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10 surprising benefits of quitting smoking
Rick Morris celebrates during a workout with the Atlanta Hawks in February.
April 7th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

10 surprising benefits of quitting smoking

Rick Morris is one of seven CNN viewers participating in the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He quit smoking on an episode of "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." and has been smoke-free since.

About two months ago, I quit smoking. At the time there were many reasons influencing my decision to finally choose a smoke-free lifestyle. I was worried about my health. I had high blood pressure. My doctor and everyone I knew was encouraging me to kick the habit. My family history is one of lung cancer and diabetes. The list goes on and on.

Now that I've been without tobacco for the past couple months (63 days, to be exact), I've noticed some changes in the way I'm living.

All are positive and are in direct relation to my body's depletion of those nasty chemicals I've called friends for the last 12 years.

So I thought I would list those changes and explain how I have been affected by each. Though my list is restricted to 10, it is by no means an exhaustive one.

1. No more chronic cough: All smokers know what "smoker's cough" is. I didn't realize how annoying this was until I stopped coughing all the time. After about a week being smoke-free, I noticed I didn't have to clear my throat every few minutes.

I recall plenty of times when I was at a function or meeting and needed to cough so badly, but couldn't because I knew it would be rude and interrupting to those around me. It's like an insect hovering in your throat – not touching, just drying everything between your tongue and your stomach – and you can't do a darn thing about it.

2. The smell: I didn't know I smelled so badly until I was around other smokers. Their clothes, home, car, even their pets reek!

About a week after I smoked my last cancer stick, my daughter and her boyfriend, a smoker, dropped by for a visit. Their dog always peels for the door and makes it into the house first. Yeah, I actually smelled the odor of cigarettes coming from the dog.

3. No more cleaning butts: I swear that cigarette butts would multiply when I wasn't looking. I once placed a butt can out back on the patio and initially used it as intended. Pretty soon, I was too lazy to walk down the steps to the can and just started flipping cigarette butts out into the yard, in the area of the butt can (as if I were shooting a jump shot). I rarely scored.

Eventually, they were lying everywhere. So much that I would just wait until the weekends to "clean" them with the leaf blower. Nasty, nasty, nasty!

4. It's just an extra $200 per month: Really, the extra money wasn't even noticed, as I can easily spend that on a night grilling on the patio (I love king crab and filet mignon, and only the finest Belgium beer!) So I really didn't look at this as a true benefit of not smoking.

But, with the price of cigarettes reaching about $6 a pack in my area – and up to $11 in other areas of the nation – I discovered this adds up. And, it was clear the price of tobacco was just going to continue to rise.

So, I got out my calculator. $6 a day multiplied by 365 days in the year. Comes out to $2,190. Looking at this long term, that's about $122,000 over the next 56 years (when I turn 100). Assuming cigarettes continue to increase in price at the present rate, then it's easy to see that number growing to half-million dollars. Invested wisely, I'm sure I can leave someone a big, fat payday!

5. Lost productivity: Sure, we all need a break or two during the work day. But I realized I was taking about 20 of these 5-minute breaks. In all honesty, each was probably about 10 minutes. About two-thirds of my breaks were when I was at work (I have a home-based web development business). So, that's more than 2 hours of breaking as opposed to working.

How in the world was I getting my work done? I have since realized that I wasn't.

6. Food tastes much better: I don't know if it has something to do with a cleaner mouth, but food simply tastes better. I also find that I use less salt.

I've heard on several occasions that if one quits smoking one gains weight, but I would warn people from using the weight-gain excuse as a viable argument when attempting to become smoke-free. Trading one bad habit for another isn't the way to go.

7. Non-smoking or non-smoking?: I think the air-line industry coined the phrase: "Smoking, or non-smoking?" And, I think it was the first group to eliminate cigarette smoking from a certain area (the airplane).

Today, it's almost preposterous to think we once smoked during an international flight on a 747! "Non-smoking or non-smoking?" seems to be the rhetorical, unasked question wherever you go these days. It's understood. There will be no smoking here, or here, or there, or over there, or in there, or... well, you get the point.

Unlike the Golden era of the 1920s and 1930s, when smoking was an upper-class hobby, a smoker's world is an unfriendly one today.Since the airlines quit asking that redundant question, smoking has been eliminated from virtually all public places. Restaurants, high-school football games, town parks, even bars and drinking establishments have become smoke-free.

For smokers, drinking a beer without a cigarette is like playing pool without a beer! Whether smokers realize it or not, the very fact that one uses tobacco limits them in myriad ways – especially socially. I don't have to worry about that anymore.

8. Dry, sticky contact lenses: As a wearer of these miracle discs of ocular health, I know what smoking does to your contact lenses. Smoke makes them dry. They become cloudy and you're constantly rubbing your eyes. Eventually, your lenses get to the point where you must get them out.

