My Last Puff


Quitting is not easy.

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I have smoked cigars for over 45 years, starting with a White Owl Classic behind my friend’s house in Chicago. I smoked at least one a day, mostly a strong blend with a Maduro wrapper, a cigar-smoker’s cigar. Smoking helped me concentrate on composing an article, working outdoors on my lawn, fly-fishing in a cool stream, or just sitting and hobnobbing with friends. I richly enjoyed it, but on September 10th, 2015, I took my last puff and stopped cold turkey.

I hadn’t planned on stopping that day, I just did. It wasn’t because of the anti-tobacco wackos on television, or because of any disease, something inside me simply said it was just time to stop. I’m now coming up on seven months without smoking and my friends are amazed at my will power. Sure, when I smell the aroma of a good cigar I would love to puff one, but those days are gone.

I understand the worst anti-smokers are former smokers, but having come from a family of smokers, I certainly do not look down my nose at anyone who enjoys tobacco. Interestingly,
friends act embarrassed when they want to light up a cigar or cigarette around me, but I assure them I am not offended and request they enjoy their smoke.

People have said to me that quitting cigars is a lot easier than cigarettes. Maybe, but I can assure you it still takes considerable will power to stop.

I have known only two other people who quit cold turkey, my father and father-in-law. My father smoked four packs of cigarettes a day for years, until he suffered a mild heart attack and finally quit. We were all amazed by his will power to stop. Then again, a heart attack can be a strong deterrent. He particularly missed it after dinner over a cup of coffee. Likewise, my father-in-law smoked a few packs of cigarettes a day, and he also quit, not because of any health issue, but because, “They (the cigarette companies) have gotten enough of my money.”

Other friends have told me how hard it was for them to quit. They’ve tried the nicotine patches, gum, e-cigarettes, even hypnosis, all to no avail. However, when they do manage to drop the habit, most have fond memories of smoking but glad they are finally off of it.

You may remember one of our Bryce’s Laws that states, “Never trust a person who doesn’t have at least one known vice (e.g., drinking, smoking, swearing).”  I may have given up smoking, but two out of three isn’t bad.

Keep the Faith!