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5 Years and Running: How I Quit Smoking

By Warren Tong

August 15, 2013

Warren Tong

Warren Tong

Aug. 2 marked five years since I started out as an intern at I remember those early days of transcribing interviews and ordering lunch for the staff. Now look at me -- transcribing and conducting interviews ... and still ordering lunch for the staff. (We do company lunch every week. It's a real morale booster. Don't take it away from us!)

But I joke. There's been a lot of growth these past five years, both personal and professional. HIV news, particularly research news, has become a part of my everyday life. I write a lot more. I became a vegetarian. And I no longer live with my parents. Woohoo!

Anyway, the first day of work was also the last day I ever had a cigarette. I was 22 at the time, fresh out of college, kind of heartbroken. I had been smoking since high school and was trying to quit for good. It wasn't my first attempt, but I was determined. And it turned out to be pretty easy.

This may come as old advice, but I'm still amazed to see how many smokers I see out there. So here are my tips.

Ultimately, you really have to want it. For me, my health was more important than the short-term appeal of each cigarette. I stopped counting the days since my last. I didn't have any slip-ups. All my clothes stopped stinking of smoke. I started exercising a lot more and no longer feel like I'm dying after running for 30 seconds. And I'm sure I've saved a lot of time and money.

Overall, I feel fantastic. So, if you're still smoking, just stop and don't look back.

Warren Tong is the research editor for and

Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

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