Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Butt Out Jules!!

I quit smoking a little over 9 years ago. I didn't really want to quit because I loved smoking. I'd spent 9 years working on my smoker persona. I was a big advocate of smoking. I recommended it to all of my friends. It was a part of who I was.

But alas, the combination of the recent arrival of our first daughter and my weak, asthmatic lungs forced me to quit the habit. I was at a point where I thought I was going to wake up with emphysema or lung cancer and not be able to see my kid grow up. This turned out to be a pretty good motivator! I used the nicotine patch for 2 weeks and here I am today. I've actually been a quitter longer than I was a smoker.

Now Jules has finally decided that it is time to drop the darts habit as well. It's been a long time coming and it is probably the best news we could possibly hear.

I don't know about our friends south of the border, but here in Manitoba a pack of cigarettes will cost you between $11 and $12. That's a lot of spare change. So right away we looking at saving at least $300 per month. That's one good motivator!

Then there are the health benefits which I mentioned above. Also good for motivation.

But I think the biggest motivator for Jules was having the kids come home from school begging her to quit because they didn't want her to die. "Devil or Angel" put it best when she said, "Mom, I don't want you to be a ghost." You don't get much more to the point than that!

So she got herself a prescription for the new stop smoking wonder drug Champix. When she picked it up at the drug store the pharmacist told her that 99% of the people who used Champix were able to quit successfully.

The way Champix works is you take a pill once a day and then get up to twice a day. The whole program takes 12 weeks. For the first week you just keep smoking like you always do. Then you pick a day in the second week as your quit day. When that day comes you just stop smoking.

I know it sounds way too easy, and from what Jules says it isn't really that easy. She still feels like having a cigarette from time to time. Like when she gets in to the van or when she sits down after dropping the kids off at school. These are all just the associative habits. She has caught herself looking for the ashtray a couple of times before realizing that she had quit. Like I said she feels like having a cigarette, but I'm not sure she craves a cigarette. The craving is what Champix is supposed to stop.

Her quit day was Saturday March 15th. Today is March 19th so we are working on day 5 today. She is doing really great so far! I'm thinking that at this point it should be getting a little bit easier every day. From what I recall the first three days were the most agonizing for me because you had to find something else to do with yourself.

This is just another case where Jules has stepped up to the plate and done something she didn't really believe she could do. Kind of like when she got her drivers license at the age of 28. She was very proud of herself then. That's nothing compared to quitting smoking!

We were discussing this whole issue the other night before her quit day and I said something that summed it up quite well. I said, "The great thing about quitting smoking is the benefits start immediately and they never stop...unless you start up again."

This is so true! On the first day of quitting you save $11 by not paying for a pack that day. By day two you've saved $22. By day three is $33 and so on and so on. So far we've saved $55! Can you imagine the savings over a long period of time?! After 9 years, where I am now, you're looking at a savings of over $36,000!!! That's assuming the price of cigarettes doesn't increase in that nine years!

I can't wait until a few years go by and we're saying stuff like, "Oh look, you're smoking in that picture. That looks so weird." Then we can remind "Devil or Angel" about how she said she didn't want Mom to be a ghost. Her reply will probably be something like, "I don't even remember Mom smoking."

So, YAY JULES!! I am so proud of you!! This is an accomplishment that truly deserves recognition and praise!!

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