Another interview with celebrity ex-smokers. This interview is with supermodel Christy Turlington who has graced countless magazine covers during her successful modelling career. After losing her father to a smoking related disease, she finally managed to beat her own addiction to tobacco and went on to lend her support to the US tobacco control movement.
I was 13 when I first started. I was never directly pressured to smoke by my friends, but by surrounding myself with others who were also experimenting with cigarettes, I felt more socially ‘comfortable’. After about three years of smoking and thinking I wasn’t addicted, I discovered that I was, after all. Young people are most prone to addiction between ages 13-19, so I was right on target! My career contributed to my addiction in that it just wasn’t an issue for people in the modelling business. No one was concerned about my smoking. As a result, I was completely accepted as an adult and a confirmed smoker at a premature age.
I used to smoke at least a pack a day. I would get up and out of the house to wherever I was going, and light up as I got to my destination. It became a familiar part of my work routine. Throughout hair and makeup sessions, breaks would be taken to smoke, as well as between shots. Once back at home at the end of the day, I’d carry on smoking while watching TV.
After a while I was finding myself far too short of breath for my years. My skin had a sallow complexion, and dullness. My hair and skin smelled all the time and my teeth needed to be cleaned more frequently than usual. My immune system was quite broken down as well. I didn’t have much resistance to infection and would frequently go down with colds, strep throat and bronchitis. I hated being addicted to anything, especially cigarettes and I attempted quitting many times. I was ashamed for having let myself (and others) down repeatedly. I was tired of being out of control. I was also motivated to quit by losing my own father to a smoking-related disease.
By the time I finally quit five years ago, the decision came naturally, and I had the strength to do it. I now have no desire to return to smoking. In fact, I’ve experienced many physical benefits since stopping. I feel much more clear-headed, there isn’t any ‘fogginess’ in my head when I wake up in the morning either. I resumed a strict exercise regime, where I increased cardiovascular training as a means to clean out my lungs and blood, while trying to also maintain weight control. I also gave up drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages temporarily, to assist my effort.
It’s now five years since I quit smoking and it’s proved to be a major turning point in my life. I knew when I quit that I could do anything I set my mind to. I’m dedicated to discouraging young people from smoking by sharing my story and speaking to teenagers about the manipulative nature of advertising which sometimes uses glamorous imagery to market products that are both harmful and addictive.
Christy’s top three tips for successful quitting:
Quit SmokingQuit Smoking
Make a firm commitment to yourself.
Set a quit date, and don’t stray from it.
Think about all of your loved ones, especially children if you have them, and know that they depend on you. You owe it to them to stick around for as long as possible.