I began smoking at age 15, when a neighborhood kid offered me a drag off of his cigarette. I grew up in the time when everyone was educated about smoking, and I knew that medical research had confirmed how costly it is to our health. Nonetheless, I began smoking to fit in and continued for ten years. Over that decade, I tried many times to quit, but would always fail due to cravings, stress or social pressure. Over that time, I also gained a lot of weight, after convincing myself that I was not athletic. Around the age of 24, I stood on a scale and finally saw how much weight I had gained, and it shocked me into action. I began counting calories and trying to exercise. It quickly became clear that I would not be able to both exercise and smoke. The choice was so obvious that I renewed my commitment to quit smoking. On Halloween of 2006, I smoked my last pack and vowed to never touch them again. Aided by a stomach virus and a sinus infection, I made it through the first month without too much difficulty, and then my determination to improve my health has carried me the rest of the way. I have been smoke free ever since, and will never return to those days of bad breath, smelly clothes and difficulty breathing ever again.