How I didn’t give up smoking

Okay, look: this post is gonna read like a paid entry. It isn’t. I am evangelical about the subject, but no fucker is paying me, because I didn’t think of asking any of them before I started writing. As a penance, I’ll be dealing with the comment spam this article will attract for several years.

So, anyway, I started smoking when I was, oh, you don’t want to know. And I loved smoking. I loved the taste. I loved the smell. I loved the high. I loved the subterfuge when I was a kid and the extra breaks at work when I was an adult. I loved a cigarette when I got up and that last one before bed. I loved how I looked holding a cigarette and how I looked with one in my mouth. Smoking is so very, very cool… and I, generally, am not.

Smoking defined me as a human being. I was “the guy who smokes”.

And if I tried to give up I stopped being a human being and started being MISTER EVIL. Really, the not-smoking version of me is a nasty piece of shit. And enjoys being so. So Not Good.

But smoking had to end, if only because £7.50 a packet a day was meshugganah. I sent the ball and chain on a fact-finding mission about those new eCigarettes that people were banging on about, helped by finding an advertorial from the Times lying on a seat on my Merseyrail train one morning.

He picked Liberro, because they had the most fag-like fags. And I started trying to smoke both real fags and eFags. This doesn’t work: eFags are not fags. There’s no two ways about it. They are very, very like fags, but they’re not fags.

But the total outlay a month was about £20, compared to £7.50 a day. So switching made sense. Also I’m asthmatic and never should’ve started in the buggers in the first place but… meh. I had what seemed like a hard childhood at the time.

So I switched completely, using 1.8% (aka 18mg) eCigs, a “low user” nicotine patch for the two weeks it would hurt most (this part is optional: it was only so I wouldn’t rip my husband’s face off and feed it to him if he looked at me wrong) and going on holiday to Italy for a fortnight.

In Milan one morning, I had my last cigarette that I’d brought with me. In Venice that afternoon, I was a “steamer”, as my friend Gavin calls it. And fucking hell it worked.

Three years later, I haven’t smoked since, although I do still have dreams about them. I’ve moved on to those bigger silvery things you see people using nowadays, and I’ve branched out from the default yucky-American-ciggy flavoured stuff to my current favourite (if slightly mad) choices: liquorice and Dentine chewing gum. They really work for me. I also go for VG (vegetable origin) rather than PG (something else, not sure what) despite VG being less cigarette-like. The internet is full of people hating PG liquids, so I’m following the crowd.

The moral of this story: do you smoke? Switch now and save £££. You can send the savings to me. Try this for a cheap throwaway, these if that works for you, then branch out into this for the next stage and then here for a choice of really weird but nice flavours.

And then do what I’m doing: order liquids at 1% less nicotine each month than the previous month. Yeah, they say you can’t ween yourself off nicotine, but I can’t stop cold turkey without turning into a nasty murderer. 18 months at 1% less a month seems far better an option. And at the end I can continue ‘smoking’ with the 0% nicotine stuff if I want.

I’m at 14% since hitting on this plan and it’s working. Take THAT, real cigarettes. I’m an ex-smoker now, despite the ciggy between my lips.