Smoking. Give it up.  

Rab's method.

For the benefit of any young person who may think it's cool to smoke. It's cool to be clean, fresh and healthy and you will never be any of these things if you become a smoker. 

Diary of a smoker.March 2000

I smoked for 38 years having started age 12. I gave up on my 50th birthday and I feel much healthier for having chucked it. I have stopped before for 1 year and ended up going back to it. I have been without a cigarette since the year 2000 this time and I hope to remain a non smoker for the rest of my life. Life has it's ups and downs and it is easy to look for pleasure or comfort from a fag if you are an x smoker like me. The truth is that the momentary pleasure that would be gained from a cigarette would be far outweighed by the fact that I would be back to coughing, and one cigarette only leads to another. I intend to discuss the benefits of giving up smoking if for no other reason than to help remind myself of the need to be on guard against failure. I also know from experience that it is best to be absolutely honest and to make as public a statement as possible to let everyone know you are a non smoker is a helpful way to strengthen your resolve to stick to your guns and remain (clean).

What has smoking done for me? My father died from lung cancer when he was 55. My last memory of him was watching my brother hold a cigarette to his mouth in the hospital bed he died in. He was by then too weak to hold a cigarette himself but it was still his main pleasure in life. I was fifteen at the time and I never thought there was any harm in smoking. My father enjoyed a smoke and so did I. I hate people who preach to everybody else about what a terrible habit smoking is when they have little experience of the efforts necessary to get off the fags once you've started. I feel qualified to criticise smoking. I don't do this to gain respect, although my reasons are entirely selfish. I do it to try to convince myself that it is not a good thing to smoke, because I know how easy it is to start again. I don't have to cough myself to sleep any more. My mouth is very much fresher and my teeth are getting whiter by the day. I have been eating a little bit more and I have gained 8 pounds in weight but I'm still only 11 stone which is probably my correct weight for my height.

For anyone who is struggling through the initial stages of giving up, they may get some comfort from knowing that the craving doesn't last for ever. The time you spend thinking about cigarettes gets less and less as the weeks go past. Everybody will find a method that suits them best but I have tried most and I find that the only way I can stop, is to stop completely. I have tried the cutting down gradually method and for me it doesn't work. I have to take it a day at a time. My comfort comes from knowing that each day I manage to do without, it becomes a little easier to face the next craving I get. For each day I succeed I have so much more to lose by taking a cigarette, as it puts you straight back to square one in the game. The initial stages can be serious stuff.  Be prepared to become very anxious and irritable.  A lot depends on your timing. It's a good thing to stop on a significant day. You must remain positive and you must remember how unhealthy you were as a smoker, compared to being a non smoker. After a while you can take real pleasure in taking a deep breath of fresh air now and again, a thing a smoker rarely does. The most pleasurable side for me is my fresh breath and waking up in the morning with a clean mouth. I also feel more alert and I am sleeping much better.

Many a time I get a real craving for a fag. It is a drug. I have to content myself with other pleasures. I eat better. I have a bath more often. I take my dog for longer walks. Use your imagination. There are many pleasures in life and smoking is not really one of them, given the consequences. An early death. A constant cough. A dirty smelly mouth. A lot of mess to clean up. One of my first good moves toward giving up smoking was to clean up my act initially through pressure never to smoke in the same room as the grandchildren. It started with not being able to smoke where the children were. We then developed into not smoking in the house because of the smell. Nicotine and tar stains ruin the furnishings and decor. We outlawed smoking in the car for the same reasons and also for safety reasons. Having firstly learned some good habits while we were still smokers, we discovered that smoking was really an absurd habit which caused so much mess that it was best confined to being an outdoor activity. After getting into the habit of only smoking in certain places, you begin to appreciate your time in smoke free zones and you resent the mess and hazards that smoking makes in your chosen smoking zones. You start to appreciate how much easier it is to keep an area clean and tidy and fresh. It helps you to realise that smoking is a dirty and destructive habit. You have no more cigarette burns to worry about. Your walls and ceilings don't turn yellow and smelly. Your tongue turns a lovely pink colour, instead of the yellow brown. I can also report that after 8 to 10 weeks without a fag my sense of taste and smell is improving greatly. So there is a lot of light at the end of the tunnel. Life is of a higher quality without fags. The only down side I can see is that you need to be wary of treating all smokers with contempt or disgust. You can think what you want of the poor souls but you must avoid the temptation to over criticise smokers while still allowing yourself the satisfaction of having achieved success in breaking free from the habit.

A word of warning. It's easy to replace one habit with another. The trick is to make sure that your new habits are all good ones. You will more than likely over eat in the initial stages. Make sure this doesn't become a bad habit. You must not allow yourself to become overweight only to stop smoking. 

You must not replace one bad habit with another. You must find some new, good habits. Walking, dancing, singing, swimming, use your imagination, you must change your way of life for the better. Think about all the healthy pursuits that give pleasure and increase your own pleasure activities. Reward yourself for having willpower and for succeeding against sometimes tremendous odds to crack this expensive, dirty, life threatening, habit.

Most people smoke at least 20 cigarettes a day, at an average cost of £4.00 a packet. This is £28.00 per week or £1,460 per year. This is the cost of a good quality holiday abroad plus spending money. I know that most hardened smokers will smoke a lot more and especially at weekends. The real minimum cost of smoking for most people is £2,400 every year or £46.00 every week. This is enough money to sponsor a few third world children. With a fairly safe investment of such funds over a ten year period, the new healthier non smoker could expect to accrue a lump sum in excess of £40,000. So don't delay give it up today.

After a while you will cough up the tar that has been coating your lungs for years. There is an absurd kind of pleasure when this happens and you can see the physical evidence as your body manages to purge itself of the foreign matter you have dumped on your lungs as a smoker. I had a good friend who stopped smoking via a method of cigarette filters. The idea was to gradually reduce the tar intake by smoking all your fags through these filters. I can remember her showing me the disgusting amount of black tar that each fag was capable of producing as she had to clean the filters out after every cigarette. Knowing what I know from using these filters, a smokers lungs must resemble a sponge that is totally saturated in tar. I suppose if they were to cut them out during a post-mortem they would resemble something you have to dispose of after doing an oil change on your car, or changing a cooker hood filter that's long overdue changed. These filters were an excellent way of realising just how much tar you do consume with every puff. Not every smoker is aware of this. I'm sorry to go on about gadsalardie things, but these are the realities of the smoking habit and it pays to remember them. Have a look at the truth.

   This is a healthy lung  Healthy lung  This is a cancerous lung   Cancerous lung  This is a smokers lung Smokers lung

Just as it is easier to forget about smoking as the weeks go by, it is also easier to forget the ills of smoking. You get to a stage where you feel so much healthier and cleaner that you could be complacent enough to think that a quick fag wouldn't do you a bit of harm. This is why I write these pages because I have been through it all before and believe me it is not worth kidding yourself on that you can ever take even a drag at another cigarette. I find myself in my times of craving saying to myself "but it's so final" Well I'm afraid it is final and there is no going back. Cigars and pipes are all out of the question. You must simply outlaw all forms of smoking and look elsewhere for your pleasures. Smoking is an addictive habit and it would be true folly to go back to being a drug addict. By this time my body is totally clear of any drugs such as nicotine. It would only take a drag of one fag to put me back to being an addict.

It is now July 25th and I am still a non smoker. I eat a lot of sugar free chewing gum and I have lost the initial weight I gained when I first stopped smoking. I have taken up hill walking and cycling. I try not to complain about it but I find a smokers breath offensive now.

January 2001

Would you believe it but I'm back at the fags. Well after all that has gone before I was tempted just after the new year whilst out for a wee drink and I must have smoked about 100 since. What can I say? It's an uphill struggle and I now need to start all over again. I will report on my progress as I always did and lets see how long it takes me to get clean again. It only goes to prove that you must never get complacent and that it is an ongoing struggle with any addictive substance.

March 2001

Will he or won't he? I'm now 2 months into being a silly smoker again but I have promised to stop for good on my birthday. So my efforts will be recorded here as usual. Wish me luck.

Well I kept my promise and I stopped smoking again on my birthday.  I found it very easy because I have started a slight coughing habit already and I wanted to get back to full health. I was smoking for the first few months of 2001 but I didn't go back to my preferred hand rolling tobacco.  I stuck to buying mild tipped cigarettes which are much more expensive and not really very satisfying to the hardened smoker like myself. The cost of my little episode into smoking again can be put to a minimum of £28.00 a week for 9 weeks, so you can say that my little mistake cost me £252.00 and I don't earn that amount in a normal week. So now that I've started the year by putting £252.00 up in smoke and being stupid enough to breath in the most of it into the bargain, I do feel a bit ashamed but more so I feel as if I have been robbed of my money. 

