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Behold, my last pack of cigarettes

benson & hedgesYou know why I smoked Benson & Hedges Deluxe Ultra Lights? Because that plain gold box is actually a nine-color printing job. If you disassemble the top flap, the printer’s marks are there, including the color swatches. (It’s that little coat of arms dealie: it has many tiny flecks of unique color. That, my pretend internet friends, is design chutzpah).

Yup. Artard.

I quit smoking eleven years ago Saturday (yes, yes…I meant to post on the tenth anniversary last year and I forgot, okay? I couldn’t quit with no cigarettes in the house — it would’ve made me crazy. Know what I mean? So I got down to this one pack and then quit.

My friends would have voted me Weasel Least Likely To Give up Her Goddamn Smokes While Still Possessing a Pulse. I started young, I smoked heavily and I loved the hell out of it. Plus, I hate The Man telling me what to do.

In the end, I was forced to quit because I was too addicted. I went batshit crazy if I had to go more than an hour without a smoke. But they kept clamping down on smoking until I was more or less perpetually batshit crazy for a cigarette.

Also, Uncle B quit and I knew he couldn’t stick it if I smoked around him. So you could say I quit for love. But please don’t say that because…ugh.

Observations, in no particular order:

  • I got it on the first try and no cheating, because I told myself I only got one try (if you give yourself permission to cheat, you’ll cheat, m’kay?)
  • Gum, patches…NONE of that helped. I didn’t want nicotine. I wanted to put a paper-wrapped cylinder of tobacco in my mouth and set fire to it.
  • It didn’t hurt nearly as much as I expected, but it hurt for far, far longer. I probably went five years before I spent an entire day free of grief.
  • Yes, grief. It felt like my best friend died.
  • I got my sense of smell back.
  • I discovered most things that smell, smell really bad
  • I dropped twenty IQ points — bang — just like that.

Seriously, I went stupid after I quit smoking. I don’t read like I used to. I can’t program. I can’t concentrate any more. I can’t sit still. My nurse friend says all that nicotine was probably me self-medicating for ADD, but my nurse friend has panic attacks when she can’t get her Palm Pilot to sync, so…whatever.

As for the incredible rush of good health, I didn’t get one. Only, I was out hiking one day a few years back and I had just hauled my carcass straight up a trail that used to be a ski slope and I realized those deep, racking breaths I was taking felt good. Not like I was breathing a chunky stream of broken glass and Lysol.

So, there’s that.

Seriously? I could smoke a cigarette the size of a telephone pole right this minute.


Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 19, 2008, 8:54 am

Also, Uncle B quit and I knew he couldn’t stick it if I smoked around him.

You and Uncle B been kicking it eleventy years and only now are getting around to denning up together?

Dang. And I thought I was slow, in the romantical department.

Oh, and consider this a gratuitous Lemur King driveby. He’s still fuming about the travel lady not letting him have a Mercedes McLaren SLR.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 19, 2008, 9:05 am

Ummm…<koff>…yeah. Thirteen, actually.

No sense rushing things, is there…?

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 19, 2008, 9:24 am

No sense rushing things, is there…?

Actually, I quite agree.

I married disastrously young, and so it was 26 years before I got around to considering it again.

Comment from cranky
Time: May 19, 2008, 10:09 am

Congratulations on the 11 smoke-free years. Coming up on my 7th smoke-free anniversary on D-Day. Feels good. Don’t miss it and love being able to taste food again.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: May 19, 2008, 10:27 am


Quitting and staying quut is quite difficult. (I know “quut” is not a word. Well, now it is. The beauty of the English language: I can invent words with impunity!)

Oh, my uncle quit smoking a few weeks ago. We had been on his case for decades.

I think what shocked him was when people would ask his new grandson – just over a year old – “What does [Uncle] do?” and the grandson would pantomine smoking.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: May 19, 2008, 11:29 am

I first started smoking when I was about 14. It wasn’t serious; I was a late developer and consequently too young-looking to buy them myself. Therefore I had to make do with a few a week, mostly at the weekend.
I think these were my first cigarettes. (The irony was lost on me and my friends.) But only one shop sold them where I lived and the guy who ran it also sold BB guns and he must’ve soon cottoned on that we were underage or something, because we started smoking B&Hs, Marlboro Reds, Marlbroro Lights, hell – even Silk Cut instead from newsagencies. Anything we could get our grubby paws on basically.
I started smoking daily when I went to sixth form college and stopped some time in my early twenties with no pharmaceutical aids, or counseling or hypnosis or pressure from anyone. I just did it one uneventful day (which is why I can’t even remember what year it was).
Mind you, I don’t know if it counts, because I grow N. tabacum and roll my own vicious little cigars. I don’t inhale them, but I suppose it’s still smoking.

Comment from Jessica
Time: May 19, 2008, 11:34 am

Dan and I are going to attempt to quit for our move to the Cape. Neither of us smoke a LOT, but we really should just stop it all ready. Sigh.

I am sure I am not nicotine addicted – I can go days without a cigarette with no physical cravings. It’s the damn SMOKING part that I like. Sigh.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: May 19, 2008, 11:50 am

Oops, sorry, I fucked up the link-word doodad. This was the link I was trying to…whatever: http://lastexitblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/deathcigarettes.jpg

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: May 19, 2008, 2:29 pm

You came a long way, baby.

Comment from GrannyJ
Time: May 19, 2008, 7:15 pm

I went stupid for many months after I quit cold turkey (the only way.) I had to learn a bit of programming because my husband quit one time & he couldn’t hang in there to fix a bit of software for me. However, despite all the talk that one will be as good as new, I’ve got news…emphysema does happen if one was a heavy smoker for a long time, even though I’ve been off smokes for about 20 years. Argh.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: May 19, 2008, 10:12 pm

Comment from S. Weasel
Ummm……yeah. Thirteen, actually.
No sense rushing things, is there…?

You’re positively a Jane Austen novel! 😉

Comment from Gregory the First
Time: May 19, 2008, 10:13 pm

Never did smoke. Took up eating instead. Not sure it was a better choice, but at least it’ll kill me slower.

Then again, my family genes are against me. So.

Comment from porknbean
Time: May 20, 2008, 1:23 am

Hey Gregory, if Obama-the-dumbass becomes president, you can move here and he will help you kick the food habit. Apparently it is offensive if we eat whenever we want.

Shit, the way these morons in congress are going on about ‘climate change’, they’ll ensure our economy tanks, energy and food prices soar even higher, so that they, the all-powerful benevolent them will hand out ration cards. They will legislate us chub chubs into oblivion.

Comment from nyc123me
Time: May 21, 2008, 11:33 am

lol did the same thing about 3 years ago.. couldn’t quit without smokes in the house because I kept thinking, ‘is it my will, or is it deprivation that’s stopping me from smoking?’ and I’d always end up back into it. Finally did it with a pack of smokes available, because then I knew I stopped because I wanted to, not because there were just none available. Still got the pack somewhere too. Parliament 100’s, sadly.

Comment from Alice H
Time: May 21, 2008, 8:55 pm

I still miss smoking. I quit in February 2001. I almost lit up again about a month ago. The only reason I didn’t was I figured my husband didn’t need the additional stress.

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