At this present moment in time, I’ve been a non-smoker for 32 days, 8 hours, 53 minutes and 42 seconds.
I have this precise information thanks to an app on my phone which also gives me tips and facts that are designed to swerve me away from cigarettes and serve as a fillip when my spirits are flagging.
I have the latest in ‘vaping’ equipment which allows me to replace the deliciously noxious fog from a cigarette with a vapour that tastes of apple pie and custard. I have also purchased other flavours such as jam doughnut, strawberries and cream and plain old tobacco.
Yet, with all of these aids to help me ignore the cravings that beset my waking hours – I could still rip my own arm off for a crafty fag. I have felt every agonising second of those 32 days, 8 hours, 58 minutes and 54 seconds, 56 seconds, 58 seconds…..
When you speak to non-smokers – the ones who have sensibly never danced with the demon weed – they find it hard to grasp the strength of hold that nicotine has on you. They think that dropping this filthy habit is akin to stopping biting your nails. It may even be easier in their eyes as after all – why would you want to continue to smoke when it is slowly simmering your innards in a deadly cocktail of cancer, carcinogens and tar?
Not only that, but the sheer lunacy of paying over £200 a month for the ‘pleasure?’ How can you continue to smoke in the face of all these damning facts?
These innocent morons have a point. I was technically paying to kill myself, I get that. I know that I smelled like the inside of a tramps pocket (minus the wee) and that my teeth now resemble the faded yellow that is entitled “honey sunrise” on the colour chart in Homebase.
It doesn’t dampen my minds desperate memories though. It doesn’t quench the wanting in my mouth and chest that miss being cloaked in misery. So what if I can run up the stairs now without looking like a cherry tomato? I care not for the liberated tastebuds and the fact that my expensive aftershave is now not overpowered by the smell of the dead.
I STILL want a fucking cigarette.
Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Smoking was, and always will be, cool. I may not be down with the most modern set of youth vernacular, but smoking is hip, it’s funky, it’s what the cool kids do.
Isn’t it? I know I may be out of the loop, but the Fonz did it, and so did all of the tired old detectives in the ’80’s crime flicks that always resulted in the criminal getting put away or dying?
Seeing the change in climate towards smokers in the last ten years is startling really – and it has seen opinions on smokers swing contrastingly to where they were before the smoking ban.
The biggest change however, is whenever you walk past a pub. Ah, the quintessential british public house. Offering you a warm place to rest your weary limbs, purchase the finest of alcoholic beverages, and your lungs an opportunity to fry via second hand smoke.
Now, the second hand smoke is still synonymous with pubs across the land – but you will find it gathering sadly outside – much like the sad, hunched-shoulder mob, who gamely soldier on chowing down on their cancer sticks in the driving rain.
Seeing these glum faces huddling around the door of the pub as their mates enjoy themselves in the warmth has probably been the biggest push I’ve had towards quitting smoking.
It isn’t cool anymore to smoke. It’s quite stupid really.
Not because it fritters away your hard-earned cash or because you were beginning to age so rapidly that you looked like Bruce Forsyth’s older cousin – but because whilst your mates are enjoying those nights that last long in the memory with great company and great conversation – you would have been shuddering in the cold with a fag in your mouth.
As a smoker, you only enjoy about five or six cigarettes through the course of a day. If I can remember the morose look on the faces of the men and women who were in the gaggle of cigarette-lovers outside of the pub in the cold when I get that familiar pang – I think I can kick the habit for good.