Coffin Nails

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.

-Jack Pakozdi

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/

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6 thoughts on “Coffin Nails

  1. First off, congratulations with your decision and persistence to overcome an addiction. I have had friends that have struggled with similar issues and I would agree that being in an environment which certain acts are common makes it much harder to resist temptation.

    Additionally I thought it was interesting when you stated, “cigarettes claim nearly 6 million lives a year, but are still regulated by national governments and sold worldwide in abundance.” While cigarettes are certainly not the only regulated and distributed item that has severe health risks associated, I agree it still doesn’t make it alright. I mentioned this in my previous blog post actually, that the companies know exactly what health detriments their products cause, yet they still willingly sell/advertise them to consumers. I’m all for capitalism, but it seems like an ethical approach is usually of out of the question when dealing with moral responsibility of large companies. Good post!

    – Drew Sliger

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  2. I love hearing personal stories, so this was amazing to read. It is very difficult to stop habits like this and the fact that you did, and are facing it currently must be so rewarding. The thing I found most interesting about your post is at age 15 is the most common age for someone to start smoking. I never realized how young someone could start the habit. Great post, and congratulations on stopping!
    – Alli Stamper

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  3. I really liked your post, and congratulations for what you have accomplished. I have a lot of my family who smokes and its nice to hear a story of someone who decided to quite and accomplished it. I never know that the most common age to start smoking is 15, was kinda shocked at how young it is but I guess the more I think about it is makes sense. Really liked your post thanks for sharing.
    -Cori Wolfe

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  4. Wow 15 years old thats crazy. I am very happy for you and what you were able to do! I could only imagine how hard it would be to kick it especially when you started so young! I had no idea 15 was the age most people started, but I guess like you said, it is out of curiosity.

    -Trevor Ginn

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  5. I have smoked for about 5 years, but I am not a habitual smoker. These days I smoke 3~5 pieces per a day. You are doing a great job! It is hard to quit permanently, specially when you are conscious of smoking. There were times I tried to quit and times I stopped smoking for a week or a month because it was too busy and the outside is too cold. For many cases surroundings also help smokers to quit. I think college is a good place to get rid of a smoking habit!

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  6. I smoked a pipe for a few years in my early 20’s and loved it. Then I remembered how stupid that is when it comes to my future health. Smoking is one of the toughest habits to kick because it’s not only a psychological habit…but it’s an “i’m bored and this is something to do” habit as well. Personal stories are the most important when it comes to communicating about the risks of smoking. It can destroy your health down the line…glad to see you are taking steps to ensure your future health!

    -Matthew J Schiesl-

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