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JonStarkgaryen Offline
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Name: Harrison
Age: 20
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Location: The United Kingdom

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Join Date: March 10th 2016

I just can't stop it. (Tobacco/Cigarettes) - March 17th 2016, 08:19 PM

So, a few months ago (if you'd like an exact approximation of time, I'd say late November or early December) I began smoking cigarettes. I think there's a variety of factors at play for why I began in the first place, but I guess that the two big ones would be that most of my friends are smokers and have been for ages now, and that I was (and still am) feeling really stressed out, pressured and clustered with my final school exams drawing nearer and nearer.

I started smoking and continued to smoke to look big and cool in front of my friends as well as fit in better at first, but as time has gone on I've been doing it more as something I'm dependable on than something I do just because everyone else around me is doing it. My one cigarette every few days has steadily become about five or six in one day, and I know for sure that any amount of tobacco in your lungs isn't healthy; that's coming from somebody who's had a close relative very nearly pass away from leukaemia, which makes me feel all the shittier and stupider for picking up this habit in the first place.

Being honest, I feel really conflicted on what I want to do with my habit at this point. My head's telling me that I need to nip it in the bud, that the pros outweigh the cons. It's kind of destroyed my relationship at home with my parents, for one; they've caught me doing it before in the past, but just yesterday they found out I'm still smoking when I lied to them saying that I wasn't. They've grounded me, took my debit-card away so I don't get my monthly allowance and they've confiscated by school pass, so that I can't go out of school during lunch period and go for a smoke. I really did feel guilty having to lie to them about what I was doing, and I've lied to my parents about quite a few things before. With this, though, it felt totally different.

I'm also enrolling on a college course that's 40% something fitness once I'm done with school, and I know that I'll stuff everything up completely if I carry on smoking; that's what worries me the most, actually. I really do want college to be my second-chance where I can enjoy doing all the things that I never got a chance to do in school, strengthen my mind, my body and just generally turn myself around for the better and get in with a nicer crowd. I'm really, really worried about flunking an opportunity like this.

Another part of me, though, wants to keep on smoking, or at least wants to drag it out until my exams are over and all my worries and anxieties at current can be put to rest. It actually does work really well for me as a way of de-stressing. Before I started smoking, my way of chilling out and calming down was to engross myself in video games and the internet, but that just made me reclusive, even more socially-awkward and a little bit overweight. I honestly don't know which is better.

This next reason will probably sound really daft, but it actually does help me fit in with my friends a lot more and feel less awkward and self-conscious around them. Since we're all doing something in common, we can all discuss it and enjoy it together, if that makes any sense? I'm certain a few of you reading this will know what I'm getting at, here.

So, finally, to round this thing off; what's the way in which you guys would recommend that I quit? The wiser part of me really does want to pack it up and detach from it for good, and I know I can make the effort in doing so if I have a way of helping me through it. I've considered getting an electronic cigarette or a shisha pen and smoking that as an alternative and slowly just weening myself off of actual tobacco, but since my parents have taken all of my money, that's not an option that's on the table at present.

Oh, and sorry this dragged on for quite a while; I just had a lot playing on my mind, a lot I wanted to get off of my chest... :P
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MsNobleEleanor Offline
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Re: I just can't stop it. (Tobacco/Cigarettes) - March 17th 2016, 11:36 PM

Hello Harrison and welcome to TeenHelp.

It's good that you explained what is going on and how you are feeling, it's good to express ourselves and ask for support and guidance on how to quit smoking or to lesson the amount you smoke. I will go through a few different things that you mentioned and the links to smoking and how it affects you (not just your health). I want to mention that the current law in The United Kingdom for smoking is age 18 to purchase cigarettes, I am not sure if you have someone buy them for you or you entered in the wrong age when registering. If you are under the age of 16, if police see you they will take away your cigarettes.

I have some good news to give but it's news that will be also hard. You recently started to smoke cigarettes, which means you have a better success rate to quitting. It will be hard to quit because of the nicotine in your blood stream. If you take someone who smoked for a year or more, it can be harder for them to quit because they now have a behavior they do. Changing behaviors is very hard when you do that for a longer time frame. You haven't been smoking for a long time for it to be a huge barrier but there will be barriers.

Stress contribution to a lot of things we tend to do just to lesson the stress or be able to cope and get by. Smoking helps reduce that stress for a short time but it only creates a ripple effect on your body. When you inhale it fills your lungs and then the nicotine goes into your blood stream, which can calm you down or feel better but then you need another cigarette to fix that fix in order to cope because of stress or other factors. You get addicted to the nicotine.

The other factors are if you notice you smoke at a certain time or a place, for instance walking home through the woods, this is a place where you smoke. In order to quit smoking is to wean yourself off, avoid places where you would normally smoke, if you are able to get through that time frame then you have reached a goal. For an example you smoke a total of 7 cigarettes a day, cut 1 cigarette out completely. You need to be gentle with your body, going cold turkey will only relapse you.

Setting goals to quit smoking is very important. Goals that you know you can achieve, don't set goals that aren't something you could do, you will only add more stress onto quitting. Setting goals will allow you to keep track of a small goal ending or result you've set, which should have a time frame. For example, you smoke 7 cigarettes a day and cut 1 cigarette out each day, instead of cutting 1 cigarette out every day, reduce the cigarette for a few days at 6 cigarettes a day, this allows you to know you can cope without having to smoke 7 cigarettes. You can set the goal for 14 days, then reduce it again. If that makes sense. At the end of each goal reward yourself with something healthy.

I do understand the smoking socially, you are able to carry a conversation with others, you have common interests (besides cigarettes) and you make new friends. This also makes sense when you have social anxiety, the stress is lessoned because you are with other who are doing the same thing, having a cigarette. This is one of the hardest challenges you may experience, someone offering you a cigarette and to chat. It's hard to give up that social time. You would need to replace that with something else, maybe a sport, book club, or event you can be involved in. Usually you will have common interests with peers if you choose something you enjoy.

You can also reach out to your family doctor or nurse for support in quitting smoking, they may offer counseling, suggestions, a quit smoking group, or other resources. You can also look into community events on quitting smoking where you can share your thoughts, frustrations, and ask questions to those who are trying to quit smoking. This might be helpful to know that others are trying to quit and they slip up because of something happened, so you don't feel alone.

In the end you can continue to smoke but that is your choice to continue or go on the path to quitting.

From personal experience, smoking cigarettes feels great in the moment but you feel slightly crappy after, dry mouth, bad breath, feeling lightheaded from lack of circulation, and the constant battle to have the financial means to pay for a bad habit. Quitting is a big step forward but can cause a lot of frustrations, having a support system who are going through the process of quitting or have quit can be very helpful.

One thing that really helped me was doing something to replace the cigarettes, like chewing gum. If you are able to get through those stressful moments and not turn to a cigarette than you have managed to not smoke but instead do something else like breathing or going for a walk.

I understand your frustration that your parents took your debit card and card for school, they only want you to be healthy and not having cigarettes. Have you talked with your parents about your thoughts about smoking, that you are struggling to know if you want to quit and how that will look and what challenges you face if you continue because you are wanting to go to College for fitness. It might be something you can receive some guidance on. If you are unable to talk with your parents are you able to talk to your school's guidance counselor? They may provide you with resources or alternatives to help you quit (nicotine gum, patches, etc.,) so you are successful. You can also express your thoughts with them as well.

I hope this was helpful, I know it's long with a lot of information if something wasn't clear feel free to reply or send me a message.

Take care.

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