• DAY 12 Perry – Barcelona to Bermondsey

    Listening to: Amaury Perez – Andes Lo Que Andes

    Emotion: Excited

    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’.

    menthol cigarettes stop me smoking

    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 journey is worth 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.

    stop smoking Japanese Menthol cigarettes

    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!

    Read more here…

    Why is it Hard To Stop Smoking?

    Stop Smoking to Prevent a Stroke

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  • Smoke Swap DAY 1 – Perry – Shoreditch

    Listening to: – Hella Dare you to Smoke – Gorillaz v No Doubt – Party Ben

    Emotion – Drained

    ‘Ciao bella’ I kiss Katie goodbye and wonder off in the direction of the station to catch my train home.

    ‘Take care of yourself. I’m worried about you’ she says. I walk off into the crowds of obscurity. You’re worried about me! I’m worried about me!

    Rewind the clock five hours earlier and I meet Katie in a coffee shop in Old Street and head off for a spot of lunch. Thai if you want to know.

    After lunch I give Katie a crash course in camera operation and we talk about starting and stopping smoking. Today the mad idea turns to reality.

    We meet the crew and head in the direction of a newsagent to buy cigarettes. As this is Smoke Swap and I don’t want to burn my own money I suggest to Kate that she has to hand over her money that she would spend on cigarettes over the next two weeks. We calculate it’s going to cost about forty UK Pounds Sterling and as we don’t carry that kind of cash on us we have to leg it to a cash machine.

    We head back to the newsagents and like two kids in a sweet shop we purchase 14 packs of ten cigarettes, one for each day. This is like some perverse pick ‘n’ mix.

    This little symbolic act costs Katie £43.00. As she usually buys a pack as she needs them she realises how much she wastes on this habit of hers.

    Armed with a couple of handfuls of cigarettes we head towards the studio were we are going to start/stop Smoke Swap for real – not long now.

    I’m feeling higher levels of anxiety, knowing soon I’ll have to light up. My bravado is slowly ebbing away.

    The cameras are rolling. I look across at Katie and she looks relaxed and at home where I feel like a complete fraud. I’m not comfortable in front of the cameras and feel naked and exposed. There is no-where to run and no-where to hide. Soon I’ll disappear into a puff of smoke. Oh shit, what have I gone and got myself into…

    We exchange stories about cigarettes in our lives up to this point.

    I can’t put it off any longer. I hear myself using a thousand words were one would suffice but it’s no good, I can’t put it off anymore. It’s time to loose my Virginia tobacco.

    Katie and I choose our branded drug of choice. It is easy really. Kate used to smoke them and I used to market them… Marlboro Lights (No mention of ‘Light’ on the pack since 2002, Kate notices this for the first time. In the industry we renamed them Marlboro Gold). She takes her last cigarette and places it between her lips. She presents the flame from the newly filled Zippo lighter to the cigarette and slowly inhales the smoke for the last time. She then reluctantly hands it over to me.

    I’m such a dork, I’m not even sure how to hold it but suck on it all the same. The smoke gets in my eye. I inhale and exhale. To my surprise it goes down relatively well but it’s not natural to me to take the smoke down and I really have to concentrate during the whole process.

    Smoke Swap Perry Stevens Katie Piper

    Katie PiperPerry Stevens

    I repeat the action again but this time I start to cough and my heart starts to race. On the third pull now and I’m feeling light headed and now my legs feel as though they could buckle. Thank f**k I’m sitting down.

    I’m talking bollocks, ten to the dozen with a heady mix of adrenalin, nicotine and fear.

    There it is, I’ve done it. I’ve smoked my first cigarette. It wasn’t behind the bike sheds. I didn’t have to buy a packet of mints to disguise my odious breath from my parents and I don’t have to do this again.

    Fifteen minutes later we are posing for still photographs so I light my second cigarette. I sit by the window nonchalantly flicking my ash out of the window.

    The reality of it all is I’m holding on for dear life as I don’t want to faint and fall out the third floor window to the ground below. We all know smoking kills but today isn’t a good day to die. This isn’t good. It isn’t good at all.

    I’m burning up. My face drains of colour then I break out into a sweat. I dare not move, my legs have turned to jelly and I’ve shut up talking. The dialogue now is all in my head. ‘Don’t be sick, don’t be sick’ I repeat over and over again internally. You don’t have to be in the medical profession to see I look what is commonly described as ‘F**ked!’

    What is this? I’m supposed to be free, a rebel without a cause, a real man. That’s what seventy years of marketing has sold me but here I am, sick and quite on a sofa feeling like a weak and worthless individual. I’m embarrassed and distressed. I sit quite still but for the party in my guts. This is one party I don’t want spilling out onto the streets of East London. I remain in the same position for over an hour occasionally taking small tastes of cold water.

    Smoke Swap Katie Piper Perry Stevens Current TV

    Smoke Swap is going to be tough. I’ve really underestimated what I was taking on. I know the body is very adaptable but I question myself why would I want to subject it to this misery every day. I must be f**king mad.