My cough as I said earlier is back although it isn't at all bad. I now find myself constantly clearing my throat. This is only my 5th day as a non-smoker again and I feel better already. My sinuses are still a bit blocked so I still get my nose blocking overnight and I wake up with the dry mouth and throat from having to breath through my mouth when I'm sleeping. I did eat a lot of sweets last week at work and I eventually had to pack it in because my mouth was beginning to get sore with the constant chewing. I can't say if it's because I am very determined to stop smoking again or if maybe the milder cigarettes I was smoking were less addictive or whether I've just been very lucky this time but I have found it very easy to stop and I think maybe it's because I never really seriously started again. I think I know the benefits now of being a non-smoker and I can't ever see me giving them up. I enjoyed having a cleaner mouth and not having a cough. I couldn't go back to being a smoker and a cougher and not getting a good sleep because my chest was heavy with catarrh. 

Rita, my partner, is back on the fags and the last cold the kids brought in went straight into her chest and she was off to the doctors eventually for antibiotics where as I was just sniffling for a few days.  

The first thing I noticed reading back over these pages is that I stopped writing anything after July last year as I was beginning to tire of repeating myself. I have decided to make this an ongoing diary of a non-smoker and I must make the effort to write something in it, at least once a month. So I'll sign off for now by saying that I am a non smoker again and I am happily regaining my full respiratory system daily.

Well just to say I have been 100% committed to stopping smoking and I have not so much as had a sniff at a cigarette since I woke up on my 51st birthday. The first week I did go a bit heavy on sweeties but I'm now very much back to normal. I thought I would be very tempted at work as it had become a bit of a routine going to the smoke room after grabbing a quick snack at my breaks. Surprisingly enough I didn't miss it a bit as I seemed to enjoy longer more relaxing breaks as I don't have to rush about. I can only remember being tempted a couple of times and it was very easy to say no. I think my strongest motivation this time 'round has been money.  All I know is I'm feeling much healthier already. I don't have a cough and I'm beginning to enjoy a deeper sleep again as I'm breathing more through my nose again. I also have the pleasure of knowing that I'm financially better off to the tune of £28.00 a week. I've decided to save this money in a long term savings plan which I will look on like an extra insurance policy. I used to think like many people that if I didn't spend my money on fags then I would just end up spending it on something else and I wouldn't be any better off financially. It is not true. It is an attempt to justify the cost of smoking. The cost of smoking is not justifiable. The cost to your health and the example you give to your children is not quantifiable. It would seem to me that the one thing that I failed to ever learn or practice in life was abstinence. I now believe it to be the most important gift we can give our children. I am not a religious person but I am reminded of the practice of abstinence within the different faiths. It would seem to me that with or without religion to motivate you, that abstinence should be taught and practiced throughout life from an early age. Do Christians ever fast? What motivates great athletes to achieve higher standards? Is it not true that the majority of the western world has an obesity problem?  I have been a free spirit for most of my life and I've been luckier than some to have survived. I always knew that too much freedom was not sustainable. I'm now going to promote abstinence. If you can't do it for red nose week then do it for yourself or the future generations. Abstain from smoking. The great thing about it is that it only brings you health and happiness in the longer term.

April 23rd 2001

I'm hanging on in and managing to abstain from smoking and over eating. I don't want to become a preacher so I won't add much here. The better weather is not far away so I'll be getting out into the garden and off on hill walking and biking runs. Did it ever occur to anyone reading this page why I chose this particularly dull drab background colour. Well that's about the colour your white walls and ceilings end up if you're a heavy smoker.

May 20th 2001

I'm still a non-smoker.

June 17th 2001

I'm still a non-smoker. I worry every time I see a young person smoking in case my grandchildren become smokers. I feel very sorry for the young person I see with a fag. I now believe that cigarettes should be banned. I know it will never happen though because there is too much money tied up in the whole business.  I can only be grateful that I am free from the addiction.

16th October 2001

I'm still a non smoker and enjoying a healthier life style. I don't enjoy meeting heavy smokers now because they smell bad. It's impossible for any smoker to realise how vile they can smell as I was never aware of it when I was a smoker. I suppose smokers enjoy the smell of smoke and expect that others do too. It could be that a smokers sense of smell is greatly reduced and they can't smell what I now smell. I remember being lured into smoking cigars many years ago because I liked the smell of cigar smoke that hung around an x workmate of mine who smoked nothing else but Hamlet cigars. I haven't been around a cigar smoker for years now so I don't know how I would react today but a cigarette smoker now smells vile to my nose. It's like bad breathe and old ashtrays rolled into one. I am reminded of  the last verse of "To a louse" by Robert Burns when I contemplate my new found disdain for smokers breathe and I wonder which is the greater evil.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!

January 2002

Well I'm still a non smoker. I still get an odd notion to smoke a fag but I think of what it would do to my health and I soon dismiss the idea as ludicrous. I recently bought a pair of trousers and I'm up from a 32inch waist to a 34. I'm not really overweight at 11stone 8lbs but I'm not meaning to get any heavier. I definitely eat more since I stopped smoking and I'm glad I do because I'm much healthier for it. When I was a smoker I used to go for long periods without eating and a lot of the time I ended up with a headache before realising that I hadn't eaten anything that day. I was never one for eating a breakfast. My breakfast was a fag and a cup of tea. When I think about it now, I have taken everything I could from my body and given it very little back in return. It's too late now for me to repair all the damage but I have probably stopped the rot and I know from how I feel that I'm better placed now to weather a storm than before.

It's really a crime against humanity that cigarettes can still be advertised.  Every time I switch on the telly to watch an old film, cigarettes are all part of the characters make up. I suppose things have improved in recent years. I do believe that cigarette advertising should be banned completely.  More should be done to promote healthy living to our young people. They should have more positive idols to worship who promote healthy living. I always thought it a mistake to preach to young people as they will invariably follow their own path, regardless of any advice we try to give. So we need to set about creating celebrities who are cool, as the youth of today would call them, yet they are totally clean and would dismiss smoking as an absurd habit some people are silly enough to get into. It really should be looked on as a crazy thing from the past which is still only prevalent in underdeveloped countries. I can hear all my smoking buddies saying, "Rab is loosing the plot, there is no worse anti smoking campaigner than an x smoker." Well they would be right if they thought I write these pages for their benefit. I only hope to convert people who are trying to give up or better still to discourage any who are thinking of starting.

February 2002

I have recently had to put myself on a diet. I was weighing in at 12 stone. I have cut down on what I'm eating and I'm already back down to 11stone 8 pounds. I intend to keep up the healthy eating campaign and get down to 10stone 8lbs. I certainly won't be happy until I get below 11 stone. I feel I'm well over the fags by now but my new challenge is to keep my weight down. It's easy to see why I've been getting so heavy. Bad habits are easy to form. But fortunately so are good habits. Lots of my colleagues at work have started going to the gym. I keep making the excuse that I don't have time to go. I'll simply have to make the time.

April 2002

Well I celebrated my 52nd birthday in the knowledge that I was a complete year without smoking.  I can honestly say I am a stronger healthier person.  I feel pleased with myself at getting through the Christmas and New Year celebrations without being tempted to take a fag.

After reading through these pages I have decided to start to lay out my tips on how to stop smoking. I always hoped that my story would perhaps help anyone who was thinking of giving up. The only trouble is that it is probably like the rest of my website in that it is too long winded. I am well aware of web design having to be an instant communication.  The eye must be drawn to short passages of quick communication.  So I will probably attempt a complete new set of pages giving my tips on stopping smoking.  For those of you who are the instant communication type you will be pleased to know that these pages will remain a major part of my stop smoking method. It's clear to me from reading the above ravings that I now need to put my best ideas into a logical structure that spells out my method.  I'll start by calling it Rab's method.

September 2002

Well what can I say I've been clean this time for one and a half years and I now have to report that I'm back on the fags. I started by taking a cigar from someone in a present and before I new it I was buying cigars during my holidays abroad as they were cheap and before long I was taking an odd fag. I am disgusted with myself. I am now facing the prospects of being a total failure and really I should just scrub all these pages and not inflict anyone with my silly rants.  My father always taught me that honesty was the best policy and it has served me well in the past so here we go again on yet another attempt to stop smoking.

Maybe the very word stop is my mistake. I haven't stopped yet. I'm giving it up. It's taking a bit longer than I thought it would but I'm getting there. I can hear lots of smokers saying why should I give up something I enjoy. The answers to all my questions I have probably already written so all I can say is never give up trying to improve your health. I love life and I would like it to be a long life and a healthy life so why am I so bloody stupid as to think that I can abuse myself in this way in the name of pleasure when I know very well that I am making myself ill. Something tells me that the subconscious keeps telling you things that are not always to your advantage. A little voice in my brain somewhere has been telling me that it's only a temporary hick up and more importantly that I will find it easy enough to stop again. Could this be nicotine induced?  Well it's an interesting thought but I will certainly have to battle it out over the next few weeks.

I will use my method as always and hopefully I can learn something new from the experience. Please don't think that my method is a bad one because of my own failings. I am simply a very silly boy at times but I continue to try to improve. I often think that we can always do a little better in everything that we do. If you get to a stage in your life where you think you can't do any better than you have done then I would worry that you are probably heading for a bout of depression, if not a more serious  problem of overestimating you own worth. Perfection is not possible but striving to do better can only be a good thing.


