Medical experts say more than a third of Qatar’s residents are smokers (cigarettes and/or sheesha). Some $65 million is spent on the habit annually, and up to half of all fire outbreaks in Qatar are linked to smoking.
Qatar is keen to help residents kick the expensive, dangerous habit with support services like smoking cessation clinics. But what is it like to quit? And why is it so hard?
Aisha (not her real name), a longtime smoker and British-Qatari resident, aims to answer those questions for herself and will share her journey to a smoke-free life with weekly diary posts, published on Doha News. Here’s her third entry.
Read her previous entries here.
Sunday : The first day of the week usually goes relatively well. Going back to work and preparing for kids to come back home keeps me busy and my mind off things. Looking back, last week was a good week overall and I am happy with how far I have come.
Monday : I spent a long time today thinking about my relationship with smoking and why I don’t feel positive about quitting. I think it has become an old friend to me who I have always turned to at times of stress, night or day. It’s always been there for me to help me through the tough times.
Of course, that’s how the addicted part of me thinks, but the rational part knows it’s no friend and it’s slowly killing me, taking away years of my life to spend with my children and grandchildren.
It’s amazing the things you will use to try to give yourself the excuse that it’s ok to smoke. My mind keeps going back to my grandmother. She smoked for years and years and lived to be 89. Maybe I would be the same, but I have to remember that this is my life I am talking about, my future – do I really want to gamble that on a maybe?
Tuesday : So happy to have my children back, I missed the bustle and hustle of a busy house so much (but some “me time” was nice also). Hopefully having them back and getting into the school routine will help keep me busy and my mind off smoking.
Wednesday : Walking in and out of malls and shopping centers has become a test! It’s amazing the things you don’t notice until they become relevant to you, like groups of people standing around outside smoking. I have to keep my head down, hold my breath and walk fast. The smell of the smoke is so tempting!
Thursday : Always the hardest day of the week for me, I get out of work and just want to relax and forget the stress of the week that’s passed. Still not feeling positive about quitting, I’m afraid I will spend the rest of my life longing for just one puff although people assure me it does get easier and in time I won’t think about it as much. Got more information about my upcoming Umhra this week so that’s keeping me focused.
Weekend : I wish cigarettes were as expensive here as they are in the UK. Then I could put aside the money I’m saving and treat myself to something nice at the end of each month. I used to spend about QR45 a week on a 15-a-day smoking habit. QR200 a month is not going to get me much!
I kept myself really busy over the weekend, kept the children at home rather than send them to their family’s house, cleaned bedrooms so we are ready for mum’s visit, anything I could think of to take my mind off cigarettes.
It’s been a real struggle, I have been so tempted to pop out to the shops and buy a packet, convincing myself that I will smoke only one or two and then throw them away. I know full well I wouldn’t, I will make excuse after excuse to finish the packet. I’m feeling really down, I wish I had never started smoking all those years ago but I guess at the time you don’t think about the battle you’re setting yourself up for.