Syndicated left-wing columnist Karl Frisch, also of Bullfight Strategies, has been offering updates on Twitter about his quest to quit smoking. He’s at about the three week mark. So we wanted to find out how he’s doing. But first, a few details: Karl smoked roughly a pack an a half of Marlboro Lights a day. At $8.10 per pack, his iPhone app says he has so far saved $278.67 by not smoking 688 cigs since June 3 at 2:30 ET — “When I type that all out that sounds even more disgusting,” he says.  Special note to Karl: So now that we’re doing this, you cannot return to smoking or we will have to report it. Yes, we are threatening you. It’s a gross habit and we’re so glad you have quit. What’s more, the second-hand smoke you were inevitably breathing on FishbowlDC’s 2010 Cutest Dog in Washington, Dexter von Frisch, is unforgivable. And not only because he’s such an avid FBDC reader, as shown here. Is that enough guilt for you to stay quit?

FBDC: What prompted you to quit? K.F.: I had bronchitis and my Doctor told me that if I didn’t quit, eventually how I was feeling (awful) would be the norm.

FBDC: How long had you smoked? K.F.: I started smoking when I was a Republican working on John McCain’s 2000 campaign for President. I was in South Carolina doing press advance when it began. We had an ashtray in the state campaign HQ that went from desk to desk. Sick, I know. I bought Marlboro Light 100s not knowing they were any different from regular Marlboro Lights. A young member of the South Carolina state legislature whose father was McCain’s lead consultant in South Carolina called them “fag cigarettes” and I was a Marlboro Lights (sans the 100s) smoker from then on despite my then-closeted sexuality.

FBDC: How are you feeling so far? K.F.: “Yeah, I’m awesome — and in a constant state of annoyance and hunger.”

FBDC: What’s the worst part? K.F.: “Life in general haha. In all seriousness, the first week I felt like my lungs wanted to leave my body and go to 7-11 in search of a pack of smokes. The cravings have been the worst part though they’ve lessened considerably. Coughing up all of the tar and junk in my lungs was pretty gross too. I’ve avoided the weight gain by simultaneously working out with a personal trainer and running most weekdays. Taking three very deep breaths each waking hour in my first ten days was a big key to passing a craving.”

There are a few silver linings here…

FBDC: And the best? K.F.: “It’s nice to know I’m no longer giving thousands of dollars to the tobacco industry every year with which they can elect more Republicans like House Smoker errr Speaker John Boehner. All kidding aside, my breathing has gotten WAY better since quitting and I can actually run for much longer periods of time. My sense of smell and taste have greatly improved — which has been a plus and a minus. Some of my favorite foods don’t taste right anymore and I had to have all of my business clothes dry cleaned to get rid of the stench of cigarettes. I can only imagine what non-smokers think of the way smokers ALWAYS smell of cigarettes.”

FBDC: How are friends and family reaction? K.F.: I’ve quit many times before so they were supportive but skeptical at first. I’ve only quit once for this long before and that was almost 7 years ago (long forgotten by friends since I’ve announced that I would be quitting and only lasted a few days SO many times since then.) Their encouragement and support has been very helpful.