Cassim Ebrahim, Divisional Director for Risk Products at Liberty, shares his struggle in trying to kick the smoking habit…
I am embarrassed to admit that I smoke. I work in our Risk Products Division, so I see in our disability and death claim statistics the impact that smoking has on a person's health. There is no doubt that smoking slowly kills us through the destructive impact it has on our organs.
So far this has not been enough to motivate me until I attended a conference where a doctor showed us what our organs look like as a result of smoking. Every ex-smoker will tell you that they had a personal experience which finally forced them to take action; this was mine. I made a promise to myself to quit smoking by the end of the year.
Understanding the habit
I have tried on several occasions to give up smoking by going cold turkey, but it has never worked for me. I have many friends who have done this successfully, but I found it very difficult.
I realised that smoking for me is more about the psychological rather than the physical as during Ramadan I have no difficulty not smoking during the day when my smoking intake falls to just three cigarettes a day. Yet somehow once the fast is broken I go back to my smoking habits.
I also realised that when I am away at conferences with colleagues who do not smoke, the number of cigarettes I consume also drops dramatically. This also means that if I am to stick to my goal I need to limit the amount of time I spend with my friends who smoke.
I have set myself targets so that every week I cut down on the number of cigarettes I smoke each day. I started by identifying my normal smoking routines and then eliminating a cigarette on a weekly basis. For example I usually have a cigarette before I leave home followed by a cigarette in the car to work.
I first cut out the cigarette after breakfast so that my first cigarette was the one I have in my car. That cigarette on the way to work was the next to go followed by a decision not to smoke at home. I have so far reduced my daily cigarette in take from 16 - 18 a day to 10 - 12 per day. My next goal is to smoke eight a day.
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