My Short Stint with Smoking Made Me Realize Its Danger

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Quitter's Circle, a collaboration between the American Lung Association and Pfizer. All thoughts and opinions presented in this post are purely my own.


Smoking had always been part of my life as I was growing up. So much so that it never really occurred to me that it was bad until I was able to read the small print on the side of my mom’s cigarette packs.

I was a kid and though I learned they were bad for you, I didn’t really grasp the issue. I didn’t understand the undertaking when someone decided to quit.

Addiction, Defined

(noun) the state of being constrained by a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.[i]

Crazy, right? My mother was a smoker. As was my father. When I was younger, I took up the habit of casual smoking. I never thought too much of it.

I’d heard stories about my dad’s own addiction starting early. But I knew he wouldn’t approve of me smoking. Besides, I wasn’t smoking regularly, right?

It wasn’t until we moved to Orlando that I felt like something was wrong. I distinctly remember going through cabinets and drawers one day when my parents were out. I was looking for a cigarette. I’ve had other cravings before, sure. But this was my first time feeling the urge to have a cigarette. My heart was beating fast and I was slightly panicked that 1. I wouldn’t find a cigarette and 2. If I did find a cigarette, I’d get caught smoking it.

There were no cigarettes in the house for me that day. But the damage was done. I realized that this was not a game. And it scared me a bit because I’d never felt that way before. Even with the “casual” smoking that I thought wasn’t a big deal, my body was already attached to cigarettes.

See, my brain was already about that cigarette life. Thankfully, that incident scared the crap out of me and I didn’t touch another cigarette after that.

What About My Parents?

I became hyper-focused on getting my mom to quit smoking. I’ll never forget the day that we went in to the doctor’s office for our physicals.

My mom had always been small. She was tiny, actually. Measuring 5’0” on a good day and always hovering around 100 pounds. I think I get my freakish metabolism from her. But here’s the thing, she’d been trying to gain weight.

I don’t know what possessed me but I wanted my mom to quit so badly that I suggested “maybe you would gain weight if you stopped smoking.” I figured she wouldn’t get too mad at me IN the doctor’s office, but that it would be a long journey ahead trying to get her to quit.

The doctor took one look at her and started taking her vitals and providing all the shade I needed to know that I’d done the right thing.

As he checked her lungs, he said “it sounds like you have the beginnings of emphysema.” I do not know if it was the look on my face or the words from the doctor, but the cigarette mom had before we entered that office was the last of her life.

Quitting Was Terrible

Although I was proud of her for deciding to quit, that was just the beginning. Mami did lots of things that made me think she was magic and quitting smoking was one of those things.

Mami is one of the many Americans that has tried to quit smoking.[ii] I wish we had support groups like Quitter’s Circle back then. A place for her to turn to during that process. With tools and resources as well as a support group that is there to help you along the way, Quitter’s Circle can provide support during the process of quitting smoking, for those who want to lead a smoke-free life.

Mami confessed later that she had tried and failed to quit smoking before. I don’t know how many times she did that. And I don’t know what possessed her to stick to her guns at that time. I think the idea that cigarettes were really making her sick was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Dad eventually quit as well. I think it was easier for him since he had someone supporting him through the process. Someone who had already experienced what he was going through. It’s good to know that there are sites these days dedicated to help those who want to quit.

Support is imperative. From family, friends, and even your doctor, I can’t say this enough. Quitter’s Circle has a great resource page for those that want to help, but might not know how.  It can be a valuable resource for those who are taking their health seriously and want to kick the smoking habit.

Have you ever smoked? If so, share your story.

[i] Definition of Addiction. Accessed October 18, 2016.
[ii]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Quitting Smoking. Updated May 21, 2016. Accessed October 18, 2016.