Fortunately, I wear disposable contact lenses. All I had to do was pop in a new set. But, at a couple dollars per lens, this was costing me. How to solve this annoying problem? Quit smoking!

9. Physical appearance: In the few months I've not smoked, I can tell my overall physical appearance has improved.

My skin isn't dry and wrinkly. My bit of gray hair is actually going brown. My self-confidence in speaking directly to someone isn't hindered by my desire to turn at an angle because of smoker's breath.

10. Bye, bye yellow teeth: No matter how hard I brushed or swished fluoride, I couldn't seem to keep perfectly white teeth.

"It's because you smoke," my dentist proclaimed. "And, unless you do something about that, your dental health will continue to deteriorate, thus affecting your overall health."

Bad teeth can lead to serious health effects throughout your body. Yesterday I had a cleaning at the dentist, and plan to keep my teeth white and healthy from now on.

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soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. brain pillsner

    this article says it right when they speak about lowering high blood pressure by quitting smoking. i, as a smoker have been dealing with high blood pressure for quite sometime and finally found a review site http://buygraviolabenefits.com which discusses the herbal supplement, graviola. graviola has been proven to naturally lower blood pressure along with providing additional wellness qualities. really exciting actually.

    April 7, 2012 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. John R. Polito

    Excellent list, Rick, and congratulations on 64 days of freedom and healing. Just one correction. Smoking is not a "habit" but a chemical dependency that is every bit as real and permanent as alcoholsim. We cannot kill or cure our addiction but only arrest it. The true test of nicotine's power isn't in how hard it is to quit but how easy it is to relapse. In fact, just one puff of nicotine and within seconds up to half of brain dopamine pathway receptors become occupied by nicotine. While most walk away from trying to cheat when quitting feeling like they've gotten away with it, it isn't long before their awakened dependency is again wanting or even begging for more. Yep, just one rule when quitting. It's that lapse equals relapse, that one equals all, that one puff will always be too many while thousands never enough. Yep, just one rule ... no nicotine today! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John

    April 8, 2012 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • UncleJohn

      You never quit smoking – you only stop.

      April 9, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      It is not the nicotine as much as it is the 4,000 chemicals they add to the tobacco/cigaretts.

      April 9, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      Dave, nicotine is a deadly poison. It can be used as an insecticide. Look it up.

      If you smoke and you're trying to make yourself believe this lie, it's not true.

      April 9, 2012 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • sara

      John, you continue to rock. I "know" John from the Freedom and Whyquit websites. The man knows what he's talking about. Nicotine addiction is definitely more than a habit, and when I finally understood this (and accepted "the law of addiction"), I was able to get rid of it. No patches, medications. No great suffering from withdrawal. Simply freedom from a horrifying addiction.

      That was 4 years ago on April 8th, the best gift I ever gave myself. If I can do it, anyone can do it. And how do I know I'll never start smoking again? Because I'll Never Take Another Puff. Cheers, John R. Polito. And many thanks.

      April 10, 2012 at 06:05 | Report abuse |
    • Johnross1968

      Dear peridot2:
      Yes nicotine is a poison, However in the amounts you get from a cigarette its fairly harmless.
      If your really that bothered by nicotine make sure to go into your kitchen and throw out all of your Tomatoes and Potatoes and Eggplants as they naturally have nicotine in them. And those are not the only ones, you might want to use Google to find out what to throw away.
      As for me I will be sticking to my E-Cig.....No carcinogens, no tar, just some nicotine and water vapor. (and yummy flavorings)

      April 11, 2012 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
  3. Jimmy

    smoking and blood pressure definitively connected together. But also peoples need to know what even e-cigarettes not help them, it still a nicotine addiction. here is lot of sites like asmoking.com with complete info about nicotine addiction. now lot of peoples trying to switch to e-cigarettes, but it also leads to high blood pressure and to high useful lipids level in the blood.

    April 8, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. kaelinda

    I was a smoker for 51 years. I quit smoking 3 years ago. I STILL resent the way smokers are treated. The only place people can smoke now is in the privacy of their own home – and it won't be long before THAT'S outlawed if people have children living in the home.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      So are you saying that people who don't smoke should only be able to breathe fresh air in the privacy of their own homes?

      April 9, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
    • nichole

      It is a choice to smoke or not to. I use to smoke as well. I hate having to smell that disgusting stench at any cost. People may choose to smoke but I shoukdnt have to suffer from their decision to do it. Right? So why should a child be put at risk. And half the time those who smoke are saying they wish they could quit. So why not just ban it. It specifically says on the package it may be harming your health.

