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Alinea (24 year) - Nationality: French - August 17, 2005

"Hello everyone. I started smoking when I was 12, which might seem young, but if you start at that age, it's just to fit in with the group, to seem cool and not get rejected. But at that age, you also have no idea how much smoking can damage your health. I got caught up in the whirlwind. At 16 I managed to stop smoking for a year, but a short period of depression followed and I fell back into it, dragged down by a friend who was doing just as badly as I was. I should never have restarted! A few years later, I started realizing how much cigarettes were damaging my healthwhen I ran I tasted blood, I threw up more often, I was nervous, on edge, often tired, my breath was like a camel's and I started really worrying about how stained my teeth were getting. Then I met a 45 year old woman with a hole in her throat. She'd had a tracheotomy (already, at her age) because of smoking, so I couldn't understand a word she was saying. And that was the trigger for me. As soon as I got home, I threw away all my cigarettes and now I haven't smoked for a year. I still think about it, because you need a lot of willpower to quit, but it's changed my life. My skin is brighter, I no longer have stained teeth and I have reduced my risk of getting cancer. And I hope that everyone who wants to quit smoking does it, because now I miss certain nights out to avoid suffocating on other people's cigarette smoke, and I'm sick and tired of washing clothes that stink after less than an hour!! Now I know how left out non-smokers can feel and I really regret having put a cigarette in my mouth for the first time. Honestly, you're better off without them!"

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