Still smoking – and liking it? Do not read this

“Beware of people who quit smoking. They are the ones who will get rid of anything if it turns out that it is bad for them.”

Duško Radović


In 2007 when I quit

I have not been smoking for 6 years and a half. I’ve heard somewhere that human body needs 7 years to get rid of all the old cells and build new ones (Subject to scientific derision I). It seems that I’ll soon be done with that.

My parents smoked. One grandfather, one grandmother, both uncles, all my ex’s smoked… Some have stopped, some are dead, my mom and one uncle still do. My love has recently switched to hand-rolled cigarettes to cut down the quantity. Electronic cigarette did not prove successful, twice.

I quit smoking on the Day of the Dead, November 1st 2007, after 20 years and 2 packs a day, minimum.

What enabled my quitting was the legislation that came into force in Slovenia on July 1st 2007, prohibiting smoking in all indoor public spaces.

I spent my last evening smoking having a dinner and quite a lot of wine with a friend, and we had to sit outside in cold winter air to be able to smoke, and I could hear the smokers coughing all around us, three beggars asked me for change, one tried to sell me a magazine, and then a mom came by with an offspring and pointed: “See, child, these here are smokers.”

When I was returning home on my bicycle, I had trouble riding uphill, my lungs were protesting. I got a little scared in my not very sober state. I kept clutching at my chest. Ugly thoughts were going through my mind… The state is killing off smokers… When I’m at my favourite concert venue, in the first row, I’ll HAVE TO LEAVE THAT SPACE TO GO OUT AND HAVE A SMOKE! When I’m working at my computer, I cannot write one sentence without having a puff, and it’s escalating. And now I can’t even ride my bike uphill, because it hurts.

If you think about it, tobacco belongs to the group of plants including tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, that were clearly meant as merely decorative plants (I mean, who’d be using tomatoes for cooking and make all food taste exactly the same, sickly, sweetly red… right? Or potatoes… clearly a side-dish from hell, if you ask Montignac). When native settlers passed them on to the occupiers, they – chuckling on the inside – forgot to mention their poisonous effects, as a payback (Subject to scientific derision II).

As for money – I never established how much I was spending for cigarettes but they were getting more and more expensive by the month. I heard from two friends, a married couple, how they quit: they visited a mass hypnotist in neighbouring Croatia, paid him 300 EUR each and actually stopped smoking after that. Ha, I bet they did. They would be too ashamed to admit to all their friends that they’d paid so much money in vain. So I figured I could pay 300 EUR to myself… if I was one of those who get high on cash.

On the other hand… my grandma, father and uncle gained 20 kg each after they stopped. This thought was the main obstacle whenever I considered quitting. I really was heavy enough as it was. I think my skeleton, boobs and brain alone weigh more than an average worldwide human being.

I quit once before, about 15 years ago, after returning from my 2-week trip to California, my only time in the USA. I guess I was affected by concerned looks and questions of the Is there something wrong with your family that makes you smoke? variety. I didn’t smoke cigarettes for a year after that. However, I went back to smoking easily on my visit to Rumania. Strange what countries can do to you.


A well-selected sad smoking photo. 😀

But as I was puffing on that bike towards home, something snapped inside me. I will quit. I will smoke one cigarette every day just so my body gets enough of the substances it is used to so that it doesn’t start to bloat right away. (This was one of the silliest things I could order myself and this one cigarette proved absolutely disgusting in the course of three days which was how long I obeyed this order.)

I will drink coffee without having a smoke with it.

When I finish a meal, I will not think of how nicely a smoke would do right now.

When I sit behind my computer and think, I will not reach for that cigarette in the ashtray to suck on it and pretend I think better this way.

There will be no more need to take care of having cigarettes and lighter with me at all times.

My fingers will stop being yellow. My teeth, skin, breathing, stamina, hair, lungs, heart, brain will improve. Whenever I pass somebody, not to mention talk to, hug or kiss, they will not smell the smoke on me first thing.

My apartment will smell nicely again. Not everything will get so bloody dirty so soon. (I forgot for a moment that I had a live-in boyfriend who was so proud of his smoking in every room of the house that I had zero chance of changing that. So I had to change him – NOT for that reason, obviously.)

I will not be a slave to cigarettes.

I will admit to myself that I’m a non-smoker.

And I did it.

