Stub it out

There is no better day than May 31 to quit the deadly habit of smoking. Yes, it is World No Tobacco Day, on the occasion of which Metrolife spoke to some brave-hearts in the City, who used to be regular or chain smokers, but finally took the call and decided to stop smoking. And believe it or not, these former smokers have been living happily ever after. 

Nithesh, who works for the pharmaceutical industry had been smoking for 11 years before he decided to quit in 2001. “I had wanted to quit smoking a 1,000 times but it never worked out,” he laughs. “But I started suffering from bronchitis. One day, a friend of mine told me that my time is up unless I quit smoking.” Nithesh was even told to reduce his intake of cigarettes slowly. But he rubbishes the entire myth. “It is only when you stop smoking abruptly that you can actually quit.”

Meetali, a self-employed businesswoman has quit smoking for two years now after having been a smoker for 20 years. She has a funny story to tell on how she kicked the habit. “I would always use a matchbox to light a cigarette. So I would smoke till the matches lasted. But two years ago on April 30, the cigarette, which I lit with the last match present in the box became my last cigarette.” So did she have a tough time sticking to her decision? “Surprisingly, the people around me had a tougher time,” she laughs. “They would worry that  I was going hungry and would offer me lots to eat. So I ended up snacking and putting on weight.” 

It’s been six months since Dattatri, a graphic  and web designer at an advertising agency quit smoking. And he admits that he is happier than ever.

“Whenever you smoke, your daily routines suffer a lot. Life can be enjoyed to the fullest only when one doesn’t smoke,” he feels. Being around smokers, Dattatri did have a tough time in making up his mind to quit. “I don’t know what happened but I suddenly quit. I just felt that I shouldn’t break the promise that I have made to myself.”

Ajith Lakshmiratan, a senior employee of the RBI, has taken up the task of educating people about the ill-effects of nicotine. He even has a blog in which he has many useful tips to offer. “I used to get many emails seeking help. Since I couldn’t reply personally to each mail, I put it up on my blog,” he says. Ajith, who used to smoke up to 30 cigarettes a day or even more, till he quit in 1993, certainly sets an example for many. “I used to pant after climbing a flight of steps, but today I can climb up to five floors and even give an interview,” he laughs. “Even after I quit smoking, many wouldn’t believe that I quit. They would keep asking me for a smoke.”

According to Ajith, there is no such thing as a nicotine craving. But Ajith doesn’t believe in advising people to stop smoking. “Once a senior of mine told me to stop smoking, but I told him I will quit when I reach his age,” he says. “So I never make that mistake of telling people to stop.” But he warns that a few cigarettes may lead to chain smoking.

 Like the others who have quit smoking, even Ajith has one advice for smokers. “You can quit only when you completely stop. If you start reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke a day, you will definitely get back to smoking with a vengeance,” he says. “So stop it totally, and you will feel the difference. In fact, your food will taste so good that you will end up putting on weight.” But that’s just a small price one pays for not lighting up, isn’t it?

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