    So I find my way back home and to bed. I can’t face another cigarette today. I’m up at 3:30am to catch a plane to Italy. Hopefully the Tuscanny sun will shine on me and tomorrow will be a better day.

    >> Get Help and Advice to Quit Smoking Now! <<

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  • So here I am, Saturday night and I’m still working at my PC. I met Katie last night and discussed Smoke Swap in Cargo. Ok, my friends Scrimshire were headliners but I can’t think of a more apt place than a smoky venue to discuss a tobacco related film. Cargo isn’t unlike any other bar in the amount of passive smoke circulating around the venue. I left about 3am stinking of the pungent odour and my cloths on my bedroom floor aren’t going to clean themselves today.

    I went to a preview screening of Taking Liberties at Amnesty International this week. An amazing film on so many levels made me laugh and genuinely scared me. The horror of this is it is real life and the laws the government have been eroding or passing in the last decade are truly shocking. If there is one thing that the government has got right and that is smoking ban in public places. No-one in their right mind can’t say this is a bad thing. Bring on the ban.

    Words of support… 

    Looking forward to meeting up Monday. Be careful with the fags though…. I’ve been trying to quit for fifteen years. It’s not fun.
    Neil Boorman – Author of Bonfire of the Brands 11/05/07

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt289JNcvsY

    I can’t believe you’ll start smoking!!!!!!! Now don’t you freaking start bumming fags of me, a’right!?!?!?

    Davide Scaleghe – Producer Current TV 11/05/07

    Cheers bredwin. I hope you die of lung cancer. X

    Sam Cox 12/05/07

    Right, I’m of to watch The Insider starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe based on the true story about Jeffery Wigand who blew the whistle on big tobacco in the USA. Just remember, it only takes one individual to change the world. I think there is a message in there for our Prime Minister! 

    Jeffery Wigand the Insider

    Jeffery Wigand

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wwJp8VDGzE

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  • SMOKE SWAP

    Ob-Doc.

    What happens to an individual physically and socially when, as a life long, healthy living non-smoker, he starts to smoke cigarettes?

    What happens to an individual physically and physiologically when having smoked 10 cigarettes a day since her early teens she decides to give up unsupported?

    Smoke Swap follows producer/director Perry (non-smoker) and presenter Katie (smoker) as they embark on this social experiment in the run up to the ban on smoking in public places on 1st July 2007.

    Under the watchful eye of Dr. Mace, Perry and Katie will be monitored for the positive and the negatives effects of their actions. He will chart the changes in the cotimine levels, carbon monoxide levels, skin, respiratory system – oxygen carrying capacity, sperm and general health over a two week period. (It would be great if we could find a computer wizz to age both people according to their smoking preference).

    Not only will we see the crossroads of health changes of the two individuals over the outlined time but we will also see what happens to the couple during their social time. How they deal with their cravings and addictions. We observe how the new social surroundings effect their habits i.e. Smirting, cravings and irritability levels.

    Katie will give up smoking unsupported (cold turkey) but we will look into alternative methods, NRT’s, hypnosis and will power. Will she put weight on? After the elapsed time frame will she revert back to smoking?

    Katie Smoke Swap

    How will Perry approach the first cigarette? Will his body reject the poison? Katie will school him on how to light up, inhale and hold a cigarette. Will he become addicted? Will he be able to get off them when it’s finished and if so how? Perry will also buy a jar and keep all his smoked butts in.

    Perry Stevens Smoke Swap

    What conflict between Perry and Katie will arise during the course of the experiment

    Smoke Swap will have the answers and will; I’m sure, throw up many more questions.

    **Hypnotherapy could be used on Perry to implant a trigger so at the end of the experiment his identity as a non-smoker will return.

    The Smoking Man – Perry

    The Abstainer – Katie

    Professional – Dr. Peter Mace / Dr. Sunny Kaul / Dr. Ranak

    Therapist – Lee Bannister IGPP ITEC Dhyp NLPprac

    Respiratory Physiologist – ??????

    Camera – Lorna-Jane Hamer / Sam Harvey

    Editor – Stephen Wilson

    IMP Film Co. London Production Company

    © IMP Film Co. All rights reserved 2007

    >> Quit Smoking Now! <<

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  • Saturday 12 May 2007  Perry

    Listening to – Nikki Sixx – Life is Beautiful.

    Emotion – Tired

    Days until Smoke down – 8

    On 1st July 2007 the ban on smoking in public places comes into effect in England. Smoke Swap, an observational documentary, is an idea I’ve had kicking around for a while but no one wanted to commission it for TV because of the legal implications. The medical profession also had justifiable misgivings about anyone starting to smoke.

    With seven weeks to go until the ban we are now in the position to get this medical/social experiment of the ground.

    To get to where we are today we have to go back 2004. In the following blogs are some pages from my diary charting the rise of The Smoking Man / Smoke Swap and Light Me Up, Strike Me Down.

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