First and foremost I’d like to state that smoking is extremely detrimental to your health. The risks involved are lethal, and it is strongly suggested that quitting smoking will significantly decrease you chances of dying from lung cancer. It is a dirty, expensive habit that is being made virtually illegal in a lot of places. There are already companies who consider their trucks public property, so they fall under any and all public smoking ordinances. It’s not good for you, and we all know it.
That being said, it is also a habit harder to quit than heroin. Not only is your body addicted to the nicotine, your brain is addicted to the habit. It’s a compulsive, trigger-induced addiction. People who are successful in quitting often have to change their entire routine to avoid the triggers associated with smoking. Changing your habits when driving professionally is extremely difficult, and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is one of the most common triggers for smokers.
My husband and I both smoke, and I tend to smoke a lot more on the road. The boredom and inactivity are fed for a few minutes, and I don’t want to eat so much. I’ve quit smoking a total of six times, and my husband quit once, but he says he enjoys smoking and doesn’t want to quit. He says he’ll quit everything, all at once one day. Breathing included. Unfortunately, if he keeps smoking like he does, that day will come sooner than later.
We compromise when I’m on the truck, he cuts way down so I won’t bitch incessantly. We keep grapes and sunflower seeds in the truck and he grabs a handful of those instead of a smoke. I try to limit myself to one every hundred miles, it’s like a game for junkies – if you’re good for a hundred miles you get a fix. It works for me. I cut down from a pack a day to about three days a pack.
The electronic cigarettes were OK. They seemed a little weak in taste, but I smoke menthols, and it’s really hard to replicate a menthol cigarette without it tasting like Vicks Formula 44. Chantix worked really well for me. I didn’t want to smoke at all, but as soon as I quit taking the pills I wanted to smoke again. I never had crazy Chantix dreams; I was a little disappointed (note: The FMCSA advises against using medication that may adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle). It also costs $200 a month, which is a lot more than a carton of Marlboros.
Cost is definitely an issue. Long haul drivers who smoke can pay anywhere from $4.77 a pack to $9.89 a pack, depending on where they’re at. The website breaks down average prices state by state and is a good planning tool for smokers going out for the first time. I know I was horrified when the clerk asked me for $12 in New Jersey for a pack of smokes. Save yourself the shock and brush up on the cheap states.
Although I know I would be a lot healthier if I quit altogether, I do feel better when I cut down. Find other things to focus on and arm yourself with carrot sticks and gum, or whatever works for you. If you can’t quit, cut down. It’s not the best alternative, but for a lot of us, it’s the only one that doesn’t involve keeling over.
"Until a formal regulation is established with clear guidelines and borders ...