I was a smoker.

I loved typing that as it has a very definite historical feel to it. I have given up before, many times, but this time it feels different. This time it feels like something in my past.

On July 13th 2012 I flew to Japan and I had set my sights on that being the day I gave up for good. Japan has some crazy laws on smoking like the fact that you can't smoke out in the street but you can smoke in bars and restaurants. It makes no sense but it gave me another reason not to have a habit. An eleven hour flight at the start of the holiday is also a good reason to be craving free.

I had been on the drug Champix to help me stop. Not easy as the tablets made me feel really sick and this was my third time around with them having used them twice before and managed to go for six months both times before cracking. Something just feels so different this time. I don't look at people smoking and wish for a fag. I look at people smoking and remember that I used to do that, not in a smug way but certainly with an amount of personal pleasure. Yes, I had a few cigs at the Christmas party but the next day it just felt normal not to smoke.

What I have noticed about giving up smoking are the other changes it brings about. When I am in work mode I wear suit jackets and there are plenty of pockets for things like cigs and lighters. Outside work I would always wear cargo pants or para-pants, pants with side pockets so I had somewhere for my fags (left side pocket) and lighter (right side pocket). These are a thing of the past.

I used to be fairly paranoid about smelling of smoke. I always carry little sample bottles of aftershave with me, one in every jacket, to cover the whiff. Then there would be chewing gum. I could always be relied upon to have chewing gum (another reason for wanting more pockets). Cigarette lighters, I would never be cought without one so Let's not forget the breath spray. I would always have one in the car, one in my bag and probably one in a pockets somewhere. I still carry the aftershave but I haven't bought breath spray or chewing gum in ages.

Behaviours change too. No more standing outside places. No more taking a fag break. I used to find myself on the way to a meeting and, even though I might have just had a fag, if I had five minutes to spare I would have another just to stock up as it may be several hours before I get another. I used to strike up as soon as I got in the car and sitting in traffic jams on the M62 could have given me cancer. I would chain smoke through the boredom.

I no longer go in to newsagents to buy fags. When I did I would often pick up a weekly lottery ticket as well. I don't go in so I don't buy a ticket which means that I have no chance of ever winning the lottery. Stopping smoking may well have cost me a fortune!

To be honest I have a little app on my phone and it knows the date I stopped smoking and how many I smoked on average every day and this little app has calculated that as of today, 210 days free, I have saved £1,100.
And that is bloody marvellous!

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