Introduction

The Life of a University Smoker: Why I Decided to Quit

The Life of a University Smoker: Why I Decided to Quit

Let’s face it: University is crazy stressful. With exams, assignments, and school clubs, not to mention juggling work, family, and friends, it is hard to manage everything. In the TL; DR version of my story that is why I started smoking: I was doing a 30-hour internship, five courses, and a lot of extracurricular activities. It was just WAY too much. My anxiety hit a breaking point and I had heard smoking helped alleviate the immediate stress that comes with millennial school life.

And for me, it worked…at least for a while. I was able to step out of the situation for seven minutes, walk around aimlessly, and be away from all my responsibilities for just a little while. That was the appeal, with the nicotine being just an added bonus/minus (depending on how you look at it).

So why did I quit? It was certainly not because my family was nagging me to do so, although they do take the credit for it now (hey Mama O’Shaughnessy).

No, I quit for a simple reason: I got super sick. The flu bug flew around my college and I ended up with a massive cough. As I went outside with a cigarette, coughing like nobody’s business, I thought to myself, “This is just dumb: I am prolonging my sickness because of this addictive and expensive garbage.”

I should also mention just the blatant hypocrisy what I have been doing with you all: I am the Health and Wellness blogger! Was I really following my job title when I walked down to the store after I got my first paycheck? I don’t think so.

And so, eleven days later, here I am, writing this post smoke-free!

“Quitting is that easy, Haley? What are all these smokers complaining about?”

Okay, okay, okay, I will be honest: quitting sucked a lot. I was a half-a-pack smoker, so I guess you could say that is pretty average. Yet when I quit, I felt tired, irritable, and hungry all the time. Just ask anyone from my college – they saw it was hard work!

First Day- Feeling okay
First Day- Feeling okay
Second Day- How this is awful- All I am thinking about "maybe I should cut down." I pushed through, perhaps because I could write this blog with this glamour shot. ;)
Second Day- WOW this was awful- All I was thinking about “maybe I should cut down.” I pushed through, perhaps because I could write this blog with this glamour shot. 😉
Second Day
Third Day- I was probably the worst person to be around that day (I literally yelled at my friend over whether subways or LRTS are better… and I live on residence).
Sixth Day- Feeling better good! Third day was definitely the worst and ever since then I have been thinking less and less about those darts, bud.
Sixth Day- Feeling pretty good! Third day was definitely the worst and ever since then I have been thinking less and less about those darts, bud.

So here’s my suggestion: get some nicotine gum. As a U of T student it is free through the Koffler Drop-in Clinic or through the CAMH. There are also some amazing support systems through the “Leave the Pack Behind” campaign. The university is huge and so I am telling you now, you are not alone. One of the main reasons I stuck with it was because I was telling my friends my progress via Snapchat (who knew disappearing photos could be a tool for quitting smoking)

One of the Pamphlet you will get with your free Nicotine gum through Leave the Pack Behind!
One of the pamphlets you will get with your free Nicotine gum through Leave the Pack Behind!
Follow those directions when taking your gum!
Follow those directions when taking your gum!
Another pamphlet! I read these when I get stressed and feel the urge to smoke.
Another pamphlet! I read these when I get stressed and feel the urge to smoke.

Now, I am no longer revolving my schedule around smoking breaks and in fact, I actually can breathe much better (which I didn’t realize was a problem until after quitting). Those first few days were a small price to pay for my mental, not to mention physical, well being

All for now,

Haley

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