Monday, September 13, 2010

v39.8: Butting Out

Howdy folks,

-slurp-

It has been awhile since I've posted anything new.  I've been wanting to post but either I've been too busy when I thought about it or just didn't have the energy to sit and write anything meaningful.  Sometimes I struggle with finding new things to talk about that are interesting and meaningful.  After all, Blogs are supposed to be interesting right?

-slurp-

I received an email from my mother this weekend; she has finally decided to stop smoking again.  I am happy to hear this despite the fact I will missing going for a smoke with her when we visit.  Growing up my mother smoked and I remember her sitting in the kitchen with her friends sharing laughs and socializing over cigarettes.  I used to get my mother to make these "frogs" out of her cigarette package.  I couldn't wait for her to be finished her pack so she could carefully fold and shape the package into something that slightly resembled a frog (at least to a 5 year old anyway) and when you pushed on it just so, it would hop around the table.  It's interesting to think that back in those days, it was completely acceptable to smoke with your child in the same room (or in the car) and it was common for parents to send their children to the store to buy cigarettes for them (along with milk, bread and other various things).  I don't recall ever buying cigarettes for my mother, but I do remember going to the store a lot so it could have happened.

Shortly after I turned 8 my mother butt out and stayed off the cigarettes until shortly after her and my father separated.  It lasted about 10 years.  Of course divorce can do strange things to people and I don't blame my mother one bit for going back to smoking after the divorce.  I don't know if I was fated to smoke or not (I always liked the smell as a child) but when I was 22 I started smoking.  I smoked until December 2005 when I finally decided to quit; I had quit for just over 3 years and started back up again.  Let me just say that nobody is perfect and whether you're addicted to cigarettes or something else, there is still an addiction there.  Usually people who quit smoking try to find something else in their life to be addicted to.  Since there is a regain of appetite after you've quit, people tend to get addicted to food; putting on a lot of weight (like I did when I quit) and in the end feeling bad about themselves.  Others get addicted to sporting activities and working out; not a bad thing, but again it is still an addiction.  I don't want to sit here and talk about addictions because people are addicted to many different kinds of things.  Whether an addiction is bad or not is relative and not always the same to everyone.  Yes cigarettes are addictive and yes they will cause lung cancer and other various problems but they don't affect everyone in the exact same way.  I'm not trying to defend my smoking to anyone and I will definitely quit when I'm ready, when my mind is in a place and I want to stop smoking.  That, my friends, is the key to quitting an addiction, your mind.

My youngest sister bought me a book awhile ago called "Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking".  This book doesn't focus on the fact you need to quit smoking because it is bad for you, it focuses on getting your mind right with quitting smoking.  Quitting cigarettes isn't the simple act of stop smoking, there is a whole other piece many people fail to see.  My sister quit smoking a number of years ago after reading this book and hasn't had the urge to smoke since.  I quit in 2005 and I felt the urge to smoke the entire time because my mind wasn't where it needed to be to truly quit smoking.  I still haven't read the book (Sorry Megs) but when I'm ready to finally butt out for good, I will be reading the book and then I will be thanking my sister for the wonderful gift.  After all, not everyone is the same right? :)

There are also alternatives to smoking.  No, I'm not talking about the gum or the patch or the pills.  I'm talking about something known as eCig or E Cigarettes or Electronic Cigarettes.  I had no idea these devices existed and I'm glad my mother forwarded me a link to one such product.  I did some research on these eCigs over the past couple days and they seem like a really good idea, even if you're not ready to quit smoking yet.  Basically, they are like an inhaler.  You have an electronic part (a rechargeable battery) that connects to a device which contains some kind of solution which can have nicotine or not in it.  You can also get them flavored with such flavors like chocolate, cherry, grape and a lot of other varieties.  I don't know about you other smokers out there, but when I put a cigarette to my lips, the last thing I expect to taste is passion fruit; it doesn't seem right.  These product contain to be completely harmless and eliminate 99.9% of all the harmful chemicals you get from smoking cigarettes.  They are basically a simple flavor vapor that you inhale (just like a cigarette) and the act of smoking feels almost identical to the real thing.  You can even order regular tobacco flavoring if you're really missing that authentic cigarette taste.  These things also boast that there is no smell and you can smoke them virtually anywhere.  It may be possible to smoke them anywhere, but I'm pretty sure if I pulled one of these out while sitting at my desk at work and I started "smoking" it, there would be a few looks and probably a trip to the boss' office to "talk" about proper office etiquette.

These devices usually start at around $50 for a starter pack and can go up to the hundreds of dollars.  The "refills" usually cost between $1 and $2 each and are the equivalent of 15-20 regular sized cigarettes.  Since the average price of a pack of cigarettes is $11 here, that can be a savings of $9-$10 a pack if you smoke the eCig exclusively.  There are some downsides of course.  I couldn't find any place local that sells them which means, unlike cigarettes, you can't just run out to the nearest convenience store and buy them.  In some cases, the only way to get them is to order them online which can take time for delivery.  Not the kind of thing you want to do when you're down to your last refill cartridge and your order is a week away.  I guess you could be more proactive and order a bunch at first and ensure to always have a weeks supply on-hand, but who has time in their busy schedules to worry about "inventory" for their eCigs? :)  I can hear my sister's thoughts now, "Or you can just quit and not worry about it at all!". ;)

-slurp-

Anyway folks, it is time to wrap things up here.  I hope you all had a great weekend and have a great week.  To my mother, keep it up, stick with it and I hope you succeed at butting out for good.

-slurp-

Cheers,

Al