I have great and quite possibly very surprising and unbelievable news! I have not smoked a cigarette now for (as I write this) 177 hours, that’s just over seven days (one whole week and a little bit) for those not good at the maths stuff. I can scarcely believe it myself.
I have been smoking since I was about 15 which is over 35 years ago now. That is a long time and a hell of a lot of fags. As I have got older my addiction has got worse and until I stopped last week I was up to about 40 a day. I haven’t always smoked that many but if you were to average out my smoking to say 30 a day for 35 years that comes to a massive number of cigarettes smoked. I’ll work it out for you . . . . . .
35 x 365 x 30 = 383,250. Over 380 thousand fags. Blimey! Is that enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool? I have no idea but you would definitely need a big room to store them all in if you purchased them in advance. Surprisingly, if you laid the fags I have smoked end to end it would only be a chain of about a disappointing 25 miles, which is only about the distance from Penzance to Truro.
I am not going to work out what that has cost me over the years because if i did I would probably start crying. Quite a few years ago a stop smoking counsellor asked me what car I drove. When I replied that I had a Ford Escort she said that if I had not smoked I could have bought a Ferrari. I asked her if she had ever smoked and when she replied that she had not I asked her what car SHE drove. I laughed out loud when she said that she drove a Ford Fiesta. Me wanting to stop smoking has had NOTHING to do with money.
So why have I decided to try very hard to stop smoking? One word, my health. Ok that’s two words, but who’s counting. The bleeding things are f**king killing me. They have been ever since I started but its been a very slow process which I couldn’t notice on a day to day basis. When I first started out on the smoking ‘road’ I never thought I would still be smoking at 50. I convinced myself that I could stop at anytime. Well I didn’t and like all addictions it has got gradually worse over the years and now (before last week) I thought I would never stop.
Recently I have been quite scared about how out of breath I have been getting doing even the smallest thing. Walking from the bedroom to the bathroom would leave me feeling a little bit wheezy. Walking up through town (with a fag on the go), which is slightly uphill, would exhaust me and I would have to stop every fifty yards or so and lean on the railings there getting my breath back and pretending that I wanted to stop just to admire the view (there isn’t one!). I felt like an old man. I might be 51 but that is not considered by most people to be OLD!!
My mrs suffers from Asthma. Most of the time it is under control because every night she has a go on her ‘puffer’ (ventolin) and carries a puffer around during the day to stave off any daytime attack. Occasionally though, usually after she has has a bad cold or chest infection, she has a serious Asthma attack and she has to go up to the hospital to be plumbed into an ‘iron lung’ (or is it a nebuliser?) and receives a high dose of medicine to calm the attack. When she is having a bad attack she finds it very hard to breathe and starts to panic which no doubt makes things worse. Well, I often have days where I have a great deal of trouble breathing and it is extremely worrying and scary. If I had even a partly blocked nose due to a cold or whatever very little oxygen was getting into my lungs. Pathetically when I was having problems breathing properly I would get scared and light up a fag. It was laughable really. Of course my breathing problems are self inflicted but that didn’t make it any less scary.
Anyway all that is hopefully behind me now. I have a vape pen which has a liquid in it which contains nicotine so when I inhale the heated vapour from it I get a small hit of nicotine but without all the crap that gets inhaled when a cigarette is smoked, tar, various poisonous chemicals, carcinogens etc. Because of my years of smoking my lungs are very weak and will take a while to recover so I do not have much ‘lung power’ so I find the vape pen a little bit difficult and can only use it occasionally. As things go along I think I will come to rely on it much more. Because of this I have looked for other solutions to my nicotine addiction problem. I have found the best thing for me is Nicotine chewing gum. I use it a lot. There are some problems with it though. Firstly chewing all day is quite hard work! My jaws do ache quite a bit at the end of the day. I have checked on the internet and discovered that chewing gum uses about 11 calories per hour, which on a standard 16 hour day totals up to be 176 calories, which is about the calorific value of a pork pie (nice!), so at least I am getting some exercise and helping to control my weight, HAHAHAH!
The second problem with the gum is having to take it out of my mouth when drinking anything (mainly tea in my case). I have to put it on the side of the desk or the dashboard of the car whilst doing the drinking. When I then put it back in my gob its all cold and hard and it usually leaves a residue on whatever surface I placed it. The last problem is just one of disposal. Gum is quite disgusting stuff. I cant just chuck it on the floor or even put it down the bog, I have to make sure I always have something to hand to wrap it up in before throwing it away. I have trouble being that organised.
Anyway hopefully I have finally broken free of the smoking problem and can look forward to my lungs and general health improving. I’ll keep you posted.