I have been smoking again for far too long. My granddaughter has been very antismoking lately and she has asked me to stop and I have promised her I will give up when I've finished the present 50gram packet of rolling tobacco I am smoking. So what do I do? Is there any point in it all?

Well number one I am coughing every morning and continually clearing my throat. I get the occasional headache. Both grandchildren were horrified one day I was sitting at the computer with them and wee Sunny shout's what's that on your fingers Grampa. The wean had noticed the brown nicotine stains and all I could say was it's these silly fags that cause that. I will stop next week as I have promised. One of my main missions in life is to try to encourage my grandchildren to look after their teeth and here was I couldn't do anything to help myself and trying to teach oral hygiene. I'm looking forward already to getting free of the weed again. 

The following will sound like I'm making excuses for myself but it has to be said as everybody does it.

I was enjoying smoking. Even to the extent that I was telling most people that I don't believe smoking killed my father with lung cancer as he was never in a position to afford to smoke the amount of fags I have smoked to date. He was a pithead worker and I believe that coal dust he shovelled most of his life together with the possibilities of high concentrations of radon gas coming from the mine workings were the real cause of his cancer. I still believe this and I reassure myself by highlighting the amount of elderly people I know who have been heavy smokers all their days. This is a smokers lung

For heavens sake Rab this is a smokers lung. What the hell are you trying to say? If you were a doctor would you not get a bit fed up having to listen to people justifying doing this to their lungs? You get fed up telling some kids to stop picking their nose, but you're going to try to justify someone doing this to their lungs.

Well the debate will continue on these subjects but there are no excuse for justifying smoking. Obesity is a known killer and some people get fat after they stop smoking and I have already discussed that.

I spend hours of my precious time on this planet sucking on fags and numbing my feelings.

My smoking offends my grandchildren and worries them about my health and makes them question my ability to teach them how to live when I can't do what I should be doing myself.

So smokers reading this must be saying, "cool it,  there's no big deal here,  get a life,  have a fag."  Well I go back to my original point that it's easier to forget the ills of smoking once you've stopped it and it's far too easy to start again. So I'm back to the book and I don't think I've done too well but I will endeavour to keep trying.

Maybe I should be asking different questions.

Why do people smoke? I think some pipe tobacco smells nice and some cigars, but not cigarettes. I like the smell of a wood fire and I use aromatherapy oil burners and smell is very important to me. So it's a matter of increasing the real pleasures there are to be had from essential oils and natural fragrances.

Does it do something to your head?

Yes it makes you slightly dizzy at times.

Does it help you to relax?

Not really,  you just tend to do it when you want to relax and you can relax better with some aromatherapy.

Do you get a buzz from it?


What do you get from it?

I think you get a kind of break period. I used to call them time sticks. You automatically get the urge to be smoking which usually breaks your day up into intervals and it's time to yourself. When I consider this, it's maybe a mistake to think that you can use all the time you save by stopping smoking more fruitfully. We need to continue to relax for regular periods and give our brains a wee rest. So maybe someone is teaching relaxation.

November 2004

My eldest brother passed away on Saturday 7th November at around 6pm. He had been on a life support machine for the previous 12 days. He had a bad chest infection and emphysema and blood clots in both legs. Jim was only 71. I cannot say that smoking was the entire cause of his death but it certainly didn't help his situation. Today they announced that the Scottish Parliament have decide to go along with Ireland and put an outright ban on all smoking in Public places.

I was very angry when I heard this news and I started to complain about how politicians when they get a hold of something that's going to save money and what about individual freedoms etc', etc'.

I now have decided to give up smoking again. When I think seriously about the ban, I agree with it 100%.  Everything I have written so far about smoke free zones is very valuable advice. It is necessary to prepare yourself for giving up a habit of a lifetime and the 2 occasions that have been most significant in my recent failings with giving up have been because I was in a public place where smoking was allowed. No-one is banning smoking but it is right that it should be banned in public places. Maybe I'll be able to go out to a pub in future and enjoy a nice meal and a wee drink without just being tempted to take a fag. The licensed trade should be catering establishments and not smoke ridden drinking dens where anything goes. Smokers can find places to smoke. They always do anyway as we know from the dope culture which sustains a large percentage of the population.

It seems that we all need some kind of destructive habit we call pleasure and it usually involves a drug of some sort. Cannabis and smoking certainly put Bob Marley into an early grave. And a cannabis smoker will sometimes give up tobacco all together for a healthier way of life as he sees it. They often have a mystical set of beliefs and see the cannabis plant as giving them all health and wisdom. It certainly makes you feel different and think different but I fear that all the positive aspects of your state of euphoria belong with yourself and anybody who's observing your situation will see things rather differently.  At the end of the day I am not here to preach to anyone on what they should be doing with their lives. All I do know is that the vast majority of  young people blame governments for everything that goes wrong and see them as a controlling force that has a detrimental effect on their individual freedoms. Well it seems we need protection from ourselves. It's a hard lesson for any youngster to have to learn when he or she is setting out to experience the pleasures life has to offer and the opportunities to get up to mischief never really leave us, however law abiding we become. It's part of our human nature to be mischievous at some time and it's a sad thing but the squeaky clean never really get any praise. They are more likely to be seen as prudes or soft marks. There is no ideal world but we really must look back before we can learn how to look forward.

I welcome the ban on smoking in public places. I am still smoking but I hope to apply my methods again and give it up shortly. This ban will help me as I won't be tempted with a cigarette the next time I go into a pub and I never smoked in a restaurant anyway out of courtesy to others who were eating there. The argument for loss of business in pubs is not valid. For many years the Scottish tourist trade has suffered from lack of decent catering facilities in bars and Hotels alike. These days you should be able to go into any decent public house with your wife and children and enjoy a reasonably priced meal in a clean atmosphere. The businesses that will suffer are the places that were needing renovation and upgrading anyway to meet modern safety standards and standards of customer service. How many bars can you go into these days where you can buy a decent cup of tea or coffee if you don't happen to be a habitual drinker of alcohol. You're left with not going to pubs or paying over the odds for poor hotels or worse still,  having to go into grubby places where the poor menu costs a days wage for a family and you're being served by students who are underpaid and have nothing to gain from learning how to cater for the public at large. Our pubs of the future have to be different establishments. I would hope that there could be an opportunity here for publicans to see a way to upgrade their premise and look for new and inspiring ways to invite it's clientele into a new and more meaningful social experience. I recently went into a prime location in old Ayr associated with our national Bard only to discover that the toilets were disgusting, the food was poor, and the service was crap. I was seated next to a group of Italian visitors obviously enjoying the new Ryanair services from Rome and Milan direct to Prestwick. I couldn't help but wonder at their impressions of the place and I felt we were loosing a wonderful opportunity for increased business to the community and being let down badly by such establishments and their poor management.

Most people will be aware of the need to go to a smoke room at work to have a cigarette. These places are very unfriendly and they are seen as a necessary evil. In my younger days the public toilet  was the only place you could smoke in a factory. Hence my first experiences of life beyond the factory floor were spent at a very basic level where all humanity met and smoked and the odd non smoker had to fight his way through the throng to relieve himself. It was a very impersonal and primitive environment where common pranks were plentiful and if these walls could talk,  like the reeky pubs we still have, many a story could they tell of brutality and crudity and general loutish behaviour. Some would say comradery some would say this is where we all bonded. Well I for one don't miss a bit of it. The sad thing is that the smokers will probably end up in the toilets again like the factory workers before them. No doubt the better establishments will enforce the law all the way. It will be the clientele of each establishment who make it what it is, like will find like and as always you will get what you pay for.

I must say though the new Scottish Parliament are running the grave risks of any young and inexperienced Parliament and the present band of so called politicians are running ahead of the people who voted for them and I fear we will see a big change in voting patterns at the next election. I didn't expect miracles from Scottish democracy but I am totally disgusted so far with the end results of this chamber. The labour party are doing quite a good job so far but they need some real opposition from some genuine thinkers and not the bunch of half baked overpaid morons we seem to have at present. I think that we deserve much better from our new parliament. This is not a democracy in the making. It's more like a student's union. What an affront to a great nation.

