• DAY 10 Perry – Barcelona

    Listening to: The Clash – Lost in the Supermarket

    Emotion: Dizzy

    I have my first cigarette of the day while driving to the Circuit de Catalunia. It’s the first time I’ve smoked at the wheel of a moving car and it’s a left hand drive model, the car not the cigarette. No point in doing things by half.

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    stop smoking cigarettes and driving

    My lefts hand slides into the cargo pocket of my shorts and I’m rummaging around until I locate the new pack of ten Dunhill Reds. I pull them out and glance at the truck coming up on my left.

    I steady the wheel and remove the cellophane wrapper from the pack and take out a cigarette. Once I’ve stuck the cigarette in my face I can navigate the pack back into my shorts pocket which is easier than taking it out. I shift up a gear and push the cars lighter in. After approximately thirty seconds it notifies me with a reassuring clicking sound that it is hot and ready for action. I feel for the lighter, locate it and present it to the end of my cigarette. I suck deeply but almost instantly notice I’ve got the cigarette in my mouth the wrong way round. I check my mirrors, more out of embarrassment that I may have been seen lighting the wrong end of a cigarette than locating the next passing vehicle. I spin it around and inhale. I return the lighter to it’s home in the centre console, take the cigarette from my mouth and return both hands to the wheel.

    A couple more drags on and I’m feeling light headed. Not a good way to feel when I’m driving on the wrong side of the road for an Englishman at 120 KMH.

    The whole process only took a minute or so but I definitely wasn’t concentrating on the road one hundred percent with both hands on the wheel.

    stop smoking cigarettes and driving

    My first cigarette behind the wheel is on a motorway. I wouldn’t like to guess what it would have been like if I was driving through a city centre, passed a school or urban conurbation.

    There are no statistics for accidents caused by smoking while driving but I can testify that while going through the process of finding the pack, lighting up and then smoking the cigarette I wasn’t focused on driving with due care and attention. Far from it.

    SMOKES TODAY – 10 out of 10

    For more information about smoking and Driving click on the links below:

    Smoking and Driving

    Truckers and Smoking

    Smoking – Is the Government In or Out

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  • Day 9.  Katie

    Oh dear, the money I am supposed to be saving on ciggies, I am rapidly spending on parking fines! The non smoking recluse I am has made me turn to late night biscuit sessions, consequently I then sleep in and forget to move my car and receive a £50 fine! NIGHTMARE.

    I think the effects of quitting are showing a bit where the cigarettes have been so damaging on my body the results are gross. I’m coughing, have a running nose, dry skin and terrible spots, not forgetting the dreadful weight gain, but I guess I’m starting to realise just how bad smoking is for me, all that crap coming out in its own wicked ways and when I reflect I suppose it’s quite bad at 23 to be out of breath when running up the escalator! I think that is going to be my new goal to be able to climb the escalator with out my chest locking like a chastity belt. I’ve often told myself ‘it’s not the fags, no self respecting Londoner can climb those mammoth escalators without a slight wheeze’.

    I think the denial is starting to fade and the realisation is quite scary, I’m killing myself in my twenties. How awful is that? But not only that I’m finding it incredibly hard to stop contributing to my own slow and extremely painful death! So I say a big ‘thank you’ to those conscious less tobacco companies that shamelessly promote this hit, shoving it down our throats, telling us it’s hip, cool, even necessary, roll on July the 1st I say!

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  • DAY 9 Perry – Barcelona

    Listening to: Thirteen Senses – Undivided

    Emotions: Hungover

    It’s early in the morning and the temperature at Circuit de Catalunya must be in the 30c and rising.

    I decide to be colour co-ordinated today so I plum for Marlboro Reds. My hangover seems to be worse than usual due to the amount of cigarettes I am now consuming on a regular basis and the amount of smoke in some of the bars I found myself in last night. I’m smoking Reds today as a form of punishment. I’m told by seasoned smokers that these are harsh and very strong.

    Stop Smoking Marlboro Red

    A special edition Moto GP pack of Marlboro Reds – Spain 2007

    Stop Smoking Today

    I remember when I used to market these things that the biggest market was always at the hard rock music festivals, Download and Ozzfest to name but two. Machismo Reds – hard music, hard living, hard cigarettes!

    By the end of the day my throat is course. The sceptics out there could argue that because of the heat I’m dehydrated but I’m drink throughout the day so I can only put it down to having smoked the Marlboro Reds.

    I notice changes are occurring rapidly to my body, longer recovery and intensity of hangovers, gravely and deeper voice and the ease I can now smoke ten cigarettes a day. Nine days ago I was very ill if I smoked twoc cegaerettes in succession, now I could in fact smoke more than ten. Not that I’m going to, that would be dumb.

    Stop Smoking it's dumb - BonoI duck out of heading out tonight and instead opt to read Bono on Bono by Michka Assayas in my room. The author presses the U2 frontman on drugs. He answers ‘Bottom line: I think drugs are dumb. Bottom line: I think abuse of alcohol is dumb. Bottom line: I think that cigarette smoking is dumb. And that’s it really. My point about alcohol is that if you abuse something, it abuses you back. That’s really it. Whether it’s a spliff, whether it’s anything, there’s a boomerang to it.

