My grandma has had emphysema since as long as I can remember, and my grandpa was just diagnosed with lung cancer, (he started chemo last week). I have a family history of blood pressure so high you’d think the major staple of our diet was salt, and a physician once told me I had the cholesterol of a 300 pound 50 year old man. Yet, despite all these very real personal health incentives for putting down the Marlb Reds and picking up the Nicorette, I have always felt rather ambivalent about the health concerns of smoking— At 21 years old I still occasionally forget that I’m not invincible.
With cigarettes reaching almost ten bucks a pack it was becoming more and more difficult to continue rationalizing the 70 dollars a week it costs to shave a few years off my life. However, all these claims of health and money still weren’t giving me the push I needed to say "I quit!"— And stick with it.
Whenever I used to hear people complaining about the hassles of quitting smoking I’d interject with something like "quitting is easy I’ve done it 8 times already"…the problem was my attempts never lasted much longer than 48 hours. But as of yesterday, I can officially say I have been smoke free for an entire month. So how did I do it? Why did I do it?
Well, I think for the most part the "how" didn’t really matter. I used Nicorette gum, but it could have been any number of other methods, as long as I had the will to complete my goal. The "how" is all about the "why," and the "why" was vanity and materialism.
I had a quarter life crisis. I woke up one morning and looked in the mirror only to realize that my skin was not quite as firm or smooth as it had once been. I quickly ran to the Eastview Mall Sephora in search of an anti-aging cream that would maintain my youthful complexion well into my golden years. The lady behind the counter pointed me towards several different products, but to my dismay, she made it very clear that if I wanted to prevent wrinkles I had to quit smoking. And that is what sent me on the road to a smoke free Paul. It turns out that I’m not quite as worried about dying at age 40 as I am worried about having wrinkles at age 40.
However, I also knew that if I was ever going to actually prevent wrinkles and successfully quit smoking than I was going to have to find something that gave me more instant satisfaction than beautiful skin at mid life. So I decided with the money I saved on smoking cigarettes I would buy myself an iPhone, and hopefully my parents, in a fit of joy over my improved health, would decided to cover my monthly service charge.
Well now, one month later, I have my new iPhone (with money to spare), and I can already feel my skin becoming more hydrated—oh yeah, I’m also smoke free.