There were many things Canadian guys did waaaaay more often in 1965. Grow enormous sideburns? Check! Sport goofy turtlenecks? You bet! Watch hockey fights? Well, there were more on-ice fisticuffs back then, so…yes!
Trends like these come and go, for better or for worse, but there’s one difference between then and now that delivers truly great news: In 1965, more than 60 percent of Canadian men smoked. Fifty years later, that number is down to just 19 percent. That’s the lowest level in recorded history!
If you smoke, you already know it’s bad for you, and that quitting will improve your health and your finances. (Those grisly images on the cartons, and the soaring cost of cigarettes, are both hard to miss, right?) And the fact that there are fewer smokers out there doesn’t necessarily make it easier to quit.
Quitting isn’t about trends or statistics. One of the most important parts of quitting is knowing when YOU are ready to ditch the habit for good. That’s where these four signs come in — if they sound familiar, it’s time to butt out:
- You have at least three good reasons to quit
Ask yourself: “Why do I want to quit?” Your reason could be among the ones we’ve already covered: Better health, better looks, saving money and so on. Maybe it’s got more to do with the concern and welfare of friends and loved ones. No matter what your reasons are, acknowledging these high stakes will motivate you.
- You believe quitting is more beneficial than smoking
You won’t be able to escape your addiction until you acknowledge how much better life will be without cigarettes. Jot down the pros and cons of smoking, and if the cons outweigh the pros you’re good to go!
- You’re an experienced quitter
Very few smokers kick the habit on their first try. In fact, recent research shows that more than half of smokers have tried to quit in the past year, with one-third trying more than once. But aborted attempts shouldn’t be seen as failures. Au contraire, mon frere: You’ve already had a taste of the cigarette cravings you must overcome, and as they say, a little experience goes a long way.
- You already have a support system
Your family and friends probably want you to quit. Let them know how serious you are, and there’s a good chance they’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to help you get there. Grab a lit butt from your lips? Sure. Throw that poorly hidden pack in the trash? Absolutely! Allowing them to step in will take some of the burden off your shoulders, and deliver the most important message there is: You are not alone.
Why quitting is such a huge win
Despite the decline in the number of smokers, the unhealthy, expensive addiction remains the leading cause of preventable death in Canada. In fact, smoking cigarettes shortens guys’ lives by 10 years on average.
Smoking is almost certainly harming your health and physical performance, as indicated by the YouCheck.ca health awareness tool. Quit smoking, and the risk of heart problems, cancer, type 2 diabetes and erectile dysfunction diminishes. The sex drive and energy levels of quitters tends to increase. Wrinkles, discoloured teeth and bad breath are shown the door. And last but not least, OH, THE MONEY YOU’LL SAVE! We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars here. It’s amazing how much great stuff happens when you stop smoking.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.