    My personal thoughts on cigarettes are that they are the dumbest drugs around. They don’t get you high, you don’t hallucinate and you don’t get loved up. They promise you you’ll be cool, look rebellious and be free. In reality and at best they burn the money in your pocket, make you look old before your time and make you smell bad. At worst they make you impotent (you’re not cool if you can’t get it up), you’re a slave to the nicotine fix and you have a long slow painful death. The longer I’m in this Smoke Swap experiment the more my thoughts are enforced. There are no positives to smoking. I’ve been very honest and open and there are just no positives to smoking… it’s dumb!

    I rest my dumb head on the pillow and promptly fall asleep.

    SMOKES TODAY – 10 out of 10

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    Stop Smoking Today

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  • Day 8 Kate

    Stop Smoking Woman - Katie PiperGood Lord, I have to write, I’m officially having the worst withdrawal since the experiment started. Its 4.30am and I cant sleep, I need a fag so bad. I just polished off a can of ravioli and a bottle of coke, ahhhhhhh.  What’s happening to me? Ravioli at 4am! I m turning into a blob!

    I never realised how much smoking suppresses your appetite until I stopped smoking. Oh speaking of which, theirs a can of Tom and Jerry pasta shapes with my name on it in the cupboard! Right on my 2nd bowl of food now and I feel fat, I’m miserable without my ciggies!

    I’m suffering from insomnia so still up, its 5.30am and I’m on Myspace talking to someone who lives in Transylvania, how random, but this is what it’s driving me to. I wish id never started smoking it’s taken over my life and ruined me!

    How to Minimize Weight Gain When You Stop Smoking

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  • DAY 8 Perry – Bermondsey to Barcelona

    Listening to: Rolling Stones – Satisfaction

    Emotion: Sleepy

    Today I’m up at the crack of dawn as I’m flying out to Barcelona.

    While waiting for a connecting train at East Croydon Station, I make use of the time to have my first cigarette of the day. I’m wearing my iPod and Mick Jagger sings in my ear ‘He can’t be a man ‘cos he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me’. Ironic or a coincidence?

    Lambert & butler cigarette Pack InsertToday I’ll be mostly smoking Lambert & Butler. There is a card inside the packet explaining the pack has enhanced pack design for the UK’s #1 cigarette. What am I supposed to do? Write a letter to my MP? Run naked down the platform singing a chorus of hallajuhas or masturbate like a monkey?

    I decide to light up (only after considering the masturbation option for a minute or so) and it tastes like shit! (No change there then)

    I was in a club in Barcelona about a year ago and the whole night was sponsored by an unfamiliar brand to me called NY Blue. Four beautiful models greeted the customers at the door and offered them a pack of cigarettes. The venue was decked out in the brands colours, blue and white. Podium dancers, again in sexy outfits of the brands colours danced on podiums as only podium dancers can. An area was set aside to dress up in brand colours, silly hats, glasses and feather bowers to pose with a model in front of a backdrop and there were also scratch card giveaways. It will certainly be interesting to see what twelve months has made to the world of marketing cigarettes in Spain.

    I meet the crew in central Barcelona and hit a number of bars. Some bars are smoke free but most allow smoking and display a sign at the entrance that depicts a cigarette in a green circle.

    Later in the night I’m outside a bar somewhere in the Gothic quarter and I’m somewhat worse for wear. The fact that I didn’t remember any of this story until I saw it on video is by the by. I’m outside and I’m sharing a cigarette with a friendly girl. The media have coined a term for this kind of behaviour ‘Smirting’. It sounds inoffensive enough to me but in my day it was called something completely different and I didn’t need a cigarette as a prop to back me up. And as I remember I was some what successful at it too, but I digress. So there we are outside a bar and I’m being instructed into the art of blowing smoke rings. This is not a good look for me and taking the instructions literally from my teacher I end up making a noise like a seal performing for fish. I never manage to blow a smoke ring and I head back to my hotel alone. I’m not a cool smoker. It’s not cool to smoke. I’m a fool to smoke.

    Perry - Smoke Swap Spain

    Perry at Circuit de Catalunya – Spain 2007

    SMOKES TODAY – 10 out of 10

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  • Day 7 – Kate

    Not much to report today. I got up and wanted a cigarette, I went to a casting and wanted a cigarette to calm me down, I had lunch with Perry and wanted a cigarette and now I’m bored and want a cigarette.

    Stop Smoking/Start Smoking - Smoke Swap

    It’s been a week without cigarettes, the longest I’ve ever been without a cigarette for ten years. I should be happy but I feel bored and miserable without cigarettes since I stopped smoking. I though I was supposed to feel better without them. How long does it take to get this clean living high?

    I know I’m being silly and a moody bitch and I know it will get better but today is just so errh!

