"I exchanged cigarettes for a bicycle," says former smoker

Karine Salles

Monday | May 30, 2016 | 11:08 AM | Last update: September 22, 2016, 4:07 PM (Brasilia time)

For 26 years a cigarette was Cláudio Gonçalves Moreira’s most faithful companion. The vice began when the Brazilian specialist in occupational safety and health from the city of Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul State, was still young. Today he is 51 and is celebrating 7 years without smoking, proving it is possible to give up the bad habit even after smoking for so long. Cláudio found in sport the secret of his victory: he exchanged the false satisfaction he felt when smoking for the healthy habit of riding a bicycle.

At 18, he started smoking under the influence of his friends and advertisements: "It was an example of self-affirmation to impress my colleagues," he recalled in an interview to Good Will Portal"We had that fleeting moment of pleasure that nicotine creates in the brain. The media also sold the image of a smoker as someone cool. Back in the day this was very common; so I had status."


Married to a nurse and the father of two children, Cláudio remembers that his relatives never believed him when he said he was going to quit smoking. But it all changed in 2009 when he sought a specialist  and found out about the damage caused by passive smoking. "I was a very ill-informed smoker. My psychologist said I needed to exchange cigarettes for something good. After all, it was a source of pleasure for me." Then he finally found that something good: "I exchanged cigarettes for a bicycle." When Cláudio felt like having a cigarette he reserved a few minutes in his day for riding his bicycle.

When fighting the vice, he counted on the  invaluable support of his friends and family and he persisted until he achieved his goal. Today he has a different lifestyle and lists the benefits of quitting smoking: "Thank God my breathing got better. I sleep better, I’m less tired and anxious. Food is a lot more tasty. It’s quite the opposite. Some may have more difficulty than others, but the important thing is wanting [to quit], and more than that, having a lot of willpower."

Arquivo Pessoal
Today, Cláudio has enough breath to ride a bike for long distances with his group of friends.


The Good Will Portal stresses that cigarettes cause harm mainly to the soul, because it believes that we, human beings, "are now body, but we are originally Spirit," as the President-Preacher of the Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, José de Paiva Netto, teaches us. This bad habit has repercussions for our eternal journey. The choices we make in the present  do not only have immediate consequences but also significant effects in the future, which includes our existence after the phenomenon called "death," since we know death is not the end.

The global tobacco epidemic kills around six million people every year. More than 600,000 of these deaths are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Without effective strategies for combatting the smoking habit, the epidemic is going to kill more than 8 million people a year by 2030, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Lung or mouth cancer and pulmonary emphysema are among the main causes of death from constant use of cigarettes.

Studies prove that tobacco consumption is the main preventable cause of death in the world. Moreover, unlike the sense of relief from stress provided by cigarettes, smokers are 70% more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than non-smokers, but quitting smoking can reverse the damage, according to a recent study by University College London and the British Heart Foundation.

Be inspired by the story of Cláudio and help other people beat the addiction, too. It is never too late to begin living a healthier life. How about making every day World No Tobacco Day? Always keep this in mind: To Live is Better!