As we’ve been discussing risk factors in class lately, I found it very appropriate to touch on one in which I can share my own personal experiences. I started smoking cigarettes
when I was 15 years old, the average age for anyone that picks up the bad habit. My next door neighbor has also been my best friend since we were four years old, and his grandmother has been smoking long before we were born. I distinctly remember us sneaking out to the field behind his house with a hand full of his grandma’s pre-rolled menthols. We started smoking out of curiosity, as well as the naive rebellious nature absorbed by many teenagers. Despite the efforts of our parents and junior high health classes, my friends and I still lingered into a ritual that we would come to resent years later. Cigarettes claim nearly 6 million lives a year, but are still regulated by national governments and sold worldwide in abundance.
Before I go any further, I’d like to fast forward to my current situation with the habit. Walking into a health class wreaking like an ashtray is quite ironic, and suicidal if brought up in discussion. I’m very happy to say that I saved myself from such an experience this semester, as I haven’t smoked in nearly two months. I turned 20 years old at the beginning of December, and since then I haven’t touched one cigarette. I came to a realization that this date would mark my fifth year of smoking. Aside from the obvious health reasons every smoker blatantly denies, I figured that quitting at such a young age would give my body adequate time to repair itself before the damage was irreparable.
Kicking any bad habit is extremely difficult, as breaking our daily routines requires even the strongest minds to rigorously test their own will. Quitting cigarettes was from easy for me, as I experienced intense cravings and headaches that felt like my brain was trying to break through my skull. It didn’t help that nearly all of my friends smoke as well, so I could never fully escape the presence of my habit. It is so easy to make the short-term decision of pleasure or convenience and put off the consequences to a later date. I personally don’t regret one square that I’ve smoked, as they are a part of my early adulthood and attached to some of my most colorful memories. With that being said, I’m glad to say that I’m leaving them in the past and have inspired some of my close friends to do the same. Everyone knows the risk of smoking cigarettes regardless if they’ve ever put one to their lips, but I figured I’d share the perspective of someone that has.