Tomorrow I’m going to meet Perry at Bupa when he has his smoking carbon monoxide tests done. I don’t really need to be there. If fact I don’t have to be there at all but I’m finding it more and more interesting the longer I’m on this journey to stop smoking for good.
I feel better everyday, I wonder how Perry is? He’s been smoking for nearly two weeks now. It will be ironic if he continues to smoke and I stop smoking.
I’m heading back to Barcelona airport, a fifteen Km drive from my hotel. I open a pack of Consulate Menthol cigarettes and my colleague riding shotgun beside me tells me that these are really bad for me. Mind you, it doesn’t stop her from smoking one of mine though.
Last night or should I say the early hours of the morning, while returning to our hotel she confided to me she was quitting smoking as she had developed a bad cough and smoked too many cigarettes that night. But that’s what I found with a lot of smokers, they are always just about to quit. As the Spanish say ‘manana, manana, manana’. That or they’ve quit many times before. As Mark Twain once quipped ‘It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it dozens of times before’.
I don’t want to sound pious but where is their back bone, the will power or the strength of character in these people? Are there that many people so insecure and weak who can’t stand by their own convictions?
Reading that back now, I that it sounds harsh but really the easy option is just to carry on and blame everyone and everything around them for their problems. If change is going to come it has to come from within. That can be a scary place to look for some people. It’s easier to loose yourself in drugs, shopping and celebrity bullshit than start a journey of the self. But I believe the journeyisworth starting. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your self to stop smoking! Not your kids, not your partner or your boss. You owe it to yourself to stop smoking. You are a beautiful person.
Rant over – The menthol cigarettes taste minty fresh, like toothpaste and are more pleasant than the other brands I’ve been smoking. The mint flavour comes from an application of menthol essence in the form of a spray to the silver foil in the pack of cigarettes not buy adding sprigs of mint leaf to the tobacco as many people believe. This odour seeps into the cigarette, adding a few more chemicals to the already heady mix.
I know of people who started smoking menthol cigarettes when they were children because firstly they are very smooth to smoke and secondly they thought their breaths would smell of Polos. Of course their breath didn’t smell of Polos and their parents busted them for smoking. The truth is because they are easier to take the smoke down, they are more harmful than ‘normal’ cigarettes.
I remember being told at Philip Morris that sales of Marlboro Menthol would rise during the winter months as some people were under the illusion these cigarettes were healthy cigarettes! Hello – there is No such thing as a healthy cigarette!
I’m sure many children start smoking Menthol, the alcho-pop of cigarettes as their first cigarettes. Perhaps the tobacco companies could also manufacture chocolate, strawberry, vanilla or even Mc.Chicken Nugget flavoured cigarettes to get the kids hooked early. Sounds far fetched? I wish it was as this has already been done.
Now I’m really finding it easy to smoke ten cigarettes a day. It’s quite frightening how easy it is in from my first experiences to twelve days down the line.
I’ve got two days left now in this experiment and it would be easy to carry on smoking as the worst of the side effects are over but I know this would lead me down the road to addiction and I don’t won’t to be dependent on these little things that kill. I could even smoke more than ten a day now, I’ve hit the groove, I’m thinking like a smoker. But ten is more than enough for me, thank you very much.
I must admit, I like the social aspect of this anti-social action. Hanging about, having a chat, a cup of tea and a cigarette is fun but the reality is I can do all that without cigarettes in my life.
SMOKES TODAY – 10 out of 10
One Thousand Americans Stop Smoking every Day – By Dying!
It has dawned on me, just how much time I have wasted everyday of my life when I smoked. Instead of spending my days and nights puffing away on cigarettes I could have done just about anything else. Promote myself and my career, got fitter, learnt a new skill, spent the money travelling or see more of my friends and family. Instead I’ve been procrastinating and shortening my life expectancy.
The Smoke Swap experiment has already changed my life for the better. I’m in a more positive place and looking forward to getting on with my life as a non smoker.
I look at people addicted to smoking in a whole new light. Smoking is dumb and chavy. If I can stop smoking anyone man woman or child can. Sometimes it takes a big life changing event to make you realise how stupid it really is. Sometimes it is just allowing your self the time to question your actions and habits and then make a decision. Then, if you want to change them, have the convictions to follow them through to the end.
Life isn’t easy, it never is but I now believe there are no easy answers or solutions to be found when smoking a cigarette.
I’m now into day 11 of smoke Swap or as I now like to think of it as 3 days to go until I stop smoking. Just three days from now, (not that I’m counting down the days… but I am) and I’ll be a non-smoker or an ex-smoker.
I’m in with the in crowd. The whole team have now excepted me as a smoker and models and crew alike offer me cigarettes as they would anyone else they know who smokes.
I refuse to offer anyone a cigarette, not because I’m tight but because of my own moral justification and code. I simply don’t want to encourage anyone to smoke. If anyone asks for a smoke however, I do oblige.
One of the models today informs me she has just finished six years studying to be a doctor and is now about to start her first year as a general practitioner in Barcelona Hospital. She says she should be setting a good example as we share a cigarette but… The thing is, when we are young we think we are invincible. We blank out or refuse to acknowledge the consequences of our actions. Even doctors, with all their knowledge and first hand experience of the pain and suffering cigarettes cause to smokers and their families aren’t amune. The cigarette marketing propaganda that has been going on for decades warps our logical though processes.
Recently, every time I’m socialising or meeting new people I am intensely pestering them on their smoking habits, how they feel about the ban and frankly as an ex/non smoker (Oh that has a ring to it!) I am shocked by peoples’ answers on how they feel about giving up their beloved fags on the 1st July. I was hit with replies like “smoking is part of my life”, I mean even myself being partial to a fag, found this reply quite sad and depressing. Others simply refuse to acknowledge the ban, stating it wont make a difference to them, they will smoke were they want. l look forward to witnessing their resolve when on the spot fines are being issued!
Is this how bad our country is? Cigarettes – a plague like problem? I’ve never thought this deep about smokers and their addictions. From just a week into this experiment and observing people from the all sides of the spectrum, I have made a prediction about July 1st, I honestly don’t think people are going to be able to quit, can you imagine the carnage when doorman are trying to tell Dave and his mates who are totally rat arsed they cant smoke their fags inside, the same beloved fags they have smoked routinely in their beloved local for the last 12 years. It’s going to be a complete chaos with disgruntled, moody and edgy drug free people. Oh god, a whole new reason to stay in!
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
A special edition Moto GP pack of Marlboro Reds – Spain 2007
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.
I 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.