No pills, therapy, patches, electronic devices, mantras, chewing gum (with much more nicotine that you could ever absorb smoking).

And it was so easy. The hardest part was those three cigarettes that I smoked forcibly lest I put on too much weight. (Guess what? That part still happened. The weight came. Then I got into exercise and eating regime. And the weight went. And I stopped with the regime. And the weight came again. But that’s a whole new subject for another time.)

I have not smoked a single cigarette since. I consider this my biggest victory in life (closely followed by moving my ass all the way over here and getting my driving licence in one try… What? I’ve been pretty spoilt by life…).

Actually, the hardest part is watching my friends and family who still smoke.

Watching my love who, like my mom, doesn’t wish to become a non-smoker. Who is convinced that he gets something invaluable from puffing on a tobacco roll, enriched with a few toxic substances. I mean, really?

What exactly must happen so that you stop?

When I woke up the morning after my decision to quit, I was happy. Relieved. I hopped on my bike to have a victorious ride to a friend’s place… and it was then that I noticed a flat tire.

It’s hard to ride uphill with a flat tire.

As it was, my decision was made. Sometimes our decisions are based on weirdest chance. Or is it chance?

What would you say, smokers of the world, how big a coincidence it was that you’ve just read this article?

(Oh, oh, guys, I’ve saved a little something for last… i’ve been told that once you stop smoking, men’s virility dramatically increases!) (Subject to scientific derision III).

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈


    1. 1. 4b smo kupili decembra 2006
      2. Saj veš, da nehati s kajenjem ni težko; dosti jih je že večkrat. Ta zadnja cigareta je iz leta 2011 – za 14 dni. In zdaj je dodala, da tudi danes še ni prižgala…


  1. There are so many things I don’t miss. Like, remember when you’d have a cold or allergies lingering, and you’d wake up in the night with a heinous coughing fit? Yeah, you were sick, but smoking made it so much worse! Totally don’t miss that.
    Looking for lighters. My God, I bet I spent more time looking for lighters than I did coughing.
    Standing outside freezing to death and being judged by everyone when I came back in. Ugh, and rain, remember how to keep ciggie dry while smoking in rain?!?
    SO many things.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My doctor has just told me that after thirty years of smoking, having stopped more than twenty years ago, my lungs show no effects of the smoking. So, it is never too late to stop. I did it, like you, cold turkey with no aids. Good for you. Good for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quitting cigarettes was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Congratulations on your 11th year!! I’m nearing my 15th. Now, it’s just time to work on all that other stuff that makes me unhealthy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Way to go Manja!! I am still smoking, and have started to think about quitting just recently, and that’s why I clicked the suggested post at the bottom of your current post. BTW your photo is adorable – is that 11 years ago? I’ve never smoked much, for about 10 years only one cigarette a day, maybe only 5 cigs in a week. Right now I’m smoking more than I ever have, which is three or four cigarettes a day. And I enjoy them, all but the smell on my clothes. With a boyfriend I can’t bear to have him kiss me after I’ve smoked, so I didn’t smoke when he was here visiting. He doesn’t like cigarettes and would prefer that I stop… so… meh, maybe I will. I read your post to get more inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, great, Crystal, I hope you got inspired! 😉 Yes, this photo is 12 years old, from when I stopped smoking. And I haven’t smoked in all this time and am very happy about it. How can you keep it to such a small amount, I wonder. I was never able. As I say – you must wish to be a non-smoker first of all. And then you become it. Easy. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on your amazing victory, Manja! It’s such an inspiring story, thank you for sharing it with us. Like you mentioned in one of the comments, first you need to want to be a non-smoker. I’ve heard this from all my friends and acquaintances who managed to quit, they all needed that final push to decide. This is exactly why I don’t really believe my mother will succeed – she is still looking for excuses and is quite open about not wanting to quit, even if she is smoking less. We’ll see what happens next. Hopefully your story might help some at least consider quitting, if not decide to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. I’ve been through a similar journey, on-off smoking. I still like it however, occasionally. It’s a funny old habit and hard to break for all the pleasant associations that go with it. i took up knitting, which helped (I don’t do that any more). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sunra Nina. This is just it – for me is no longer a fun habit. I haven’t had a single drag after writing this post. Mighty proud of it too, almost when I passed the driving test in first try. 😀 Knitting? Ahhh, not me. But most excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

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