I started smoking when I was 14. My sister smoked and I bummed a cigarette off of her. I started out just smoking 3 cigarettes a day. Before I quit, I was smoking a pack and a half a day. What made me stop? Well, I got married and I quit drinking and smoking. I quit drinking when I was 27.
I thought to myself, if I can quit drinking then I can quit smoking. Smoking made me feel sick. It gave me headaches. So when I was 28, I quit cold turkey. I found it a lot harder to quit smoking than drinking. So I started jogging. If I felt like a smoke, I went for a jog. I ran from my house and back for 30 minutes.
I had a relapse three years later. I was playing video slots and I won $1,000. While I was waiting for the pay-out, I turned to the woman beside me and asked her for a cigarette. After that, I smoked for five months. Then I quit again. This time, I didn’t have any cravings or any withdrawal symptoms.
Since then, I’ve been smoke-free for 12 years. Pretty much everyone I know thinks it’s great that I quit. It was the best thing I ever did.
My wife Eugennie quit smoking three years ago. But there are a lot of smokers where I live (on Cross Lake Reserve, Manitoba). I’ve done several workshops on quitting for parents at the HeadStart (pre-school) program where I work.
Then there’s the Blue Light Project (a pilot project that provides blue light bulbs for people have declared their homes smoke-free). That’s my pride and joy.
My dad died of a rare nasal cancer. He smoked all his life. My uncle Charlie died of lung cancer. My message to everyone is: Don’t start smoking.