Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kicking The Habit

Do you have any bad habit? Do you want to kick some of them off? Smoking to some who are not yet a nicotine dependent, can stll be considered as a habit, a bad and wasting habit. You may have reasons to support the habit with proof to say that it is not the ultimate killer by exposing your lung to not only nicotine but also to a small degree of poisonous carbon monoxide. You can tell the world that your girlfriend/boyfriend or even your spouse don't mind the ashtray like smell emitting from your mouth when you speak. What more when you open your gap to yawn.
Ask a non smoking person beside you, he will try not to breathe when you are doing that. That is how foul the breath of a smoker especially one who inhaled all the smoke as I did during my over twenty years of smoking since 1971.
I never smoke cigarettes though both of my parents did. They were tobacco farmers and produce the tembakau kampong (local tobacco) for sale in the village. I was involved in the production of the tobacco by helping my parents to strip the central veins of the leaf using a string loop placed between the toes of my feet. That was what I used to do on most nights till I went to sleep. My mum and dad would roll the leaves minus the central vein to form a large long roll of about 3 inches diameter and using a wooden gadget with a hole to poke the rolled tobacco through in a horizontal position, a sharp long knife with a 3 inches blade would be used to slice across the rolled leaves to form strips of tobacco. These strips off sliced tobacco would be made into a small loosely arranged tobacco spread and sun dried until the moisture content was suitable for storage. The dried tobacco was then ready for use with dried nipah leaves.
Tembakau kampung and nipah leaves.

When I grow up I hate smoking. I always chided my friends who smoke and told them that it was a waste of money and a risk to health. That was until I was sent to a Felda land scheme in Ulu Terengganu for a three months practical training in an oil palm scheme. That three month turned me into a smoker. My colleague Tengku Ahmad Salleh introduced me to the world of smoking. He was smoking the milder Peter Stuyvesant brand. He had no wheels to move around and since I had wheels in the form of a small Yamaha 80 motorbike, he bribed me by offering me cigarettes to secure a ride. That was how I started smoking, much to the surprise of fellow friends whom I used to chide before.

That was 36 years ago and in between I did manage to stop smoking for a couple of month and once for more than 3 years only to continue the habit again until 1997. It was that easy to pick up the habit once you were a smoker.

My friend Ah Kong enjoying a smoke using rokok daun

The earlier stop from smoking was due to ill health. Maybe my lung had suffered enough from the regular exposure to the warm and noxious tobacco smoke. So it protested by making it tough for me to breath and produces all sort of sound to show that it was not well. The taste of cigarette then was very bitter and any light up of the cigarette made me hate the taste. That condition continued for a month until a friend came with a pack of the imported cigar the size of a normal cigarette. I remember the brand as Henry Wintermann. I think it was made in Holland. Hey man that ciggy was smooth. I could smoke again. So the habit continued with a change to this kind of cigarette. A pack of six sticks cost about RM3.00 then. That was about RM0.50 per stick. Quite expensive then it being 1981. The whole pack could last me the whole day as being expensive cigarette, I had to smoke less. I started facing problem when somebody else saw my new brand and they wanted to have a try. Oh dear my supply for the day was depleted before midday approach. How to survive the next 10 hours or so before I get to sleep? Will I get to sleep unless I get a smoke? The solution..back to normal cigarettes (Dunhill then).

Smoking a ciggarette

Another attempt at stopping to smoke was after I develop another bout of bronchitis. An X ray showed that I was having lung effusion. My doctor friend told me that the condition was dangerous and I must seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Hey when it was life threatening who would dare to continue smoking? That stoppage lasted me more than 3 years. A close friend move house to a house next to mine. He smoke the mentholated Salem. Every night he will come over for chit chat at my house and offered me a stick a night. Just for old time sake. That once a night stick led me to a very long smoking period until the total stop in 1994.

Why did I stop this time? This time the reason was not life threatening. It was a dare. My son Azuan was schooling in one of the premier Mara Science Junior College in Jasin Malacca. He was caught smoking in school. He was in form 4 then. The college authority did the right thing by sending him back to us. Initially they wanted to escort hm back to Pasir Mas Kelantan to ensure that he wont stray away from home. I gave assurance to the college authority that it would be OK to send him home on his own and I spoke to my son to come back on his own. He said he would come back.

