Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Reason To Quit Smoking

A friend posted a comment on my blog Kicking The Habit. The person is none other than Hantu Laut who by his own admission had been a smoker for 20 years since his school days. His story s so compelling that I feel it deserved to be posted as a blog itself.
For those who aspire to be a smoker, please learn this lesson from him. Ask yourself why start a habit that you will find it difficult to stop later when you finally come to your senses? Learn from those who had experienced it.
I present to you all what Hantu Laut wrote.

Ha!,smoking,glad you brought up the subject and glad to share my experience here.I took up smoking when I was still in school, if I remember well, I must have been in Form V then.A willing victim of peer pressure.As a student I didn't have much money and used my meagre pocket money to buy fag by the stick which cost 5 cents those days.You can buy them by the stick at any Hainanese coffeeshops.With 20 cents pocket money a day, I could ill-afford to smoke every day.I remember starting with mentholated cigarettes such as Matterhorn, Consulates and occassionlly the heavier stuff like Lucky Strikes, Camels and the slightly milder Abdullah 37, Players,Capstan,etc. Any brand I can get my hand on.I only smoke on weekends with the 'Unholy Boys' as we were called by the more disciplined boys of our schools.We were never caught by our teachers as we made it a point not to smoke in school.Looking on hindsight, I think we have behaved appallingly.Not a good example to show to the younger generation, but than we were young then.By the time I went to work in the civil service, I had become a full-blown smoker, burning a pack of 20s a day of my favourite brand, State Express 555.After three years in the civil service, I left and joined the family business.As my family business grew,I have to travel extensively overseas and, more often than not, to some god's forsaken place.By then, I have graduated to 3 packs of 20s a day of my favourite brand, Dunhill.My wife, a non-smoker once told me, I have a prolonged death wish, a situation she was not at all happy about, which she told was not only killing myself but killing her and the children too, the passive smokers.I really don't understand what the fuss she was making over such trivia, I was still living in a state of denial that smoking was bad for your health.Smoking to me was like having perpetual orgasm, I don't care whether non-smokers felt uncomfortable, I don't care the harm it could bring to me or my family and I really don't give a damn at all.Sometimes, faith or divine intervention, if I may call it that, can, without rhyme or reason,open up our minds to reasons in the strangest of way.I was in Algers, Algeria once on business.One day I took the lift from the ground floor up to my room on the 5th floor,on the way up, the lift stopped at the 1st floor and four Algerian Arabs entered and to my utter disbelieve, all four were smoking and continue smoking in the confined space of the lift.I have never felt so sick in my life from inhaling the second-hand smoke from the four smokers. I don't smoke in lifts or places where smoking is not allowed.It suddently struck me how my wife and my children had suffered all these years from my intolerance and unreasonableness.When I got to my room, I called room service for some food and when the waiter arrived with the food, I gave him the carton of Dunhill, still with 8 packs inside, and told him to keep it for himself.He couldn't believe his good fortune.I promise not ever to smoke again.Unfortunately,three months later I broke my promise and pick up the habit again when I was caught in a long flight delay at Narita Airport.Although, I always armed myself with books on most of my journey to take away boredom of long flights and waiting at airports, I must admit smoking does help to soothe the mind in time of unavoidable boredom.Nicotine can be as addictive as any other drugs.A year later, on my 25th wedding anniversary,I promised my wife, whatever it is, I will, for the last time give up smoking for the rest of my life.I took a cold turkey and suffered for many weeks and maybe months from withdrawal symptoms.It is almost 15 years now and I have lost the urge completely.I have lost my annoying smoker's cough, the air in my house is clean and no smell of stale tobacco.Although, I still have many smoker friends, they are more reasonable, they don't smoke in air-cond rooms, most of the time they go outside the house to smoke.The only regret I have is, one of my two daughters had picked up my bad habit. I have been trying to get her to give up but have not been successful.Being an adult I have to leave it to her to make that decision.Zawi,my apology, for I must have bored you with this rather long story.I have nothing against smokers, but being an ex-addict, my advice, is give up while you still can.
I still remember The Sate Express ciggarette box, the picture of a cool handsome man in the uniform of a pilot smiling sweetly with a ciggarette between his finger. How not to be enticed into smoking?
It is still not too late to stop smoking. Stop the habit before it is already too late. If you are not yet a smoker, dont ever try. It is really not worth it.
I have found some write up about the effects of smoking. Just read through how it may affect you if you were to smoke.
Click on this topic below



Rita Ho said...