      April 9, 2012 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • bao

      @nichole The same people who are up in arms about parents who smoke near their children are some of the same people who have no problem feeding their children fast food and other unhealthy rubbish

      April 9, 2012 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
    • Beverly

      Kaelinda, I SO agree with you. I smoked for the better part of 40 years. Being smoke-free has caused me to gain 60#. While I may "smell" better, I still want to smoke every single hour of every single day. That's why I still consider myself a smoker. I was told the urge would go away. My last cigarette was 07-12-2002 (nearly 10 years ago). The urge has NOT gone away. I sympathize with smokers I see outside in the cold winter snow or the hot blinding sun . . . I was once of them and I feel their pain.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • socaledmond

      @bao...fastfood has at least some nutritional content in it and it's not bad for you in moderation. Smoking holds zero health benefit to anyone who does it. ZERO!! From the moment it's used it does nothing but harm your body. Yup...smoking should be banned in homes where there are small children...they have no choices. Come on!

      @Beverly.. non-smoking has not caused you to gain 60#'s. That's nothing but an excuse...10 years of sitting down and not doing anything has caused you to gain weight. Get up and go do something. Stop sitting there complaining and blaming something that doesn't even affect you any longer and go change your life. You've already won the battle...be someone who your family can admire and look up to.
      "not smoking has caused me to gain weight"....not smoking has given you years back to spend with those you love. Time to start thinking different!

      Kaelinda..be proud to be a non-smoker and be embarrassed that you ever did.

      Look people, smoking isn't pretty. It's stinky, it kills, it damages, it limits and it changes lives to the negative. Stop giving it so much credit and just accept that it's horrible stuff that gives nothing positive back to you and those around it.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Well, I completely agree with you.
      I quit cigarettes about 6 years ago, but watching the anti-smoking fanatics do their work is an orwellian experience.
      You can be sure Kaelinda, that once these people finish their attack on the freedom to smoke, they will choose another "enemy".
      They just enjoy the activism far too much to ever stop.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      John:
      No, here's what,,,,
      Self-righteous non-smokers who want to control everything about their environment, even while in public, should not be allowed to leave their homes.

      April 9, 2012 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
    • Thurston

      To all you self rightious non smokers,
      and your so-called "rights" to clean air to breathe.

      I like to jog and ride my bike. Your automobile is polluting the air I breathe.

      If you feel so strongly about your "rights to clean air",
      get rid of your car!

      Self rightious non smokers are the biggest hypocrits!

      April 9, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • gary

      As a father of a son with cystic fibrosis I am extemely happy to see the restrictions on smoking in public areas. Many smokers do not realize, or care, about the damage they do to other people that are forced to inhale their second hand smoke.

      April 9, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      Beverly – I smoked for 38 years and quit 10 years ago. I weigh about 15 less now than I did then. And am probably about twice as healthy today.

      April 9, 2012 at 17:36 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I am constantly amazed by the selfishness of some of the smokers here.

      I have asthma, and an attack could be triggered by cigarette smoke. If not treated right away, I could die. Are you seriously saying that your "right" to smoke (which, btw, was YOUR choice) trumps my right to breathe smoke-free air and not die of an asthma attack (which, btw, is NOT my choice)?

      Public bans exists because babies/children should not be exposed to any cigarette smoke and they cannot easily voice their complaints. The bans exist to protect them.

      Furthermore, you cannot compare cigarette smoke to car exhaust. Cigarettes offer no benefits to anyone–it is nothing more than an addictive drug. Society does not need it. Cars and exhaust-generating forms of transportation, on the other hand, are necessary evils. Modern societies require them in order to move goods and people. So unless you'd like to revert to the 18th century (before the Industrial Revolution), I'd suggest giving up on the "car exhaust is worse than cigarettes" argument.

      So smoke all you want in your homes. Just don't do it in front of me or any child.

      April 9, 2012 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      Once upon a time smokers were polite and would ask before they lit up their cancer sticks. If someone objected to their smoking, they would refrain. Then it got to the point that smokers would light up no matter what and rudely blow smoke in your face. With enough of that, nonsmokers got sick of it and banded together.

      In addition, those of us with smoke allergies, COPD and asthma deserve to be able to breathe without choking, don't you think? Since manners have utterly failed, law stepped in and protected us. That's what came to pass. My own mother refused to refrain from wearing perfume to which I was allergic, much less to stop smoking in the presence of my newborn baby.

      April 9, 2012 at 18:17 | Report abuse |
    • larry5

      Today in a mall parking lot there was a woman smoking in a closed care with an infant in a child seat in the car in the middle of all the smoke. People walking by tried to get her attention to notice the baby coughing but she would not look up or hang up the phone. Finally the security guy knocked on her window and said something. She flipped him off and left while never putting the phone down. I hope the baby is okay. The security guy did call 911 and I hope someone was able to help the baby.

      April 11, 2012 at 06:54 | Report abuse |
  5. kaelinda

    I didn't mention in my post above: when I quit smoking, my blood pressure went UP. My weight went UP. My blood sugar levels went UP. My skin dried out. I DON'T have smoker's cough any more. I DON'T have emphysema or COPD. I DON'T have lung cancer. And I grew up in a household where both parents smoked. I started smoking on my 16th birthday and quit when I was a month short of my 67th birthday. I'm not a smoker anymore, but boy, do I resent it.

