I smoked my last cigarette 8 years ago on Tuesday. It was a spur of the moment decision, but one I stuck with, choosing not to smoke, minute by minute, until I didn’t want to smoke anymore. I remembered it was my anniversary as I was dragging my tired self down the hill for a very long day of work, a bad night’s sleep and a headache making the commute seem much more like a chore than a cheerful opportunity to have Deep Thoughts about where the road salt’s going and when, if that RV ever goes anywhere other than that driveway, or whatever else I was going to see on my bike today. And then I smiled to myself, because I don’t have to smoke, think about quitting, or quit smoking anymore. Quitting smoking taught me that I could make real changes in my life. I mean, I smoked every 30-45 minutes I was awake, every day, for years and years. And then I just stopped doing that altogether. It meant a radical change in what I did when I woke up, before and after I exercised, before and after I ate, when I was bored, when I felt social, when I was tired, as I walked to and from the grocery store, when I was sad, when I was celebrating, when I was studying and when I was done…yeah, I was a smoker. And now I’m not. I used to be a driver. And now I’m not. My pops likes to say it is better to have smoked and quit than never to have smoked at all. I’m not suggesting anybody take up smoking, but quitting? It’s kind of the best thing ever. UMBC is a smoke-free campus now, which means smokers have to take their cigarettes to a couple of demarcated shamezones on the edges of campus. Making someone a pariah’s not going to get them to quit. People quit when they’re ready. When you’re ready, check out quitnet.com. I folded up the bike, taught two classes, had a couple of meetings with students, went to the Faculty Senate meeting, taught another class, and then got back on the bike and rode home–a long day, but smoking would just have made it longer.