HL said, "You can buy them by the stick at any Hainanese coffeeshops." I feel guilty and somewhat malu being a Hainanese. I thought we were famous for our chicken rice and black kopi. :(

Congrats to HL for successfully kicking the habit. I hope your daughter realize the ill effects early rather than later as I did. :)

Mat Salo said...

Brilliant and passionate writing by H-L. I admit to being weak, but.. but as always, lying to myself and being in a state of perpetual denial. But thanks Pak Zawi, HL, RH for giving me plenty to think about. I still got 2 1/2 cartons in my rig bag... But it takes someone with superhuman willpower to do what HL did by giving near-full carton away away. I could never do that. I would always, say, "I'll wait to the last stick in the pack" or "until I finish the carton". I guess admitting one is weak is a step...

bennyloh said...

I started smoking when I was in Std four, I would follow my neighbour's children (about my age) to the jungle to pluck those big leaves for wrapping items.

My neighbour makes tau kua, tau geh etc. The leaves are for wrapping these together with a newspaper page on the outside. These leaves are for multi purpose, fried kueh teow, mee, meehoon were also being handled such a way. They don't have plastic those days.

Coming back to smoking, capstan, rough rider,555, craven A, matterhorn, gold leaf were the brands then. You could guess the period then.

When I was in Form three, I went 'public'. I smoke with school uniform on while cyling to and fro to school.

Thirty years after I left school I was a 2x20 smoker and proceeded to 3x30 the last two months before I quit. I didn't plan to quit. What irritates me is when I saw a man carrying four -five packets with a matchbox sitting on the next table then I realised that i was no different as I was also out to buy the nights ration of smokes. I was more irritated when one morning I was short of ciggy while squatting in the toilet.

Next day I went cold turkey. Somedays I would stand at a distance talking with smoker friends and to torture myself of
the deprivation. Fine, went on a month until my wife's constant curiosity of the reason, perhabs I met another lady. In my situation I can be easily irritated so I took on again 3x20 for two months then decided to go for another try. I told myself if I could do it for two months I would be free.

I last smoke in 1998 and I am off
but I gain 60lbs for the two months. I realised that when the 'gian' comes I popped in a sweet and I was eating the whole day just to satisfy that 'nicotine-craving' or "gian" in my system.

Winston and not any other brand of cigarette at $2.30 a pack was my choice. Not many place sell this brand and at certain haunts the sundry shop owners says he would keep this stock available only for me and I would walk a mile, two miles for that brand (was it Camel?) Ballucks!

Don't smoke and if you are, "Cold- Turkey" is always the better method

Zawi said...

I am not sure which Clan is renowned for their coffee whether its the Hainanese or the Hailam. HL must have said it refering to it as the cxoffee shop la :).
Hopefully her daughter will read this blog and learn from us all the ex smokers who managed to quit, the current smokers who is trying hard to quit and the smokers who are still enjoying the smoke.

Zawi said...

mat salo,
I am glad to have received his comment about this smokey thingy and asked his permission to post this as a blog.
As for you, spend more time with your children when at home in order to reduce smoking. When on the barge, keep yourself glued to the keyboard and imagine that the hard disk maybe corrupted due to the heavy smoke coming from your ciggy. A substantial reduction is considered a win. To me the cold turkey is the only way to quit. Take my advice, just QUIT. Make that as a promise to your family. They will love you for that.

Zawi said...

Congratulations! Let us rejoice the success of quitting a habit we shouldn't have started in the first place. May your success be emulated by the others who clearly wanted to quit but doesn't have the will to do it.

Hantu Laut said...

I didn't expect this.I didn't edit it and must apologise for any error, if any.I do feel honoured and many thanks for your kind gesture.

Zawi said...

Hantu Laut,
I didn't edit it either as I want the readers to read what came out of your heart. What you wrote touched many people's heart and something really inspiring to people who are having problem to quit smoking. If people like you and me can do it why can't they?
The small mistake about the 5 sen and 20 sen is nothing as I dont want people to be confused as to the actual cost of ciggy at that time.
Thanks for the comment.

Kelly Mahoney said...

My mom quit when I was 15. I don't know why people my age (mid-20s) would take up such a habit. It's so pricy and the dangers are well known. In my mom's time, everyone smoked.

Zawi said...

Each and everyone of us have a reason for smoking. Usually we justify it with whatever reasons that we have. Only after a certain time do we realize the folly of it but by then it became so difficult to stop.
Thank you for visiting my site and posting your comment. I will be making a reciprocal visit to your site. Have a good day.

