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Why I started smoking: A Quitter's Diary

Dylan reveals what drew him to the habit he just can't seem to kick.

Written by Dylan Varian | View this authors Twitter page and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"I am nineteen years old. I shouldn’t feel winded after running up the bloody stairs. That is not right."

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To be honest I don’t know why I started smoking. Actually, that’s a lie. I do. It was a girl. I started smoking because of a girl. Happy now? Because I’m not. I started smoking over four years ago and I’m still trying to kick the damn habit. And guess what? That relationship didn’t last either. I got an addiction to smoking and it was all for nothing.

If anyone is reading this thinking of taking up smoking just to impress another person, don’t. Don’t be as idiotic as I was. Because you know what doesn’t impress women? Shortness of breath and stinking of smoke. I say all this as a smoker. In fact, I had a cigarette mere seconds before writing this entire thing. And after four years of smoking the damn death sticks, it’s time to say goodbye.

READ: Want to learn about how smoking affects your body? Here's the story on smoking and your health

When I decided to to quit smoking

This won’t be the first time I’ve tried to give them up. From the age of 16 to 18 I smoked without caring about it. I enjoyed it, it relaxed me. When I was doing the Leaving Certificate, I used to finish my exams and have a cigarette outside the school while waiting to head into another exam. I became very dependent on it and I still am.

However, there was a turning point about two years ago at my friend Jemma's 18th birthday party. I stood outside the front door to have a smoke and began talking to a friend of mine, Roisin. She went on to give me a lecture about smoking, the damage I was doing to myself. I had heard the speech many times; “years off your life”, “shortness of breath” yada yada yada.

There was also a rumour going around about the same girl, claiming that she had once stolen a cookie from a child. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a cookie stealer give you a lecture about smoking, but for some reason you take them a bit more seriously. Looking back now I’ve become friends with a lot of crazy people. I mean I befriended the cookie monster…literally. What she said to me that night stuck with me somehow. I gave up smoking for three months a week after that party. At another one, three months later, I caved again.

READ: Need advice on quitting? We've got you sorted

I'm really starting to see the bad effects of smoking

Things are different now than they were two years ago though. After four years of smoking, I am starting to see the very bad side. Up until now I have been pretty fit. I was able to run around and do what I wanted, but a couple of weeks ago I found myself feeling winded when I ran up the stairs.

I am 19 years old. I shouldn’t feel winded after running up the bloody stairs. That is not right.

The other reason I want to give up smoking, besides the whole health thing, is the fact I don’t like it anymore. It was something which I enjoyed and used to relax. At this stage it is more of a chore than anything.

I know this isn’t going to be easy. In fact one of my friends just informed me she read somewhere it’s easier to give up heroin than smoking. If that doesn’t give me encouragement to give up, I don’t know what will.

Let’s see how the next few weeks go.

Getting help and support to QUIT smoking

  • Visit for tips on how to stop smoking.
  • Call the Quitline Freephone no 1800 201 203 to talk to someone who understands and can help you quit.
  • Check out the Quit Facebook page to read stories from others who have quit smoking and to share your own.
  • Check out SpunOut's articles on quitting smoking
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Published Sep­tem­ber 25th2014
Tags smoking quit smoking health
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