to be. It's kind of dirty and anti-social.


Berend M.

Smoking is so taboo now. It seems like a strange time to be picking up smoking again, almost surreal, like it's not me. I feel so disappointed in myself. It felt like I was a little kid again, keeping a nasty secret.

 

 
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