For YOU. For Everyone. You need to read this, or you know someone who does.

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I quit smoking after 32 years. I was a light smoker, but I enjoyed the taste. And the relaxing rush of serotonin that never failed to calm my nerves. I quit mid-pack. I put it in my safe and promised myself I would not buy a new one.

Yay me. Right.

adult beautiful blur casual

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I have done great. The cravings are manageable. Yes, I’ve had a few. But then one Sunday I had a revelation.

I was feeling a little groggy, I’d had a nap, it was a lovely summer day. And I felt out of place, like I was missing something. I wanted something. I got tea from my fridge and saw my hard lemonade. I thought, Do I want that?

I closed the fridge and continued thinking, I could cheat on my diet with the alcohol or I could go to the safe and have a cigarette.

Hmmm? 

close up photography of a person holding cigarette

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That’s when it happened. A voice in my head said, You know, they’ve proven that causes cancer, right?

Bells, lights and whistles went off in my head!

It causes cancer. In small doses, but it’s proven. If I smoked a cigarette, it would be exactly like going to my kitchen and taking an arsenic pill. With the exception of my little dose of serotonin, it would do the same thing to my body… kill it slowly.

brown haired woman with pink lipstick biting white cigarette stick

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Arsenic, if you’re wondering, is a chemical compound. Wikipedia says: Arsenic poisoning is a medical condition that occurs due to elevated levels of arsenic in the body. If arsenic poisoning occurs over a brief period of time symptoms may include vomitingabdominal painencephalopathy, and watery diarrhea that contains blood. Long-term exposure can result in thickening of the skin, darker skin, abdominal pain, diarrhea, heart diseasenumbness, and cancer.

Yeah, gross. But the point is, in small doses they will both kill you. It’s a proven fact. Don’t believe me? Look it up. You obviously have connection to Google, if you’re here.

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I am not going to shy away from this. Keeping your serotonin rush is understandable, but selfish. It’s a selfish desire to rebel or to feed your need for relaxation. Either way, YOU are the one who is going to get cancer and make your loved ones have to watch you go through all the symptoms of cancer before you die and deprive them of more time with you.

How relaxing does that sound? Awww, can’t handle it? How about a pill or a stick full of cancer? Same thing.

I know, that was mean. I want to shake you up a little. Because now you have two choices: find a new way to cope with the loss of serotonin and the hand- to- mouth connection by picking up another habit (albeit good or bad), OR getting some help from your psych, your doctor, your church, the quitsmoking organizations, your family, your spouse, your best friends, and your social media family.

close up photo of cigarette

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Include everyone when you quit today. If the revelation didn’t hit you like it did me, think of cancer. Do you know anyone in your life suffering with it? Have you lost anyone special? You are next if you don’t quit smoking today. We are not guaranteed time. None of us. I thought of a pill, you think of any mode of ingestion and add a cancer causing chemical. Having a cigarette could mean the same to you as a shot of jack with arsenic.

Which would you choose? They’re the same.

You just don’t know it yet.

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I never even wanted to quit. I knew they cause cancer, yada yada. But I smoked them anyway. Kind of a middle finger to death attitude, a self-destruct mechanism maybe?

But then my daughter said, “Mommy I care about you. I want you to know my kids.”

And I thought, Me too.

My other kids had shouted at me, “Smoking kills.” But I already knew that. Maybe I was thinking about how it wouldn’t actually kill me. Maybe I was kind of wanting it to? I don’t know, but I wasn’t thinking of all the things I have to live for.

If someone came to you today with a life or death choice, we would all choose the “life” option. But then why do we make a death choice every time we smoke?

You can’t any more. You just can’t.

red dahlia flower

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From today: STOP. Be Well. Whether you feel no one out there cares whether you live or die, You and I do. You are worth it. If you don’t believe me, smoking is not even your issue. You need to find your self-worth before you can quit. There is help out there for that.

~Jenn Haskin

haskin.author@gmail.com

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Here are some resources on how to quit smoking and a video you need to watch on what happens to you after you quit:

http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/i-want-to-quit/

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-quit-smoking-4157296

https://smokefree.gov/quitting-smoking/steps-manage-quit-day

https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/quit-smoking#1

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