I Used To Be A Smoker: My History With Cigarettes


Yes, I used to be a smoker.

And this is my history.

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When and how I started:

Both my parents smoked, but they would tell us how unhealthy it was for you and that as long as we were living at home, we were forbidden to smoke. And even as a kid, I thought, "Oh really? You mean, do as I say, not as I do?"

But eventually, I did start to smoke. My cousin and I used to confiscate large cigarette butts out of the ashtrays from our parents' cars, and then smoke them in the back yard whenever our families would get together on the weekends.

However, I didn't "officially" start smoking until I was 18-years old and living in New York City; attending an acting school at the time. For one of my acting classes, I had to perform a scene from a play and decided that my character in the scene needed to smoke. Don't ask me why I decided that, but I did. I think I was just nervous and thought that smoking a cigarette would give me something to do with my hands in the scene.

And I will never forget the first cigarette brand I purchased. Do any of you remember seeing this brand back in the 70's?...


And the primary reason I chose that brand was because of the cool-looking filter...


True came in regular and menthol, I smoked menthol. Which is ironic because I ended up thinking that menthol cigarettes were revolting and switched to regular. You see, back then, the majority of people who wanted to try smoking would start with menthol because they were "supposedly" more mild. However, it's been proven that menthol cigarettes are actually more harmful than regular, as well as filtered cigarettes are more harmful than non-filtered. 

My smoking habit:

I always had an odd relationship with cigarettes. 

I could go for months and never have the desire to smoke a cigarette, and then suddenly start smoking again. I rarely ever smoked during the day. I was more of a nighttime smoker.

I was a very considerate smoker in that I would never flick my cigarette butts out of a car window or toss them on the ground. And if I knew that cigarettes bothered someone, I wouldn't smoke around them. Also, I never smoked in a restaurant because I thought that eating food and cigarette smoke were a hideous combination. And I was never one of those smokers who craved a cigarette after I ate.   

I pretty much only smoked in my own apartment; outdoors; or if I was at a nightclub with friends. That was back in the day when smoking was permitted in bars and nightclubs. Hell, that was back in the day when you could smoke on an airplane, which I did. I used to always reserve my seat in the smoking section of the plane so that I could have a cigarette after I heard the *ding* and the "no smoking" sign went off. And do you remember when they used to have smoking areas in hospitals?!? That immediately causes me to recall a scene in the Bette Davis movie, Dark Victory, where she and her DOCTOR were smoking cigarettes in her hospital room the night before her brain surgery. 

Which is unfathomable, because today all of those things are strictly forbidden. 

Other cigarette brands I smoked:

Now + More
*the only reason I smoked More was because of the popular 1980's nighttime television drama, Dynasty, in which Alexis Carrington Colby (Joan Collins) smoked More cigarettes. And in bed. And wearing a full face of makeup, including a shinny red lip gloss that somehow never smudged. LOL!


And this was the brand I ended up smoking for most of my cigarette years, until I stopped...


When and why I stopped smoking:

It has now been almost six years since I puffed on a cigarette. And I quit for several reasons.

1. In the last two years of smoking, I began to smoke more frequently and started feeling the physical effects such as, shortness of breath while climbing stairs, and I had developed a cough. I also noticed that my energy level was lower than it used to be, and began to experience cigarette hangovers in the morning. 

2. The cost. When a pack of cigarettes climbed to $10.00 (and $13.00 in NYC), I thought, "No. This is ridiculous."

But above all, I realized that I was taking my good health for granted by abusing it with cigarettes. And that made me very sad. 

So one day I just stopped. Like that. And it was the only time I ever attempted to stop smoking. 

It was an adjustment at first, because cigarettes are extremely addictive. And the addiction is not only physical, but psychological as well, which I believe is the stronger addiction of the two because smoking is associated with a feeling. So it's a matter of disassociating the "action" of smoking from that feeling. 

But after a few months, I got used to not lighting up a cigarette and have never gone back to smoking.

Do I think about cigarettes every so often? Yes. But I won't go backwards.