25th November2004

I rose this morning and had breakfast and put on a nicotine replacement patch. I have still to visit the clinic about a smoking cessation interview but they will be contacting me soon with a date. Meanwhile I have a supply of patches and my coughing was getting quite unbearable and I decided today was the day.  I put my rolling tobacco away in a drawer last night and asked Rita to keep her cigarettes out of sight. I've had to keep busy all day and I have to go out walking when ever I get a bit anxious. The patches are quite strong at 21mg and I felt them weakening and numbing me at about 1pm today. After coughing so much yesterday and just smoking to stop the coughing as we smokers tend to do, I recon I was on 30 to 40 a day of the strongest plain hand rolled tobacco cigarettes. I had a strong notion for a fag this morning and had to say to myself no you need to remember Rab, things can only get better if you don't have one. If you do then you will perpetuate the misery and only have to start the whole process again tomorrow. One day at a time is the secret to it all. It's now 7pm and I have finished my dinner and I am now feeling quite pleased with myself that I've gone over the first hurdle. I need to concentrate on saying no to any urge to smoke and at the moment I think I'm realising that it has been that first step that was the hardest. I have hardly coughed at all today and I feel quite happy with my progress so far. My cigarettes are in a drawer next to me and when I think about taking them out and actually smoking, my cough comes back and I feel very smug that I'm stopped. The patches are obviously an advantage at this early stage as I know from past experience that my craving is not really there yet but I need to prepare myself to keep saying no one day at a time. I keep toying with the idea that my cough was previously a sign to light up another cigarette, however absurd it may seem, it is true. Maybe we're all kind of suicidal, only we do it gradually.  I shared a room with two of my elder brothers last week when we were in Rugeley to bury Jim the eldest.  We all coughed so much through the night we were embarrassed we might have disturbed any of the other residents in the Travel Lodge we stayed at. I will be able to add a lot to these pages over the next month and I will in a way be relying on these pages to strengthen my resolve and give me a positive result and hopefully I will help someone else to think about saying no to smoking. My methods as before are about no smoking zones being maintained and it will be interesting to see how my partner Rita reacts to all this. I think she will probably manage to stop too, or at least cut it back drastically. She is very supportive as she has heard my recent cough and she loves the no smoking zones as she loves to keep a place clean. I'm enjoying the Green Highlights at No This is what you need to realise to get going and the saying No is the only positive way forward to a healthier life and a longer life. The number of times I have to say no will diminish as the weeks go by, and every day will be another day towards success and health and happiness. Think I'll try a wee glass of whiskey tonight and see  if it weakens my resolve. I am not a habitual drinker. In fact in recent years I have been almost tea total. I do like good single malt whiskey on the odd occasion.  I usually get given it as a Christmas present and to point out how little I drink, I have at least 4 full bottles in my cabinet, so I think I'll go now and make up a nice fresh fruit salad and finish it off with a wee glass of the good stuff.

1st  December 2004

The last week has been very difficult but it's been worth the struggle as I am well on my way to an end to my addiction. I put another 15mg patch on the second day 27/11/04 and I decided to make it my last patch as I knew that the cravings needed to be confronted now when I was feeling so very positive and had such a bad cough that I knew I would weather the storm without nicotine and I was keen to get the nicotine out of my system as soon as possible although I knew from past experience it would be hard at times. Well I did it and my main help was walking. I have been out walking all week whenever I was feeling anxious. I feel it is necessary to use up energy and also to wear yourself out so you sleep at night. I had the tobacco in my hand on 2 separate occasions this week but each time I managed to say no and put it away. I used to throw it away the first day in my early attempts to stop smoking but for me that doesn't work because I find it easier to say no when it is still there and I always failed before when it was not there and when I fell apart into going out sometimes at 3 am to buy more I would usually smoke the whole packet before I tried again. This time I have given it away after 5 days and I really feel that I am over it that quickly this time. I have eaten 2 pounds of home made tablet this first week and gained 4 pounds in weight but I still feel great. I am particularly pleased that I'm not wearing the patches and I feel I have got the nicotine out of my system. I have no real cravings now just a feeling of constantly needing to be doing something as it's just the habit I have to deal with now and not the addiction. As I have learned from past experience the worst thing you can do at this stage is to become complacent as some strong cravings can come yet as you tend to replace smoking with eating a lot in the early stages.  You get very depressed at how frustrated you are at eating so much out of boredom. Your really a bit like a mad man in these initial stages of fighting the addiction but you need to struggle on walking about and pacing the floor and eating everything in sight at times. I just keep telling myself it won't last for ever and things can only get better. The key is to keep active and to start to look for new and interesting and enjoyable activities to use your excess energy on. I am going to the new local indoor swimming pool in Cumnock tomorrow. So I'm doing well and starting week 2 in the morning. My cough is gone and I feel much healthier. I spent half an hour tonight on oral hygiene as I have been eating so much sweet stuff lately I really need to be careful that I don't neglect my teeth. So it's probably a good habit I can pick up to use time and energy usefully and I'll give my teeth and gums and tongue a good clean an extra couple of times a day after meals instead of just morning and night. I feel at times luckily not too often that a punch bag would be a great thing. Who knows I may end up in a padded cell yet. What a sad state of affairs over something as seemingly harmless as a cigarette. I can only pray that my grandchildren will never start smoking. 

5th December 2004

I had a good day in the garden tidying up and burning all the rubbish. I feel as if I have been lucky to keep trying to stop as I am definitely getting better at it as I go on. I do feel no cravings at all now and sometimes I get bored and I say to myself why not just have a fag Rab you don't have any pleasure activities in your life. You can't just live to do the right thing all the time and get no pleasure. Strange how the mind works. Fortunately I know the pleasures and comforts of health and I can still remember my cough. And I also know that I've been totally free from smoking before and that the thoughts I am having now are only temporary and that this time next year I will not be having such thoughts. I know that these wee kind of cravings are not serious and that they will get less and less as the days go by. I haven't been scoffing the sweeties or even eating to excess but I have been keeping myself busy and I think this is the secret to my success. Well when I rise tomorrow morning that will be me into day 12 and I feel very well over it already.

13th December 2004

Still holding on to my sanity (just) It's a hell of a thing to be so positive one minute and to be so negative the next. Is life really like that or is it just me that suffers from constant bouts of depression?  I always feel that when things are going really well that it's a bad thing because you're going to come down all the harder when you do come down. It's a good thing to know that something as silly as fags is your only real challenge in life. It's a better thing to know that 3 weeks ago you were in a mess with a bad, bad chest and coughing constantly and today you are feeling quite fit and well and don't have a cough. When you get this far into it the cravings don't come very often which is great but when they do come they are much harder to handle when your back to health and you can be fooled into thinking that a wee bit of pleasure never did anybody any harm. You must say no, as one only leads to another. I did notice that when I walked in on someone smoking the other day it made me cough straight away,  I felt good about that. I also felt sorry for the person who was smoking and quite proud that I had managed this far and that I was not going to complain to them about their smoking. It was their problem. I hoped that they would realise the sense behind it all some day too. I have a good breakfast every morning now and I've been making soup every day and a few tropical fruit salads so I'm managing just to eat healthily and not really to excess. I'm lucky in that I don't really like these fizzy drinks or chocolate biscuits. My best advice is be good to yourself in a healthy way and if you feel your getting greedy or eating out of boredom then a good walk is my best cure to get over these periods of frustration. When you think about how much we all struggle to make ends meet and pay the bills as ordinary working folks, it's such a huge expense for fags and its all money we can't really afford. It's sad but we always rob Peter to pay Paul and it seems we don't even care if we kill ourselves off doing it. I'm working on a new theory that we're all kind of like suicide bombers only we're doing it slowly. Maybe it helps us to get by in knowing that we're not going to last for ever. I'm quite sure most young people have little regard for longevity and in most cases think they'll never see forty anyway. And especially when they look at the older generation who seem  to be totally out of touch and pretty boring. It's sad to say it but I would not like to be a young person today starting out in life without any proper qualifications as I once did. What chance do you really have of even becoming a car owner with nothing but temporary jobs on offer. I am always reminded of Ronald Reagan's quip about "you ain't seen nothin' yet."  Trouble is Mr. Regan some of us haven't seen anything yet and unfortunately probably never will see very much.  Maybe it's the poet in me or maybe I'm really just a manic depressive. And to think that a fag was my only solace.

23rd December 2004

I think I'll rename this the diary of a mad man. Yes I've been smoking again. Only a few but a single cig is one too many. I will endeavour to correct my mistakes but at the moment I'm so thoroughly disgusted with myself I wanted to lie and say I'm still clean but what would be the point.  I have noticed before that a few is as bad as a lot and sometimes worse from a health point of view. What can I say?  My new plan is to make Christmas Day my new significant day as I don't feel I can face admitting defeat to my grandchildren. I blamed a good friend of mine who told me I was beginning to turn into a real misery guts. Well these weren't her exact words but I'm old fashioned enough not to allow some swear words in my writings. It wasn't really her fault of course it was mine. So it's no big deal some would say but I feel so very stupid and weak and absurd. Maybe I think I like smoking. Some new tactics are called for. I was always a great believer in how you can always improve on your situation if you apply enough effort and new thinking to a task. So my next task is to be creative and it's the hard part because it requires you to think and thinking is something we should all be well paid for in this world but it tends to be the best thoughts go un rewarded. Could I have discovered a new job for some of our redundant civil servants who have been superceded by computers. The ministry of thought.  Wasn't that a part of George Orwell's 1984.  I need to develop these thoughts as I have been lately reintroduced to the intricacies of the British social security system and more say the ineffectiveness of the departments that run it under it's present system of over complicated means testing and expensive administration which in effect has defeated the purpose of the overall system and rendered it a very inefficient organization  which is a waste of both human resources and tax payers hard earned cash.  Instead of serving to improve the welfare of the nation it is having the opposite effect. It is  starving creative thought and rendering the poor into an even more desperate set of circumstances which in the majority of cases is costing the country a small fortune and is holding back enterprise. Don't mind me but I had a letter from the secretary of state for Works and Pensions today and I was just trying to make some sense of it all. So I would like to wish him and all the other government ministers as well as all the lovely people that make up the bulk of our Great Britain! a very merry Christmas. I look forward to finding some inspiration between Christmas and the new year to start yet another new chapter in life at the bottom.

