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Giving up a life-long habit of smoking was not really a plan, more a sequence of events which ultimately led to my decision.
I first “lit up” at around age fourteen, mainly to show my so-called friends I could- Yes, I had succumbed to “peer pressure”, and even though the taste of my first cigarette repulsed me, after much perserverence I soon had it mastered and for the next twenty-five years, smoking became a way of life.

By the time the year 2000 rolled around, the tobacco companies had begun making some  modifications to the ingredients, but the details were never displayed or mentioned. Had my taste buds not been alerted, I could well have continued to smoke, so in a strange twist of fate the tobacco companies actually did me a huge favour!

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Upon taking a closer look at my cigarette packet , I was quick to note the ingredient, carbon monoxide… if that wasn’t instant shock treatment, noting there had been an increased amount left me gasping for air!
Let’s face it, if I wanted a carbon monixide “fix” I might as well go breath in the exhaust fumes of my car? The joke is I had been stabbing pin holes into each “fag” in hope it would improve the quality, until of course reality kicked-in..it was time to quit!

Even though I’d put the wheels into motion, there was still a need to voice my anger and as I believed myself a victim of the tobacco companies(or as I like to call them, Tobacco Toads), felt I had every right to voice my dissproval and concerns.
My telephone call to Phillip Morris was a complete waste of time…I mean seriously, what was I thinking?  Almost fourty years of age, and still I knew absolutely nothing about the business of these companies and how they had been controlling my life- what a rude awakening.
They had fobbed me off just as quickly as they had lied, leaving a far greater bitter taste in my mouth…but they had also ignited the fire beneath me and so the battle had begun.

During the early days of dealing with the “tobacco toads”, there were already other battles being waged in my life but looking back I think these events were all there to test my levels of strength and to prepare me for what lay ahead. My mother’s cancer diagnosis the final straw, provoking the deepest anger I could muster and leading me to arm myself….I was ready,bring it on!

My journey to a smoke-free-world commenced on Anzac Day, the 25th of April, 2000, two days short of mum’s 63rd birthday….ending the very day I lost her to ovarian cancer, just 3 months later on the 3rd of July, 2000.

I turned 40 just twenty days later.

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Image courtesy of Deb Stevens

The following information courtesy:http://www.makeanoise.org.au/Articles.aspx?articleid=42

Health effects

Smoking kills more than 19,000 Australians every year, which is more than the number of deaths caused by heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs, alcohol, AIDS, murder, suicide, road crashes, plane crashes and drowning put together. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Australia.

What’s in a cigarette? (It’s enough to make you sick. Very sick).

Nicotine is a drug found in tabacco. It is a highly toxic chemical which can affect your heart rate, increase your blood pressure and decrease your blood circulation. Tar is just one of the cancer-causing agents in cigarettes.

There are over 43 known cancer-causing agents in cigarette smoke. Other ingredients found in cigaretter smoke include:

    carbon monoxide (poisonous gas in car exhaust)
    toluene (industrial solvent)
    methanol (used for rocket fuel)
    cadmium (used in car batteries) – a known cancer causing substance!
    ammonia (used in floor cleaner)
    hydrogen cyanide (poison used in gas chamber)
    acetone (paint stripper)
    arsenic (white ant poison)
    butane (lighter fuel)
    naphthalene (mothballs)
    DDT (insecticide)

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