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July 29, 2008



I was a smoker in the Air Force as well. My service was in the early 80s and I was also lured by the frequent promise and privilege of a break from tedium ("smoke 'em if you got 'em"). If you didn't smoke you remained in formation and as everyone knows, one of the things military service teaches you is how to manage long stretches of boredom punctuated with moments of extreme stress. Nicotine is the perfect drug for that. The habit kills time, and keeps you alert. It even encourages sharing and camaraderie (ask any group standing in the cold outside a bar sharing a smoke and they'll agree).

When I was an airman it was insidious. Really almost everyone I knew smoked and that included the women. It took me years after I was discharged to kick the habit, not once, not twice, but three times. I kept falling off the wagon at every stressful life event. And I think that's part of the key. Like life, you just can't give in to the stress and if you do, give yourself a break, dust yourself off and try again. It will stick, all it requires is determination and a kind of built in grit that makes you angry enough to shake something you know inside is self-destructive. Thanks for sharing your story and allowing me to post mine!

Larry Lehmer

Thanks, Tori, and congratulations on having the perseverance to kick the habit. That's a major achievement.

Denise Olson

Another Lackland survivor - 1972 - and former smoker. One of my favorite memories is being sent to Keesler's LP "store" to spend the last of our end-of-year money. The only thing left to buy was ashtrays so that's what we got. A month into the new fiscal year, smoking was outlawed in all offices and classrooms.

Larry Lehmer

And people wonder where the term SNAFU came from! I'll bet you've got more stories like that one, right? Thanks for this one, Denise.

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