    April 9, 2012 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • philo

      so why did you quit if you resent it so much, and you were in such good health before quitting ?

      April 9, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      Your blood sugar and blood pressure went up because you gained weight, Kaelinda. That's not connected with your smoking cessation. What's happened is that you've switched addictions. Try Overeaters Anonymous. They can help you to help yourself.

      April 9, 2012 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
  6. Starman

    Congratulations to everyone who has quit. I've never smoked. Cigarettes killed my mother, father and brother. My sister figured it out and she quit many years ago. I am unapologetic of my feelings about tobacco products. I don't want to listen to anything about smokers rights. Smokers rights don't extend into my space wherever it is I happen to be.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mort

    Add to the list, people won't think less of you than they do if you smoke. Everyone from Me to your family, friends, co-workers and your boss. Trust me, they all think you are less of a person because you smoke. What's that you say. You don't care what people think about you. Well, stop being an @ss and being so incredulous. What people think matters. If you're a salesperson and people back away from your horrid smell when you get close enough to talk to them you might lose business. I once stopped going to a dentist because he reaked and I couldn't stand to sit close to him while he worked on my teeth. And my neice once told my sister that she didn't want to sit in our aunt's lap because she smelled bad. The horrified look on auntie's face was priceless.

    April 9, 2012 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • i judge smokers

      I'm not judging smokers because their teeth are gross, they wrinkled too early, they can't climb a flight of stairs or that they downright stink up a 5-10' radius indoors... I'm judging strictly the scent notification of severe personality flaws. Smokers stress out far too easily, and because of it, they take far too many breaks, so they're less productive and, in many cases, lazier than non-smokers. Smokers are not mentally sharp, unless they have a cancer stick in hand, and then maybe they'll have an epiphany. Smokers with children at home should be burned with their butts. Who cares about the evidence of the dangers of secondhand smoke. You want your kids to be like YOU??

      Perhaps we should thank smokers for giving the rest of us advanced notice of fundamental personality flaws.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I judge smokers:

      You couldn't actually be as repugnant a person as that comment would suggest

      April 9, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
  8. E Connelly

    I quit a number of years ago. My husband still smokes and does not want to quit. I cannot stand the smell of cigarettes, he thinks if he has the ceiling fan on that is good enough, well it is not. I have a constant headache now and my allergies have quadrupled. He refuses to go out side and resents it when I ask him to not smoke so much. I am older than he is, and am seriously, SERIOUSLY, considering separation so I can move to a smoke free apartment. I am really put out with him, he claims he loves me, but if he really does, why does he continue to smoke around me when he knows how much it affects me?

    April 9, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dirk

      That's incredibly selfish of him. I smoked for 25 years and, after the first 2 years, never smoked in my apartment or car, not even once. Couldn't stand the stench. It lingers for days. You should definitely get your own place so he can see how insensitive he is being.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      It is very easy to assume a psoition of "judge" once you've put cigarettes behind you.
      I quit 6yrs ago.
      Try to remember the patience people exhibited for your benefit, while you were smoking.
      Approach him with patience, instead of "Self-Righteous Nagging" and you may see more cooperation from your spouse.

      Good Luck!
      And congratulations on becoming a non-smoker.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
  9. cmgww

    E-cigs are an ALTERNATIVE to smoking regular cigarettes, they are not marketed as a "quit smoking" aid. I will say this, since I switched to an e-sig (ego-T) I have the same benefits of a non-smoker. I breathe easier, gained my sense of taste back, and my aerobic capacity is dramtically up. The stupid FDA said they're potentially dangerous b/c they tested them and found "traces of carcinogens" in them...LOL. Just about everything has "traces of carcinogens", people. Hot dogs, grilled steaks, that new car smell (actually the glue and chemicals used create the smell, and are mildly toxic)...My point is, inhaling nicotine is a safer option with an e-cig than a regular cigarette. The FDA is just upset there haven't been laws passed giving them a way to regulate and receive tax $$ from e-cig companies. And nicotine, while highly addictive, is no less dangerous than caffiene in terms of its effects on the body (mild stimulant, increases HR, BP). I will take my chances with an e-cig for now, but I hope to quit for good someday...but people need to know the truth about e-cigs, not what the government machine wants you to think

    April 9, 2012 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bobby

      until one of those batteries blow up in your face.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
  10. KGrammar

    Your line, "Bad teeth can lead to serious health affects throughout your body" should read, "bad teeth can lead to serious health EFFECTS..."