Once I stopped smoking:

Once I stopped smoking, I promised myself that I would never become like so many other reformed smokers who LOVE to point fingers and preach to smokers about HOW THEY NEED TO STOP BECAUSE IT'S SOOOO BAD FOR YOU. And these are the same people who smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day for 35 years. 

And I have stuck to my promise. I've never once preached to a smoker that they should stop because I know how much I hated it when someone did that to me. 

Things I noticed after I stopped smoking:

My sense of taste and smell came back to life. And that is something I didn't realize until I stopped smoking. Suddenly my food had a fuller taste, and my sense of smell became more acute. 

My teeth and skin looked cleaner and brighter.

My naturally high energy level was restored. 

My clothes no longer smelled like smoke.

When I moved from my last apartment to this apartment, I noticed that when I took the pictures off the walls, I could see a revealing line of difference between the yellow walls and the white areas behind the pictures. Which was due to nicotine stains from all the years of smoking in that apartment. 

What I learned about deciding to quit:

From doing research, I discovered that things like nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, lozenges, electronic cigarettes, nasal sprays or inhalers, are only beneficial for short-term. And in reality, those things are merely a trade-off for the same addiction in a different form. 

I truly believe that you will only stop smoking when you are 100% absolutely ready to stop.

You have to get to the point of being totally over them.  

There has to be something inside of you that realizes once and for all, "I've had enough."


Have a terrific week, everyone!
💗


28 comments

  1. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comSeptember 29, 2020

    Well done you for quitting! I really hate the smell of cigarettes... I did try to smoke at university, but just couldn't because when I was about four or five I ate a cigarette thinking it was candy - and I was very very sick.

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  2. Ron, you are spot on when you said this, "smoking is associated with a feeling. So it's a matter of disassociating the "action" of smoking from that feeling." Like you, I was a smoker and that was the hardest thing for me to break the habit of. I smoked more when I was upset or nervous. I also smoked more when I was out drinking with friends.

    Yes, I also hated when ex-smokers would preach to me the hazards of smoking. I never did that when I stopped because I knew it was annoying as hell.

    GREAT post, Ron. And congrats on quitting! x

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  3. "And in bed. And wearing a full face of makeup, including a shinny red lip gloss that somehow never smudged." Ron, that made me laugh my ass off because I used to watch Dynasty and that is so true! Alexis always had a full face of makeup that looked like it never moved.

    I never smoked, but I had a boyfriend who did and I remember how hard it was for him to stop. He tried several times using the nicotine gum and it really didn't help all that much. He eventually went back to smoking because I don't think he was really ready to stop. We broke up, so I don't know if he still smokes or quit. From being with him for many years, I do know how hard it is to stop. The only thing that ever really bothered me about his smoking habit was the stale smell of cigarettes on his clothes.

    Happy to read that you haven't gone back. Good for you, Ron!

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  4. Thanks, Fiona! Yes, me too, that's one of the major things I didn't like about smoking....the smell. And it's funny because I don't mind the smell of pipe tobacco or even cigars, but cigarettes are completely different.

    " I did try to smoke at university, but just couldn't because when I was about four or five I ate a cigarette thinking it was candy - and I was very very sick."

    Oh no! And I bet you did get very very sick. Well, at least that turned you completely off to smoking when you got older.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrreat week!
    X

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  5. Hey there Candice!

    For me, that was the most challenging part of quitting--disassociating the action of smoking from that feeling. And it's ironic because it feels at though the act of smoking is calming you down, however, it's actually doing the complete opposite. I also noticed that in my last two years of smoking, I was smoking more when I was sitting at my desk on the computer. That was a hard part of the habit to break because I'm on my computer a lot.

    Congrats on quitting too! And yes, it's such a freeing feeling, not to feel that "need" anymore. Not to mention the cost and the health issues.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an awesome week!
    X

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  6. Hola Denise!

    I just could resist sharing about the character Alexis on Dynasty because it always blew my mind that she could wear a full face of makeup (IN BED); smoke; and yet her lip gloss never smudged. LOL! However, I did read that Joan Collins no longer smokes.

