Tales of a City Girl

Being a smoker – why I just can’t seem to stop for good

So here’s another Pet Hates post (did consider putting it under ‘things I love’ but then thought… best not). So, I confess, I’m a smoker. Not a heavy smoker mind you, but still, definitely guilty of the odd one or two.

Sometimes I can go a good week or two – or even up to six weeks or so – without. Most I smoke now I’d say, would be five in a day – and that would be if I was out having drinks with fellow smokers. But there’s only so many excuses you can give yourself really, my lungs would probably still classify me as a smoker. So with so many aids around these days, why is it I can’t stop?

It’s not that I don’t have willpower, when I want to, to do things I know are good for me. I exercise pretty regularly, I try to make sure I drink lots of water and eat fruit and veg, I curb the amount of days I week I would have a drink, and god knows, sleeping is my drug. But there’s something about those little cancer sticks I just can’t seem to shake.

Obviously, I know they are more addictive than other things, but addiction is a frame of mind as much as anything else. A difficult frame of mind to get out of, I get that, but the truth is a lot of the time I’m not bothered enough to truly kick the habit. And, as the highly strung person that I am (I can’t leave the house without breakfast being cleaned away and the bed made, for example), that pisses me off no end.

So, what is it that is so enticing about ciggies?

Socialising – When me and my best mate from uni lived together in London and were single, smoking was as much a part of our nights out as having a tipple or attempting to twerk. And we were out pretty much every weekend. There’s only so much nicking of rollies you can do, even off a close pal, before you feel like you should really be supplying your own. Smoking was fun – smokers are a chatty bunch and going out to the smoking area breaks up your night a bit. Now I have a friend at work who smokes too, it’s also very easy to pop out for 5 minutes for a fag and a de-stress before getting back to your desk. Cigarettes have somehow wormed their way into my social structure, which is hard to shake.

Considering it a ‘reward’ or pick me up – Anything can be a reward if you make it so and you enjoy it. But there’s something about smoking that is so much more damn relaxing than, say, a chocolate bar or a glass of wine. And you can easily get yourself into the state of finding things to reward yourself for or as a commiseration prize – meeting went well/meeting went bad; cleaned my flat/can’t fit into favourite old dress. Cigarettes are your plaster and your trophy, all rolled in one handy, well, roll.

Still feeling young – This is probably the most difficult one. I’m 28, my parents smoked at my age and are now healthy 60-somethings, and I’m pretty healthy otherwise. Plus, this sounds a bit morbid and it’s also a bit unfair – gambling with something like your health when others don’t have the privilege isn’t something that I’m proud of – but there are tons of things out there that the average Londoner could die by through no fault of their own.

I don’t really know when it is that I’m going to stop, but I hope for the sake of my insides it’s soon.

Image attribution: Chuck Grimmett, Flickr