Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Smoking in SMSJ

I pick up smoking in form five (1975). Actually it was peer pressure, as it was cool to smoke and very hype at that time. During weekend breaks, we would buy a pack of Benson and Hedges and drink coke at the nearby stalls outside SMSJ. We'll get a nicotine high and a big headache after the smoking session. Of course we'll buy a lot of Hacks and spray cheap cologne (Old Spice) to camouflage the cigarette smell.

Some boys were more daring, they smoke in the toilet hostels. It was a serious offence if you were caught smoking inside the school compound. Once there was this form 3 boy who was made to drink tobacco juice, concocted by Cikgu Khamis Mahadi the warden, after he was caught smoking. He vomited endlessly and most probably quit smoking permanently too. Incidentally Cikgu Khamis comes from my kampong and is a distant relative. Still it was not an advantage as many a times my over-the-limit hair was snipped by him.

The smoking habit stuck through my University days, ( a godsend when doing assignments and projects) and through my working life (a godsend too because all my bosses are slave drivers). Cigarettes kept me warm and occupied during the long, dark, cold and gloomy English winter days.

Finally the fun ended in 2003 after 28 years. I suddenly got fed up with smoking, the bad smell, the irritating coughs, the whizzing and everything in between. After quiting smoking, i don't feel like a walking ash tray anymore. Of course it was very difficult during the first month, as the mind keeps connecting with the lost love, but then it gets easier as the months passes by. I have not had a single cigarette since that eventful day, nearly five years ago. It is a small triumph for me.

Now i seldom have coughs and flu, no more whizzing, have a fresh breath, and can even play badminton two hours on ends, every day. I feel healthier and wake up with a zest every morning.

There isn't any short cut to quit smoking. The best way is still cold turkey and of course perseverance. Taking nicotine replacement therapy (nicorette) also helps to a certain extent, but you'll still be addicted to nicotine.

So for those who want tips, advises and encouragement, please do contact me.

By the way, I will not charge any consultancy fees from friends.

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