    The only consolation is that Perry, old Smokey Joe has been sick smoking but now is smoking all the time. Cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth when he’s on his mobile, what a pikey. I can’t get used to seeing him smoke. It just looks wrong and he’s off to Barcelona tomorrow. It’s not fair!

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  • DAY 7 – Perry – Bermondsey

    Listening to: Hanoi Rocks – Beer and a Cigarette

    Emotion: Rocking

    I rise early in the morning and have not one but two cigarettes before breakfast. I sit at my desk and smoke a couple more while I’m planning my second week ahead as a smoker.

    I cycle down to the local shops to buy some essential food stuff. I puff away on a cancer stick without a care in the world while the wind blows through the space were once I had a full head of hair.

    Today marks the half way stage of our experiment. That’s halfway for me if I give up but the first week of the rest of Kate’s life as an ex-smoker, hopefully!

    I’ve arranged to meet Kate for lunch in Shoreditch.

    Kate tells me she had a facial yesterday as the toxins clearing her system have brought her out in spots. This is obviously having a negative effect on her resolve, as she, like any young woman places her physical looks in high regard especially when your job depends on it. I explain and reassure her that this is a temporary side effect. The capillaries under the skin of the face will flow with more oxygen instead of carbon monoxide. In a few days she will have a rosy glow of a healthy individual.

    Stop smoking or age your skin

    Smoking can age the skin by ten years so if you are spending a fortune on debatable anti-aging creams there is one sure way to keep looking young and save money. Don’t Smoke cigarettes!

    I know Kate is finding it hard to remain smoke free but she is persevering. She is astounded just how hard it is for her to quit and now realises she has been a slave to the cigarette and openly admits to being an addict at the age of 23.

    I have started to see a murmur of a change in Kate’s attitude to smoking but I know she’s not getting the support she deserves from some people in her life. In fact they are making it hard for her. I think without being involved in such a public experiment or having to keep a diary she may well have relented by now. Once she convinces herself she has stopped smoking she will find it easy to stop smoking. All power to her for sticking it out. The first step is always the hardest in any journey.

    SMOKES TODAY – 10 out of 10

    How Smoking Ages the Skin

    Smoking ages the Skin

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  • Day 6 – Kate

    Okay I said I wasn’t going to go out clubbing last night but what’s a girl to do?

    After getting glammed up and enjoying a glass of wine we popped into a club and met the rest of the girls and drank champagne.

    Everyone around me was smoking but for the first time I really didn’t see the attraction, quite the opposite. I’m getting used to having fresh smelling clothes on my bedroom floor and I’ve noticed that gross, stale smell of cigarettes on everything now I’ve stopped smoking.

    I left the club early because I just couldn’t stand the smoky air. I’ll be happy to welcome in the smoking ban so my clothes and hair don’t have to smell like an ashtray anymore. And I never thought I’d hear my self saying that, in fact smoking is quite disgusting. There really isn’t any benefits from smoking at all.

    I thought that I’d stop smoking during Smoke Swap but would return to it after the cameras had disappeared but now, for the first time I think I will stop smoking for good. This is a whole new me, Katie the ex-smoker. Life will smell sweeter now I’ve stopped smoking.

    Katie’s previous post

    Stop Smoking the Easy Way

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  • Day 6 – Perry

    Florence to London

    Listening to: Heaven’s in Here – Tin Machine

    Help to Stop Smoking

    Last night we went in to the cemtre of the renaissance city of Florence and had a couple of drinks to unwind after finishing our job out here in Italy. The city is very beautiful and picturesque, the locals were friendly (don’t these Italians like to smoke) and the night balmy.

    stop smoking in FlorenceI left the bar near Duomo we were in a couple of times to smoke outside and met some cool people from Canada and the USA. We bonded over a cigarette and then went our separate ways.

    If there is one good thing about smoking it’s the opportunity it allows you to talk to strangers without any pressure. There seems to be an unmentioned bond amongst smokers, a little club even.

    Saying that, a non smoker could start a conversation with a stranger just as easily but there is no common link to get the conversation, however transient of fleeting started so easily. I guess a lot of young people start to smoke because of their lack of confidence and need a prop to help them engage with others. I’ve seen other who don’t smoke carry lighters to meet girls easier too.

    My interpreter tries to teach me to blow smoke rings but I end up doing some bizarre impression of a seal!

    Today I drove from Florence to Bologne airport along the major roads instead of the scenic route because of the time constraints we are under. After checking in I shared a couple of cigarettes with the interpreter and flew back to the Stanstead. She is intrigued by the Smoke Swap experiment and says she wished she never started smoking. I tell her it’s never too early to stop smoking. From the airport we caught a train back to Liverpool Street Station and finally a taxi back home.

    As with the outbound journey, there are very few opportunities to smoke but by the end of the day I’ve got my 10 in. In the space of a few days I’ve learned how to smoke at every opportunity. I’ve come a long way in a short space of time. The scariest thing is just how fast the body adapts. If you asked me after the first day if I would be smoking ten cigarettes a day within a week and would have said ‘no way’, but here I am.

    Smokes today 10 -10

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