    I never tried the nicotine withdraw products but I did do some research on them to see if they really worked. Like I shared, they're short-term. I honestly believe you have to want to stop 100% and then just do it. It's a hard habit to break, for sure.

    I never liked the smell as well. And regardless that my clothes were kept in a closet, the cigarette smoke still got to them because I could smell it when I put them on.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Have a faaaaaabulous week!
    X

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  7. Wow! I had no idea that you ever smoked, probably because I know what a healthy eater and active lifestyle you have now. I’m so glad you quit! Smoking has done so much harm to so many people. It’s shocking that it was allowed in public places for so long. And even non smokers had ashtrays in their homes for when smokers visited. Crazy to think about! I tried cigarettes maybe a half dozen times in college, mostly just to see what it was like. When I smell smoke from others (which is so rare anymore), it immediately transports me to summers spent outdoors at amusement parks and the like. And I admit I like that! Lol!

    I know one other person who quit cold turkey like you did. You are in the minority, that’s for sure. Congrats on kicking the habit! XO

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  8. I know, and because I didn't (hardly ever) smoked during the day, people I worked with had no idea that I was a smoker. And because I am in the cosmetic/skincare/fragrance industry, I didn't want the "cigarette smell" on me when I worked. So no one really knew that I smoked at night except my friends.

    And you're right, smoking does so much harm. And all though I didn't smoke a lot for the majority of time, the physical affects eventually caught up with me; especially the last two years when I started to smoke more.

    The thing that blows me away about how smoking used to be was how it was allowed in hospitals! Even now, I see medical people who work at the various hospitals in my neighborhood smoking while walking down the street in their hospital scrubs.

    "When I smell smoke from others (which is so rare anymore), it immediately transports me to summers spent outdoors at amusement parks and the like. And I admit I like that! Lol!"

    Yes, isn't it something how scents remind you of different things?

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have an AWESOME week!

    X

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  9. Thanks, Ron, for sharing your experiences as a smoker and kudos to you for quitting. I've seen the prices of cigarettes which is truly amazing.

    The "only" time I ever smoked was when I tried it while in high school and the brand was Salem, which sounded like a "cool" name. I can't recall HOW I got a pack, but do remember that it was hid in a shoebox in my room which my mother found! Actually that was a good thing, because after I had tried 1 there wasn't a desire to try any more, perhaps it was my inexperience in puffing, but after her discovery it would not have been worth the trouble to try again and the urge wasn't really there.
    My late father was a constant smoker who also enjoyed the occasional cigar, which were usually holiday gifts. Ironically he had quit a few years before his death at 68, but I fear the damage had already been done from his life-long habit. My brother was a smoker in his younger days, but quit many years ago. My husband who ironically was a fire-fighter also was a smoker for many years, but like you he also quit cold turkey shortly after we met, which made me happy.

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  10. I'm glad you quit smoking for good, Ron -- I know you feel better, more energetic, and more able to fight off illnesses (like colds) because of it.


    I've never smoked. Never. The only time I was even tempted was in college when one of my friends made it look so doggone glamorous, ha! But my dad smoked when I was little, and I hated the smell of it, the way it yellowed his fingers and made him cough. He'd have been most disappointed in me if I'd ever started smoking, I'm sure.


    Thank you for honestly sharing your story here. I hope it helps someone who's on the fence about quitting! xo

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  11. Kudos to you for realizing the health benefits of quitting and the health risks of not quitting. I've never smoked but some in our family have..and still do. Isn't it interesting how cultural beliefs change from generation to generation? Smoking on a plane and in a hospital seems so counter intuitive now, knowing what we know. Makes one wonder what else is acceptable now that will seem ridiculous in the future. Hope your week is going well. X

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  12. Hey there D!

    I know, are the prices of cigarettes INSANE? I was in New York City last year and stopped in a Duane Reade to get a bottle water and noticed the cigarette display behind the cashier and the prices were now up to $15.00 a pack. Yikes!

