Smoke Free for 365 Days

July 1st marks one year since I put out my last cigarette, so on this fine occasion I thought I’d interview myself about life after smoking.

Were you a heavy smoker?

Not really. I smoked a pack a day for about ten years, but the later years were spent puffing on those incredibly light 1mg menthol things.

Why did you quit smoking?

Good question. It wasn’t for health or financial reasons. I decided to kick the habit because I was about to become a dad, and didn’t want to be smoking around a baby.

How did you quit?

10 weeks worth of nicotine patches did the trick. I had to get my Net Buddy 4 Life to bring them over from Canada because in Japan (until very recently), you had to see a doctor if you wanted patches.

Was it easy quitting?

The first few days were pretty tough, but after that, with the help of the patches it was easier than I thought. I should say that it was my third serious attempt at giving up, so I knew what to expect. Even a year later, I get the occasional urge for a cigarette, but have resisted so far.

Do you feel any healthier?

I was expecting to feel a lot healthier by now, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I’m not as short of breath as I used to be, and I don’t have much of a cough these days, but I don’t really feel all that different, which is kind of disappointing.

Was it worth it?

Although there’s the possibility of cigarettes tripling in price very soon, smoking in Japan is a very affordable habit, so I haven’t really benefited financially. However, saying that, being smoke free for a year did get me a discount on my life insurance payments.

As for my health, well it’s hard to judge how much I’ve extended my life. Smoking was a great pleasure, and I tend to think living a little less as a smoker would be more enjoyable than living a little longer as a non-smoker. For something as wonderful as smoking, I’m surprised companies aren’t falling over themselves to manufacture healthy cigarettes. They did it with coffee (decaf), chocolate (low fat) and cola (diet), but rather than people accepting low tar cigarettes, they ban smoking altogether! Go figure!

I would be very interested to see a peer reviewed study that proves secondhand smoke from a 1mg cigarette causes lung cancer. I just cannot believe it’s possible! Anyway…

Will you ever smoke again?

I really hope so. Either when I’m so old it won’t matter, or when the cost is so high that getting addicted again would be impossible. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a wonderful side effect of not smoking… a belly! Yes, can you believe it? For the first time since puberty, I’ve actually gained some weight! I’ve tried in vein for nearly two decades to gain weight and at last, I have a whopping 62kgs hanging off my 6ft frame!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

27 thoughts on “Smoke Free for 365 Days

  1. You sir are out of order!!! What do you mean you haven’t benefited financially? That’s crazier than saying that 9/11 WAS’NT an inside job!

    According to my calculations a pack of cigarettes in Japan is about 300 yen… times that by 365 days and it equals 109,500 Yen which is about 1100 U.S. dollars! Oh but I guess a 1100 bucks is chump change for my net buddy 4 life… Oh and then of course there is the savings of life insurance premiums. How much were they Mr. Ramsay? Mmmmm?????

    The second piece of your total disregard for the truth and reckless abandon in journalism ethics is your statement regarding the 1mg causing cancer… It is a scientific fact that smoking causes cancer. Just like tanning beds! (I wonder how much hate mail I’ll get the tanning salon people for that!) Yes 1mg is a small amount of tobacco but have you considered the nearly 5000 different chemicals that are found to be in cigarettes?

    It’s too bad that you haven’t seen a big improvement in your health however I don’t think you would see a big change because I don’t think you do things that up your heart rate. (i.e. sports) If I’m wrong, please correct me. 🙂

    I’m happy to hear that you have gained weight and I hope you continue to do so! 62 kg still seems quite light for your size though.

    Oh and I’ll bet Mami is happy you don’t smoke. Stale tobacco gets in to clothes and what about the inconvenience of going outside everytime you need a puff?

    Anyway I know you love smoking but congrats on your one year anniversary! You’ve done what a lot people have failed at doing so that rules! I hope you won’t be mad at me but to me not writing the above is the equivalent of saying that there isn’t going to be a war with Iran by the the time Bush is out of office!

    Peace, Love, Empathy Forever,

    Your Net Buddy 4 Life

    1. You forget that money for cigarettes gets spent on other things to keep your mouth occupied – drinks, candy, chocolate… more than the cost of smoking itself! Why do you think I’ve gained a few pounds?

      I found a list of 994 chemicals in cigarettes, but it included such toxic chemicals as apple juice concentrate, butter, cocoa, vinegar and flour! See for yourself.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like you’re saying that quitting smoking isn’t good enough, I have to exercise, too? That’s asking too much!

  2. Nice work Nick. I’m a bit over 3 yrs without one myself. I feel fantastic to what i did before …. but then again i was smoking over a pack a day for 16 yrs and although starting on 16mg i only worked down to 8mg for the last few years.