We talked like a father and a son. Man to man. He didn't answer back at all to what I said and he admitted to the smoking. My final offer was that we both stop smoking. Me the father who had been smoking for more than 20 years will stop smoking and he being a smoker of just a few years must also stop smoking. We agreed and we shook hands on that and h asked for our forgiveness and we forgave him.

I was so happy that till now I have managed to stop smoking. I just took the cold turkey treatment and suffered the few agonizing weeks of withdrawal that followed. That step to quit smoking saved me quite a sum of money as the price of cigarette spiralled like the price of oil on the world market.

We didn't know that Azuan reneged on his gentleman agreement until that fateful day when he had that nasty accident that nearly killed his life. Among the items they found in his pocket was a lighter and a packet of cigarette. Read more of his near fatal accident here


Anonymous said...

Hullo Pak Zawi, good to hear you quit. It is bad habit. And very expensive too.
Very interesting read your experience making those tobacco.
Kelanta still grows tobacco plants?

Puteri said...

I am glad that you stopped smoking too. Stopped because you wanted your son to stop.

Did your son stop smoking after that accident?

Smoking is bad for you health, and a waste of money!

Rita Ho said...

I am an ex-smoker too, Zawi. Started somewhat young on a foolish moment and had my last cigarette in June 2002. Most of the folks around me these days don't smoke so it really helps because being a passive smoker is so much worse!

My current bad habit is leaving water taps turned on and lights switched on. The house is full of yellow post-it reminders but I still do it. Very bad. :(

Zawi said...

The Local Tobacco planting took a nosedive when MTC brought in The Virginia tobacco in Kelantan. Now due to high price of ciggarettes, many people are reverting to smoking palm leaves ciggarette and creating more demand for local tobacco. Most planters are chinese farmers.
I will try to get the gadget they used to slice the tobacco leaf to shreds when I manage to find them.
Thanks for visiting whoever you are SL.

Zawi said...

Yes I quit. My so quits too. He is now a healthy young man who is an all ronder sportsman. He plays badminton, pingpong, pools and recently he did the tough Head Hunter's trail in Borneo with his office mate.
Smoking is not only bad for health and a waste of money but it irritates those near you cos the second hand smoke which you unconciosly inhale is more damaging than the original smoke.
At the moment we have 2 more smokers in the immediate family, my son Azrin and my son inlaw Lokman. My other son inlaw Joe managed to stop too. I thought he would be the last to stop as he was a heavy smoker.

Zawi said...

Congratulations on the successful change to no smoking world. Stopping to smoke is a great feat. We should be helping others who still can'd do it. Let's help Elviza next.
You are spot on about the passive smokers being at risk especially small babies. I insist that smokers in the family smoke out of the house. Their spouses will also insist that they brush their teeth and gargle with mouth wash before kissing their babies. When kissing their wives, the condition is optional hahahaha.
Hey I am forgetting to switch off lights too. I guess it is normal for people my age. I am tired of being nagged about that so I am using torchlights now to avoid being nagged LOL.

Pak Idrus said...

Zawi, if anyone enjoy smoking why not enjoy it. I did smoke from the age of 18 year old until I am 42. I smoke forty cigarette a day. I had a carton in my car, in my house and in my office, so that I am never without cigarette. I enjoyed those cigarette over a drink. That was the life then and I did enjoyed it. And in the early eighties I just quit and now no longer smoke.

I am as healthy as ever and I do not believe smoking would kill so is a few drinks. Nowadays the Malay youth are not allowed to enjoy themselves like we did before, so they resort to drug and Mat Rempit and we can see the result.

During our days we had a few drinks and enjoy smoking and enjoy life. We did hot landed ourselves like those Mat Rempit and the drug addicts especially among the Malay youth in this country. So if some youth want to smoke, i told them if the enjoy it is OK. but do not do drug or Mat Rempit.

I have gone through life, there are no such thing as a ideal Life. If you enjoy smoking or drinking why not. Which is better of the two evil, if you think drinking is an evil. Drug or Drink. To me it is better to drink then to take drug but now they say no to everything and arrest them if they are found drinking. So those youth resort to drugs and Mat Rempit. That my friends is the result of not understand the reality of living.

