Friday, July 6, 2007

Smoking (not Turkeys)

"Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it a thousand times". I believe Mark Twain made that statement many, many years ago and it still rings true today. I quit in March; I started quitting in 1969 so I guess the hard part is not starting again. I’m glad I quit but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have one (the feeling is still there just about all of the time).

I started smoking at around age 15, stealing cigarettes from my dad and mom, then from grocery stores while one of my friends distracted the checker. I guess I thought it was cool although I’m pretty sure I would never have stared if my parents hadn’t smoked (that’s right mom it’s your fault). That is I wouldn’t have started until I got to boot camp. A person needed to smoke there. If you didn’t, you got to do many unpleasant extra little tasks.

They really encouraged everyone to smoke in the Service. The DI would light the smoking lamp (that meant someone could smoke) for one cigarette. Sometimes he said…"and I will smoke it" and we had to stand at attention while he had his smoke. He would really milk it, taking his own sweet time. Then we would get back to whatever it is we were doing at the time, like burying our rifles in the sand pit and then trying to find the one assigned to us. Gee, what a hoot that was.

Later, as we got beyond boot camp and started eating those wonderful C-rations left over from Korea or even better, WWII, everyone got a free 5 pack of smokes (most of them unfiltered). The few that did not take up the habit shared them with those who did. After the government got everyone smoking, they told the Surgeon General to tell everyone it was not good for them. Of course they would continue to subsidize the tobacco industry and claim no responsibility for anyone’s habit.

Why did I quit? Well for one, the price went up to almost $5.00 a pack, and that was a significant incentive. That wasn’t the main reason though, it just helped make it happen sooner rather than later. I just got tired of smoking. I had always told myself that I would quit before I reached 60, March seemed like a good time since I turned 60 in May.

Basically, I did it cold turkey, just like the other times. I did buy some nicotine tablets, took one or two and gave those up. Now I just use some Listerine breath strips to get rid of the taste leftover from the tobacco, I’m down to one or two strips a day.

I guess the best way to quit is never to start.


Bubblewench said...

I hear you Papa K! HM & I quit on April 8th. Not a day goes by that I don't miss it. But for my own health, and my family, I no longer smoke. And like you, I was tired of it.

Keep it up! You're doing great!

mielikki said...

It is one of the hardest addictions to quit. I'm so glad you did, though. Now, if I could talk my parents into it. . .

CamiKaos said...

Go Team Kaos!

We're a smoke free family now, and that's good since K has started to make nasty comments about people smoking on the street and how it is going to kill them.

love you daddy.

DaddyKaos said...

You can talk to someone about quitting until you are blue in the face, they won't do it unless they are ready.

mielikki said...

yeah, I know that. And we have really stopped even bringing it up, anymore. They are both grown, and will quit if they want to. I would just really like to see it happen.