So — remember that time my awesome friend Haley wrote a blog post about her quitting cigarettes for good? I joined the club.
We used to smoke together, and now we’re quitting together.
It’s not something I like to admit in public, even if I do it in public (the irony!), but I’m a habitual smoker. Not even just a social smoker — just kidding, even having one smoke makes you a smoker, period. But I really was a habitual smoker. At my peak, I smoked just over half a large pack a day; a pack every other day. It was kind of gross.
Why did I start smoking? Well, I started for very similar reasons as Haley did. I started smoking at the end of my first year, because I was stressed. On top of the difficulty I had adjusting to university (assignments, extracurricular activities, new friends, you know the dealio), it was during my first year that my depression really kicked in. Just like Haley, I thought smoking would help alleviate my symptoms. I thought smoking would help prevent me from harming myself in other ways.
And for a while, I was right. The allure of smoking for me, much like many other individuals, was the ability to exit out of life, even if it’s for just a few minutes. In that moment, nothing mattered, and I had no responsibilities. I could stand around alone, plug in both earphones, and just listen to music. It was a very pleasant experience.
But it’s just not worth it. I started smoking cigarettes not because I enjoyed it, but because I needed to smoke. It got to the point where I couldn’t last more than half an hour without thinking about when I can make time for my next smoke break. The anxiety I had from not smoking was pretty intense.
Health-wise, cigarettes were obviously detrimental to my my body. Just doing the regular things in life were draining for me. For the first time in my life, I had to deal with things like bronchitis and strep throat. Not fun at all. Especially since I continued to smoke while being sick — because I once again needed to do it.
All that, and I was paying inglorious amounts of money to support this expensive, life draining habit. $14 every other day quickly adds up, especially when you’re a student.
So, that’s why I decided to quit.
I won’t sugar-coat it; the first few days were horrendous. I constantly had a headache, never-ending dizzy spells, and couldn’t focus on anything other than trying not to smoke. On top of that, I was literally cattier than an actual cat. But, after those first few days things got better and my physical symptoms went away. I still get urges from time to time, but I’m so proud of the new healthier me. I don’t regret my decision to quit at all, and things are only going to get better from now on.
UofT, if you can quit smoking, then you can pretty much do anything.