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I've been a smoker since I was about 17 years old. I am now 48 and have been a "real" non-smoker for 16 months straight. I can't believe how quick that went! You may be asking why I use the word real.

Well in the last 5 years of being a smoker, I lied to myself and everyone else. I would claim to be a non-smoker (having quit) and have only cigarettes when I drink socially (a social smoker). So, I would not have a cigarette for a week or two and on a Friday and/or Saturday end up smoking a few cigarettes (or many depending on the amount of drinks). Later, a few more would creep back in during the week (I would be "bumming" from others - another bad thing) and before you know I would be back on them and buying packets again. And this cycle would continue over and over. There were a few times that I would be coughing badly and I would seriously think to myself that I know better than this and I should really give this up for good permanently.

I would remember all the education videos shown at schools and documentaries with people getting throat cancer and having a hole in their throats or people dying young leaving their kids behind. The latter probably scared me more due to the fact that I have young kids myself. And one day, I had enough and just quit – for good! At my next social event, I forced myself to not to go out with the other smokers. It was the hardest thing, but after a few of these social evenings I found it very easy to say no or just not venture out with the other smokers.

I must admit, I could not have done this without the support of my wife who has always wanted me to quit, especially after having my first child 9 years ago. I think this is important to have people who are supportive on the journey you are going through. I can honestly say that I do not ever want to get back into smoking and feel so much better for it (coughing gone, the smell gone, breathing better, the resentment when I go for smoko break at work, etc). I still have urges every once in a while, but it does get easier. Another trick is to keep yourself busy (hobbies, work around the house, fitness or whatever). If you slip, you are only human. So, don’t give up trying, and start again. Good luck to all!

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