So if you enjoy smoking now by all mean smoke and enjoy life and I repeat don't do drug and Mat rempit. Like me you would stop smoking when the time come, in the meantime enjoy life. Have a nice day.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
I'm quiet edgy with smokers.Why?I guess my history af asthma explains a lot(",).Then again today, smokes are everywhere.Pegi jalan-jalan pasir mas jumpa asap, pegi beli topup depan florida jumpa asap,turun masjid jumpa asap.Heheh.
I don't mind with smokers;go on, smoke all the way they want.Just remember that they are living with the society that not everyone love smoke they way they do.It is just a matter of respect(",).
Most of the youngsters smoke not because they don't enjoy life. They do smoke and they do rempit(not everyone).Among the friends I met, many smoke like no tomorrow for them to continue.Some just wanted to show how 'matured' they are,some just wanted to join their friends who smoke,and some just simply enjoy it.
I came from a family where money is quiet an issue.And to smoke on it?Not for me(",).

Have a nice day Pak Zawi(",).

Zawi said...

pak idrus,
When I first found out my older son Azrin was smoking while in school, I almost beat him. I told him he can smoke after he makes his own money. Never to smoke at my expense as ciggarette is not a food item and is a luxury we could ill afford.
I didnt mind people smoking around me when I waas a smoker but not now that I have stopped smoking because their smoke affect me especially in an airconditioned room. I would tell my children they can smoke all they want afterall its their own money and using their own lungs hahahaha. All they need to do is smoke away from young children and not to litter with the ash and butts. Ashtrays must be cleaned as often as possible so that no smell will eminate from it.
There are many smokers out there who would love to quit smoking due to health or finance. It is due to their lack of will that they cant quit. What better way to stop from smoking by not starting it? It will be very difficlt to quit later. Anyway you have to acquire the taste of smoking before you can enjoy it. I remeber getting giddy when I first tried smoking. It is not like drinking a cup of milo where you will like it even when its your first time.
The last time I bought a Dunhill 20 it was RM3.80 or RM2.80? How much is it now? I wont bother to find out because I know it is very expensive.
Another reason why I dont like my children to smoke is for fear that their ciggarette may be laced with other stimulants such as cannabis which is a precursor to stronger drugs.
It seemed to be so easy for you to quit. Lucky you.
So to those smokers who love to smoke, please enjoy it anytime anywhere but not near me.
Have a good weekend Pak idrus.

Zawi said...

I am sorry to hear that you are asthmatic. People with your condition suffer the most among the company of smokers.
It is most apt that non smokers like you request for respect from smokers.
How great it will be if special rooms are provided for smokers to smoke in. All the new comers to the room need to do and inhale the smoke exhaled from the other smokers. That may save some of them some money. Cruel thought huh?

zewt said...

i think you just did the best thing a father can do to a son!

Zawi said...

I did what another father would have done. Out of love for our children we have to guide them towards not doing the same mistake that I as a father have experienced.
Thank you for seeing my point zewt.

Hanafi Mohd Noor said...

Sigh, I am still struggling to quit.

Zawi said...

Find a strong enough reason to quit and find a friend to do it together. Keep away from friends who smoke or tell them to help by not offering you ciggarette. That maybe a way. It doesnt work for everybody though. If I can quit why cant you?

truth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
truth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zawi said...

This is the second time it happened to me. Comments not meant for me but to my friend mat salo. the truth sent me not just one but two of them and I deleted one of them. Now i will moderate my comment just to filter such unnecessary ones.

Mat Salo said...


Let's get that idiot who calls himself melayulelaki/truth and even matsalo2 --outta here. He's not worth engaging with. I'm sorry that he abused your space here.

That off my chest, I enjoyed this story very much. As a smoker since hostel days I have never even quitted or bothered to. When I was a student in college in US I was into sports a bit so I chewed tobacco (sold in small cans -famous brands Skoal, Copenhagen) because that's what my peers were doing. Such a disgusting habit because you put the moist tobacco in your gums while the nicotine seeps through. Of course, instead of lung cancer, one can also get mouth cancer...