    "The "only" time I ever smoked was when I tried it while in high school and the brand was Salem, which sounded like a "cool" name. I can't recall HOW I got a pack, but do remember that it was hid in a shoebox in my room which my mother found! "

    OMG... that is so funny! And do you know what? My father smoked Salem! And I can still remember seeing a pack on his dresser in his bedroom. And good for you not ever picking up the habit. It's a hard one to break because it's so addictive. I read somewhere that giving up cigarettes is harder than given up heroin

    "My husband who ironically was a fire-fighter also was a smoker for many years, but like you he also quit cold turkey shortly after we met, which made me happy."


    That's AWESOME! My whole family smoked, so growing up in the 50's I wasn't constantly around it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a superb week!

    X

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  13. Thanks, Debbie! I'm glad I quit too because I could definitely feel a difference between how my body felt before and after I quit. And you don't realize that until you stop.

    "The only time I was even tempted was in college when one of my friends made it look so doggone glamorous, ha! "

    Ha! I know what you mean because whenever I watch old movies and see people smoking, it really does look glamorous!

    And you're right, the smell of cigarettes is pretty darn disgusting. Even for someone like me who smoked, I always hated how cigarette smoke smelled and how it made your clothes smell. The smell keeps lingering. And good for you for never smoking and picking up the habit because there is nothing good about it.

    For some reason, I suddenly had the desire to share this story, which is one that I've never shared on my blog before.

    Much thanks for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaaaaabulous week!

    X

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  14. Thank you, Lisa! Because I didn't smoke much, it took longer for the effects to affect me. But they eventually did. And being someone who (other than smoking cigarettes) has always been very conscious of my health, I thought, "Why the hell am I doing this to myself?!?!" So, I quit. And it was challenging at first, but after the first couple of months, it got easier.

    Good for you for never smoking.

    " Isn't it interesting how cultural beliefs change from generation to generation? Smoking on a plane and in a hospital seems so counter intuitive now, knowing what we know."

    OMG...I know, isn't that something how beliefs change? But even me, someone who was a smoker, I could never understand why they would allow smoking in a HOSPITAL where people are sick. But even today I see medical people on the streets smoking in their hospital scrubs.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. And yes, my week is going well. Hope yours is too!

    X

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  15. Ron, this post could not have come at a more perfect time for me because I smoke and have wanting to stop for the past year. My girlfriend used to smoke too, but she stopped before we started dating. I have such a love/hate relationship with cigarettes because enjoy smoking but I know how shitty it is for me, but I do it anyway. You're spot on when you say it's more psychological because it is. I really is. And people who don't smoke can't understand that.

    I think I'm at the point you speak of, being TOTALLY over them. And I know your right in saying that you just have to be 100% ready to do it. And I'm there!

    So thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement, they really hit a nerve. And kudos to you for quitting. I hope one day I can say that it's been almost SIX years since I puffed on a cigarette.

    Thanks, dude!

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  16. Hiya Matt!

    So happy to read that this post was timely. And believe me, I SO TOTALLY know how you feel because I was at that same point when I quit. So know that YOU can do it too if you're ready. Isn't smoking such a crazy habit? Even though you know that it's unhealthy, you do it anyway. I just got to a point where I could feel my body pleading with me to stop and felt sad about that. I realized that I was taking my good health for granted.

    Like I said, I was ready. And I mean REALLY ready, so as challenging as it was at times, I felt myself pushing ahead. And trust me, it's gets easier as you move away from it.

    I can hardly believe it's been almost six years. Someone asked me when I stopped and I really had to think about it because in a way it feels like it was yesterday.

    So keep the faith, my friend. Take one day at a time and be kind to yourself.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Have an excellent week!
    X

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  17. Ron, thanks for your encouraging words, I really appreciate them.

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  18. Oh Matt, you are so welcome. And thank YOU for all your encouraging words throughout these many years,

    Cheers!

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  19. Ron, I'm so glad you gave up smoking! We want you healthy and happy!

    I remember True cigarettes, and cigarette ads on TV and being able to smoke in just about every damn place imaginable.