    April 9, 2012 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. James the elder

    11. Cigarettes are a self-defeating habit. Deep down you know that you're harming yourself. When you quit, its psychologically liberating. It is a big first step toward a happier person.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sara

      I think that's exactly right. And current smokers will defend their right to continue feeding the addiction, justifying it in any number of ways. As an ex-smoker, living with and in love with a current smoker, I see it everyday. But I think the best way to help smokers realize that they can get rid of the addiction is to set a great example as an ex-smoker, i.e., I am happy not to smoke, grateful for getting rid of the addiction and most of all, I am FREE.

      Sometimes a smoker will imagine that freedom is about being able to smoke that cigarette. But what is really awesome is when you realize that true freedom is not needing to feed a destructive addiction.

      So I think the best example for us ex-smokers to set is to revel in our freedom and show current smokers that quitting is not hellish. It is not about sacrifice or deprivation or losing your "best friend". It's about stopping an addiction and giving yourself a new outlook on life. Anyone thinking about getting off the nicotine merry-go-round, I'm telling you, you can do it as soon as you're ready. You can set yourself free!

      April 10, 2012 at 06:20 | Report abuse |
  12. Brian

    Coming up on a month myself. Chantix is wonderful and it's free on my current health care plan! There comes a time when you have to grow up and get rid of your "cool" habbits.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Nonny

    Smoking impairs blood flow. When that happens, pen ises don't stay hard. My peni s stays hard now, so am taking more trips to greece.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam

      I wonder why all the Mummies they Gave Mri's to Had Artery and heart disease ? Because there was no Tobacco Back then EXPERTS,Only Alcohol,fatty foods,Wine too...........Look it up experts

      April 9, 2012 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  14. Kocean1

    Good for this man-keep raising the prices and everyone will stop...almost 3 years now...

    April 9, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Well, no. There will always be some stubborn percentage that can't or won't quit smoking. And if you raise the price high enough, you'll just create a thriving black market – see marijuana.

      April 12, 2012 at 03:13 | Report abuse |
  15. sonia rosario

    thank God i quitting 3 years ago. I'm fell great

    April 9, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. FreeThinkingAmerican

    I recently quit smoking (for the 3rd time in the last 2 years) and reading articles like this help me keep my resolve to not go back. I also emailed this to my husband, hopefully it will help him try again. I have been an on and off smoker for 12 years now, and I really want to be an ex-smoker again, this time for good!

    April 9, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. mary

    No one's mentioned acupuncture. I don't understand how it works, but with one treatment to detoxify my system, lost all urge to smoke. No craving! They say it isn't a cure, you have to want to quit. No craving and no nicotine in your system. If nothing else has worked for you, try Chinese acupuncture. I've had 3 treatments but it worked on the first one. I don't know how this computer works either, but since I'm using it, I believe it works too. Same with acupuncture.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. rita krishna

    cigarettes are nothing but instruments of mass genocide

    April 9, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam

      Along with ALCOHOL,POT,Drugs

      April 9, 2012 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  19. ru serious

    I no longer smoke...over 20 years now. However, I cannot stand those anti-smoking anti fat anti everything people. They just want to police the world, once they finish up with smoking, they will move their gluten free azzzs elsewhere and find some other area of other people's lives to focus on. Should mind their own business......

    April 9, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. sisrooting4bro

    I quit smoking 10 years ago and I still crave it. I remind myself during those times how hard it was to quit and one single drag would make the last 10 years for nothing. I gave up 2 nicotine habits; cigarettes and dip (I know...unlady like). When I quit I was up to a pack a day and a can a day. Before I took on the challenge to quit these habits I challenged myself on a different level. When filling up a tank of gas, if it stopped on $34.96, I refused to squeeze in 4 cents to bring it up to the $35.00. May sound trivial, but try it for yourself. It's a harder mind game than you may realize. I now enjoy these 10 qualities, but we need to add one more to the list.....
    #11....satisfaction of having control of my mind!!

    April 9, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Liz in Seattle

    I have never been a smoker but I think the issue that people bring up about "smoker's rights" is an interesting one. On one hand, I feel like all those restritctions in public palces make life healthier and more pleasant for those of us who don't smoke, and we shouldn't be forced to breathe stinky unhealthy smoke just because someone else chooses to light up. The restrictions also help people who are trying to quit because those people don't have to see and smell other smokers everywhere they go. By mariginalizing smokers we make it harder to smoke, which ultimately benefits our society as a whole because fewer smokers means lower health care costs and more healthy people. On the other hand, I do see that those who choose to smoke resent this marginalization. It must be truly annoying and seem like an intrusion to be told you can't exercise your freedom as you wish you could. But in my opinion the factors on the other side far outweigh that annoyance. I really hope that all of you smokers who want to quit can find the incredible strength and support to do it.

    April 9, 2012 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MashaSobaka

      If I wanted to go around throwing poison in people's faces, and the government told me that I wasn't allowed, would my "rights" be infringed? I don't think so. How is smoking any different? Smoking doesn't just harm the smoker. It harms anyone unfortunate enough to share the same air. I don't care if smokers resent the laws against them. They made the choice to start smoking, and they can deal with the consequences.