I say disgusting because like makan sireh we need to spit out our tobacco-laced bloodred saliva often. The upside is we can do this surreptitiosly in the lecture hall, but we need a coffee cup used as a spittoon. Sometimes forget that the cofee is finished and ... urgh!

My real problem is don't smoke THAT much (yeah, we all are in denial mode) to warrant concern. That's what I think anyway. A pack of Dunhill every 1.75 days on average. But to my doctor on my regular med exams I lie by saying no more than 10 sticks a day...

And when we work rigs in an exeggerated macho environment --smoking is what bonds us workers. But it's all bull I know because smoking kills.

Also getting them cheaply certainly doesn't help. I get them duty-free on my way to work. And oilfield workers are rarely asked by customs why we carry 4 cartons in our bags...

I think if I can get on a regular exercise regime (like people on land) it'll be easier to quit. But this all excuses, I know.

The truth is, when it comes to smoking --I'm just weak.

But my head knows I need to stop. I got a 18 mo-old daughter to think about. I'll be 60 when she takes her PMR. With smoking, can I live that long? So this should be reason enough.

Thanks for reminding, 'bang.

Zawi said...

mat salo,
Done the needful. Now my blog will be on moderate mode to filter such filth.
Glad to know that you have the intention to smoke. Just do some arithmatics and you will soon realize how much you can save if you can stop right now till we meet our maker. Factor in the spiralling cost of ciggarettes and the cost of medical treatment too. To have the intention to stop smoking is a good start. Some of my friends never intend to stop smoking. Its their choice since its their money and their lung that they are using. My only hope is that they smoke away from non smokers.
For a strat you can reduce the amount of smoke you inhale into your lung. Keep reducing everyday and soon you will reduce the addiction and its a matter of kicking the habit after that. Like my advice to Hanafi, find a strong enough reason to do it, like your children, then you are moving towards a life of not smoking.
Thats the advice from a man who stopped smoking for good.

Rita Ho said...

Mat Salo's question "With smoking, can I live that long?" reminded me of my dad. He smoked from his teen years until his death at 76. He suffered a mild stroke in between but still could not quit. The irony was he didn't die of lung cancer or any illness related to it. It was liver cancer that he had to battle and he hardly drank!

Still, quitting is a better option, MS. You can do it. :)

J.T. said...

I grew up around smokers (relatives, parents' friends, and later peers) and yet never picked up a smoking habit.

I do not mind smokers in my company but prefer if the smoke expelled is not in my face. :)
While some people need help to quit smoking, I believe some will do it in their own time when they find a reason to do so. My late dad did it after more than 3 decades of smoking. It was good to see him smoke-free before he passed away.

Zawi said...

There is a similarity between your late dad and mine. Both of our dad didn't quit smoking. I guess he smoked till his very last day. I wasnt sure since I wasnt there when he left us.
We will never know what will finally took us away to the next world. I remeber reading Raja Petra's blog that a health freak who excercised daily daily died by being run by an automobile wheile he himself who has been puffing on his cigars for all the years is still up and away marching to the istana handing the memorandum to the Agong yesterday.
Fate will determine it.

Zawi said...

Lucky thing you didnt pick up the habit. Believe me it is very difficult to kick it off.
After stopping from smoking, our sence of smell become heightened. I can detect ciggarette smell when I entered a car after any of my son or son inlaw took it for a drive and smoked in it even with all the doors open. I will pass a remark that will definitely make the guilty one regret for smoking in my car.
I am glad that your dad finally quit smoking. It was an achievement that any smoker dreaming of quitting will find most gratifying.

Mat Salo said...

Pak Zawi, I know what is required to do but the flesh is weak. But I will take your advice. Franky I detest smoking because it stinks (that's what my spouse and children says --and they're right) even when I smoke outside the house. I will never smoke in my wife's car, she WILL know. But to a smoker we are oblivious to the smell. I think with all that money "burned" since I started smoking, and if we put in a bank with long-term compounding interest, I wouldn't be surprised the amount saved can buy you a small imported car. Scary.

Rita --if 'Bang Zawi could do it, and you could do it, perhaps I could too. Thanks.