20th May 2005

I have been faced daily with the challenge of to stop smoking for last 5 months and I don't seriously think about carrying it out. Usually in the morning I'm a bit wheezy and when I wake up and I say I think I'll have a breakfast and forget about the fags but by the time I am on the floor and the kettle is boiled I'm rolling a fag. During the day when I'm busy working on my garden walls I take comfort in the fact that I don't really smoke a lot and every time I climb the hill with another concrete block or pail of concrete ballast I reassure myself that the old heart isn't about to pack in if I can do this sort of work. I suppose I'm not seriously committed to stopping smoking any more. Maybe I'm a bit suicidal and I really don't care too much about my health. But I know this is far from true and I am beginning to realise that I am really very stupid and that when the heart does start to bother me then it will be too late to do anything about it. Reading through these pages is not on my agenda and so I don't really think they will help. I have been very busy lately and I haven't had much time to write anything so I'll try a new start. I will record now my progress for the next 3 weeks on a daily basis and I'm off to bed now with the intention to wake in the morning as a non smoker. I don't know if it will happen yet but I will report in every night on this page for the next 3 weeks which is the initial time that it takes to rid your system of nicotine addiction. Wish me luck.


Well I've been smoking away of course. When I read back over the pages it saddens me to see what an idiot I am. But I'm a sad character anyway. You could say I'm talking to myself. The trouble is I can't convince myself. I can see the little excuses I make for keeping smoking and I wonder now if it's a wee kind of nicotine nick that's really controlling me and laughing all the way to the bank. 

About 5 years ago I had to see the doctor about passing blood in the urine and he sent me for a kidney scan thinking I had kidney stones. The xrays didn't show up anything and the doctor reckoned I could have probably passed a very small kidney stone but told me to always note if such a thing should reoccur and to make an appointment to come back at any signs of blood in the urine. Well I was ok for the next 5 years but about a month ago I had a whole weekend of passing blood in the urine again and I went back with samples and he sent made an appointment with a specialist at Ayr Hospital. I went to the hospital today thinking I was going to be told there was nothing wrong with me other than maybe mild kidney stones. When I arrived at the Ballochmyle Suite I could remember having visited it a few years back with my uncle for a day visit he had with a specialist. My memories of that day were of how the facilities were brand new at that time and I felt we were privileged to be able to enjoy such a good standard of health care from our national health service. As I got out of the car and crossed the car park to the pavement of the main entrance I was lighting up my fag and looking to stroll about a few minutes while I smoked it. To my horror the doorway to the lovely new building which was about 10 meters from the main entrance was completely littered with cigarette ends. I don't mean a few I mean hundreds. I was so taken aback I walked on past this degrading sight, fearing I'd be associated with the mess and as I approached the main entrance to the hospital building there was a large flower pot with cigarette ends in. Next to it was  a waste paper bin that had been badly defaced with being used as an ashtray to stub out the cigarettes. There was a notice on the adjacent window to please make sure your cigarettes were properly extinguished and put in the appropriate container. I had to walk away from the overall scene and try to recover my dignity. My first reaction was what a shabby advert for a hospital reception front door and I was then beginning to wonder if this doorway was a handy place for staff from the hospital to slip out for a quick smoke and thinking there was surely an oversight on someone's part that anyone smoking there was not being encouraged to tidy up behind them.

 Well I smoked my fag and went in. The doctor explained that I would have to have an x-ray and ultrascan and then a minor surgical procedure to inspect my bladder with a special instrument which passes a fine tube through the urinary tract into the bladder to see if there was anything wrong with the inner bladder. When this final procedure was carried out I could see a small tumour and the doctor pointed out to me that this was something they will have to investigate by going back in another time and taking a biopsy to see if this was malignant. He asked me if I was a smoker and advised me to stop. Well I was quite relieved that the procedure wasn't too painful and off I went to get changed. During this procedure they fill your bladder with water so I had to go and p and everything was ok no real pain so I got dressed and had a cup of tea and off home. On returning home I was ready again and then it dawned on me that the anesthetic was now wearing off. Well to cut a long story short it's an excruciating pain every time you have to pass urine for the next 48 hours and you need to keep drinking water to make sure it's mostly water you are passing and keep the acidity level down in the urine otherwise its like passing raw acid on a raw wound.

I'm nearly back to normal in that department after 2 to 3 days but would you believe I'm still smoking. I stopped for half a day and then cracked up and went back to it. My main thoughts are to stop and I now have to make plans on how. The thing that gives me the most incentive is out of respect for the doctors who have treated me. You know most of the patients in the hospital that day were older than me and sounded pretty chesty. I looked at the bladder thing on the internet and a home medical book and sure enough it's all been recorded for years that they believe bladder cancer to be caused by smoking or in some cases it can be a from exposure to some dyes and chemicals from the rubber industry. So I need to say believe the doctors and don't abuse yourself any more Rab. What do I have to lose? In actual fact all I can do is gain from stopping smoking. Maybe a few more years of life, a bit more money in my pocket, I'll pay a bit less tax, have a healthier time, have a more productive time, have a cleaner lifestyle, annoy less people with odours and fag ends. 

I would have gladly gone back down to the hospital and voluntarily cleaned up that mess of fag ends at the entrance but maybe it's there for a reason. Who knows, all that is clear is that we do tend to be suckers for punishment us smokers. I just realised that my younger brother Dave is the only non smoker in our family of 6 boys. He was only 11 when our father died with lung cancer and the rest of us were all smoking already from about 12 years old at the latest. All that cash in tax, it must amount to millions of pounds for just me and my 4 other brothers. So I'll make plans to be a good boy and see some sense and I'll continue my diary. Hopefully by tomorrow it will be the diary of an x smoker. It would be poetic justice if it stopped short with the author of these pages died last week and we are dedicating this to young people with hope they will take heed. Seriously, when you think of the state of people with emphysema in their later years, how can we justify smoking? I must stop. There is no going back.

Monday 24th October 2005

Got up this morning and smoked my last fag. Put on a 10mg nicotine patch and went for it. By late afternoon I was driving home from Ayr and feeling rather ill. Whether it was all in my mind or what you never know but I really felt the nicotine poisoning me. I had pains in my head and body I couldn't explain away any other way. I came home and took the patch off and it wasn't immediate but I did feel much better towards bed time. So as the yanks say I'm going cold turkey and I 'm glad I did because I feel better today and I don't intend to use nicotine patches again. So Day 2 and hanging on in. The wee devil in my head keeps giving me wee tempts like come on Rab you might as well forget it because you know it's your only real pleasure in life. Of course I'm lucky to have been there before and know that there are many more pleasurable things in life than smoking and that smoking gives no pleasure at all and is a thing that denies a person the real pleasure they can get from a normal healthy life. The cough is gone. I'll clear my throat a bit for a while but I won't cough for the first 2 minutes of every morning. My head will also get much clearer as the nicotine effects gradually go. At the moment I'm still a bit drawn because the lack of nicotine is kind of wearing. It's strange but every now and then you get a feeling that you suddenly recognise as nicotine speaking to you and saying it's time for a fag. I'll call it nick from now on and I'm not so sure if it's the devil that's talking anyway so either way I know when Nick is calling to say no. Stick with me this time because I'm very determined to win.

Thursday 27th October

Sticking with it and feeling quite good about myself. My resolve has been first class and my partner has followed on without any prompting from me. We get a bit ratty an odd time but we know as we're doing it that the cigs or nicotine withdrawal is the real reason for it and it never lasts long. I was telling Sunny my grandson today about stopping smoking again and he's only 6 and it's great how the innocence of children gets to you. He said "Aye and Grampa the people who smoke don't seem to realise it, but they could be killing their children off too with their smokin'." What can you say? I hope I can learn something from Sunny's words and I do hope that I will remain in a positive frame of mind and never ever go near another tobacco product the longest day I live. I feel a lot better already and my cough is hardly noticeable. I do have trouble at this time sleeping all night as I tend to wake up in the middle of the night but I get back to sleep again quite easily. Sometimes you dream about smoking and it's such a relief when you do realise it was a dream and it might be why you wake up. It's just the wee nick I spoke of he's there for a good 3 weeks after quitting and he plays all sorts of tricks on you but you've got to be in a very positive frame of mind right through to defeat him and just keep smiling at the way you feel and saying No No No to any tempts into the daftness of cigs and all that discomfort that leads to serious health problems. I felt really sad yesterday for a few groups of kids I saw in the precinct in Kilmarnock shopping center who were sharing cigarettes. I wanted to try to say something to the kids but it would probably not have helped them. It's sad to say but these were children like I was too when I was their age. Maybe 12 or 13 at the most and it was already too late for them. They were now doomed to spending all their hard earned cash on government taxes for so called luxury products that made them feel a bit more adult and would only damage their health and ensure they remained poor.

