I was a lifelong smoker .... literally. I've smoked in one way or another ever since conception: my mom smoked while she was pregnant, and I grew up in a family of heavy smokers. When I lit my first cigarette at the age of 10, it seemed the most natural thing in the world. I remember thinking at the time that I was breathing enough second-hand smoke that I might as well join the party.

Nobody told me that it was easier to kick a second-hand habit than a first-hand habit.

I made several attempts to quit over the years, and once I made it almost 8 months with only a few slips. Then my dad died, and in the stress of funeral planning, I figured one pack wouldn't hurt. (Can anyone say "Famous last words?" Within two weeks, I was right back up to a pack a day again.)

At least now I know I cannot even have a single cigarette.

I quit for good on June 13, 2012, at the age of 46, using a combination of patch and gum, and I can only say it's been worth it. After only six months as a non-smoker, I don't get nearly as many headaches anymore; I have considerably more energy; and, best of all, I no longer need to huddle outside in -30 degree weather to satisfy my addiction.

Quit. It's worth the effort.
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