    One thing i found beneficial was to review that chart, there’s plenty around on the internet, that shows what you parts of your body improve after how long without a smoke …. it helped me get to each milestone knowing the blod would finally travel properly to my hands and feet after x months.

    I firmly believe “once a smoker, always a smoker” and many years down the track in my retirement i expect i will light up again …. it was truly one of my favourite things … however the downside of smoking outweighed it in the end.

    Also in Australia when i was on the burners they were 10 bucks a pack …. so yes, i saw some major benefits financially.

    Good luck with it anyway.

    1. Great comment Neil and Congrats on your success. I’ve never smoked but I’ve seen my Dad try to quit and can imagine how hard it must be.

    2. It’s great and encouraging to hear you’re feeling so much healthier after three years. I can’t imagine how hard it must be trying to quit after smoking as passionately as you, Neil!

  3. Congratulations Nick! I’m still on the smoking side and haven’t been blessed with the great inspiration that you had to quit.

    1. You never know, Shane, in a few years it will probably be either illegal to smoke, or prohibitively expensive to do so. I imagine it would be much easier to quit when you’re given no choice!

    2. After years of my mother asking whether i was still smoking or not, even though she knew the answer before i gave it to her, i decided to give up 60 days before her 60th birthday …. then naturally on her 60th birthday when she hadn’t seen me light up i was finally able to say yes, i have given up … it was worth it seeing her face that day. I can’t let her down and smoke again.

  4. Yes mike your comments were too harsh as it is a scientific fact that you can die with a chopstick up your nose!! Second hand smoking mmmmmm christ it just makes me want to puke!
    Sure smoking in a nice restaurant and blowing it over the person next to you is rude or sitting on the bullet train in the smoking car when you don’t smoke is probably just plain stupid but geez we go over board about the bloody things that can kill us these days!
    Science can prove anything is wants but geez we should start living and not worry about dying so god Dam much! I’m sure in this last century science has found at least a thousand more ways the human-being can die!!! Thank God for science!!!

    1. We’d all be much happier if our newspapers we’re filled with headlines like “Chocolate cake proven to build muscles”, “Scientists show that excessive alcohol consumption reverses hair loss” or “Anti-smoking movement blamed for butter shortages”.

  5. So that’s where all my butter went!!!! Those B@stards!!!!

    Great job though Nick. I imagine it is difficult to quit smoking in country that is so tobacco friendly.

    I hate to fuel the fires here, but having watched my father die from lung cancer and having suffered from asthma for most of my childhood I find it impossible to defend public smoking in any way. But, I don’t blame the smokers. Big Tobacco is one of the eviliest institutions this planet has ever seen. They have been knowningly addicting and destroying the health of people since at least the 1950’s. Apologies to all the smokers here, but I think you are much better off if you follow Nick’s lead and quit.

    1. You’ve hit me round the head with big dose of reality, Steve. I will retreat to my corner, chew on some gum and just be grateful I was able to kick the habit.

  6. This can’t go without a mention. The Dutch have introduce a smoking ban in all public places, but according to the BBC

    People are no longer allowed to light cigarettes in bars and public places in the Netherlands, but cannabis smokers are exempt if their joints do not contain tobacco.

  7. Good on you for kicking the habit. I hate to say it, but smokers stink! Literally. Thinking about ditching my current gf because of it.

  8. Congrats on quitting! As someone else said, even in Japan you’re saving money on not buying cigarettes, but also think how much money you may be saving in medical expenses had you gotten any cancer later in life.

    As for someone inventing a “safe” cigarette, I don’t know. Even without all the chemicals, I was under the assumption that smoke inhalation of any kind was bad for you. 😉

  9. Nick, I am surprised to hear that you even took up smoking. You were so against it as a child after seeing that smoking skeleton in the doctor’s surgery and because it affected your asthma. You always used to leave the room if someone started smoking. What happened? Anyway I totally agree with Mike’s comments and I am so glad you have stopped , not only for your own sake but for the sake of that beautiful grandson of mine. You need to show him a good example. Please don’t be tempted to start again. You knoe it killed your grandad.

    1. As a child I was the innocent victim of anti-smoking propaganda in the form of Superman vs Nick-o-teen. Remember that? I think sharing a name with the smoking villain, a fact which my classmates were very aware of, contributed to my hatred of smoking.

      Why did I start? In 1998 in Japan almost everybody smoked. Cigarettes were ridiculously cheap, available from vending machines on every street corner, and no-smoking areas were unheard of. Even McDonald’s was filled with smoke. I guess it was a case of when in Rome do what the Romans do, plus anyone likely to criticize me for it was 6,000 miles away.

  10. Hmm … I’m surprised I haven’t commented on this.

    Congrats on kicking the habit, Nick. Hopefully this one week blooging hiatus isn’t due to you picking up the habit again 😛

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