Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Saturday, September 11, 2021

My “Smoky” Past

For some reason, people tend to look at me as the good girl type. The one that follows the rules and doesn’t sway from the norm. It's not that I'm the exact opposite of that, it's just that I am not as good as people make me out to be. I have my flaws, just like everyone else. I guess that misconception is why people tend to get surprised when I admit that I used to be a smoker. People can’t seem to picture me as one. 

Image by Thomas G. from Pixabay

Looking back, I can’t remember when I started smoking but it was definitely when I was in college. I just remember my dad almost hitting me when he found out, which was ironic (?!) since he was a smoker himself. I think it was more about being the eldest child and the expectation that I should be a good example to my younger siblings than the actual smoking itself. 

I’d like to think that I was more of a social smoker than anything else. I wasn’t hooked on it. Well, not as much as some other people are anyway. When I used to go out in college, a lot of the people I was with smoked, so it just became a habit that I developed through my social scene at the time. Later on, it became a sort of regular bonding moment between me and one of my close friends: we would hang out early in the morning to have breakfast together and smoke, talking about what happened the day before and what we planned to do at school that day. If there was anything that kept me smoking for some time, it was the comfort that I associated with it due to those mornings. 

What was my brand of choice? I started with Marlboro Reds, but I later switched to Gold but Menthol was generally what I preferred. I tried smoking those cigarettes for women (slims, I think they were called...which I assume made them “girly”), but they didn’t really do much for me. I wasn’t choosy when I had to bum a smoke though. 

After college, I still smoked socially, but I had been slowly starting to wean myself off it. It was too expensive a habit to have and I had encountered people with family members who had been diagnosed with cancer from smoking. One acquaintance even had a father who died from lung cancer after quitting smoking for 10 years. Later on, my own grandfather died from emphysema, caused by his own smoking habit. When I had my own thyroid cancer scare, at the back of my mind I was blaming my smoking for it as well (since I had this habit of trying to keep the smoke in my throat sometimes). That and due to my other existing health conditions that I had before smoking, I managed to eventually quit the habit. 

I have to admit that it wasn’t easy for a while. I gained weight when I quit, for one thing. Then there’d be moments when I felt too full after a meal and wanted to smoke to help me feel better. Or I’d be upset and wanted to smoke to ease the tension I was feeling. Sometimes I still find myself wanting to grab a smoke for those reasons but thankfully, smoking is banned in most areas of the country now and yosi (cigarettes, that’s a Filipino slang word for it) is more expensive now than it used to be. 

Someone asked me if I’ve ever tried to vape. I haven’t. I think that’s an even more expensive habit than smoking and I’ve been told it has much worse health effects later on compared to cigarette smoking. Plus, those flavors that you can choose from sound really weird (Yakult flavor? Seriously?). I have a co-worker who vapes and I’ve asked about it and even if I still smoked that probably wouldn’t be for me. 

I think that smoking, while bad for your health, is not something that I would dictate to people on whether to do or not. I would not recommend it but I would not order someone not to try it if they want to. If someone is aware of the health consequences of smoking and still continues to do so, that is his/her right and choice — just don’t smoke in my face or in front of kids. 

If someone wants to try it, go ahead, but that person has to be aware of what he or she is getting into not just health-wise, but also spending-wise (once I had quit I realized that all the money I spent on smoking could have been better used elsewhere).

Do you smoke? Were you able to avoid having that experience? Share your story with me in the comments section!



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