“Uncle, please don’t kill us.”
These were my exact words to my uncle who would smoke incessantly in front of us kids every time he paid us a visit. My uncle and in fact, a lot of my relatives were heavy smokers. As a child, this was something that bothered me a lot. However, little did I know that one day, I would become one of them, too.
Living alone gives you a lot of freedom, especially when you are 18-19 years old. You have no one to watch over your actions and help keep you in check. It was that same with me, when I first started smoking. I was in college and it seemed so cool, you know. I wanted to try it, at least once. But, that one harmless cigarette soon turned into an addiction and I was smoking about eight to nine of them a day. By the time college got over, I realized it was really stupid of me to have picked up that habit. And like it happens with every smoker at some point, I too tried to quit. It wasn’t just a lifestyle choice or a random decision. I was truly scared of the consequences of smoking.
I had my reasons. I was scared because my mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. I realized I had this deadly disease staring right at me. We always think that something this bad will never happen to us. But now, it was all too real for me and I was scared. I decided to quit and managed to keep a clean streak for a good four to five days. However, the withdrawals were so strong that they got the better of me. I was back to one or two cigarettes a day. Not bad, I thought to myself. But, little did I realize that I had no control over this habit and soon it took over me once again and I was back to the usual eight cigarettes a day. I was not proud of myself. But, I had the excuse of a stressful job in finance, you see. So given that I continued. Things kept on going.
In 2008, I suffered a big setback. My mother died after a long battle with cancer. It hit me hard. If it can happen to my mother, it can most certainly happen to me. But, quitting seemed impossible. The urge, the need, the simple act of just taking that drag just takes over. Until, you see a better future for yourself. Later that year, I met my then girlfriend and now wife. In her, I found deep strength. She was my constant through my struggle with quitting and encouraged me to just quit cold turkey.
We saw a future together. We would have children of our own, someday. And, if there is one thing that I stood strongly against back then as a child, as an adult, and even today is smoking in front of a child. I was sure I could never ever let my child see me smoke. And not just that! I was aware of the harmful effects of smoking on an unborn child. The responsibility of being a good father, even though I was not one myself yet, was my biggest driving force and reason behind quitting successfully.
Recently, when I came across the PregaNews Quit Before You Start campaign I found it to be a huge motivator for men wanting to quit. I am sure no father wants to be the reason behind his child suffering from genetic disorders or anything associated with smoking. The fact that smoking by fathers can permanently damage the DNA of an unborn child and that exposure to passive smoke can do so much more harm to the fetus inside the womb is a fact that needs serious deliberation.
To couples planning to have a child, take the pledge with Prega News. You must quit before you start. Do it for the sake of your family’s future, for the sake of your little one. If the thought of quitting has ever crossed your mind, put that cigarette out today. This is the best time for you to quit. You do not want to be slave to any form of addiction. Even the mere thought is a sign that you are motivated enough to quit. o go ahead and do it.
It is definitely not a cool thing to do. It may seem fine to try it out once because “You Only Live Once”. But the truth is that it is addictive and we never stop at one. It is the heaviest baggage that you will carry and it is the hardest one to let go off.
So be strong and shed it while you can. It’s all about mental strength, give it a try, it will happen.
Also Read: My journey to quit smoking – A Dad’s story