Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?
by John Yeo
I think this post is a delve into how people have handled their New Year resolutions in the past. For me the most memorable resolution was made some forty years ago when I suddenly decided to give up smoking. I was brought up during an era when almost everyone around you, smoked, even your parents. There was a culture of smoking and smoke-related adverts everywhere you looked. Advertising hoardings, the television and newspapers were full of adverts for different brands of cigarettes and almost everyone you came into contact with, smoked.
I smoked behind the cycle shed with my friends, in other words I was subjected to peer pressure in my early days to go along with the crowd. I didn’t smoke much in those days, just the occasional drag or a small packet of five cigarettes when I could afford it. Cigarettes were considerably cheaper then and pocket money seemed to stretch further.
I continued to smoke for many years,
I was subjected to even more temptation to smoke, when I took up employment as the manager of a newsagents shop that also sold cigarettes. The cigarette company representatives would aggressively push certain brands of cigarettes, and I would receive many free samples of the current brand that they were marketing. The upshot was that I was smoking about 40 cigarettes a day, and I would agree that I was hooked on smoking. I did not have to go without cigarettes at any time as they were always available, I was able to walk downstairs at any time and purchase a packet of cigarettes. I did not even have to go out in the rain to the local shops to purchase cigarettes at that time, they were always available.
Then one memorable day, I decided to kick the habit. I am sure this decision was the result of a continuing advertising campaign that drew attention to the hidden dangers of smoking. My quitting smoking was certainly not an instant switching off and stopping, it was a gradual process that involved many failures, then stopping once again, after finishing that very last cigarette. First I switched to a low tar brand and I smoked on for a while, until one day I realised that the only way to stop smoking, was to stop smoking.
I then had the bright idea to chew sugar-free gum every time I felt like a cigarette. I was continually chewing gum, as I worked my way through the interminable craving for a cigarette. Sometimes I would accidentally chew the inside of my cheeks, actually drawing blood. Slowly but surely the craving for cigarettes disappeared and I continued chewing the gum for a while. I then stopped this rebound habit and I have never smoked again in the last forty years.
My reactions to the stopping of cigarettes were incredible, I found I could savour the taste of food, as my taste-buds began to come back to life again. My breathing became a lot easier as I was no longer continually choking up cigarette smoke, and I have saved a lot of money that would just have gone up in smoke over the years.
Stopping smoking forty years ago was a very good call for me.
Forty years after, I see the many restrictions on buying cigarettes and tobacco, brought in by the government having some effect on the young. Advertising is banned by law, cigarettes are no longer allowed to be displayed on the retailers shelves. Above all, the most impact has been made by increasing the price of cigarettes and tobacco way out of the affordable price range of most young people.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo All rights reserved