Giving Up Smoking – A Personal Story

Being on Facebook allows you to reconnect with others and read their adventures, sympathize with their loses, and cheer them on when they win over adversities.  Over holiday break a post on a personal Facebook account stated a friend was celebrating being smokefree for eight years, which is quite an accomplishment.  I added my congratulations and then read some of the other posts.

I discovered Kathy had actually started smoking at 14 years of age and was a 34 year smoker.  When you hear about people who start smoking early in life, you wonder what motivated them to start, and when they stop, what motivated that also.   Did they start smoking due to their home environment or was it due to peer pressure?  When they finally stop smoking, was it due to a health diagnosis or did they finally just tire of it one day?

As you read her story, the reasons why she started are probably the same reasons why millions of kids start smoking today – home environment, easy access to tobacco, wanting to look more grownup, and denial that the ill effects of smoking would happen to her.  She finally had a strong reason to quit, and although she started smoking at a young age, she urges youth to not even start because tobacco will win.

I reached out to Kathy and asked a few questions about her smoking.  I also asked if she would like to share her story, and she was kind enough to do so.

I came from a family of smokers. I remember being in the car – windows rolled up with both of my parents smoking. I thought it made me look so grown up and sophisticated. I used to pretend when I was walking to grade school that I was driving a car and smoking. I remember my parents had a cigarette drawer so I had ready access to cigarettes or I could go to the corner store and tell the clerk I was buying smokes for my Mom or Dad.

When I was about 9 I was sitting with my Dad, who was smoking his pipe. I asked him if I could smoke it and he let me. I was so sick from that pipe he actually thought he had “cured” me from smoking.

I started off innocently – those smokes tasted BAD – nasty – but I kept doing it until I was hooked. I never really wanted to quit. I watched people suffer from the effects of smoking all of my life – did not matter, it would not happen to me. 

Thank God I never desired to smoke when I was pregnant and a blessing that none of my three children ever smoked – that would have been the ultimate in addiction if I could have poisoned my babies. But as soon as they were born – right back at it. The inconvenience of having to leave a room or a party to smoke or dreading traveling because I could not smoke – wow! 

What finally did it for me was when my first grandchild was born. No one else but me smoked and the thought of that precious baby boy associating that horrible smell with his grandma was what it took for me to decide enough was enough. I was not going to succumb to the will of tobacco – I was done. That was 8 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did.  

If you smoke, do what you need to do to get rid of the burden of smoking.  If you are playing with it – stop, it will win. If you never have smoked – DO NOT EVER pick one up – not worth it!

Freedom from addiction is the most free you will ever feel!

Kathy Rasmussen
Clean for 8 years – smoked for 34!


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