It's National Kick Butts Day - a day dedicated to ending the smoking habit. I started chewing when I was 12 and smoking regularly by age 14.  I did have about a year of being nicotine free, but for the most part, I've been a pretty dedicated, habitual user.

When I initially quit smoking, I had been sick with the flu for about three days.  Smoking was impossible and honestly, even the thought of a chew made me feel sick.  The nicotine itself gets out of your system in about 48 hours...after that, it's just the habit.  I decided I would run with it and just not buy anymore tobacco products.  In order to keep me from freaking out and giving up, I bought one of those disposable vaping pens from the gas station.  I thought, if I ever get really desperate, I'll just take a hit off of that and see if I can avoid buying a pack of smokes.  About five days in, I was feeling better and felt like I hadn't eaten in days.  After a big meal, I instinctively reached for my cigarettes and realized I didn't have any.  A moment of panic set in....my first big craving.  I retrieved my vape pen, took a big hit, and coughed so hard I almost lost my lunch.  It was actually enough to make me not want another.  I had a couple more instances of cravings, but to the best of my memory, never used the pen again.

After about a year of being smoke free, I was reading this article on pipe smoking.  I have great memories of my dad smoking a pipe and the aroma that it left in the house.  I decided I would go get a pipe, some tobacco and simply not inhale.  In hindsight, it was a bad plan.  Within a month, I was smoking cigarettes again.

I didn't make a conscious effort to stop smoking this time around, it just sort of happened.  I bought some Zyn pouches (yes they contain nicotine and yes I still haven't kicked the nicotine habit, but stay with me).  The product says it contains nicotine derived from tobacco, but contains no actual tobacco.  I am not advocating that you buy them as I have no idea what, if any, health implications are involved.  I will say only this: I'm using less of them each day.  I often realize that I have missed one of my natural cues, e.g. first waking up, after a big meal, etc.  I'm not sure if I will eventually just taper off of them with no issues or not, but I do know I have way less nicotine intake now and haven't had any tobacco or vape in the last three weeks.

All that stuff aside, you know the reasons to quit, so I won't lecture you on those points, but I will say that the number one reason people quit is money and the prices will keep going up.

If you're having a go at quitting, hang in there!