Quitting smoking was easier than I thought it would be. I had my last Camel Crush on July 19, 2017.
I liked menthol because I craved that bit of pain, like a tingling on the delicate tissue of my throat. I would take that first daily drag with coffee in the morning in my hot pink bathrobe, freezing my ass off but not admitting it. The brand I smoked had a small, beautiful blue ball in the filter that you would snap with your fingers before smoking. Hence, the name “crush.” It was audible.
I smoked in high school starting with Newports in the breakroom of Big Y where I worked, and continued off and on until I became pregnant with Tyler, my first son. I picked it back up again after he was born until I became pregnant with Sammy. After that, I didn’t smoke again until after Roger passed. I was smoke-free for nine years. Then, on and off, but mostly on, until July 19, 2017.
“You’re gonna get the black lung,” my niece, Shyla, would say to me, eyebrows wrinkled. She was six.
Roger loved tobacco, too. There were many times I found cigarette packs or dip tins hidden in his car. He wasn’t good at hiding it. It made me so angry to know he was sneaking it behind my back. We couldn’t afford it. Two packs of smokes equaled one pack of Luvs diapers, and I worried about his health.
After he died, we waited months to clean out his white Chevy Lumina. In it we found a few plastic water bottles filled with dried up dip spit under the seats. I still have them. (Don’t even. Someone just paid over $72k for a chunk of Elvis’ hair.) When the Army sent his belongings back from Iraq, there was a carton of Miami cigarettes in one of the big black plastic bins. I smoked them all.
It just became time to stop, so I used my son, Sammy, to quit. At the very end of his 19th birthday, I promised him and his brothers that I would quit smoking, and I gave it to him as a gift for his birthday. There’s that pesky, yet effective, accountability again. I cried, smoked my last Camel Crush, smashed it out unceremoniously, and we all went to sleep for the night.
The next day I woke up wanting one but feeling like it was impossible. I stayed in bed most of the day and cried but didn’t have one.
The second day of not smoking, I got up, had coffee, and forced myself to stay out of my bed.
1,517 days later, I’m still on it.
Of course cigarettes kill people, but they’re also expensive. One thing that helped my decision to stop was that in North Carolina, they only cost $5 a pack, but when I moved to Mass, I realized they were over $10 bucks a pack! That’s per day, mind you, because that’s how much I smoked. Usually.
I’m not a math girl, but since I quit, I have saved (whoa) $15,000. That much money could pay for:
or my favorite . . .
What would you do with $15,000?
I don’t judge people’s vices. Lord knows I have my own. Smoking wasn’t my vice, I was its. I was the one who kept leaving conversations so I could go outside to smoke. I would watch my kids watch me smoke and was limited to what I could say to them because, well, hypocrisy, and my hair was always smoky. I feel better, I smell better, and I can afford groceries for a year.