CNN: Nine powerful stories of smokers’ last cigarettes

Awesome, poignant article by CNN.com.

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For the Great American Smokeout last week, CNN.com interviewed 9 former smokers about their final cigarette. Most every ex-smoker can remember their last cigarette, when they finally had had enough and quashed one out for the final time. Most smokers can remember their last cigarette because it usually takes three, four or even more tries to quit, and when the day comes that quitting finally works is a big event in their lives.

So, CNN collected some awesome quotes from these nine people, citing everything from existentialism to their families as reasons for quitting. Let me share some of them:

A fellow workmate made a profound statement to me: ‘You know, Bob, there is never a good day to quit smoking, is there?’ That hit me like a ton of bricks.

— Bob Miller, last cigarette: April 1, 2006

*****

Now, when I feel that urge, I think about two small faces, and how I’d answer them if they asked me why I was sick or why I was dying. I’d have no one to blame but myself.

— Beth Woods, last cigarette, Aug. 5, 2008

*****

I remember a trip to the ER with a bad case of bronchitis. This was the first time that my husband had seen me that sick. The look of panic and helplessness convinced me that I had to stop.

— Lisa Gonsalves, last cigarette 2005

Gonsalves’ bronchitis was so severe, she had to have tubes inserted into her lungs to drain the fluid and her chest “cracked open” to clean out her lungs.

“I can’t say that I don’t crave it – especially when I am stressed out,” Gonsalves told CNN.com. “I do have to constantly remind myself of the pain and the feeling of drowning because I couldn’t breathe to keep me from running out and getting a pack. It is a very mental game I play every day but I get stronger and stronger every day without a cigarette.”

*****

When I smoked my last one, it was more of a release, rather than freaking out about how I was going to deal with it.

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— John Turner, last cigarette 2011

*****

My wife got the news she was finally pregnant. The very moment she told me I crushed my pack of cigarettes up and threw them away.

— Martin C. Grube, last cigarette 1983.

*****

Then the story of Kara Wethington, who quit after her 66-year-old grandmother died.

“I loved smoking. The social aspect of it, the taste of it, the way it made me feel — everything about it was romantic to me.”

But the death of her grandmother was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” soon after Wethington herself was diagnosed with an aggressive form of strep throat, and she hasn’t looked back for 13 years.

“I’ve had smoking dreams that felt so intimately real that the line of reality and fantasy blurred out my memory. I know I didn’t smoke but sometimes those dreams feel really good and sometimes with real regret.”

(Interesting, I never heard of this dreaming of smoking before, but another ex-smoker said the same thing.

“It took me years to stop dreaming about having a cigarette and sometimes I would wake up and not be sure if I had smoked.”

— Linda Parker

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