    I even remember when cars how cigarette lighters in them. That's how old I am!

    I tried cigarettes a few times when I was a teen-ager but as soon as my throat started to hurt I cut it out. A good thing, too, because my father was a militant anti-smoker, long before it was fashionable.

    He would lecture total strangers about the evils of smoking and I would cringe with embarrassment. But he was right!

    Great observation about kicking the habit: you'll do it when you're ready.

    Now I've gotta work on my Diet Coke habit...

    Great post, buddy, and have a smokin' week!

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  20. "I even remember when cars how cigarette lighters in them. That's how old I am!"

    HA! OMG...me too, Rob! And I also remember when planes had tiny ashtrays that were built into the arm rests of each seat!

    Yup, I knew you would remember True cigarettes because you and I are close in age. I wonder what ever happened to that brand because they gradually just disappeared off the shelves.

    "I tried cigarettes a few times when I was a teen-ager but as soon as my throat started to hurt I cut it out. A good thing, too, because my father was a militant anti-smoker, long before it was fashionable."


    Yes, I think back when you and I grew up, so many people (both men AND women) smoked, or at least tried smoking because it was "glamourized." Isn't it funny how beliefs and attitudes change from generation to generation? Your father sounds like he was ahead of the times; knowing just how damaging cigarette smoking was to your health. And kudos to you for not picking up the habit because it's a challenging one to let go of.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have an awesome rest of your week!

    X

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  21. I'm so glad you were able to quit, Ron! I hate cigarettes. The closest I ever came to smoking was retrieving a discarded butt from the gutter when I was 6 y/o and sticking it between my lips. Gross...and it wasn't even lit!

    My parents smoked when I was really young, but quit cold turkey one time when they walked into the kitchen and saw my brother and I rifling through a pack of their cigarettes and pretending we were cool. Thankfully, that was the only wakeup call they needed.

    Hope your puff-free week is going smoothly!

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  22. Me too, Mark, I am soooooo glad I quit. Smoking is like a monkey on your back.

    "The closest I ever came to smoking was retrieving a discarded butt from the gutter when I was 6 y/o and sticking it between my lips. Gross...and it wasn't even lit!"

    HAHAHAHAHA! OMG, it so funny to hear the childhood "cigarette experiences" that others have had. I think it's awesome that you never picked up the habit because it's so unhealthy, expensive, and so addictive.

    I think it's wonderful that both your parents quit cold turkey. My father did eventually stop when he was in his mid-50's, but unfortunately my mother never did.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a great rest of your week!

    X to you and Tara

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  23. Ron, thanks so much for sharing about your history with cigarettes. Both my husband and I smoked for years, but quit almost 10 years ago. We decided to quit together, which made it easier to support one another. What you said about the addiction is so true! That was the hardest part of quitting, disassociating the act of smoking with certain emotions and feelings. We tired the nicotine gum but it really didn't work, at least long term. Like you said, you're still putting nicotine into your body, the only difference is that you're chewing it.

    Congratulations for breaking the habit. And I think it's amazing that you only tried quitting once and did it!

    And yes, the price of cigarettes is insane. And what a waste of money, to buy something that's harming you.

    Inspiring post, Ron! Hope you're week is going well. Are you enjoying this weather? We are! xo

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  24. Hey there Elaine!

    You and your husband were smokers too!? WOW....10 years ago, that's AWESOME! And it's so great you had each other's support.

    For me, the challenging part was not smoking if I got really upset about something because lighting up a cigarette was almost like a pacifier that calmed me down. Yet, it did everything BUT calm me down. It actually made me more nervous and upset.

    Like I said, I had a very strange relationship with cigarettes because I could go months and never smoke, but then suddenly start again. So it took longer for the physical effects to affect me. But I noticed in the last two years, I was smoking much more. And that's when I started to feel it. And that was enough for me to just stop.

    Isn't the price of cigarettes INSANE? And to think that when my mother and father smoked, a pack of cigarettes were 35 cents!!!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor! And yes, I am soooooooooooo enjoying this weather. It feels so good to take longs walks and NOT sweat!

