Without a hint of holier-than-thou-ness, it's 5 years ago this week that I quit smoking for good. After 20 years of smoking and by my reckoning 150,000 cigarettes later, I decided that I no longer wanted to be a Fag Ash Lil. No one likes a reformed smoker especially when because they've stopped, they feel compelled to encourage everyone else to stop. I've tried hard not to fall into the sanctimonious category. No one likes a smug bastard either.
My reasons for giving up? I hated the thought of being compelled to stand outside public places in the pouring rain. It shames me that's the reason for giving up a habit rather than the most pressing reason which should always be it causes cancer and will contribute to an early death. No, good old rebellious me. Can't stand being told what to do by the nanny state so I'll show 'em... I'll stop. Thicko here realised later that is exactly what the nanny state hoped I would do.. doh!
I suppose I was always going to be a smoker. My parents both smoked. My mum, without the benefit of health education, smoked throughout her pregnancies. My siblings all smoked. Nearly all my friends smoked. To start smoking on 10 Number 6 and to start drinking on half a lager and lime was a rite of passage for anyone growing up in my era. It seems incredible to think we grew up going to cinemas with a non smoking section (about 3 rows) at the ABC Blackpool and we flew in jets where people smoked non-stop from rows 6 to 48. Nowadays, it rare to come across a smoker. That is, unless you work in the NHS!
Giving up was pretty hard for the first week at least. I started on patches until the burn of nicotine on the upper arms drove me mad. And then there's the food craving. Blimey, it's true everything tastes better and twiglets are a great substitute for a quick B&H.
So now, 5 years on and pop-pickers, here's my top 10 of none-holier-than-thou reasons for giving up the fags...
1. Your hair smells nicer
2. You will have more money.
3. You won't wheeze
4. You won't get as many colds, chest infections and bronchitis
5. You won't have to stand outside in the rain whilst at the pub
6. Your life insurance costs less
7. People prefer kissing a non-smoker
8. You won't have to wash ashtrays
9. You won't have to decorate as often
10. You will live longer.