Day One (Part Two)

Days Without a Cigarette: 0.625
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: -$37.19

A couple of years ago, I flew to Sydney from New York City. We had a layover in Tokyo, but because the first leg of the journey was delayed, that layover ended up being about 17 seconds. There was barely time to make it to the next gate, and certainly no time to drop off at the smoker’s lounge. When I add up the time at JFK waiting for the outbound flight and the time in the air, it was about 26 hours. And that’s the longest I’ve gone without a cigarette in my adult life.

Right now, I’m a bit over 15 hours in, which probably qualifies as the second longest hiatus; though I’m hesitant to count it. After all, seven of those thirteen hours were spent asleep, and I’ve gone eight conscious hours without a cigarette plenty of times. Hell, I did nine hours a couple of days ago when my flight got delayed from Chicago. So in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t really accomplished anything.

That being said, I’m gonna pat myself on the back regardless. Because this is by far the longest I’ve gone without a cigarette without laws and air marshals in place to stop me. It’s the only time I’ve done this voluntarily.

I started smoking when I was a kid. My friend David and I would take turns swiping cigarettes from our dads to smoke behind the garage (yes, literally behind the garage). I couldn’t have been older than twelve when that became a regular thing.

By the time I was fifteen, I probably had a pack of cigarettes with me more often than I didn’t. I didn’t have a job, but through a combination of clever investments and my mom forgetting to ask for the change when I ran into the store to get milk for her, I could usually scrounge up the $1.75 that a pack of Camels cost back then. And when I couldn’t manage that, I could at least find the ninety cents I’d need for a pack of Jacks or Bucks or some other ‘half tobacco, half pencil shavings’ brand.

Since the age of sixteen, I’ve never really been without them. I’ve never tried to quit, I’ve never taken a break from them, and while I’ve had a couple of medical circumstances that came with a strict warning from the doctor not to smoke for 24 or 48 hours, I never bothered to heed that advice. I’ve gone without cigarettes when I’ve been in places that won’t let you have them; but I’ve never gone without them when I had the choice. Hell, for the last 27 years at least, I’ve never gone two hours without a cigarette if I had the choice to smoke one.

So yeah; it doesn’t seem like much when I total up the hours. I haven’t even tied with my longest flight yet. But I’ve been awake since nine, it’s four now. That means that in a very real sense, I’ve quadrupled my previous record. And that’s what I’ll have to celebrate… just as soon as I figure out what non-smokers do to celebrate.

Published by Noah Lugeons

Noah Lugeons co-hosts a bunch of podcasts: The Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies, The Skepticrat, and Citation Needed

6 thoughts on “Day One (Part Two)

  1. I too was a child smoker… but quit when it became a hassle to get them in late high school. Along comes college and the “joe jobs” that come with that time of life. Non-smokers has to fight tooth and nail for their earned breaks, but a smoker could pop off with ease. Faking it eventually fell into smoking again and this time it stuck hard until about 5 years ago or so. Vaping was what got me to quit smoking… but I don’t think I’ll ever fully quit vaping. I have gotten down to such a small nicotine amount that I pretty much have to mix it myself.

    Good luck. The whole community has your back.

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  2. Hang in there! It is so nice not to have the ball and chain with you at all times. It’s a huge time saver, you will smell better, you don’t have to think about where and when you can smoke everywhere you go, etc. I’m sure you know all of this, but I hadn’t really considered any of it until I was long past craving a smoke. There is literally no downside to quitting.

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  3. I didn’t start smoking until 19, but I was more like a pack and-a-half to two packs a day. I rarely bought a pack; I bought multiple cartons. I definitely smoked when I was sick, and if I I didn’t have money I’d dig through my own garbage to see if I’d emptied an ashtray that had a butt that had a couple of drags left on it. And I’d get frantic enough if there wasn’t to actually consider smoking someone else’s butt. In other words, I totally get it.Been there, felt that.

    I quit with my doctor’s help, and she suggestedthe Nicorette gum for a couple of reasons. First, because it gave me the same rush and choking feeling at the back of my tghroat like the first drag always did which always got me past the “I need a cigarette NOW!!!” moment. Second, because I needed to break a LOT of habits. It wasn’t just that I smoked, it was that it was the thing I did when I woke up, when I talked on the phone, immediately after a meal, whenever I got in the car, whenever I took a break at work,whenever I sat down to watch TV… etc. she told me to immediately put cards of gum in all of the places I’d kept cigarettes handy so that it was always there, right where I needed it, and when I thought of having a smoke, I’d take out a piece of the gum, chew for a minute, then tuck it in my cheek and let it do its work.

    And it worked. I was only horrible and nasty for a couple of weeks. I used the gum for WAY longer than most people do, because I didn’t trust myself. My doctor was totally fine with that, she said keep doing it as long as you need it, it’s better than the cigarettes.

    It was still fucking hard, but I had tried other ways first, ways that didn’t involve an immediate one-ton-one substitute and it just didn’t work. When it was based on “willpower” I was totally fucked. No way. Couldn’t do it. But when I had the direct substitute, it really DID work.

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