      April 10, 2012 at 00:55 | Report abuse |
  22. Mike H

    Nicotine addiction is a mental illness. Smokers are oblivious to how they affect others and rationalize their selfish behaviour. I have no sympathy for them.

    April 9, 2012 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam

      You Gotta be a BOOZER or a POTHEAD

      April 9, 2012 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • scott137159

      Mike-
      How can you simultaneously believe that this addiction is a "mental illness" and that smokers are "oblivious" to how their behavior affects others and then turn around and say you have no sympathy for them?

      It seems like if you think it's a disease, and the sufferer is unaware of how he's harming others, your stance should be one of compassion and education, or at least stop short of overt hostility...unless you just really suck at being a person.

      April 9, 2012 at 17:44 | Report abuse |
  23. mjinmd

    I quit smoking about three years ago. Not a day goes by that I don't want to light one up.

    April 9, 2012 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. ekadog

    I want to know which of these were surprising?

    April 9, 2012 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Yeah, that was my point too – if these were a surprise, the nicotine was really messing with his brain wiring.

      April 9, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
  25. Tom

    Congratulatiions Rick. Keep it up and don't backslide. May 7, 2007 was my last smoke after 30 years. I'm the
    worst ex-smoker. I can't stand to be around it and don't miss it at all.

    April 9, 2012 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Bill

    Good list, and congrats on quitting, but if these benefits were at all surprising to you, then nicotine was fogging your mind way more than you realize – these are all complete no-brainers. And your going on about how an extra $200 a month isn't very meaningful to you, and bragging about your king crab filet and the finest Belgian beer, is honestly rather condescending and insulting to most of us. Glad your doing well enough to think it's pocket change, I suppose, but it really matters to most folks.

    April 9, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. sam

    Good for Him,Now stop drinking Alcohol so your liver,brain,spleen,kidneys,throat,pancreas,stomach,colon.,don't get cancer,and Doing NO ALCOHOL will save many many lives Just in the USA and also cut that $ 290 Billion a year in healthcare,accidents,murders,rapes,suicides,emergency room visits from alcohol poisionng and MANGLED BODIES from the USE OF ALCOHOL,Maybe all can drop that $ 290 Billion a year in costs and all of the above down to say $ 50 Billion where smoking is,ITS ALCOHOL KILLING and Injuring everyone,and it is the WORST THING to INGEST in the HUMAN BODY.And you will make the roads,boating,sports events,theme parks,highways,clubs.roads MUCH MUCH SAFER ONCE AGAIN

    April 9, 2012 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • scott137159

      Sam,Sam,Sam,SAM,SAM!!!
      For the love of...can you find the period key? It's just above the space bar (which would also like to make your acquaintance.) Also, DO YOU FIND WHAT I'M SAYING NOW MORE CREDIBLE? BECAUSE IT'S IN ALL CAPS, SO I TOTALLY MEAN IT. (Or is that just harder to read?)

      April 9, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
  28. sam

    Hey keep up the ANTI Pitbull,and the ANTI SMOKING,And next will be the ANTI BOOZE or shall I say ANTFREEZE your all ingesting

    April 9, 2012 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. sam

    OH And please don't forget There will then be APPROX 12-40 Million PEOPLE OUT OF WORK TOO.

    April 9, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • scott137159

      Is anyone else confused?

      April 9, 2012 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
  30. Wil

    I smoked for 25 years. I tried quitting several times on my own finally I decided to ask my doctor for help. He prescribed Zyban.
    I been smoke free for 2 years. The money I was spending on cigarettes I use it to join a gym . I still get some urges but I always fight them. Now I will live a healthier life and wont stink like an ash tray

    April 9, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. sam

    Better than smelling Like a DRUNKARD

    April 9, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Wastrel

    Not smoking WHAT????

    April 9, 2012 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Txtwisterz

    Ex Smokers are THE WORST HYPOCRITES!! EVERY OTHER SELF RIGHTEOUS PERSON ON THIS BOARD CAN KISS MY A***!!

    April 9, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      Your point is well taken (though perhaps not as productively structured as it could be.)

      April 9, 2012 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      What about self righteous smokers like you, Txtwisterz?

      April 9, 2012 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
  34. Carrie

    Congratulations Rick! Keep it up. I do wish you had mentioned a few more non-obvious benefits of quitting smoking though. I quit on 12/29/2009 and had a pretty rough ride. But after getting over the hump the two biggest things I noticed were: 1) The sense of freedom. Because I never smoked at work I would always start getting nic-fits in the afternoon and couldn't wait to go home. Not having this scenario in my life anymore was completely liberating! 2) I sleep better. I have less insomnia. I sleep more peacefully and generally just sleep better.

