How I stopped smoking

I smoked for about seven years

I started at 15, when I was in high school. At that age, smoking is something that's common, and it's done very innocently. You imagine that smoking gives you a certain importance, especially when you meet other young people who smoke. Also, there's the idea that doing something forbidden, breaking rules a little bit, is fun.

Also, at 15, there is a certain pressure from friends. You're part of a certain group and they offer you a cigarette. It's hard to say no. At that age, I wasn't very confident about myself. I didn't have a clear standard. So I started smoking because they offered me cigarettes. “A cigarette once in a while won't hurt me,” I thought.

But later in high school, I believed that smoking was a way to compensate for the stress and fatigue of tests and exams. Because I was a hard worker, I felt the cigarette was helping me stay up longer, and was giving me the strength to work harder. Also, as a young woman, I had the impression that smoking was helping me stay slim by cutting my appetite. And the longer I smoked, the more positive things I seemed to find about it.

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Can I be accepted for who I am?
January 1, 1999

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