World No-Tobacco Day| Purab Kohli: When I tried a cigarette again after quitting, it felt disgusting

On World No-Tobacco Day, actor Purab Kohli recounts starting smoking during his adolescence. “I was around 15-16 years old. We were always aware that smoking was harmful and we had already heard some dreadful tales, so we knew we were engaging in something unhealthy. At that time, smoking appeared enticing, like this symbol of toughness. But, I began just to appear cool,” he narrates.

Purab Kohli on World No Tobacco Day

In his late 20s, the actor made up his mind to abandon the detrimental habit. “It had already been a decade since I started smoking. I realized I wanted to quit. I noticed that during stressful times at work, my smoking would increase. It reached a stage where I wanted to try and give it up to see if I could genuinely manage it. I challenged myself: I have smoked for 10-12 years, could I not abstain for a year? I even marked the date. I kept myself driven through that commitment. And I am quite determined; once I decide, I adhere to it,” Kohli discloses.

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“I just woke up one morning and decided to quit. I did stop smoking, but it was very challenging. I purchased one cigarette and kept it in my hand without ever lighting it. Holding it and pretending to puff away, the desire slowly diminished. Even passing by the shops where I used to buy cigarettes triggered cravings. I began to understand the strength of my tobacco addiction,” he elaborates further.

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Recalling the withdrawal symptoms, the 45-year-old explains, “There were physical repercussions as well, like my stomach acting up, and I experienced indigestion. Physically, it was tough on my body; it was not an easy journey at that time.”

“I am quite resolute. If I decide to do something, I follow through. I wanted to test myself: if I had smoked for 10-12 years, could I not smoke for one year? I marked the date and committed myself for a year. When I lit up a cigarette the following year, I despised it. When you haven’t smoked for a while, you realize how repulsive it tastes. It felt terrible,” Kohli confesses, as he delves further into his journey of completely giving up smoking, mentioning he had to pick up smoking again for a role. “I didn’t smoke for 3-4 years after that, but there was a role that required me to smoke, leading me to briefly start again in my early thirties. I already knew how much of a difference quitting made during workouts.”

The actor acknowledges realizing the benefits of not smoking. “The second time I quit was permanent. Once you overcome the initial 6-7 months, it gets better. You feel drowsy and tired and might even gain weight as you try to quit. I remember snacking on carrots and cucumbers to curb cravings. It helped me form healthy habits. My skin looks better now, and my mind is so calm. Taking deep, satisfying breaths, wow! I feel so joyous not having that craving anymore; it has been more than 13-14 years since I last smoked,” Kohli concludes.

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