Rita Ho said...

Zawi ... Hailam and Hainanese is the same, just varied pronunciation resulting in different spelling over the years. Anyway, my mom confirmed that coffee shops were and are still places guaranteed to have cigarettes available. Back in the old days, most coffee shops were run by our clan.

Akmal said...

Pak Idrus...errr, Pak Zawi,

Nice one from hantu air, and you too. It is so noble to do something good to the loved ones.
We always appreciate more the thing that already slipped off our hands. Health, generally, works that way too. Too bad eh?
Those who are still in the withdrawal syndrome, keep up your spirit! We over here are all with you(",).
It doesn't matter why sell; what matters is why know what I mean?
Have a nice day(",).

Hanafi Mohd Noor said...

Hi Zawi, I am still struggling to about 5 per day...

tokasid said...

Salam pak Zawi:

TQ for posting H-L's comment deserve to be an ebtry on its own.

One thing I noticed, we smokers are a selfish lot. Not in the tamak harta category,no!
But selfish that we deny the rights of others to have a cleaner envoronment at home, at the office or anywhere else( yes I know the smokes emitted by those lorries and express buses are worse).

Smoking,like any other vices is a feel good thing to do esp when we are young.And its totally up to each individual if they wanna stop or not.Hopefully, by fate something happened to them( hopefully something like what H-L experienced in Algeria and not like we get the big C or something sinnister like it).

I have quit, cold turkey method many times but as I am such a weakling( what else if not that), I started again( ppl like me who advised others not to smoke is the one burning by hardearned ringgit and my lung tissues away).How pathetic right? I know I have the strenght( and so too to others)IF I want to quit.IF. How I wish I wanted to,now!

My hats off to H-L and those who had quit the nasty habit.

Zawi said...

You ni asyik tersasul je. itu hari panggil pak idrus kat blog dia pak zawi hahahahaha...apa nak buat ye?
We will be supportive of all friends or loved ones who want to quit the habit. Picking up a habit is easy but kicking it s difficult.
You are right Akmal, let's not bother asking why sell when we should be bothering more about why buy. just dont buy, its our money.
Thanks for supporting the cause.

Zawi said...

5 sticks or 5 packs of 20s perday? If it is 5 sticks, then you are almost there. If 5 packs then you are still deep in the dark blue sea.
Lets assume that it is the later i.e 5 packs per day. My God so much money you are burning daily.
Discuss with your family. Include your children too however young they are. Tell them of your intention to quit. Ask them for their support. See the happiness in them. that alone will make you want to quit there and then. Remeber what happend to Hantu Laut, his daughter took up smoking later. Can you blame your daughter for picking up tha habit?
Start reducing it to 4. But as most ex smokers testified, going cold turkey is the definite way. Suffer a few weeks of withdrawal. Success will be sweet for you.

Zawi said...

Yes how i wish I could say you smokers are a very selfish lot. Told you I was a smoker too and I was selfish too. What did I care about others as long as I get my smoke? Now since I am on the other side of the fence, I think differently. There is indeed nothing manly about smoking.
Now i have made a ruling that there will be no smoking inside the house. Everyone will smoke outside the house and I provide suitable sitting places and provide ash trays for the smokers otherwise my floor will be littered with ciggy ash and ciggy butts. My wife will hate that hahaha.
Since you have done cold turkey before why not give it another go? Tell all the family members and friends of your intention, otherwise they will enntice you back into smoking. Smokers need company to enjoy smoking and will feel most uncomfortable to be the only smoker in a group of non smokers. I am speaking from experience so i can say that I have the authority on the subject hahahahaha.
We will all support you too. Keep us posted of your progress.

Zawi said...

Sorry I missed responding to your second comment. I tried to respond last night but I had problem with my google account. I am glad the problem is now over and can access my site again.
Thanks for letting me know of the no difference between Hailam and Hainan.
Anyway most coffeeshops sells ciggarette. Smokers love to smoke while or after a drink espcially when we were drinking 'Kopi O Kow'. I guess cffeine and nocotine are two very compatible elements. So selling ciggarettes is natural for the coffeeshop especially selling them by the sticks which is of course at an exhorbitant rate. 50 sen a stick now? I am not sure myself.

elviza said...

Dah lah Pak... guilty sungguh rasanya nih! Mat Salo pun must have felt the same (dont you dare deny it Bro!)

Puteri said...

Indeed a compelling story from Hantu Laut.

