Posted by Bob Aronson
By Bob Aronson…former smoker
if that headline doesn’t get your attention I don’t know what will.
“I can’t quit smoking,” is BS. You can quit, but you are a pansy, no guts. You can spread that “Can’t quit” manure elsewhere. It doesn’t work here because it’s a big lie.
Do I have your attention?
This post is aimed at smokers, whether you are just starting the habit or have smoked for a while and are thinking about quitting. I am writing this to alert you to smoking related issues not to draw attention to myself or my condition. I seek no sympathy nor attention.
Yes, this is a posting that encourages you to ignore the temptation to start smoking and/or to quit smoking if you already have the habit. In the interest of full disclosure let me tell you why you should read this. You should do so because I offer hope and straight talk. No one could possibly have had a greater addiction to cigarettes than I did. And…I know about addiction, too. Not only did I quit smoking (1991) I also quit drinking (1982) after years as a practicing alcoholic. I have not had a drink since.
Let me get right to the point. Even though I quit smoking almost 25 years ago it is killing me. When I die I would imagine that my addiction to cigarettes will be the chief cause of my demise because I have emphysema and asthma, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD). Had I not quit smoking when I did I would have been dead long ago. Recently my pulmonologist told me that If I had continued to smoke, I would have needed a lung transplant long ago. For those of you who don’t know me I had a heart transplant in 2007 and smoking may have been a contributor to the heart failure that caused me to need that life-saving surgery.
I know how hard it is to quit smoking and I refuse to accept, “I’ve tried many times and cannot quit.” That, my friend, is pure unadulterated BS. You are only fooling yourself with that nonsense. The fact of the matter is you don’t have the guts to quit. You can’t handle a little discomfort so you light up another smoke and say, “I can’t quit.” And again I say, “BS.” Tough talk? Damned right it is. If you think the discomfort of quitting smoking is hard to handle try the discomfort a of lung cancer as an option, or maybe emphysema.
I smoked up to 4 packs a day for 37 years and I quit. Was it easy? Of course not! It hurt, it was painful, I was an SOB to live with, but damnit I quit. I used every gimmick out there to help me break the habit and finally was rescued by nicotine gum. I probably quit smoking 3 or 4 dozen times maybe more. You see, you don’t quit once, fail and say, “I tried, I can’t quit,” because you haven’t tried. The way to quit smoking is to keep quitting until you quit. You never give up, you quit every day, several times a day until finally you have quit for good.
I always kept my smokes and a lighter in my shirt pocket. Almost every day when I left home for work I would automatically reach for a cigarette and the lighter so I could get my hit of nicotine. Finally, I got to the point where every time I reached into that pocket for the cigarettes and lighter I would pull both out and throw them out the window of the car. I did that every day for weeks. Later in the day I’d find myself buying another pack and a lighter and the next day I would toss them out the window. “The hell with littering,” I would say, “My life’s at stake here.”
After about a year of all this nonsense I finally had my last cigarette in January of 1991. You see, I had just watched my father die of emphysema. At least something good came of his death. I was able to quit. I was addicted to nicotine gum for two years after that and lemon drops for another year but I quit, by God, I quit.
You know why it’s so hard? It is because you are an addict, just like any drunk or junkie. When you hear someone say, “A cigarette tastes so good after a meal,” that’s just more BS. The reason it feels good is because it’s been a while since your last cigarette and you are going into withdrawal. As soon as you light up you stop the withdrawal and feel better. It is no different than getting a hit of heroin or a good slug of booze.
From the time I was 15 years old in 1954 until 1991 (37 years) when I was 52 years old I was a smoker, a heavy smoker. Some days when I went to work I would throw 4 packs of cigarettes in my briefcase and finish them before I retired for the night.. That’s 80 cigarettes.
There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous as well. Here are just a few of the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and other places they are found:
- Acetone –nail polish remover
- Acetic Acid – ingredient in hair dye
- Ammonia –household cleaner
- Arsenic – rat poison
- Butane – lighter fluid
- Cadmium –battery acid
- Carbon Monoxide car exhaust fumes
- Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
A final note on this subject. In 1998 I lost my wife of 35 years to lung cancer. She, too was a smoker and she died a horrible death, no one should have to suffer the way she did and the way thousands of others do every day. Smoking is a terrible, disgusting and deadly habit. I don’t care who you are, you have a responsibility to yourself and to those who love you to quit smoking. You must. After a while the urges disappear and you can live a normal life again. You might even find that you’ll take great pride in being able to say, “I used to smoke, but I don’t anymore.”
Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s over 4,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs. You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love. You can register to be a donor at http://www.donatelife.net. It only takes a few minutes.