by Stuart Torrance, Men’s Health Project Officer

Before I share my battle to stop smoking, what is a bad habit?

You could say it is something that’s bad for you — or makes people think less of you.

You might not even know you have a bad habit until it’s pointed out.

Biting your finger nails might be. Being addicted to any substance is.

That was me, enjoying my habit that I believed helped me in my daily life.

I never saw it as ‘bad’.

In reflection it was an addiction not just a habit.

I was a smoker, I loved to smoke and even 8 years on I feel like a cigarette now and then.

My only drawback (pardon the pun) was I didn’t want to get emphysema, the inability to take in sufficient oxygen to live a normal life.

So in a half-assed way I went from one attempt to another to try and stop

Hypnosis, injections, patches, even a foul-tasting spray was no match for my habit.

The doctor prescribed me a drug and at a cost of more than $150 for the full course I only bought a third, just in case it didn’t work.

Actually it did work but the pills ran out and I had to wait for more to be shipped.

I broke.

Trying again later didn’t have the same effect.

A few years later, I was out of work and couldn’t afford my bad habit

So off to the doctor again.

Another drug was the new thing and whilst I stopped initially, I was affected with severe depression and homicidal thoughts.

Fortunately, my wife saw the effects and spoke to the doctor. He took me off them and I was back to square one.

What was I to do?

My brother had stopped and he’d been as hardcore a smoker as me.

He offered me the book that helped him and gave me just one rule: he told me you must continue smoking until you finish the book.

How could I lose?

That was 8 years ago and whilst I still feel like one now and then — I’m a smoker that does not smoke.

I’m free.

You might have noticed I don’t use the words  ‘quit’ or ‘give up’.

I’m no quitter and to say I gave up gives cigarettes value they don’t deserve.

Stuart Torrance is the Men’s Health Officer at the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA). 

You can hear more discussion about breaking bad habits in his segment Staying Strong on The Shed Wireless | Episode 2 (Season 2) to be published on Thursday 6 August.

New to podcasts? Try this handy link: for tips on how to listen at the touch of a button.

Discover a place to connect, a community to belong to & mates that make it all worthwhile.

Join us today