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Smokers suck

2010-08-04 16:07
"So you've given up booze completely?" they ask, incredulous. "Forever?"

"Well, just for today," I reply.

This is your typical Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-step answer. We recite this line like reprogrammed robots to protect ourselves from the fact that our success means we’ll never let another drop of delicious booze pass our mangled livers and alter our egos for a few blissful hours, ever again. Here’s a thought that could very well drive us to drink.

Taking it 'one day at a time' is a much more comforting mantra than 'just say no 30 million times, then die'.

It’s sometimes tough staying sober in a drunken nation, but I find it almost impossible to apply the AA’s self-indulgent, pseudo-spiritual hypochondria to my nicotine addiction. I smoke about, oh, five thousand cigarettes a day. I once switched to lights, but then I just smoked nine thousand. That’s a lot of matches.

Despite the high taxes, the printed warnings (my current pack tells me "tobacco is addictive" – thanks Captain Obvious), and the knowledge that wherever we go we’ll always end up standing outside, smoking is still an easy habit to maintain.

Unlike, say, heroin addicts, we smokers can continue to hold down a job and maintain relationships with our 'using' as well as 'non-using' friends. We never steal people’s DVD players to buy that last pack of smokes before we "give up for good", and it’s extremely rare to find the corpse of an overdosed nicotine addict in a dank alleyway.

Smokers can continue to operate like any other normal, functional member of society while we quietly kill ourselves with an overpriced, state-sanctioned, deadly drug that doesn't even have the common decency to get us off our faces for a couple of hours. It’s such a meaningless addiction that even Muslims have no problem with it.

And unlike heroin addiction, smoking is becoming increasingly infra dig. Not even villains in movies smoke anymore. It’s also as perfectly legal as porn, so it’s anything but rebellious, and the money we spend on our addictive disorder goes straight to big business bastards who deserve nothing less than a blindfold and a bullet for ass-raping the world. Any smoker who assuages their guilt through recycling or boycotting McDonalds is as much of a hypocrite as an environmentalist who has children.

Now I wish I could tell you that all this reasoning has brought me closer to quitting. Nope. It hasn't even slowed me down. In fact, I have a cigarette clutched between my left index and up-yours fingers as I type this.

But I really do want to quit. Not because it’s anti-social – as far as I’m concerned, that’s one of smoking’s implicit benefits – but because I don’t want my last words to be a series of wet coughs and 20 years too soon.

So I've been thinking of a method that will keep me off cigarettes for good. Some people don't do methods at all. My father, for example. He quit smoking by deciding to stop. Just. Like. That. Then, after three months of HELL, he started again. So fuck that.

Me, I plan to go all the way with the methods. I'm going to take the psycho pills, get hypnotised, chew the gum and apply the extra-strong nicotine patches. I’ll have to do my best to avoid the temptation to set them on fire and inhale the fumes.

My only worry is that I’m the type who’ll probably turn into one of those ex-smoking, self-righteous pricks who coughs pointedly at smokers until they start hoping I get cancer from their secondary smoke.

Instead of blowing tobacco smoke in people’s faces, maybe I'll end up wandering around with a can of air freshener, or something. I hope not, because spraying smokers in the face with can-full of pine forest might not be enough. As a reformed smoker, I might not be able to resist the temptation take out the matches and light it up.

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