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 fourth entry.
Read her previous entries here.
Sunday: Unfortunately I had a very bad start to the week. I couldn’t sleep last night and woke up very tired and in a bad mood.
The day didn’t get much better at work. I don’t feel I’m reaching my full potential there and I feel I need a change. My circumstances make it hard for me to look for a new job at the moment and I have to accept that, although my aim before this year ends is to somehow get back to my studies. Well, tiredness and boredom left me feeling very bad; mix up with school runs also added to my bad mood.
I went home and had lunch with my kids and took myself off for a sleep before they go too much of my mood put on them.
When I woke up I couldn’t shake the longing for a cigarette and unfortunately I drove to the shop (all the time fighting with myself) and bought a packet.
They actually tasted awful after not smoking for so long but I’m not gone lie, it felt good to have the comfort of an old friend back. I smoke about four or five over the course of the night. I threw the packet in the trash and vowed to get myself back on track tomorrow.
Monday: Still feeling incredibly guilty about my little slips yesterday, but God willing that’s all it was, a slip. My appointment at the smoking clinic had been changed from Wednesday to Tuesday and I am planning on telling him I smoked. I wonder if it will show on the carbon test?
Tuesday: Really feeling I have got myself back on track and still determined to beat this addiction. I told the doctor that I had slipped, and he said its better if I don’t but was positive because usually when people slip that’s it, they are back to their normal smoking habits. But I had just treated it as a bump in the road and got over it.
My carbon reading was two, which are even better than last time. My next appointment is in four weeks. I do feel the appointments could do with being a bit closer together, especially for the first month or so, but it seems the clinic is very busy.
Wednesday: I’m really trying to pace myself, sleep early and not leave too long a gap between each piece of gum. I have started exercising also, hope this will stop the weight gain associated with quitting and make me feel even better about myself.
During exercise, I did feel more energetic than I ever did while smoking. Maybe I’m starting to see the fruits of my labor now.
Thursday: Today was a good day, and it passed quickly for a Thursday. It’s getting easier not to smoke on a Thursday and find another way to relax. I exercised again and that helped also. I have a busy weekend – a birthday party to get ready for one of my children.
Weekend: I’m starting to feel a big difference now. I think it really helps that none of my friends smoke. I’m not quite sure how I would manage this if they did or if I worked with smokers. My neighbors smoke and sometimes the smoke comes wafting through the A/Cs and on a bad day I really have to stop myself from popping round to ask for one!
The birthday party kept me occupied and seeing my kids happy and having fun really made me remember why I’m doing this. It feels like it’s been a long journey so far but I do feel like I’m getting somewhere.