Kicking the habit

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anthony Sanchelli
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
I've had a number of habits in my life, but none of them have been as sneaky and difficult to get rid of as smoking. This habit was introduced to me 16 years ago -- I am 26 years old now. Out of all the crazy things I did as a kid, this was by far the worst.

In the years that followed I continued to smoke, unaware this habit was becoming more and more addictive for me. It wasn't until I was leaving for basic military training I realized the extent of the addiction. During training I also discovered I was not the only one, as I saw several others in my flight with the same symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms like irritability, shaky hands and difficulty focusing were just the major ones we dealt with during the first three to four weeks.

I have been in a constant battle with myself and smoking since then. I've quit more times than I can remember, but it still comes back proving I haven't given it up for good ... yet. For a year-and-a-half I was able to quit. I filled the gap of smoking with exercise, particularly running. However, I am human and the addiction snuck up on me once again. I have gone back to running more, and I'm determined to not let smoking get the better of me this time around.

For those who understand this feeling and want to kick the habit for good, there is help out there. With the Air Force becoming more and more "smoke free" in its campaign to have a more fit fighting force, programs are available in order to help Airmen quit. At Incirlik Air Base, these programs are offered through the Health and Wellness Center and range from classes aimed at teaching others how to quit effectively to information on prescription medication capable of reducing cravings. To make things better, most of the help is free. With the assistance of these programs, we can quit.

If you're like me and enjoy smoking despite the fact we know it's bad for our health, there are several other reasons to quit. Someone who smokes a pack a day will spend almost $2,000 a year on cigarettes. Can you imagine what you could do with two grand if you just stopped smoking? For men who want to start a family or increase the size of the one they have, realize smoking decreases your chances of having children. For women, smoking can cause birth defects in unborn children. Smoking also causes bad breath and multiple forms of cancer to include, mouth, gum, throat and lung.

If you smoke and think even one of the benefits listed above appeals to you, then let go of your vice. You'll feel better, have more money and you could buy yourself more time. Find a reason to quit smoking and let it motivate you. My reason for quitting this time is my wife and newborn son. I don't want to be a negative influence on him and have him follow in my footsteps by becoming a smoker at the age of 10, or any age for that matter.

For more information on quitting and classes that could help, contact the HAWC at DSN 676-4292.