On Being Uncommon

My nephew was a cigarette smoker for 18 years. He is now a non-smoker for 18 months.

Curious as to why he was able to really quit this time, as like most smokers he tried several times but never stuck to it, I asked how he did it and why it worked this time.

First, the number one reason he started smoking was peer pressure, everyone else was doing it so he did it. It was something to do while hanging out with friends. That’s not surprising as I believe that is why most people start.

He knew at some point he had to quit for the obvious reasons of health, expense ($8/pack where he lives), and the social stigma associated with the activity.

The number one reason he quit was he made a commitment to his daughter. His eight year old girl said “by the time I turn twelve I want you to quit smoking.” They made a deal. Four years is a long time to fulfill an obligation, but my nephew never forgot, nor did his daughter. As quitting time got closer his daughter was going on a school trip for a week and one parent was to accompany their child. All adults were told no smoking on the trip. Ha! As we all know, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

However he took this as his opportunity to quit. He would be away from home and with other non-smokers and kids who the adults had to set an example for.

His last cigarette was before leaving on that trip.

He did vape for awhile, but after two to three weeks he had no urge to smoke. That may not be common for most smokers.

I asked was it a habit or an addiction. For my nephew it was a habit, part of a routine, something he did when he got up in the morning, after he ate, after work, when hanging out with friends.

By breaking the routine, being away from home and making a commitment to his daughter, he was able to do it. That’s will!

I asked how he feels about himself. Physically he doesn’t notice much change. However, he has a huge sense of accomplishment that he did it and he also fulfilled his commitment to his daughter setting the example for her.

I find that uncommon, inspiring, and a display of character. I’m proud of him and my young niece!

This reminds me we are not meant to be common, to do things because everyone else is doing it. We are here to be our own person, who we were meant to be.


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