Are some people just born smokers?
I’m sick of smoking. I really am.
I’m sick of paying six quid every single day, I’m sick of putting on clothes that should smell like washing powder but smell stale and old instead. I’m sick of having yellow fingers, I’m sick of getting jittery when I run out or haven’t had one for an hour or so. I’m sick of having no money at the end of the month, I’m sick of the fact that given the choice as to whether I eat or smoke, I’ll choose the cigarettes every time.
So can someone please tell me why I stood in the middle of Soho Square yesterday after a fairly successful week of abstinence, inhaling from a fag with a look of such bliss on my face you’d have thought I was getting the blow job of my life?
I had my first cigarette at the age of eleven. After mercilessly baiting my father for as long as I can remember about wanting to smoke like him, he sat in front of me, lit a cigarette and told me to finish the whole one in front of him.
So that’s exactly what I did. Perhaps I had been fortified from passive smoking, perhaps my natural stubbornness drove me to show old Pa I wasn’t going to be beaten, but there was no coughing, no spluttering, not even a gag. I happily puffed away like I had been doing it all my life.
And guess what? I enjoyed it.
I know when I took it up full time at the age of seventeen I was probably trying to fit in, but I felt like smoking suited me. It felt good having a fag in my hand. Smoking appeals to the bad boy image, it smacks of not playing by the rules, of being a bit edgy. Think James Dean, the cast of Grease, Sharon Stone in the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct. You wouldn’t take any of them home to meet your mother, but they’d sure as hell give you a good time in the sack.
Fast forward thirteen years and I’ve decided I’m done with the demon darts. It’s not sexy, it stinks. It’s not cool to be standing outside in the freezing cold in winter because you’re banished by law from every bar and club. Shamefully walking into the off licence at the end of the road with my last £2.50 and buying the cheapest pack of ten on the shelf is just plain sad.
So why do I kick them time and time again just to go and ruin it all for a few minutes of feeling like a “bad boy” again?
Am I so utterly seduced by the marketing that I’m still clinging desperately to the rebelliousness of my teens? Would I really feel that incomplete without cigarettes? Am I so weak that I can’t cope with just a few days of feeling a bit uncomfortable while I kill of a few nicotine receptors?
Am I not ready to give up yet, or was I just born to smoke?