    Keep up the good work. And if you happen to slip most likely it will disgust you in the morning and your resolve to stop will be that much more.

    April 9, 2012 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. scott137159

    To all of the incredibly self-righteous, anti-smoking people who have posted here:

    No one ever picked up their first cigarette, took one drag, and said, "Wow, that was great! I think I'll do this every single day, 20 times per day, for the rest of my life!" We made a mistake–a pretty big one–by getting addicted to nicotine. But I know most of us never really consciously signed up to be affirmed smokers for the rest of our lives. We got trapped. Stupid? Of course. Human? Of course.

    It's an incredibly addictive substance. Many of us have managed to quit, and I firmly believe that everyone CAN quit. But it's not as simple as "just not smoking anymore." Try to have a little patience and humility when talking about the subject. It may be satisfying to go around with such unabashed superiority and judgment, but it doesn't help anyone.

    April 9, 2012 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MashaSobaka

      Oh, give me a freaking break. Why don't you tell my mother, who is dying of lung disease because OTHER people smoked, that she should feel sorry for the poor widdle smokers who can't deal with the consequences of their incredibly stupid choices. You watch her cough up blood and be admitted to the hospital every time she catches a chest cold, you watch her gasp for air on a GOOD day, like her family is forced to, and THEN you tell her, and me, to have patience with smokers who are too spineless to quit. I understand that quitting is hard. I also understand that smokers should grow the frack up and QUIT. It would be different if your "bad habit" didn't force other people to die the same agonizing deaths that you bring on yourselves. Don't you dare call anti-smokers "self-righteous" when they are forced to pay a very heavy price for YOUR choices.

      April 10, 2012 at 00:52 | Report abuse |
  36. Dean

    To all of you smokers who are offended by current non-smoking trends there is just one thing to remember. Unless you die from a sudden incident like a wreck or drowning, you will die from a smoking related cause no matter what the age is. This is fact. Your death will be caused by smoking.

    April 9, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. pacman357

    You'd have to be the most clueless person in the world to not be aware that smoking can lead to bad smells and coughing. As for "dental health", I"m a cigar smoker (usually 2-3 hand-rolled cigars per day), and yes, I am aware that I won't be called upon to model sparkling white teeth any time soon. However, I floss daily, brush with a Sonicare daily, use a flouride rinse every day, and in the last 10 years, I've had one and only one dental appointment for anything beyond a regular checkup–and that was to replace an old filling that cracked. I have one crown (from my college days, when I had no insurance), a handful of fillings. Many people would be thrilled to have teeth and gums as healthy as mine.

    April 9, 2012 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • peridot2

      One sincerely hopes you don't develop oral cancer, Pacman...

      April 9, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
  38. Captain Hindsight

    And fewer STDs. It's a proven fact that people who smoke are more likely to have the clap, genital warts, herpes and syphilis among other venereal diseases. It probably stems from the days of high school and college, where the easier girls all smoked and slept around with a lot of guys.

    April 9, 2012 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • peridot2

      You're about 55 years out of date with your trolling, Captain Hindsight. Or your handle is extremely accurate. The Sexual Revolution happened in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Did you get left behind again?

      April 9, 2012 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
    • B & B Rubble

      Nice generalization, but I think the reason is more because of medical science than sociology.

      When your body is already hit with poisons, the immune system won't be as good at defending against other things.

      If you want to make it a sociological argument, I think the answer is that a smoker obviously makes poorer decisions than the average citizen. This will extend to other aspects of his or her life beyond the silly decision to light their money on fire and ingest poison fumes.

      April 10, 2012 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
  39. MashaSobaka

    11. You are no longer forcing everyone around you to pay the very steep price of your habit. My mother is dying of lung disease caused by secondhand smoke. Anyone who smokes should be forced to spend three hours a day with someone in my mother's situation and see the impact of their choices on innocent bystanders. If you smoke, you have blood on your hands. Period.

    April 10, 2012 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JR Hewing

      Find me one smoker who cares at all about how their behavior impacts anyone around them and I'll congratulate you for finding a needle in a haystack. No smoker could care less whether they kill you, me or your mother by taking part in this barely-legal addiction.

      Better to say:
      11a. You're no longer a pariah considered a net drain on society.

      April 10, 2012 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
  40. Ola

    couple months is not enough to truly determine stopping of smoking cigarette. smokers are fond of going back...anyway, wish you luck.

    April 10, 2012 at 01:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. coco

    Well done Rick, keep it up!

    April 10, 2012 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Ted

    I can't believe the article didn't include over well being, and feeling of good health.
    I quit smoking after 20 years of tobacco from Smokeless to Cigarettes. And I got to tell you the single biggest driving factor that keeps me, from not giving in to my urges to smoke or dip is how great I feel. I feel like I've been taking some miracle Vitamin or drug.

