Top News

NICHOLAS MERCER: Determined to quit

Stephenville's Bill Boland is trying to quit smoking full-time for the first time in 50 years.
Stephenville's Bill Boland is trying to quit smoking full-time for the first time in 50 years. - 123RF Stock Photo

When the cravings strike him the worst, Bill Boland reaches for the shovel and heads to the driveway. 

Removing the snow from his property offers him the quick reprieve from the desire to resume smoking cigarettes he needs. When he feels like the craving has dissolved or the driveway is cleared, Boland heads back into the house and relaxes.

If that doesn't work the soon-to-be 68-year-old Stephenville resident heads for a quick stroll around the block to settle his mind and centre his resolve.

Boland is in the midst of an attempt to remove cigarettes from his daily routine and, for the first time in 50 years, he is determined to give it up for good.

It is a part of a New Year's resolution that he made prior to the start of 2019. He gave himself a little bit into the new year before tossing away his last package of light cigarettes in the trash the day after old Christmas Day.

He's been at it since he was 14 or 15. He was never a fan of rolling cigarettes himself. He found them too harsh. Whatever he smoked was of the light variety.

Boland smoked for several years and then gave it up for a couple. Then, it was back on the smokes and off them again.

He just couldn't stop it.

He remembers a time when he was off cigarettes for some time. He was gone every weekend, combing through the backwoods and walking the local trails with a devilish desire.

Then, he got sick.

To help him through, Boland started smoking again.

This time is going to be different, he says. His earlier attempts were haphazard in leaving the habit behind. Boland feels like there was no real intent behind them. 

"I'm determined this time," he said. "I am at the age now where I have to quit for good."

When we think about people we know who smoke, chances are we've all seen them attempting to quit only to pull the chute on it a couple of days or a week in.

Bill Boland
Bill Boland

They take a 180-degree turn in their lives in pursuit of a cigarette free life, however, the cravings soon overwhelm them.

Or, the process they've used to kick it for as long as they can falters or malfunctions.

"All it takes is one puff and you're back on it," said Boland. "Nicotine is a powerful drug."

As he enters almost a month smoke-free, Boland worries about situations that could cause him to relapse.

Poker nights with the boys were a concern. He didn't know how he'd react when sitting around the table and having a drink while waiting for the river card to come up.

Boland is an avid salmon fisherman. He'll visit the rivers around his home numerous times during the season. Those trips are sure to test his will.

"When you're sat down on the side of the river, a cigarette is like a million bucks," said Boland.

As it is with habits like smoking, there is a positive financial spin to it.
Cigarettes cost money. It is the same as gambling or drinking.

It only makes sense that you end up saving money when you quit cigarettes. He was smoking 10-15 cigarettes a day. In three days, he'd go through close to two packs.

That works out to be almost five packs of cigarettes a week.

At $14 a pack, that can mean upwards to $280 a month in savings. It could be a bi-weekly payment on a car.

What does his wife think of the move?

"Oh, the missus loves it," Boland chuckled. "She loves having the extra money."

Recent Stories