In recognition of National Quitting Smoking week, two of Huffpost's young contributors, Miranda Frum and Daniel Alexandre Portoraro, have volunteered to quit smoking and keep a daily journal about it. Readers: Support them! And please share your own struggles about trying to kick an addiction, whether it was cigarettes or anything else.
I have been a smoker for seven years. I'm 20 years old. I started quite young. Not so much out of peer pressure, but out of a desire to be thin. I have attempted to quit smoking numerous times -- the first couple of times I tried to quit were because my grandmother was upset by my smoking, but not because I really especially wanted to. I quit again in March of 2011, but due to a large group of friends who were mostly smokers, and lots of drinking (as the late Christopher Hitchens said: a cocktail and a cigarette go hand in hand with the other), I failed. I do however now desperately want to quit smoking. The habit is getting expensive (depending on the brand, some $9-13 dollars a pack!), and my family members are saddened every time I light up. My grandmother, who used to be an avid smoker, told me she quit smoking at 25 (she looks fabulous now, you would never know she ever smoked cigarettes); she said if I wanted to have any beauty left as an old lady I should quit before then. My goal is to be completely off cigarettes by the time I'm 23 (AT THE LATEST). But as it's National Non-Smoking week I thought, why the hell not give it a try? Today, so far I've had five cigarettes, an unusually low amount for me (normally a pack a day smoker). I figured by smoking less frequently, I might have a better shot at going cold turkey. Let's see how this goes...
I lit my first cigarette when I was sixteen which isn't so much a long time ago as it was a long time to finally do it. You see, I've wanted to smoke since I was a child; the ideal consumer who bought into all the Hollywood-manufactured fanfare, and the mystique of the Marlboro Man. Of course, like every young person, I thought "cancer won't happen to me" using the logic that it's well, me.
But now it's National Non-Smoking Week, and as Miranda says, the habit is getting expensive (something that's easier to appreciate for young people than the c-word). And besides, there's a litany of other health risks that go hand in hand with those coffin nails that "taste good, just like a cigarette should," so why not try quitting? There are countless reasons to, least of all one self and the fears of loved ones that would be assuaged. Besides, isn't it also a sign of maturity to forgo a habit in favour of prolonging one's time of maturity?
So this week, I'm going to kick the habit. But I mean kick it, because there's one thing to say one's quitting and write a series about it, and a completely different thing to write that series knowing that "No, even when this is done, you still won't be able to light that celebratory smoke at the end of it."
However, unlike Miranda, I'm not doing this gradually, day by day; I'm going to attempt to quit the habit cold turkey. I imagine this will be unpleasant for me; but far moreso for those I'm surrounded by. So in the interminable words of All About Eve's Margo Channing: "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night". If only it were going to be a single night...