Humor author Bill Dodds was a smoker for many years. After finally kicking the habit, he came up with a reason for every minute in the day to stay an ex-smoker, and put all of them in his new book, “1440 Reasons to Quit Smoking” (Meadowbrook Press).

Q: How did you think of nearly 1,500 reasons to quit smoking?

Dodds: It helped to have those reasons fall into two general categories: the negative and the positive. If you continue to smoke there are, or well may be, these unpleasant – or even deadly – consequences. And if you quit, then these good things are more likely to happen. I tried to make sure the book shows that balance. It isn’t simply scare tactics, although there’s plenty to be scared of. There are the many, many plusses.

Q: What reasons had the biggest impact on you as you quit smoking?

It truly dawned on me that smoking was a really stupid idea. I started smoking in college and continued for several years after I graduated. I began, as so many young people do, because my friends smoked. Through those years I was a “semi-closet” smoker. Smoking around some people, like friends and strangers. But not others, like my family. I remember my last cigarette. I was working with a youth group and didn’t want to smoke in front of them. So I slipped outside. It was cold. It was raining. It was miserable.

Q: Why do you think so many people are unsuccessful in trying to quit smoking?

Despite the fancy packaging and different brands, all cigarettes deliver the same drug. A very addictive one. It’s hard to kick any drug habit, including nicotine. I remember my last cigarette but that certainly wasn’t the first time I tried quitting. I don’t know how many times I tried and failed. In the end, of course, that doesn’t matter. What matters is succeeding the last time. And for those who want to quit – and without a doubt most smokers do – this time could be that last time. This time could be successful.

Q: What is the most important thing to remember in trying to quit smoking?

Why you want to do this. Not why others want you to. Not why you should do it. But why you want to do this. The reason or reasons may vary, may change, as you go through withdrawal and beyond. But you need to keep that one reason, or those particular reasons, in mind.

Getting off nicotine is a horrible experience. If quitting were easy, everyone who wanted to quit would succeed on the first try. No, getting from here to there is the pits. And that’s the only route. For a time it may seem your life revolves around not smoking but that’s not such a terrible thing. It simply can’t be business as usual because business as usual – being a smoker – was killing you.

After that horrible time period – and it will come to an end – your life will be better in more than 1,440 ways. And you will come to know, to really know, that being an ex-smoker was worth all that turmoil and torture. Being an ex-smoker is more than worth it.

Q: Once you have quit, what can you do to keep yourself an ex-smoker?

Take advantage of the advantages. Spend the extra cash on something you like. Do the things you put off doing or were unable to do. Take full advantage of that new lease on life, on that – literally – second wind. Avoid the triggers – the people, the places, the situations, the activities – that could lead to smoking again. Make it a matter of pride. You’ve done this. You. And you’re not about to mess it up. Not for anything. Not for anyone. Look forward to and then enjoy those years – those times spent with loved ones – that smoking would have stolen from you. You snatched them back, at no little personal cost. And they’re priceless. – Courtesy of FeatureSource.

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