Here in the US,as Rita will attest, it is getting harder and harder for smokers to smoke inside buildings. I have gotten so used to a smoke free environment that I find it difficult to deal with places like restaurants in Malaysia where people still smoke freely.

My youngest brother is a heavy smoker and he smokes around his children and wife. I think he is rude and selfish. :-(

I am happy that my husband is not a smoker, though he sometimes like to share a cigar with friends, which is very rare!

Zawi said...

Don't feel guilty. Go ahead and enjoy your smoke. This blog is meant ro help those who want to quit smoking. All we do is encourage them and give them moral support so that they can be successful like Hantu Laut. Nothing that we can do to those who prefer to continue smoking even if their father died due to lung cancer at a ripe old age 80. After all we all will die one day due to some reason or other. As for me I just dont want to go to the next world by abusing my lung hehehehe.

Anonymous said...

SL comment. Hello Pak Zawi, read all your replies to comments published.
Well spoken, I may not know you personally, or enjoy a cup of iced coffee at a kedai kopi with you, or shook your hands, there are many men but too few gentlemen, and and you? You are a gentleman,..... one day I hope to have the opportunity to meet you, shake your hands and say, "Pak Zawi, it is an honour and my privilage to meet and know you".
Until then, always a pleasure to visit you here.
With best regards, SL.

Zawi said...

If what you said is a flattery, it is a flattery of the highest order. Instead I would like to take it as a compliment of the highest order. Since we dont know each other, it could have only come from the heart replete with sincerity. Thanks for those kind words.
Through my many years of living I have experienced many joys, sadness and regrets. Its the regrets that I want to caution the many young people following our footsteps. We have marked all the wrong paths that must not be followed. It will only lead to regrets. Just heed those markings and avoid all the paths that will lead you to regrets. If they still prefer to take those paths that leads to regret, there is nothing much that people like me can do for you.

Zawi said...

The same thing happened to this comment from you. I just published it together with your comment in The Best Cut Medicine.
Again I would like to offer my apology.
Yes Hantu Laut's story is indeed compelling. That is why I made it into a blog so that more people can share it. Hopefully his daughter will read it one day and realized the folly of smoking.
I am happy to know that you dont smoke. Thought all modern women would smoke. How wrong I am. It is good that your hubby smoke cigar only occassionally. Cigar is much more addictive and expensive to boot. Just steer him away from cigar. He may have to spend a fortune to support the habit of cigar smoking especially the Havana kind.
Your brother is definitely selfish there. Only your parents can caution him not to smoke near children. I guess he will smoke in cars too with all the children inside. Thats the normal habit of smokers. I did that too when I was smoking.
Malaysia tried to emulate the developed countries by designating no smoking zones. They were never enforced and so the zoning never deterred the smokers in any way.

Hantu Laut said...

I don't know what the situation in KL, but in Sabah people are more conscious about smoking in enclosed areas.You can't smoke in all shopping complexes,restaurants and any air-conditioned areas.The only place that still allow smoking are the bars because alcohol goes well with smoking, as most smokers would admit.

Zawi said...

hantu Laut,
The situation is the same in KL. Most public places that are air conditioned are no smoking area. I guess enforcement is lacking and some smokers are a selfish lot and will smoke whether the place is a non smoking zone or not. Only strict enforcement will deter them. I have seen smokers smoking at petrol stations. Thats dangerous area.

BBJeff said...

I just turned 36. After 16 years of smoking about 25-30 sticks a day, I've just quit for the first time on 1st Jan 2008.

Nicotine patches do help cut the craving by about 70%. For the rest of the 30% I sniff a vicks inhaler and eat sweets to kill the craving.

Its been 8 days now ... The side effects of not smoking ... Extreme tiredness esp after lunch, but the nice part is, my stamina to play football has increased visibly while playing football after only one week of quitting.

Wish me luck guys.

Zawi said...

We will definitely support you. My brother in law just quit. How did he quit? He had to do a heart surgery and the doc said he wont do it on a smoker. So he had no alternative but to stop. He stopped smoking very recently too.
Hope you will succeed.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Allow me to respond to bbjeff.
You made the first and second step already; resolution and action. I bet, now you are facing the withdrawal symptoms, which is the frenzy part of quitting smoking. But you see, what you do right now is noble.
I'm with you.

Zawi said...

Thank you for the support to bbjeff. Hope he will read it. Without an address or website, we are unable to reach to him directly. Hopefully Hantu Laut will do the same soon.