    Have a great weekend!
    X

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  25. Ron and I both smoked many years ago. It was harder for him to quit. He tried a couple times, even went for hypnosis, and still struggled with it. Even now, he'll say at times jokingly, if someone in a movie is smoking... I want a cigarette!! lol Many years ago, over 20 now, I was going on a hormonal type medication and it was not recommended to smoke... that's when I quit. I had so many left in a pack and when they were gone, that was the last one I ever bought. Luckily, the med wasn't needed after a while, but never went back to smoking!!
    I think my m-i-l smoked Trues? Ron, Marlboro lights. Me... ready... NEWPORT, always. Box only, never 100's. I could tell! LOL No bumming smokes for me. OMG, that just reminded me of when Ron and I were dating. He came over to the City when I was working at Jefferson during my senior year. The receptionist told me of a cozy little place to go nearby. I think it was called The Library? We had a booth and were allowed to puff away in restaurants back then... but I was out. Because I only smoked my brand, Ron offered to go get me a pack... somewhere. I agreed. He left, and where or how far he had to go get them I forget, but he jokes that he comes back to the restaurant and our food (I think we only ordered burgers) had already arrived while he was out trying to make an impression. We were still just dating then, but you know he hasn't changed a bit. He'd got out of his way to get me anything. Well, maybe not cigarettes. haha I never missed them. I wasn't one to preach about the dangers of it... eh, maybe to our kids, but what's weird is that since quitting... the smell of them disgust me and my nose gets clogged if someone is smoking near me. lol
    Fun trip down memory lane. I'm glad we all decided to quit though!!

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  26. OMG Mary, you (and Ron) smoked too!?!

    "Even now, he'll say at times jokingly, if someone in a movie is smoking... I want a cigarette!! lol"

    YES! Please tell Ron I feel the same way! Particularly if I'm watching an old black and white movie because smoking always looked so appealing. Bette Davis always looked so wonderful when she smoked HA!

    "NEWPORT, always. Box only, never 100's. I could tell! LOL No bumming smokes for me."

    You smoked Newports?!? OMG, noooooooooooo....MENTHOL!!!!!! HA! However, I knew many people who smoked that brand. Out of all the menthol cigarettes, I think Newport was the most popular.

    What a sweet and funny story about Ron leaving the restaurant to get you a pack of cigarettes. What a nice guy!

    And I agree with you, the smell of cigarettes is so unappealing to me. But I felt that way even when I smoked, which is why I never smoked during the day because I didn't like the smell of it on my clothes. Oddly enough though, I LOVE the smell of a cigar. Reminds me of my childhood and all the Italian men smoking them after dinner.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your memories, my friend! Very much enjoyed! Hope you're having a fab week and enjoying Autumn!

    X

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  27. I know, I'm late to the game. You actually posted this one on my birthday!

    My mother stopped smoking when she was pregnant with my older sister and my father quit when she was pregnant with me, so I didn't grow up with it. My grandparents both smoked like chimneys, though, and I used to hide their cigarettes and stub out the ones they left in ashtrays. They were very patient with that! I never really was tempted, and have never smoked a regular cigarette. ( I did smoke clove cigarettes on a trip to the Bahamas in grad school, just for that one week.)

    Many congrats on quitting and sticking with it all these years!

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  28. Happy Belated Birthday, fellow-Libran! My mother's birthday (a Libra) was also in Sept. September 26th! Mine was October 2nd.

    " I used to hide their cigarettes and stub out the ones they left in ashtrays."

    OMG...that is so funny! And there I was, STEALING my parents cigarettes out of the ashtrays and smoking them. HA!

    That's great that you were never tempted to smoke because many people who grow up in a family of smokers (as I did) often try smoking.

    Yes, I too tried clove cigarettes at one time, but never really liked them. Every so often I will smell someone smoking a clove cigarette on the streets. So, I guess people still do smoke them.

    I'm so glad I finally gave up smoking; not just for health reasons, but also the cost.

    X

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