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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

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A message to ALL quitters.  You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit.  We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

Now you would think that after seeing smoking become a major factor in the deaths of my Grandfather and Grandmother it would be incentive enough to make me quit smoking. But you would be wrong.

You see I can't hardly remember a time in my life when both my grandpa and grandma didn't smoke cigarettes. I know they smoked before I was born and smoked their whole lives. And to be honest neither of them hardly batted an eye when I started smoking cigarettes when I was 14 years-old.

But then again neither did anyone else because back then it seemed to me that everyone smoked cigarettes all the time and everywhere. For instance does anyone else remember when they had ash trays inside stores. And yes I do mean grocery stores and even clothing stores. They had ashtrays in hospitals and the only place you couldn't smoke was in a room where someone was in an oxygen tent. People smoked cigarettes in nursing homes as well. And in fact the only place I can remember where you couldn't smoke was inside a movie theater in the seating section while the movie was playing. But even then all you had to do was step out in the lobby and there were ash trays all over the place and lots of people smoking. And to be honest, looking back on it now, I guess I just assumed that the only reason you couldn't smoke in the actual theater was because of the rule you can't yell fire in a crowded theater.

I think younger people today might be a little shocked to see ashtrays in schools even though most smoking by teachers was done in the teachers lounge which explained the cloud of blue smoke that would come rolling out of the lounge every time someone opened the door. But that did not apply to everyone like visitors and custodians for example and even some teachers. It was a common sight to see them smoking in school any place they wanted to. I even had two teachers that smoked right in the classroom. One of them was the AG teacher and he also smoked on the bus when he took us on field trips. Which is of course why as soon as he lit up a cigarette my class mates and I would sink down behind the seats where he couldn't see us in the mirror and lite up cigarettes too because once the bus filled up with smoke he couldn't tell where it was coming from. The other teacher was the band/music teacher. He was a real gruff old guy that smoked in the bandroom and I can still see him sitting there at the piano banging out songs for the Kindergarteners with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and the ashes from his cigarette falling down on his shirt and cascading on down to the piano keys.

So, no there was nothing odd or even out of the ordinary for grandpa and grandma to smoke even after they finally made the direct scientific connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. I even remember when that story first came out and both my grandpa and one of my mom's boyfriends shared the story after reading it in Readers Digest. They even talked about it and I can remember my mom's boyfriend saying to my grandpa; "Wasn't that article something. I'm telling you before I finished reading it I could feel those cancer bugs just jumping from one lung to the other." Which was pretty dramatic even to me but obviously not dramatic enough to make either one of them quit smoking because neither of them did. And not dramatic enough to keep me from starting smoking.

Which might not be entirely true. I think both grandma and grandpa might have entertained the idea of quitting. I even remember finding a list one time that my grandpa had written that was supposed to contain at least 10 reasons to quit smoking. At least that's what the heading at the top of the page said and since grandpa was a cowboy/CPA I would have thought he would have stopped at 10 reasons but instead he managed to come up with more like 15 or 20. But even with things like that I don't remember either of them ever making it more than a day with out starting smoking again.

But as we all know very well now cigarette smoking takes its tolls in many ways and sooner or later cigarette smoking will kill you. And it eventually killed both of them or was at least a major contributing factor in both their deaths.

Cigarettes killed grandpa first with emphysema and throat cancer. He was 86. The last time he got bucked off a horse he was 80. And one of the nurses at the hospital caught him with a hidden pack of cigarettes and a lighter the week he died.

Grandma on the other hand, who spent the last 20 years of her life smoking in bed, did manage to quit. She managed to quit in August. She died in October that same year. She was 96.

Ok, ok as we can clearly see now my grandpa and grandma are not the kind of poster boys and girls we GUSers should be looking at. And I can even attest to that myself because I would look at them and just keep smoking because in the back of my head I had them for examples. Even though I knew damn good and well in reality the chances of me being that fortunate were slim to none.

So the idea that cigarettes would kill me wasn't one of the primary factors in my decision to quit smoking. But just like grandpa if I crossed that minor complication off my list I could still come up with probably another 15 or 20 reasons if I really thought about it. Even though I only have about three reasons right now. One being I'm just sick and tired of being a slave to that addiction. Two, I felt guilty and stupid forking out all that money every week for something I was sick and tired of using. And three its is something I want to do for me. I don't think I need any more reasons than that this time. At least I hope I don't.

But maybe you, my fellow GUSers, can help me out there. What are some of your reasons for giving up cigarettes?

   

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