James: 'I'm giving up my magical thinking about cigarettes'
I have smoked since I was about 12 or 13 but have never considered myself to be a 'heavy smoker'. I have always convinced myself that as I didn't smoke in the mornings or during the day and confined my habit to the evenings, I wasn't at risk of any respiratory illnesses or lung cancer. In addition, I have always kept fit and eaten sensibly I have laboured under some strange illusion that even if I was smoking I was somehow 'training it off'.
I come from a family of heavy smokers and my ex partner was a heavy smoker. Compared to them, I considered that I was not a real smoker. I had given up for periods, on one occasion for a year and another for about 18 months, but never had a real desire to give up because I felt that somehow I wasn't a real smoker. Also since I've never really suffered from any bronchial problems, all my magical thinking around my smoking seemed to be working.
Hacking and coughing
I'm 53 and recently a close friend in his late 50s developed serious bronchial problems which would not go away. Listening to him hack and cough in the mornings for weeks and weeks on end and then hearing myself slightly wheezing at night before going to sleep made me think again.
So since March this year I have tried a number of ways to cut back: patches, Nicolette, acupuncture. I have managed to cut down to a couple a day, even going for a few days without any at all. I saw the Never Give Up Giving Up campaign and was encouraged by the understanding nature of the message which did seem to address itself to people like me.
I'm already feeling some of the benefits of cutting right back; better breathing at the gym, no wheezing at night and learning to hate the smell of smoke on my clothes. I'm convinced that I will be clear of in the next few months and just hope the damage already done is not irreversible.
Page created on May 29th, 2009
Page updated on January 16th, 2010