Hello, I started smoking cigarettes when I was 11 years old. As with many kids, smoking came to me through a little peer pressure, combined with low self-esteem and wanting to feel "cool". At the time, there weren't any age restrictions in my country for buying cigarettes, so my friends and I would save up and buy a pack of cigarettes and go to a friend's house (sometimes my own), and smoke while our parents were at work. Being young and naive, and since I never really bought a pack for cigarettes for my consumption only, I labeled myself a "casual" smoker. Since I would only smoke in social gatherings, or hanging out with people who smoked, then I wasn't really smoking every day. This kept going through adolescence and young adulthood. I had about half a dozen girlfriends from 16 to 29, most of them didn't like cigarettes, so I'd end up smoking behind their backs or going out with friends who didn't mind my habit. At the workplace it became a costume. A couple in the morning, a couple in the afternoon, sometimes more, depending on how stressful my day was. I started buying packs of cigarettes more frequently. When I turned 30, I started realizing that I wasn't as agile as I was in my twenties. Since I had gained around 20 pounds from when I was 21, I thought it had to do with my weight. However, I started going out with this woman who really, really hates cigarettes. While I still smoked behind her back, because of all the time I spent with her I ended up smoking less. Believe it or not, it gave me a significant improvement on my life. I started doing some excercise, and smoking less, although I was still seeing myself as a "casual" smoker, so I wasn't planning on quitting completely either. When I decided I wanted to marry this woman, one of the concerns I had was that I would have to quit smoking. When I realized that it WAS a concern, I understood that I was never really a "casual" or occasional smoker. I had been smoking for two thirds of my life. And while I was fooling myself thinking that I could quit whenever I wanted, the fact is I never meant to quit in the first place. Long story short ('cause this is too long already), I married, quit smoking and never felt better. My endurance at every physical activity improved, and yes, I also mean endurance at what you're thinking right now... One of the things that helped me the most was learning to substitute the habit with other activities. It's only been four months since I quit, but it's still the longest I've been without smoking since I was 11 years old.