It’s official. Smokers have become social outcasts. We are not allowed to enjoy our fags in the privacy of our own offices, while drinking a beer in the pub, while dinning out or even in certain night clubs. We are being kicked to the curb and I, for one, am taking it personally! Where are the days of the Marlboro Man, the advertisements of young people jet skiing while lighting up and the days when our packets of cigarettes didn’t have hateful and threatening messages on them? These days smokers are confined to designated areas on pavements outside our office buildings, huddled together under umbrellas in the soaking rain, cramped together in glass boxes at airports or shunned 20 foot away from the nearest entrances or exist. Smokers are being ousted from all places that are fun and this made me to wonder – isn’t it time for me to try and quit smoking again.
Having been a smoker for the last 15 years, I can honestly say I have been enjoying sucking on my fags. Yes, I know it’s not the healthiest habit in the world and that’s why I don’t smoke crack or heroin. During the last 15 years I did try to quit on more than one occasion and all attempts failed, some more miserably than others. I tried the sprays (tasted like shit and tested my gag reflex and not in a good way), the patches and gum (it's fine until you reach the lowest doses), the medication (gave me insomnia and eventually a rash) and the most torturous techniques – cold turkey (I only lasted a week, almost killed someone and don’t recommend it). 15 years and four failed attempts at quitting later and I am still happily sucking away on my fags.
Why is it so damn difficult to quit? The obvious reason is the fact that nicotine is highly addictive and any attempts at quitting will inevitably lead to cravings and withdrawals. Carving and withdrawals then leads to bitchiness, bitchiness to rudeness and rudeness to unpleasantness; and in my case, a nice psychotic combination of all the above. You see, some people don’t turn into monsters when they attempt quitting smoking, I, on the other hand, do. I turn into a raving mad bitch. If I am not on the verge of screaming at someone I am on the verge of breaking into a self pitying crying mess. My emotions during the first few days usually would be limited to irritated, angry, sad and don’t fuck with me. Over a couple weeks (if I make it that long) I would slowly mellow out with the exception of a few unexpected visits from the craving bitch monster.
They say that you should never attempt to quit smoking if you are not ready. For some smokers not even emphysema is enough to persuade them to quit. My husband’s grandmother, for example, happily puffed away alternating a cigarette and her oxygen mask for many years before she eventually passed away. So how do you know when you are ready to stop smoking? Is there some light bulb moment when Oprah Winfrey visits you in your dreams and says “It’s time for you to stop smoking! Also don’t text and drive because both can potentially kill you!” If Oprah can’t convince you the government and their public health campaigns sure as hell is trying to give it their best shot. No more nice dreams courtesy of Harpo Productions bring on the state funded nightmares!
The newest tool in the world’s fight against smokers is the warning labels on our cigarette packets. DANGER: SMOKING CAUSES CANCER. I know it does but so does air pollution, some chemicals in our food and water. Does this now also mean I should stop breathing, eating and drinking water? Seriously, I am not making fun of the dangers of smoking, but realistically do people really believe these warning labels are deterring any smokers. I think not! If they are anything like me they will just opt to by the “PREGNANT? BREAST FEEDING? YOUR SMOKING CAN HARM YOUR BABY” packets, because I am neither pregnant nor breastfeeding and don’t have a baby and it makes me feel so much better smoking from those packets – away from babies off course.
Another fad in the fight against the puffers is the new electric cigarettes. They are said to have all the benefits of smoking real cigarettes but none of the bad cancer causing toxins. Many of my friends have bought these phallic looking nicotine dispensers during the last year. The first ones looked more like small dildos than cigarettes. However the newer ones more closely resemble real cigarettes and looks less like sucking on a sex toy. For some these new gadgets seem to be working, even though none of them have actually completely stopped smoking but at least they are smoking far less. For others these phallic fag substitutes soon became redundant and were retired to the back of the closet with all their other “it seemed like a good idea at the time” items. Supposedly another added benefit of the electric cigarettes is that you can smoke them everywhere, or so they say. People can’t smell them so they can’t complain but I am sure it’s just a matter of time before the Anti-Smoking Nazis ban them too.
I am still undetermined whether I am ready and willing to completely give up smoking. Deep down I know I really should and if for nothing else for my health and that of my passive smoking husband. After 15 years of slowly poisoning my body with the fags I love so much I am willing to take the first step. I shall get myself one of those dildo nicotine dispensers and see how it goes. Who knows, the electronic cigarette may just be my unique stop smoking miracle cure. Only time will tell, now let me go suck on my dildo.
Till next time.
Bill Hicks on Tennessee Waffle House & Non-Smokers