Quitting smoking? No sweat! Really!

We’ve entered the Season of Resolutions.

Many of us resolve to do certain things, or not do certain things, depending on the nature of the resolutions we make.

I want to tell you about something I did 38 years ago and how it might play in today’s climate of medical disclaimers and equivocations.

I keep hearing commercials for quit-smoking aids. One of them, Chantix, is particularly interesting to me. The voice-over tells the viewer that the prescription drug carries many potential side effects. Those who use this drug to quit smoking may suffer from withdrawal symptoms that include “change of mood” or “thoughts of suicide” or “actions” relating to suicide.

I hear these disclaimers and think: Do I want to take a drug that might make me want to kill myself?

Thirty-eight years ago — it was on Feb. 2, 1980, to be precise — I quit smoking.

Cold turkey! Just like that! I took a drag on a cigarette, damn near choked on it and then tossed it and the pack from where it came into the garbage. I was done. Over. Finished.

The truth is I was a heavy smoker: about two packs daily. Remember, that was an era when cigarettes cost a whole less than they do today. I recently saw a guy spend more than $70 on a carton of smokes. Sheesh, dude! I’m trying to figure the logic in spending something you light with a match and burn to ashes.

I had developed a nagging cough. My wife was imploring me to quit. So … I did what I normally do: I followed my wife’s instructions.

I got through the withdrawal pangs immediately after tossing the weeds into the trash. I don’t recall any suicidal thoughts, let alone taking any action in that regard.

Over the years I have told others who say they “intend” to quit smoking after they finish the pack they’ve just opened that such intent won’t get the job done. I, too, intended many times to quit before I finally did.

I realized that one’s intention to quit smoking means as much as the sign that at the bar that declares “Drinks are on the house … tomorrow.”

For several years after quitting the nasty habit I was inclined to describe myself as a “former smoker.” No longer. For many years I have been a dedicated non-smoker.

I did it without quit-smoking aids that might lead to suicide. I guess I realized the habit I was quitting would kill me just as dead.

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