Tuesday 1st November

I'm well on my way and feeling good. I have read over my smoking pages and added a few photos and links. I can hardly believe that I have kept on smoking for so long this time without giving it up. I'm really very ashamed to see that over the period of time this page covers I have been smoking for so long after being so well clear of it. It only goes to show how serious an addiction nicotine can be. No I'm not letting myself off with that one, so I better qualify that last statement. It only really goes to show how bloody stupid you can be. It only really goes to show how weak minded you really are. It only really goes to show you can't be trusted. Well, I'm a non smoker again one week and one day into it. I feel great. I do believe that I have a few valuable tips for other who are going through the initial stages of withdrawal. My new trick is to visualise a wee demon like character who keeps stabbing at me with his fork as being nicotine nick and he's a cute talker who could convince you that black was white and have you eating out of his hand if you give him house room. Every time he whispers anything to you about having a fag the first thing is to recognise it's him that's talking and not you and the best first reaction to this so called gasping that smokers talk about is to take a few deep breaths of fresh air and blow out strongly in a gesture like blowing this wee demon away. Think healthy clean living things. Rejoice in the tidiness and cleanliness of your new non smoke and ash ridden environment. I'm off to find a representative .gif image of nicotine nick and we'll make the whole thing into a cartoon. Well this was the best I could find for now. It's absolutely pathetic let's face it but well so are smokers.

Good points to reward yourself with. Brown nicotine stains are gone from my fingers. My mouth is clean and fresh. I feel a wee bit more awake. My eyes have stopped watering. I don't have a cough. I am sleeping more soundly and feeling more refreshed when I wake up in the mornings. I always have a breakfast now and not just a cup of tea. I look for things to do with my time and find I am very much more productive. I really can't think how I ever was so stupid as to have went back to smoking. 

Negatives. There are no negative effects what so ever. I've been through the days of substitution years ago where I started eating to excess and then I tried the sugar free chewing gum that nearly poisoned me.

(I'm sure these artificial sweeteners are worse than fags) Sorry that's just wee Nick again     So keep up the good work Rab. Your doctor and your grandchildren will be proud of you. I might even get to be proud of my self. I really do feel good at the moment. I'm free. I want to rub all these negative failure pages out from above but I won't. I can't. I'm looking to 2010 being my 60th birthday and I'm going to be smoke free for  the rest of my life. Piss off nick you're history. The guy's a nut case. But 'e's happy.

Sat Nov 5th 2005

Just a quick hi from Rab the non smoker. I'm clearing my throat a lot already so the catarrh is starting to move and it's a good feeling to know I'm on the mend. I can't stress enough how true it is what all the experts will tell you that your body actually starts to heel from day one of quitting. I wish I'd used the tarry lung picture earlier it's very effective. If any smokers are reading this and they don't believe any of my information then I have to tell them that's this wee fellow speaking again and he's kidding you on. 

This is where you areThis is a smokers lung. If you stick to your guns and keep off the fags your lungs will repair themselves in time. It's up to you. Surely this is a crime against humanity. Oh well some will drink themselves into an early grave and some will gamble every spare penny they ever earn. It's only right that there should be heavy taxes on such things. It's time we all grew up a bit really and started listening to our governments. I felt really sorry for the young kids I saw smoking in Kilmarnock precinct last week but every smoker is in the same boat as every alcoholic and every gambler and every junkie. They have chosen to spend their money on the pleasures they have decided they want. The government haven't twisted their arms up their backs or extorted any extra taxes for ill gain. You get what you pay for. Sad isn't it. We're really a sad lot. And those poor children that are starving to death, dying from exposure and aids, maimed by earthquakes and tidal waves and hurricanes. Left orphans cripples and vagabonds.

I think I'm going to be ending up a preacher. Well if that's what it takes I'd rather be a healthy preacher than an unhealthy soul with no real confidence in his own abilities to do what is right by his own conscience. What right do we have to abuse ourselves when others who may have so much to give this world are being left to die or lead up the garden path into a life of emptiness and consumerism.

Wish I had a joke at this point to break away from this kind of scary realism. I always admired a good comedian. They are the best politicians or preachers we have really. What would Billy Connolly say about smoking. To be honest I think I'll get off the subject and just stick to concentrating on the positive aspects of my health improvements from here on in as I always knew that it was counter productive to preach to the converted. We need to see smoking these days as a kind of primitive habit that's really just a joke. We need to laugh it off as something our forefathers were silly enough to do like burning witches and going to public executions. In a word it's uncivilised.


November 13th 2005

Well I'm 3weeks into being a non smoker again and my partner has been sticking to it too and we've just about given up getting crabbit with one another and everything looks hunky dory. We both managed without the patches and I must admit I'm eating more but Rita isn't admitting to that of course. I have been eating a lot of sweeties this last week and going for walks a lot. I'm surprised how the craving has been going on longer than I thought it would. This wee guy keeps trying to fool me into thinking that I've given up my main pleasure in life and it's a bit silly to say that cigs are all that bad. My main defenses against his constant attempts to corrupt me are to realise how much healthier I am already and remind myself that making this kind of mess of your lungs is really not on any more. I know the craving will go away and I now need to tackle the over eating and the sweeties. I know from past attempts that the substituting eating sweeties and everything else in sight basically is ok for a week or two but it's not a thing I can continue to do. So even after the nicotine has left your body completely there is still a strong urge to justify smoking again for someone like me. I think it must be true to say I  enjoyed smoking. Not really just an odd time, most of the time it was pure addiction with no enjoyment. I did not enjoy constantly having a cough or the dirt and smell and nuisance that went with such a filthy habit. I must never forget that I spent a lot of money on smoking.

I go into Ayr Hospital on the 22nd of November and I've already been for a preoperative test so I'll be getting a general anesthetic and they say I might be in for 2 or 3 days depending on how the operation goes. I was under 2 minds on whether to just forget about the whole thing after the pain I went through recovering from the time before when they just went in for a look. I can't afford to think too much about how this might be 6 times worse but I've resolved myself to allowing it to take place and trusting the doctors to know what's best for me. I suppose after all this, I should be cursing fags as being the reason for all this. The truth is I still don't blame fags for any of these things. I don't believe they killed my father and I don't believe they could be killing me. That's how bad an addiction is. I would love to think that I could help someone to overcome an addiction. I have tried and I have succeeded and also failed. It would be nice to think I have eventually cracked it for good this time and that I could encourage others to do the same. I think we all need a constant challenge. We need to get a reminder how short life is to let us see all the things we always thought we'd get round to doing in our retirement may never happen if we don't make a start to them now. So we'll see how it goes after the 22nd. Maybe I'll start the cycling again and hill walking. Heard a great poet the other day on the wireless. His name is Robert Crawford and I've ordered one of his books. The man's a genuine wit and I think he could be the inspiration we Scots all need.


Well I came out of the hospital on 24/11/05 and I feel OK. It has not been so severe a pain as I was expecting, as itís a different pain from within the bladder where they were working and not from a raw wound on my urethra that I got the first time they put the camera in for a look inside. I was wondering if it was as sore the first time from the camera inspection because I was still smoking then and my bladder would be full of tobacco products via my saliva.  I know it was always a bit of a sting if you touched a raw wound with your badly nicotine stained fingers. Maybe nothing to do with it but Iím glad I havenít allowed the raw wounds I have inside me at the moment be subject to tobacco smoke as part of their healing process.

So I go for the results next week and then I go back for the camera inspection again in 3 months time. Iíll just need to take it easy for a wee while and keep warm and drink plenty of water. Met some nice people in the hospital and according to what they all tell me it tends to be an ongoing thing with urology troubles they keep doing regular checks on you. So Iím well over the fags now in just 33 days. I am going to be a bit silly here and say I will never smoke again. I do believe I wonít. I just feel a bit angry that I was ever stupid enough to go back to it. I heard my brother coughing the other day and it will take me a long time to forget how severe his cough was and I fear for his health and yet can do nothing to help him.


Merry Christmas to you all!!! I've been gradually getting better and now feel nearly normal again (if I could ever be normal.) Well over the fags but still a wee bit greedy on the food. I'm not overweight and I'm experimenting with drinking a lot of water which was never a thing I was good at. It gives me something to do other that raiding the fridge or the sweety tin. I would be lying if I said I haven't been tempted to smoke as I did feel fairly pointless some times as illness can get you like that but I knew that adding a cough and a potential angina condition to my present troubles would be more than I could bear and wouldn't really be worth that first draw on the Golden Virginia. So I've survived some fairly painful times and all's well and we're headin' for the spring now and a whole new healthy way of life.


