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This Singaporean Man Quit Smoking 20 Cigarettes Daily In Just A Year And Here's How He Did It

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Syahirah Mazlan •  Jan 31, 2024

It's easy to cast judgment on those entangled in the addiction to cigarettes, but the journey to quit smoking is far from simple. In Singapore, the allure of these slender sticks poses a real social issue, with many struggling to break free. Among them is Akbar Ali Mirza, a 40-year-old Singaporean businessman in the import and trading industry, who generously shares his heartwarming journey filled with setbacks and unwavering determination. If you're seeking inspiration to kick the habit, Akbar's story is a beacon of hope.

P.S. Ready to drop the cigarettes? Click the link here for a wealth of resources, personal stories, and expert advice to support your quitting journey. Quitting is tough, but you're tougher!

A Puff-Paved Path

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Credit: Courtesy of Akbar Ali Mirza

Akbar's venture into the world of smoking began in 1998. An impressionable teenager at the time, he found himself drawn into the alluring clutches of this habit by the familiar faces of those whom he grew up with — his father, cousins, and friends. Reflecting on those early days, Akbar recalls, "Smoking was almost a rite of passage. It seemed like everyone around me was part of this smoking club, and I succumbed to the pressure, starting with just one drag and eventually escalating to a staggering 20 cigarettes a day by the time I turned 25 years old."

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Ramadan – A Spiritual Catalyst: 2020

Fast forward to 2020, a year that would prove transformative for Akbar. In March, he hastily travelled back to India due to his father's deteriorating health. Witnessing his father's struggle with breathing became an instant wake-up call and was a moment that would eventually propel Akbar towards a lifestyle change.

how to quit smoking

Credit: Courtesy of Akbar Ali Mirza

"When I visited my father at the hospital in India, he kept reminding me to take care of my health. It hit me hard. Initially, during the lockdown in India, obtaining cigarettes became challenging. Strangely, that scarcity unintentionally became a stepping stone for me," Akbar reveals.

As the sacred month of Ramadan approached, Akbar found himself presented with a unique opportunity to turn his life around. This was the time of year when many individuals were tested in faith and worldly possessions. With fasting from dawn to dusk, Akbar quickly recognised an opportunity to leverage this spiritual journey and break free from the clutches of smoking, and when would a better time be than to do so during the holy month?

how to quit smoking

Credit: Courtesy of Akbar Ali Mirza

"Why Ramadan? Well, when you're already displaying immense discipline through fasting the whole day, the belief that Allah SWT would grant me the strength to conquer this addiction became my driving force," Akbar shares with a meaningful glimmer in his eyes.

The Supportive Symphony of Family and Faith

Akbar didn't embark on this journey alone. His family, particularly his wife, played a pivotal role in his triumph over tobacco. To encourage healthier habits, his wife prepared snacks like carrots and cucumber salads, steering him away from smoke breaks.

how to quit smoking

Credit: Courtesy of Akbar Ali Mirza

"My wife and family are my pillars. Their support kept me going. It was tough initially, but with time, resisting the urge became second nature," he shared with a deep sense of gratitude resonating in his voice.

As he successfully navigated the stormy seas of withdrawal, a ripple effect occurred. Inspired by Akbar's resilience, his older brother decided to join him on this smoke-free journey.

A Glimpse into A Smoke-Free Life

Post quitting, Akbar embraced a fresh start. His increased involvement in family life, coupled with the arrival of a new member in 2021, brought an abundance of happiness.

"Being present with my wife during her pregnancy and witnessing the growth of my son for the past two years has been priceless. Looking back, I can't help but wonder why I wasted so many years on smoking – time, health, and money, all down the drain," he reflects.

The Secret To Success?

how to quit smoking

Credit: Courtesy of Akbar Ali Mirza

Quitting smoking, Akbar shares, is all about willpower and mindset. His unwavering resilience surprised those around him, earning him admiration and appreciation for his tenacity. This ongoing support continued to fuel his motivation, reinforcing his commitment to a smoke-free life.

When asked to offer words of encouragement to those battling the urge to quit smoking, Akbar emphasises the profound value of family and health. "Think about your family. Health is true wealth because you cannot buy new lungs and your family cannot replace you. Smoking is a strong habit, and so you must be strong to quit. Your willpower and family support will get you through everything." In these words, he encapsulates the essence of the journey, highlighting the priceless worth of well-being and the strength found in familial bonds.

Akbar's story is not just about quitting smoking; it's about reclaiming lost time, cherishing health, and redirecting finances towards a brighter future. As he so eloquently puts it, "What a waste it was, and I'm grateful every day for the chance to turn it all around."

P.S. For those ready to embark on a smoke-free journey, discover a wealth of resources and support at this link. From expert advice to personal success stories, let this be your guide toward a healthier, smoke-free life!

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This article was brought to you by the Health Promotion Board.