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Airman defeats addiction: Benefits of quitting outweigh cravings

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Dan Gage
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
"Once a smoker, always a smoker," at least, that's what some have been told, and it holds true in this case as well.

After two months of not smoking, which could just as easily be two years, the cravings are still there. There are countless reasons to smoke, whether it be stress related, being in an establishment where someone typically smokes, hanging out with smokers or even advertisements on TV.

The urge to smoke is a problem shared by many members across Air Force Global Strike Command. But, by quitting smoking, everyone becomes more mission ready.

Triggers to smoke can come out of nowhere, be it after finishing a cup of coffee, driving from here to there, stress induced or even by talking about smoking. Regardless of what the trigger is, giving into the temptation only relieves one thing, and that's the nicotine addiction.

The stress, drama or other trigger causing someone to smoke will still be there after the cigarette has been smoked. And one cigarette could easily lead to two, three or even a pack or carton.

With the rising prices of cigarettes, it won't be long before someone is paying six dollars a pack. That means a pack-a-day smoker will pay about $2,200 a year. To think of it another way, after smoking for about 10 years, there has been enough money wasted, which could've easily been the down payment on a house.

For some people, money isn't the issue with smoking. Coming up with five or six dollars isn't a big deal, even if it's the last five or six dollars to someone's name. For avid smokers, that decision is already made for them, the nicotine addiction wins out every time.

Now that I have quit smoking, regardless of how bad I want one at times, there are plenty of things, aside from money, that I won't miss.

No longer are there cigarette burns on my clothes, no more nicotine stains on my fingers or teeth, not to mention I don't smell like smoke anymore, and the horrible taste in the mouth is gone.

Breathing has also become so much better while exercising, and running has become easier as well.

Another thing I don't miss is standing outside in the freezing weather conditions Wyoming provides.

"Smoking makes you look cool, hip or rebellious," or so society has been told by tobacco companies' commercials.

There are plenty of anti-smoking commercials out there to counter those of the tobacco companies. Also, most non- and former-smokers probably don't even care if anyone smokes, as long as they don't have to breathe in the second-hand smoke. And, when it comes to members of the opposite sex, they most likely won't want to be with you.

Quitting isn't easy. For most people, it takes more than one time to stop. Regardless of how many tries it takes, each time you quit, you're that much closer to quitting for good.

The Health and Wellness Center here offers smoking cessation classes to help make that transition to a smoke-free life.

For more information on what classes the HAWC offers, or to schedule an appointment with them, call 773-4292.

*Editors note: This article is more of an editorial and a personal look into one man's journey on the road to no longer smoke. If concerned about the contents of this article, call Airman 1st Class Dan Gage, 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs at 773-3381.