Well I'm a non smoker for keeps now. I have been missing it and I have been overeating but when ever I seriously think about starting to smoke again I just laugh at the thought of bringing my cough back. I've also been busy decorating the entire house and it's amazing how the nicotine builds on the walls and furnishings. The place is cleaner and it will take less work to maintain. I have been into the pub a couple of times and wasn't even tempted by the people smoking around me. It will be better when the ban comes into force as the places will be cleaner and I will not have to see or smell tobacco smoke. Looking back I see it's just 4 months since I quit this time. It seems longer but I must admit it is not easy at times. It makes me wonder how difficult it must be for drug addicts to clean up their act or for fat people to stop eating. I've been saying to myself if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness I would go and buy some tobacco. Then I say "but you'd be coughing again in no time" and this leads me to the conclusion that I've cracked it this time and maybe this is the most important thing that anyone can concentrate on if they are to be successful in quitting the weed. I need to be seen to be improving my health every day. I am really as my cough is gone and my teeth are cleaner. I do feel a bit overweight when I bend down now but I am consciously watching what I eat and I have recently discovered the benefits of forcing yourself to take a bowl of porridge every morning as it tends to sustain you without the need to snack so much before dinner time. If I renege on the porridge I find myself looking for food treats 2 or 3 times before dinner and it tends to be things like crisps and biscuits and cakes.


Still a non smoker and watching the weight. It will be this weekend that the new law comes into force to ban all smoking in public places. It will be a difficult time for Scottish society as the new Parliament Building seems to have a structural design fault after all the millions that was spent on it and this doesn't help us to have any faith in our Politicians. Now this forced legislation which will seriously restrict a large part of the population from enjoying an evening out. As a non smoker I commend the idea but I do think we will need to be very careful that we don't lose all interest in Politics as our freedoms seem to be getting eroded daily.

I suppose the only thing I can say in favour of such decisions is that the non smokers are entitled to their freedom too. I am reminded of how my Grandson in all his innocence aged 6 told me how his mum and dad didn't seem to care about the fact that they were forcing him to breath in their smoke and they know it can kill people. I have been for a further check up and my bladder is clear of any trouble. I feel much stronger every day and I could never see me going back to smoking and coughing and wondering about whether or not I was going to develop heart trouble. I expect to be busy in the garden shortly if the weather would just warm up a bit and I may also be taking up cycling and hill walking again. It's great to know that both Rita and me are off the fags and enjoying a better quality of life. I have just finished redecorating the entire house and last night I rehung a wall clock that has been down for a while during the redecorating. I decided to give the clock a thorough clean before rehanging it.  From just the first wipe across the glass with a soapy cloth the white cloth turned brown. I had to end up stripping the thing down and cleaning it from the inside out.

So the tar is gone and the house is not only cleaner but it is much easier to keep and more pleasant to be in. For that alone Rita has her reward for stopping smoking as she does take pride in her housekeeping.  I will never smoke again. I want to live a little longer than three score and ten. I have to admit I still get urges to smoke when I smell people smoking or see them. Funny enough it's only when I see people my own age at it. When I see children smoking I feel very frustrated at my inability to advise them against it. It's sad any advice from elders usually falls on deaf ears. I don't say anything to anyone who smokes as I feel it is counterproductive. It needs to be the individuals choice to give it up or it won't work. So now the individuals choice never to smoke at all in the first place is at last being recognised by this new legislation and I really must approve of it and also be glad that I will in the future be able to enjoy a pint in my local without being tempted to go back to smoking.


Well I am still a non smoker and so is my partner Rita and we couldn't ever really afford to go back to smoking both financially and health wise. I could sometimes kill for a fag yet as life is not always about positive things and we are all vulnerable to weird attacks of anything from simple boredom to serious depression. I do know however that the momentary pleasure that may come from tobacco when you have been addicted to the stuff like me, is not worth considering compared to the state of my present health and finances since giving up the habit and beating the addiction.

One of the things I notice since the smoking ban came out is that the people spilling on to the streets from the local pubs for a fag look rather pathetic. It is pleasing to know that I will never have to be among them on the pub's pavements. In fact I'm getting to resent pubs anyway as a bit of a waste of time too. Maybe I'll end up being one of these guys who goes out preaching on street corners. Well I'd need to become a Christian first because I'm still very much a non believer. There are still some very good people in the world yet however from all types of backgrounds and I hope to live longer and more healthily as a non smoker and almost tea totaler who doesn't buy that shite about never trusting a man who doesn't drink. They say never say never. I can say never again, because I've been there and it was simply time and money and health wasted.  



Remaining positive. I have been tempted as always by this little shit. He keep saying things like, " you'll die anyway, so you might as well enjoy life, have a fag Rab, go out happy." What are! you doing eating all these fancy meals and stuffing yourself with all sorts of home made home grown fruit and veg'. Get back to the fags and you won't even think twice about eating. You'll get back down to 9stone 8pounds and a 30inch waste and you'll be much happier.

Well it sounds credible but only to a smokers ears. I would be coughing again. The place would be stinking with reek. My heart would be under strain. My head would be fuzzy. I would cough myself to sleep. I would cough for the first 10 minutes of every waking day. 

There would be no pleasure in ruining my health and wasting time making the place dirty and spending money on a product that represents about 90% tax. I need to remember the bad times. The cough, the dirt, the inevitable cigarette burns. The wasted time above all else. I must remember to take a deep breath of clean air and get a real buzz from being alive and well. It's been a great year for gardens and I have picked some really wonderful food from mine this year and also had constant supplies of beautiful cut flowers. The scent from a good rose is worth more than all the inhalations of tobacco I have ever taken and it won't do you a bit of harm. It's been a great year for fruit and I've been making every kind of apple and plum and rhubarb desert that was ever invented and the mushroom season has also been great,  so I have been enjoying real pastas with real fungi and home grown tomatoes and zucchini and basil. The only thing I miss is the olive and the grape but I can buy good olive oil and I have the sense to know that I can't buy any decent wine so I drink water.

3rd December 2006

I was just checking over my pages and as I read the last entry I am constantly clearing my throat from catarrh. It's only a slight annoyance and it's a good sign of my body healing itself from the effects of smoking. I don't ever think long about looking for a fag for pleasure. I am much better off without them. I've been perfecting my sponge cakes lately. I discovered the merits of decent quality flour as against the basic flours that are perfectly adequate for sauces and pastry. I've stopped eating sweeties with the exception of a few mints. My weight is about 11st 8lbs and I'm quite happy at that. With Christmas coming up there's always the worry that you will be partying and tempted but to be honest I think I really have cracked it this time because I see others around me as poor souls when they light up. It sounds a bit patronizing but I can't help the way things are and anyone who knows me will tell you what's in me comes out and that, I have no control over. 

I see the politicians have raised the age limit to 18 for smoking. It won't make a bit of difference. Politicians make rules and OK we need them, but the very psyche of a drug addict, and that's what a smoker is after all, will always be vulnerable to all ills. It's that which you are not allowed that the young rebel will always go straight for and even more so, when the system's telling him that it's a thing only adults can do. I sometimes despair for our young folk when I see how easily they are exploited with drink, drugs and gambling.

23rd December 2007

I'm still clean as the reforming junkie would say. I feel confident that I'm a non smoker now. I am now over 12 stone though and my new years resolution is to get back to the walking and lose at least a stone. I expect I'll be doing the river Ayr Way again just for starters and who knows I might start Munroe bagging. I expect to be back up Ben Nevis next year with my 9 year old grandson and I've also promised to take him fishing.  Here's wishing everyone a happy new year and if you want it to be a healthy and prosperous one give up the fags. It's the best thing that ever happened to me.  

12th March 2008

 I was reminiscing about trips to Belgium recently and I did think of the lovely smell of a good cigar from the tobacconists.  I soon dismissed it along with the chocolate I also used to enjoy.  The truth of the matter is, when we get older we find it less easy to keep slim as we get less active.  I have now tackled the weight problem head on and I am making wonderful progress.  During Christmas I had a lot of chocolate among other culinary delights and I found myself about 12stone 4llbs at the heaviest.  In an attempt to highlight the futility of gambling to a 9 year old I decided to change the betting game from a monetary thing to a physical or intellectual challenge.  As children always win the result was that I had been challenged to stop taking sugar in my tea.  I was amazed that by sticking to the weans challenge I lost 3 pounds in the first week.  I also discovered that I can enjoy my tea without it as I usually have something sweet like a biscuit with my tea anyway.  I have since then also stopped taking milk in my tea as I find it tastes better without it.  I have been seriously watching what I have been eating this last fortnight and I'm pleased to report I have lost half a stone in 2 weeks.  I have now discovered through reading about calories counts etc' that you have to get into an exercise program along with reducing your food intake. I was always in the habit of having a large dinner in the evening after which I would mostly be fairly inactive.  I am now out and about burning off a good breakfast and I am trying to eat more often but less.  Walking alone doesn't seem to be enough to burn up the calories so I tend to swing my arms to exercise my shoulders while out walking. I also do a bit of stomach muscle exercises like lying on by back and getting up to touch my toes and the odd press up before going to bed.  It's great to stand on the scales every day and see it going down.  I hated being 12stone 4llbs and I feel better already.  My thighs were rubbing together when I was out walking and my bum was too big for comfort too.  The crunch came when I was struggling to keep the buttons from bursting on trousers at 34 waist.  I was 9stone 7lbs and 30inch waist all my days as a smoker and I was probably just a wee bit skinny. I aim to fit comfortably into a 32 waist and weigh about  10stone 7lbs max.  I am weighing in now after only 2 weeks on my present regime at 11stone 7lbs.

