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Telegram reporter Kenn Oliver makes it to Day 5 without a cigarette

Trash the ash — an update on the quit quest


Published on April 21, 2017

Has anyone in the world ever wanted or needed a cigarette as bad as Maple Leafs Dart Guy? Certainly not Telegram reporter Kenn Oliver who is now five days smoke free.

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It’s been five days since my last cigarette.

That’s not to say there haven’t been cravings. Maybe they weren’t as strong as those felt by the now famous and meme sensation affectionately known as Maple Leafs Dart Guy as he watched his beloved Buds play the Washington Capitals in overtime a couple nights back, but I assure they were present.

All I want to do is eat. Which would be fine, of course, if my cupboards weren’t filled with mini eggs and peanut butter cups from Easter gift baskets.

Truth is, I actually moved my quit date up by four days to this past Sunday.

After finishing off a pack on Saturday night, I didn’t see the merit in dropping another 12 or 13 bucks on a pack only to toss it away half empty a couple days later. (You would think someone so frugal would have had the sense to never start smoking in the first place, right?)

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A lot of non-smokers, and maybe most smokers, probably aren’t aware that cravings are just the tip of the cessation symptom iceberg.

Depending on the quit method you’ve chosen and how much you were smoking, you could be dealing with quite a few to varying degrees.
There are the physical — coughing, headaches, lightheadedness, fatigue, and the always-enjoyable constipation — and the mental — depressed mood, insomnia, irritability, increased appetite, and relentlessness.

Thankfully they generally don’t all occur at once and the worst of them tend to subside over the first few days to weeks.

Fortunately for me, Champix is light on symptoms and heavy on success. I’ve had some mild headaches, irritability (friends, family and co-workers will tell you that’s nothing new for me) and some difficulty concentrating, which has kind of worked in my favour as it helps keep editors off my case for not turning in a story on time. (Please don’t fire me.)

I am, however, hungry. I could eat this keyboard.

All I want to do is eat.

Which would be fine, of course, if my cupboards weren’t filled with mini eggs and peanut butter cups from Easter gift baskets. (No, I will not donate them. They’re mine. All mine.)

Dealing with symptoms, even a voracious appetite, is part of the quitting process. Like Tom Hanks’ Jimmy Duggan said in “A League of Their Own”:

“It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

(Crying, however, is permitted in quitting.)
The same goes for cravings, even those times when you’d step over your own mother for a smoke.
But having been down this road before, I can assure what you’ll find is that they pass quickly and once you make it to a certain point in the process they become almost non-existent.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t talk about one of the side effects of Champix that I’ve been experiencing: truly messed up dreams.
I’m not going to share any details — partly because I don’t recall specifics and partly because they’re not all G-Rated — but suffice it to say they make a Salvador Dali painting look like a colouring by number.

Until next time.

Don’t smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

 

Kenn Oliver is a Telegram reporter craving a cigarette. But if he tries to bum one off you, don’t do it and remind him that’s he taking part in a MUN School of Pharmacy smoking cessation program for a reason. He can encouraged to stay the course at kenn.oliver@thetelegram.com or via Twitter at kennoliver79.