Monday, December 29, 2008

It is never too late to quit smoking -- not even if you are a senior citizen

It is never too late to quit smoking.

(By Dr P Vyasamoorthy)

 Has Anbumani  Ramadoss put you in a fix that you have to put off the urge to smoke for long hours? How about kicking the habit taking it as a blessing in disguise? Here is one 'How-to'.

Many senior citizens I know continue to entertain themselves with undesirable habits like smoking, drinking, gambling or overeating. Giving up bad habits is all the more significant in older persons. They have less number of years to go by, they are more vulnerable to diseases, their auto-repair mechanisms are low and dividends of kicking bad habits are high. Most people think of giving it up at a future date. The intentions are pious but the mind is weak. How does one go about becoming a success story to oneself? Giving up bad habits is a positive way of improving one self. It boosts one's self confidence. All that is required is firm resolve.

I gave up smoking when I was 46 -- a habit that I 'enjoyed' for more than a score of years- now with "smoke-free-lungs" for almost 20 years.  Mr Chary, my friend, gave up smoking this October on his 69th birthday.  It is not very difficult. To reiterate, only a tough resolution is needed. I would like to share with you a method that worked for me. I will be brief.

On one of the weekly holidays I had a good breakfast. I locked myself into a room all by myself, telling my wife not to disturb me for about three hours. I smoked two cigarettes at a stretch and drank a glass of water.

I wrote down on a piece of paper all the advantages I could think of if I give up smoking. My health would improve, cough would stop, appetite will increase, taste of food will return, I might avoid cancer, I will save money, atmosphere will be clean, children will be free of passive smoking, my father will appreciate it, my wife will respect me more, No late night trips to Pan walah to stock cigarettes for the next morning and so on. The note ended with a word based picture as to how I will be after quitting smoking -- healthy, happy, satisfied and proud person. It was a nice and effective script -- how I wish I had preserved it.

Then I closed my eyes, sat straight, breathed slowly and concentrated on my breathing for a couple of minutes. Then I read over the notes I had written some 108 times all to myself. Sometimes aloud, sometimes, silently. Drank water in between. Went into shallow meditation (just observing the breath) every now and then. Repeated reading my story.

At the end of some two and half hours, I opened the door and stepped out. I have not touched a single cigarette since then.

After a day or two of stopping, the craving returned. I was so restless my wife suggested: I can not see you suffering.  Why don't you have just one cigarette? No, I said and kept up the struggle. The temptation kept coming up again and again for about a week. Thereafter it receded. I won.

I do not believe in the methods that suggest that you reduce smoking by degrees. Any bad habit can be kicked off only abruptly and once and for all. My investment on quitting the smoking habit? Just 50 rupees. I bought a cyclostyled manuscript that explained this method. I got  it through VPP  after reading an advertisement in Illustrated Weekly of India.

Your investment is just these couple of minutes of reading this real time story. Just do it, as Nike AD says.


1 comment:

  1. HI

    Nice to raed ur blog.I too have given up smoking fr the aske pf my health and specially my daughter of 5 yrs.
    I am 38,a saggitarian and have a librarian fr a wife !

    I just did it.