So I'm definitely a non smoker and I'm now going to also be a healthy eater.  I always enjoyed what I thought was a healthy diet but the truth of the matter as I now know is that I was too fond of sugar and dairy products.  I won't cut them out entirely but I have to cut them down drastically.  Once I reach my target weight it will be interesting to see how easy it is to maintain my ideal weight.  So funny enough I have been learning from the children as usual and discovering that I can do without the butter on my toast if I'm putting jam on it.  My new idea since discovering teas without sugar or milk is to start taking different herbal teas and trying some green tea. So the next new page on my rants and raves will probably be Rab diet plans.  I do feel sorry for people who are heavy.  As someone who was never heavy I am amazed how easy it is to slip into obesity.  It's so easy to put on and it seems impossible to take off until you really change your entire lifestyle. 

I'm beginning to think that all these food programs on television are not a help.  We all love our chuck but we need to learn how to burn it off again as we slow down.  One thing that is really great about stopping smoking is that you get an immediate improvement to your health from stopping coughing.  The diet thing is even more of a buzz as you can rejoice every time you step on the scales especially when you get to the stage where you don't have to pull your belly in to see past it to read them.

I do believe I will never smoke again now and anytime I do think of it these days it is completely absurd to think I would ever be tempted back to it.  The cost is one of the best incentives anyone can use to stop so if you are particularly wealthy think of the cost to your health.  I was going to wind up by wishing all who are stopping smoking good luck with their task but on second thoughts I have to say you are lucky to have stopped;  persevere and enjoy a new and better life now with your new found wealth and health.

30th January 2010

Still well off the fags and feeling much better for it. Come 24th October this year will be 5 years completely free. Out of the last decade I've only really smoked for about a year off and on. I have to say I'm still a wee bit on the heavy side at 12stone but I will look forward to walking that off this summer because after the first real winter for ages I'm optimistic we will have a real summer this year. And if we don't well I'll be off to France for a good part of it.  I do feel confident that I will never smoke again. I think I was reminded of how I was over it the other day when I was stuffed up with a bit of a winter cold and went into a wheezing fit where I could hardly get a breath because I was in the company of a smoker and I accidentally was breathing it in and went into a coughing fit that had me retreating outside the house for fresh air and took me a good five minutes to get breathing normally again. 

Just 20 fags a day for 9 years at £5 a packet is £16,425  I'm not allowing for any interest that could have accrued if this had been an investment. Sad to think how we abuse ourselves as younger folk. You could say what do you want to do, do you want to drive a decent car or do you want to smoke?  It'll cost you the same. In truth it will cost you more to smoke because I never knew a smoker yet that didn't smoke more on occasions and the health aspect is not even being mentioned. Give it up. Or better still; never ever try it in the first place.

23rd May 2013

I can safely say now that I am a non smoker. Looking back on this diary I see I was off and on for a 5 year period in my early attempts from the year 2000 but luckily over that time I was more off than on. In reality though I can only really say now that I have been a non smoker since  24th October 2005  So come 24th October this year that will be 8 years I've been completely smoke free. I feel better for it and I am certainly the richer for it. My weight is still a bit too much at 12stone 7pounds, but for the last few years I have never gone above that and I still intend to reduce that by at least a stone.

So don't give in to him.

Give it up.

28th January 2015

I was just in for another bladder check last week and I'm glad to say I got the all clear. I was telling people in the hospital that I was 10 years a non smoker now and on rereading these pages I now see that I was wrong. I won't be ten years a nonsmoker until the 24th October this year. I was amazed to discover from a friend that the old brand I used to smoke as a boy was now £9.50 for 20. I recently bought a new wee economy car and was quite annoyed that it cost about £8,500. Well it's easy counted,  20 a day for 10 years is £9.50x365x10= £34,675. So if I live another 10 years and manage to remain a non smoker I could be running a BMW for that kind of money petrol and all. I just can't understand where anyone could justify spending about £70 a week on fags. I know a lot of people who will smoke at least twice that. I once had an old friend who smoked 60 capstan full strength every day.

So over the course of this diary I have managed to be without the expense of fags for about 13 years at an average cost of even just £5.00 a packet this would be £24,000. My weight has never gotten above 12stone 8lbs but I don't say I am happy at that. My goal is to get back to a 32 inch waist and keep to about11 stone 8lbs maximum. 

So maybe I'll start a new diary now about dieting. Or should I say healthy eating and drinking. I have a passion for wine and I also enjoy making wine. My new challenge is to continue to enjoy my wine with my meals but take a bit less and do a bit more regular exercise. I used to be happy with half a bottle of wine with my dinner and I need to get back to that. So there we have it my new years resolution to get down to nearer 11stone. As far as smoking goes I am absolutely confident that I am a non smoker and could never again even be in the company of a smoker willingly. My sympathies are with those who have yet to meet the challenge and GIVE IT UP FOR A HAPPIER HEALTHIER WEALTHIER FUTURE. And it goes without saying to anyone who is around children growing up please don't ever smoke in their company or try to justify your habit to them.

Come on now Rab!!!!!! have another glass of wine and a few mair tatties.

 Piss off ya wee pest an annoy some other poor smoker.

12th February 2017

I was in for another bladder check last week and I have to say that I have another recurrence so I will be back in to get blasted on the 24th of February. You get to see the inside of the bladder on a screen as they do the procedure that's called a cystoscopy. I'm pleased to say it's not that much of a growth and I am lucky to be getting it seen to quickly, so hopefully I will be free of any recurrence for another year or two after the treatment. I am still a non smoker and happy to be free from it all but I have still to get on a diet and lose a bit of the belly fat. I go to the pool and swim most days and finish off with a spa bath and steam bath and some light exercise on the various machines helps me with a bit of a sore shoulder I have had this last year or two. I was told that Physiotherapy was the only thing that would help it but there is a 6 months waiting list so I have developed my own exercise regime and touch wood it is getting better. I lost a stone last year with sticking to a calorie controlled diet but I put it all back on again just in the last 3 months of overindulging with all the cheap quality wines Asda and Tesco were selling on top of my own home made Blackberry and Elderberry wine. So my new task is to lose that stone again and hopefully get down to 11 stone max. Christmas is a terrible thing for tempting us with chocolates and all the best of food. I had to throw away some chocolates last week and just like the fags I have to go cold turkey. I'm glad I have the pool every day because it has become a vanity thing the size of my belly. I will cut back and I will lose weight just as I did stop smoking.

 9th February 2018

Christmas is over again and I have been getting even fatter. I weighed in at one point at 13 stone. So I have finally bit the bullet and since Thursday 4th of January I have been on a calorie controlled diet and have given up drinking all together. Over the last few years I have crept up to a bottle of wine a day which is really a bit ridiculous. It only happened because I have been making my own wine for years now and therefore it doesn't really cost me much. And Asda lately have been selling some lovely wines for very little. So I probably have about half home made and half supermarket wines.

I weighed in at 12stone 11lbs on the 4th and have already lost 4 pounds so I am hoping to get to losing about 3pounds a week for the next few months. I have reduced the amount of potatoes to 120g and I am not eating any bread. I still have good portions of fish but without the dressings or batter and any amount of salad and lean meat and chicken. I have cut out on baking tarts and meringues and I stick to just fresh fruit and low fat yogurt. I worked out that a bottle of wine a day at 14% alcohol is the equivalent to two and a half bottles of whisky a week in alcoholic content. So I am trying to keep off the drink altogether as much as possible. 

I'm enjoying my meals and not really feeling hungry. My Christmas sweets are being given away. I still go to the pool every day and get a good hour in swimming but I need to start going to the gym too and getting a bit more exercise in. I'm also just starting to walk more as the weather eases off. My plan now is to cut my drinking habit to just having an odd glass or two of wine now and again. Just as I stopped smoking with complete withdrawal and none of that cutting down idea I need to make a definite stop to a full bottle of wine with my diner. My plan is to try a glass or two now and then but never to exceed two glasses in one day. Life is not an endurance test so I won't be trying to become T total for ever but I will have to realise that a bottle a day is a dangerous amount and get back to what I used to be like when I felt quite drunk enough on half a bottle the times when I was drinking wine with my dinner. Ideally I could get to drinking two bottles a week maximum and spreading that over four days.

But who knows how it will go? One thing is sure. I need to lose about 2 stone. I will lose it. Watch this space. Fat Bob is on the mend.


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