It is exactly one year ago that I smoked my last cigarette.
I have had many last cigarettes.
I started smoking when I was around 16 years old, much to the chagrin of my mother. Over the past 23 years, I went from smoking a little, to a lot, to less, to like a chimney, to nothing, to some, to more than ever, to only a few. I lost track of the amount of times I tried to quit. Several attempts lasted a few months, others only a couple of weeks. But never before did I ever stop for a full year.
This time, it feels different. It feels like I’ve managed to get it under control.
Still, I truly cannot say that I am off smoking for good. Such a statement can only be confirmed on my deathbed, if it hasn’t been refuted before that time, by me I lighting up.
So trying to give advice on how to quit smoking would be a tad pretentious.
However, since I have, several times and quite successfully, not quit smoking in the past, I can consider myself an expert on that front.
Therefore, for those who say they do, but do not really want to quit smoking, some of the below recommendations may help. Naturally, some tips will me more helpful than others, but my advice is, give them all a try and don’t give up.
If you don’t really—or really don’t—want to stop smoking, here’s how!
1. Leave cigarettes lying around the house
I found out that having half a packet of cigarettes conveniently “forgotten” in a drawer is the perfect excuse to take up smoking again. Oh, look what I found rummaging randomly through my things… I might as well finish the pack… I’ll stop when these are finished… I really deserve one after what happened today… No need to go out to buy them, they are there, calling out to be smoked. Why let them go to waste, right?
2. Let others smoke in the house
Why force others to go outside or not to smoke only because I don’t want to smoke? I don’t want to suddenly come across an extreme, fundamentalist anti-smoker. I smoked for years, I fully understand smokers and their needs. Let me be empathic and simply pretend it doesn’t disturb me. No, no, the smoke really doesn’t bother me. Actually, it smells quite tempting, not like an old ashtray at all. You know what? I’ll have just the one, that way, the house, my clothes, my hair, my skin and your breath won’t seem to reek so bad…
3. Smoke on special occasions only
Smoking on special occasions is the best way to not quit smoking. Of course, a special occasion is a loosely defined term. A best friend’s wedding for sure qualifies. Or a best friend’s funeral. A dinner party with people who only see each other once year definitely counts too. Any Friday—especially the one we thank god for—can be considered a special occasion as well.
Actually, at the end of every 12-hour working day, it’s very special to come home and be able to drink a glass of wine in all peace and quiet. That moment certainly calls for a special occasion cigarette. And come to think of it, that celebratory lunch with colleagues after a particularly heavy meeting, yes, that’s also a very special occasion. Oh, I got an email just now during breakfast confirming the contract is signed. Celebration time, give me that ciggie!
4. Light other people’s cigarettes without inhaling
Taking a puff without inhaling is like… well, having sex without coming. It only makes you want more of it. Believe me, if not quitting smoking is the objective, then this is the way to go. Taking one of those unfinished drags leaves a dirty taste in the mouth, a pair of unsatisfied lungs waiting for the kick to hit and a dented ego for having given in to half-measures. The only solution is to do the job again and to do it right. Smoke a whole cigarette.
5. Believe that smoking is cool
Of course we all understand that when we are 16, we must blow smoke circles to impress the 18 year-olds. But to keep smoking our entire life, it is imperative to keep believing that smoking is the thing. A cowboy talking with half a burning cigarette nonchalantly hanging from their lips?
A seductive mistress with nine inch heels, net stockings and red lipstick blowing smoke in someone’s face: irresistibly sexy. Stressed angry mother lighting a stick in order to keep her temper in check? No better example to kids. Drunk boyfriend falling asleep on the couch with a burning fag in between his fingers? Can’t think of a more attractive man.
A grey-skinned, yellow finger-nailed and brown-toothed lady coughing in the driver’s neck on the bus on the way to work? A refreshing way to start the day.
Yes, smoking is cool.
As I am writing this, I am realizing that I am not listening to my own advice at all and failing miserably this time round…at not quitting smoking.
I’ll have to think of an appropriate way to celebrate my one year non-smoking anniversary.
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Author: Yaisa Nio
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Pixoto / Maja Topčagić
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