It’s been more than a year, I have been looking forward for an interview of someone who had been a chain smoker for really a long time but has successfully quit now. Finally the day has come.
Allow me to introduce you all to Kabir (name changed), a sweet guy in his 20s. He was more than willing to share his experiences with me regarding quitting smoking and was very eager to have the info reach chain smokers who are trying very hard to quit. Let us first take a moment to congratulate him on successfully quitting smoking. So here goes the interview.
Pritz: How and why did u start smoking? Who recommended u to try?
Kabir: No one recommended actually. Smoking felt cool when John Abraham was sporting a cigarette in Dhoom, the movie. It was like fashion. It was always on my mind. I thought just a try would not be of any harm. After considering for some time I finally tried it. Slowly it turned into a habit but I did not want it to be an addiction.
Pritz: Obviously no one tries smoking to get addicted. When did you realize you were addicted?
Kabir: 2 years after I started smoking, when I could not live a day without smoking, I realized. I was really shocked but I, kind of, made peace with it. Don’t know what I was thinking. I was out of my mind. Smoking was like kith n kin of my life, just like a routine! I made sure I had a pack in my pocket all the time so that I don’t panic.
Pritz: So when did you decide you want to quit? And how many times did you quit?
Kabir: One year after I was addicted. I was suffering from cough n throat irritation regularly. I stayed out of smoking for almost a year and a half and started again. After another few months, I managed to stay out of smoking only for 3 months. Then one fine day when I was smoking with my friends, one of my friends had red smoke coming out of his mouth and then he vomited blood and then he passed away. All this happened all of a sudden. Later on, the doctor said this happened just because of smoking. I did not want to be another example to others so I had to take a decision. So this New Year, I took a resolution to quit smoking completely. And I succeeded.
Pritz: Oh my god! That was very scary indeed. Sorry about your friend. But you ended up being a very good example of successful quitter. Let us talk about the process. First of all, what steps did you take and how did you feel? Some say drinking lot of water helps. Is that right?
Kabir: No steps particularly. I just made up my mind. It needs a lot of self control. Yes, drinking a lot of water does help. I took almost a month to quit. From a pack to 5, I gradually reduced to 3, 3 to 1. And then a full stop...!!
Pritz: Nice! How did u feel when u finally quit? How different is the feeling then and now?
Kabir: I am happy and proud. And it feels good to see my parents happy.
Pritz: Was there any difference in your parents’ reaction and friends’ reaction when you quit?
Kabir: Friends were very sad that they lost a partner. Parents were very happy.
Pritz: So you mean to say your friends were not happy for you?
Kabir: They wanted me to get out of addiction but did not want me to stop smoking. But slow down to 2 to 3 per day.
Pritz: Okay. So what do you have to say regarding friends circle and smoking? How much does it affect?
Kabir: 3 of my friends have quit smoking now. I don’t think the remaining 5 will ever plan to quit. Friends are always a great influence. People think smoking is cool and you always tend to see your ‘cool’ friends and try to copy them. Unlike me, most people get into smoking because friends ask you to try and say that you won’t get addicted if you try once.
Pritz: It should be hard to have friends who look down upon you because you don’t smoke so there is lot of peer pressure.
Kabir: Yes, it is. But it is better to just tell them that everyone who gets addicted, starts thinking that one fag won’t make a difference but ends up getting addicted. But emphysema and lung cancer are not cool. Dying was never cool. Seeing your children handicapped or having chronic diseases and doctor telling you that it is because of your smoking habit is not cool. Yes, there are many exceptions but I don’t want to take any chance because there are too many people (including me) who love me and wish that I live a very long, healthy and happy life.
Pritz: Would you like to give any advice to the youngsters who have never tried smoking, chain smokers and occasional smokers?
Kabir: To non smoking youngsters, never ever try it. Whatever the situation is, whether you are showing off in front of someone or any tension, smoking won’t give u any solution. Your money is burnt into ashes n smoke.
To occasional smokers, it is good to be me. I mean it is good for you to stop it too. ;)
To chain smokers, follow my method. Reduce day by day. Make up your mind and one day, you will feel better that you have quit smoking.
Pritz: Thanks a lot for the advice. What do you have to say about those people who act like smoking is synonym to, say, a long drive? I mean nothing harmful. It is something great, cool. And they are chain smokers. When in a movie they show how the 22 year old boy died coz of oral cancer, they just laugh at it or just get bored. What do you have to say about those people?
Kabir: There is nothing to advise such people who don’t understand what problems they will face in future just because of the same habit. It might be a joke to many of them now. They will realize when they suffer from such diseases. But by the time, it will be too late. Thinking about it makes me sick.
Pritz: What were the worst times and the best times related to smoking for you?
Kabir: Worst times- obviously that friend who passed away. The best times were whenever I clicked a snap while smoking; it would come far better than a normal pose. That’s all.
Pritz: Well, thanks a lot for taking your time in sharing such great information which can help many youngsters save their lives from the dreaded slow poison. I can’t thank you enough.
Kabir: The pleasure is all mine. Thanks for giving me a chance to share my experience. I hope this will be of help to as many people as possible.
So this is Kabir for all of you.
My blogger friend and doctor Shobhit has some information to share on this:
More than 400,000 individuals die prematurely each year in the United States from cigarette use; this represents almost one of every five deaths in the United States. Approximately 40% of cigarette smokers will die prematurely due to cigarette smoking unless they are able to quit.
Smoking is equally injurious to the health of the smoker as to the health of people around him. The smoke one inhales has micro-particles which stick to the moist surface of the lungs. It thus forms a layer which turns the oxygen permeable layer of the lungs into more and more impermeable one.
Secondly, the lungs lose their elasticity and hence the capability to distend with inhaled air. The small air-bags called alveoli break up due to the action of immune/inflammatory cells attracted towards the lungs due to the smoke. Once broken, they cannot undergo proper repair and create large in-distensible cavities leading to a disease called emphysema. A person with emphysema inhales air but is unable to exhale as the lungs become inelastic. This leads to chronic coughing and sputum formation which the person coughs out. This process goes on and on till the lung tissue becomes carcinomatous (cancerous).
- Sudden cardiac arrest and death
- Cancer of the lung; oral cavity; nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses; larynx; esophagus; stomach; pancreas; liver; kidney; urinary bladder; and uterine cervix.
- Myeloid leukemia.
- Gall bladder diseases
And you can expect your family and people around you to face:
- Respiratory infections
- Miscarriage for pregnant women
- Pre-menopausal breast cancer
- Lung cancer
Personally I can’t understand how smoking is cool like "come on let’s smoke a cigarette and fill our breathing lungs with the heavenly smoke that will take my breath away (pun intended) and then die young after being bald and enjoy the sweet pain of cancer." The only thing sexy about smoking is when you don't.
My advice for all smokers would be: ABORT MISSION. I REPEAT, ABORT MISSION.
Images courtesy: Google
P.S.: Please share this with as many people as possible so that people who have been trying to quit from a long time will get help and motivation. Thanks in advance.