Zawi said...

mat salo,
Think of all the positve reasons. Give yourself a test on how strong is your will. Feel the joy of conquest when you finally can tell your children that you have finally QUIT. No doubt the loneliness on the barge will make you want to smoke but think of the sweet joy of success. Lets all rejoice with you when you finally did it. Start putting the money in a piggy bank, the same amount that you would spend on ciggarette everyday. IsyaAllah you will see the pile grow in notime. To all those who challenge you, show them the pile and take up the challenge like a brave warrior facing the enemy.

zaitgha said...

Pak Zawi,

I got 'disturbed' by lelaki melayu too...nuisance...

i was once a social smoker when i was young...but cant stand the smell and quit for good when i hit 20...but the hubby is still puffing away though...

Zawi said...

This guy has been unable to post his comment on the blogsite that he wanted to post. As such he will post on any commentator that posted comment on that blog. He is a real nuisance. So now I am moderating my comment. He wont be able to post his comment here anymore.
You are lucky to be able to quit smoking so easily. Ask your hubby if he wants to quit himself. Assist him to quit. He will need all the help he could muster. You will be the best person to assist him. That is if he wants to quit. otherwise it will be pointless.

NaNa said...

Pak Zawi,

I have lived with smokers all my life. Even my late father was a heavy smoker who always carry two packs of ciggarettes all the time.

My first experience with ciggarettes is when I was seven years old. My brother and i took our dad's ciggrette, lit it up and went behind the store room door to puff. Thank God the taste was terrible. If not... hmmm.. a smoker from the age of seven.. how bad can it be?

When I was at University, I was curious and tried those 'designer ciggarettes' a couple of times but found nothing special in it.

Even now.. after being married to a smoker and having inlaws who smoke, I still don't know what is so special about ciggarettes. Good for me I guess. But still... I have to endure the smokes.

Zawi said...

lucky thing that the habit didn't stick on you. Otherwise you would have burt quite alot of money. I have said someone that the joy of smoking has to be acquired. You have to develop your body to like it. After sometime your body will come to terms with the poisons in the smoke and become dependent on the nicotine thus the crave for it.
It is enduring other peoples smoke is the problem. Many smokers couldnt care less where they throw thir ash and ciggy butts thus dirtying a place. The worse kind will try to disintegrate the butt by twisting it with the sole of their shoes dirtying the floor as well. Now i feel sorry for smokers as more places are becoming no smoking zones, like the hospitals and schools but many wont respect the No Smoking signs as they need to smoke no matter where they are.

pB said...

Salam Pok Awi

pB , hok sbenar sbenar nyor penoh tra hisap rokok ni.
Maso tu , dalae tingkatae tigo.
Keh frah , rasonyor.
Jupo rokok , hok ayoh sipae dalae bilik air.
Tra la konong konong nyor.

Kalu tok silap , duo kali sedut jah.
Teruh , batuk kong kong.
Tigo pak hari , makae tok raso gapo gapo.
Pahit , tuhae jah hok tahu...

Sapa lonni , pB tok pehea gapo dio hok aorghe dok hisap rokok ni raso ...
Bukae nyor sedak pung ...

Mujolar che aBear pB tu bukae perokok ....

Hantu Laut said...


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 0.05 cents those days.You can buy them by the stick at any Hainanese coffeeshops.With 0.20 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.

Zawi said...

Izinkan hambo nak jawab kok orang putih sebab pembaca hambo dok seluruh dunia. Nyanyo la mereko tak pahe.
In a gist pb tried smoking ciggarettes left by her dad in the bath room. She was then in form 3 when she was frustrated over something (could be broken love affair).
That trial to smoke made her cough and after 3 days she couldnt eat anything.
She cant understand why people smoke at all since it didnt taste good at all.

My comment is:
I have said a couple of times. You have to develop the joy of smoking. There is no point to start smoking cos it is difficult to stop later when you want to. People associate smoking with style or trend. Just to be trendy they smoke.
mujo la pb tak jadi perokok.

Zawi said...

hantu laut,
You wrote something really worthy of being posted as a blog. That is what I am going to do with it, post it as a new blog on my site.