    April 10, 2012 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. WANTO QUIT

    Ihave tried, I have failed, I hate people whom rub me on quitting like it is such an easy feat.. What I would love to see is our government and society take everyone's welfare at hand and ban cigarettes as they did alcohol in prohibition days, make it a fine to be caught with bootleg. If the cigarettes are so bad, where is the FDA banning the supply. We all know, big business and the wealthy, just think everyone, you subsidize these rich tobacco farmers to kill people and make your world stink... they add to you health bill, your employees days of from respitory ills, just think, but then you have to realize how much tax money off of each pkg sold and be willing to pay the higher costs for health insurance, if people are not dying from smoking illnesses, your rates will go up to make up the difference and the taxes collected on each pkg of smokes will up your taxes(they never go down) and people will be unemployed and on and on.So, as a smoker I say ban them. They will recall something that is only dangerous to a few, pharmaciticles, food, sprays, and let something that causes great damage to be sold. Go figure.... I will never understand. I will just keep on trying to quit.....

    April 10, 2012 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Larry

    After 40 years of smoking and just stopping because I "Just got tired of it", There are some benefits, but not all listed. The Car, me and my clothes smell I agree with. The Extra Cash I agree. Food, not so much. Eat healthy and you won't eat the garbage they put in foods, and it will taste better smoke or no smoke. There are other benefits such as Cheaper Life insurance! Having said my piece, unlike X-Smokers, If you want to smoke I will NOT get in your way. Your life. Kind of like the abortion issue. Your body your CHOICE!

    April 10, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. J-Flo

    Interesting to see a self-aware smoker, someone who's aware of how he appears to others and affects others.

    Not very many smokers fall into that category. While they may understand the concept "Yes, I am killing myself with this addiction", they seldom progress to the point, of "Yes, I understand my behaviour is making life worse for those around me".

    A nice top 10 start to what can easily be a very compelling top 500 reasons not to smoke. I wonder how pro-smoking advocates are doing on their top 10 list?

    April 10, 2012 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. David Thelen

    It has been over 21 years since I quit smoking. I just want to give others some pointers of how I did it.
    1) Can antidepressant medicine help you quit? I was on it when I quit.
    2) Break time into much smaller brackets in your mind. Do not think, I am quitting for good. Think instead, I am quitting for this hour.
    3) Do not smell that second hand smoke. Even after a few years of not smoking; I had a smoking fit after smelling it. It makes it really tough if you are around a spouse, coworker and others who smoke.
    4) Becoming a permanent non-smoker is like becoming completely fit. You have to work your way up to it. Perhaps you quit for only one day. The next time it may be for 2. Then the next, you made it for 5. The more times you quit, the more likely you will quit for good.
    You can do it. Many have quit. I hope these pointers will help.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Matt Ringer

    Tobacco odors, are the hardest odors to eliminate, they also make us want another cigarette, why do they hang, around when the source of the odors are no longer there. The offensive smells you associate with odor is almost always gases released from their sources.

    These invisible gases attach onto floating air molecules, which drift with the air currents in the room. Over time some dissipate and others most notably smoking and urine odors, penetrate walls, carpet and drapes. We might even get so used to them that we don’t even smell them, but our guest can and that can be embarrassing. Getting rid of them is a four billion dollar industry covering sprays candles, ozone machines and Ionizers, which are effective till next time. There is a natural way called air-renu, a paint additive that only has to be applied once and works 7/24 keeping odors away and the room smelling clean.

    April 11, 2012 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Lady Kroft

    I am an ex-smoker by choice.
    There is not one shred of evidence that second-hand smoke affects anyone. All these "studies" made on second hand smoke are trumped up and selfserving. Not one of those studies was scientific. Just random so called "testing". But of course this was ammunition for anti-smoking. And it went rampant.
    Some non-smokers complain constantly about smokers but think nothing of living in polluted cities and driving polluting cars. Carbon monoxide is way more poisonous than cigarette smoke.
    When I used to smoke, non-smokers would come stand beside me, then complain about the smoke. The only point they made there was the one on top of their head.
    And here's food for thought for all you meddling non-smokers: You've taken away the cigarettes from teens ...now they turn to DRUGS...a far more lethal vice than the cigarette by comparison. If you took away cigarettes AND drugs, I shudder to think what would replace that. Humans will always have vices...it helps them to cope with life.
    The no smoking movement was the first blatant step to taking away your rights at the whim of special interest groups. Now, you can't turn around without some group complaining about what you do and stopping you from doing it.

    April 12, 2012 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. scott

    I am a huge fan of the electronic cigarettes. When you inhale you do not get the heavy tobacco affect yet you feel it. No tar, no ash, no odor! That is the way i look at this neat little gadget 😀 http://appealingsmokes.com offers e cigarette coupons!

    April 15, 2012 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
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    April 19, 2012 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
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