I was a closet smoker all through nursing school and it was a source of a lot of stress. I refused to smoke in scrubs
before or after my rotations, just because I was so concerned the smell would cling to the material and offend my patients. I knew that smoking was a choice I made for myself, but I felt/feel very strongly that it is inappropriate for a nurse to smell of smoke while treating patients with respiratory problems and/or who cannot smoke themselves during their hospitalization. How could a patient or their family take smoking cessation education seriously from me if I smelled like smoke? For me it was an ethical line in the sand I would not cross.
In addition to that, my classmates and faculty had a very nasty attitude toward the 'known' smokers that absolutely terrified me they would discover my secret. Smoker or non-smoker, nobody should be as judgmental and cruel about a personal decision as they were toward smokers, period. It accomplishes nothing positive - but I digress.
The day after graduation I quit smoking. I recognized that my life was in a place of new beginnings and I wanted to start on the right foot. Washing the shame/angst/anxiety/effort/expense/time of my closet smoking has been a tremendous relief and after that first few days, I haven't looked back!! I thought I would have a hard time finding a replacement for the stress management I thought smoking gave me - but now I realize that smoking caused at least as much stress as it relieved!!
I fully understand quitting isn't as easy for everyone, but you never know what you are capable of until you try!