It's been well beyond a month since I smoked my last cigarette, and I've made it past all cravings and urge, confident that I am now a non-smoker for life.

While I no longer have cravings to enter into the Smoke Free app (available on iTunes and Google Play) I've been using, I still check it frequently to see the progress I've made. I was looking at it and noticed something that really put everything into perspective for me:


There, at the bottom: Time not spent smoking in hours. This isn't the number of hours I've been smoke-free, mind you — that number is just shy of 1,000. Time not spent smoking refers to how much time I would have spent just smoking, and at 50 HOURS, all I can say is, uhhh, gross.

How much of my life I lost to cigarettes is really put into perspective by this, especially when I imagine those 50 hours strung together consecutively: That's more than two straight days of chain-smoking. I know how terrible I used to feel after a night of heavy smoking, so imagining 50 straight hours of smoking, makes me wince for my lungs.

Luckily, you start repairing the damage caused by cigarettes immediately by quitting and there are resources available to make quitting easier for you. I worked with the folks at A Smoke Free Paso del Norte initiative, who have assisted so many smokers before me in the El Paso area transition to lives of being non smokers. The initiative provides support to those going through the extremely difficult process, and I encourage any smokers who have been thinking about giving quitting a try, to head over to their website and set their own quit dates or to call the Quit Line to connect with a quit coach at (915) 534-QUIT.

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