I should...no, I will quit

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Benjamin D. Kim
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
The smell is terrible. It's unnatural. My uniform reeks of it. Its presence is clearly marked on my fingers, the yellow in my teeth screaming for me to stop when I look in the mirror. "You stink," my female coworker exclaims. I nod and smirk, then I light one more.

My mind crashes, the temporary stimulation lasting less and less. Just one to start the day, maybe one before I start work, maybe one before lunch--the reasons are always plentiful. "You should quit," my coworker suggests. I smirk and nod my head, then light one more.

My lungs feel strange--they burn, really. As I huff and puff running around the track I deeply regret developing this habit. "You need to quit," my physical training leader demands. I laugh and nod, then light one more.

"I should quit," I say as I throw my pack of cigarettes in the garbage can.

"I can quit whenever I want," I proclaim proudly as I rustle through my garbage can. I brush aside balled up papers and wipe remnants of a slimy, browned banana off that crumply, red pack for that lonely cigarette. I'm oblivious to what addiction really is.

Thick, white smoke dissipates into the air as if the stresses of the day dissipate with it, and a momentary euphoria sinks in. The feeling lasts for just a brief second--then the feeling escapes like a passing thought. My brain makes a helpless ploy to cling to that feeling as smoke infiltrates my lungs once more, and once more the vicious cycle spins. "I need to quit," I tell myself.

I realize that smoking cigarettes tarnishes the image of what an Airman is supposed to represent: professional appearance, perseverance and excellent physical condition. Oh, and it's just plain bad for you.

I find myself standing there with that familiar feeling--the feeling of peering down shamefully at that crumpled, red pack with that sad, lone cigarette screaming for my warm embrace... I nod and smirk, but I light nothing.

I refuse to stink; I refuse to feel unhealthy; I refuse to be weak--I quit!

For more information about tobacco cessation resources, contact the Hurlburt Field Health and Wellness Center at (850) 884-4292