May 102007

Almost 30 years ago I started smoking. Why? Cause I was a dumb kid who succumbed to peer-pressure. Of course, the PSAa they were running then said that smoking wouldn’t make me cool. They were lying. Smoking did make me cool. Even my friends who didn’t smoke thought it was cool that I did.

Fast forward to December 2005 and I’m really starting to think smoking isn’t cool anymore. In fact, I realize that it’s just one more thing separating me from my daughter. We have limited time together as is and my smoking takes up some of that time and that’s just no longer acceptable. So I take action!

I head off to the drugstore and pay $37.89 for a 2 week supply of nicotine patches. This is more than I pay for a two week-supply of cigarettes (working in a liquor store has its advantages), but this is important to me, so I pay anyway. What follows is roughly three months of quitting on and off. I never actually go more than 24 hours without a cigarette, whether I’m wearing the patch or not, but I am trying. I did, however, manage to cut back from my full-flavor cigarettes to ultra-lights while wearing the patch.
Then, two weeks ago, X finally gives me approval to take Z away for a weekend road trip. This is great news! Both Z and I can hardly wait. However, I also know that this trip is going to involve me driving for as long as 6 hours per day. And when I drive, I smoke. And Z will be trapped in the car with me and my smoke. This is not acceptable. Nor is stopping every hour or so in order for me to have a cigarette. So, now I have a deadline. I need to be smoke free before the road trip starts.
I stock up on patches and set tighter and tighter restrictions on where, when and what I can smoke: only ultra-lights, no bumming of smokes, no smoking in the house, no smoking while at work, no smoking in the car. Finally, on the Wednesday before the trip is to start I manage to go 24 hours without. Then 48. Then we hit the road….
And I make it!! I’m now on day 6 without a cigarette. Not only is that almost a full week, but I’ve managed to drive hundreds of miles without smoking, and gone through some major stressors (including 6 hours on the side of the road in a rainstorm with a flat tire, no cell service, and no idea how we were going to get out of it, we couldn’t even get online to check out TreadHunter for advice.). I’m still wearing the patch and I still struggle at times, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how the smoking PSAs lie to America:
1) Smoking won’t make you cool or popular

See paragraph 1. Smoking may not have made me the most popular in school, but at least I stopped being the least popular kid in school.

2) Quitting smoking will save you money

I smoke roughly a pack a day. That’s 7 packs per week @ $2.46/pack (I smoke the cheapest generics and get an employee discount). Weekly cigarette cost: $17.22
One week of store brand nicotine patches $18.94

Plus there were many days when I was both wearing the patch and smoking as much as a pack a day, so I was actually paying both costs for the same week.Add in the fact that I wasn’t confident that I could make it through the road trip without smoking, so I bought some Commit nicotine lozenges at $43.24 (no store brand available).
Result: Quitting smoking has already cost me in excess of $200.00 (roughly 3 days pay)

3) Quitting smoking will mean you can breathe easier and will more energy

Every day I wear the patch I end up sleeping more than the days that I smoke. It’s easier to not smoke when one is unconscious after all.
The real test was on Sunday morning. Z and I went on a little hike looking for a letterbox. We hiked about 2.5 miles round trip, climbing 500′ – 750′ in the process. I was constantly out of breath and in need of rest stops. In fact, I may have been more so in need of rest stops then I used to be.

Still, I’ve quit smoking (I think). Z’s proud of me. X thinks I’m trying to show her up again. And tobacco companies profits dipped only slightly. Now only if I can get over my patch addiction…