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07 August 2008

This is a smoking thread. [More:]Lights. That's what you call the cigarettes I'm smoking here. They're made by a company called Gold Flake (which also makes Kings--which is a stronger version of the same cigarette, costing just as much, about 4 Rupees--and Small Gold Flake, which is a smaller version of the cigarette, costing 3 Rupees). That's per cigarette mind you. At first I was a bit confused about the names, but I think I've got the hang of it, and this brand suits me quite well. I know--I shouldn't be smoking (and hopefully I won't be for too long), but for now I'm sticking to 5 a day, which ain't too bad considering that when I started about two months back, I sorta got hooked to maybe smoking 10 or 12 a day at least. So, I'm hoping in another two months maybe I would have cut it down to "once-in-awhile".

The other brands that I've tried over here are (the aforementioned) Kings, Chotta (Small) Gold Flake, Milds, Ultra Milds, Benson and Hedges and Wills.
Almost all of them have made me dizzy after smoking them, except for the Lights, and Ultra Milds/Milds (which are a bit on the expensive side), which is why I prefer the Lights--not too expensive, and very smooth.

(You know the best part about smoking [I know that's ridiculous--but it's the camaraderie that you share with your fellow smokers that I've noticed. You go out for a smoke, and if you don't have a light--no problem; the guy next to you--a complete stranger--will give you a match box/lighter/or even his own cigarette to light up. Heh, you ask people to help you out in any other way, and they'll probably turn your back on you--but you ask them to give you Cancer, and they're more than happy to oblige:)])
posted by hadjiboy 07 August | 20:37
Hey, pass that smoking thread over here, man.
posted by box 07 August | 20:46
If you're just starting stop now. Seriously. I cough all the time. I get winded going up more than a couple flights of stairs. It sucks. I cut down by half, but I just can't quit.
although, actually, they're more money here. $6/US a pack in New York, a pack is 20 smokes. So about 30 cents us a smoke, which is like 12.5 rupees. I love a chance to play with currency conversion.
About half that is tax, though, since you can get them for just about half the price at the duty free or the reservations.

And yes, I am smoking right now. Marlboro light 100s. I normally go to the rez but I grabbed these on my way home since I was out. Good thing I did, too, as I think I'd still be pulled over on the highway mumbling in numb terror from the rain otherwise. (it was that "raining so hard your wipers might as well be off even on high" sort of rain)
posted by kellydamnit 07 August | 20:52
Nah, the best part about smoking is having an excuse to just get up from your desk and go for a walk for no really good reason.

I sort of miss it.
posted by pompomtom 07 August | 21:07
Smoking is for young men. Enjoy it now, hadjiboy, these are the good times.
posted by Meatbomb 07 August | 21:23
I spent a weekend in an apartment with three smokers.
I caved during the weekend and smoked one and one half of a cigarette (smashed the cigarette in half, ruining it, while trying to hold it and take this picture at the same time).
I'm really fighting the urge to start up again.
Wondering if pipe smoking is a handy alternative...
posted by CitrusFreak12 07 August | 21:54
I've never smoked but a few years ago I worked closely with a colleague who did. She used to take me with her on her cigarette breaks, and the camaraderie of the smokers' area was very nice, as was the chance to rest the brain for a while. I can see the appeal.
posted by altolinguistic 08 August | 03:52
The camaraderie is nice, I know, but listen to kellydamnit. It will be so much easier for you just to let it go now. Find another way to connect with people; I'll bet you can.
posted by Specklet 08 August | 05:52
hadjiboy, I know you've mentioned before that you are 29 with the mentality of a 15 year old, and this new habit supports that contention... It is very unusual for someone your age to begin smoking if they never have before. Something like 90% of smokers begin before age 18, and before they (maybe) know better. It's a silly habit to pick up as an adult. And you keep mentioning it, which makes me think that on some level you think it's cool. It's not.
posted by amro 08 August | 08:10
I remember smoking my first few cigarettes. I was eleven, maybe twelve, and my buddy Paul's dad smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes -- "Sailors" -- by the carton, so it was easy for Paul to swipe a pack or two now and again. They made my whole face ache, and my lungs got this sparkly feeling to them, "This is satisfaction? This is the pause that refreshes?" so I kept smoking.

I smoked every day from twelve to about thirty-four, starting with those Camel Sailors, then moving to Camel Filters, and eventually to Lights in time for college. I played sports in high school and still smoked, though I cut down during the season and often dipped snuff instead, like most of the kids on the lacrosse team (shit, some of 'em smoked PCP before games, that was crazy, they'd be jumping up and down, pounding one another and the coach was like, "Yeah, I like your enthusiasm, boys!").

I found tobacco smoke was a pretty good cover for marijuana smoke, and when I'd come home stoned my dad would sniff at me and say, "Smoking cigarettes, [Hugh]?" and I'd say, "Yeah dad, I'll stop sometime" and then go draw pictures or play guitar.

I smoked Camels through college, had girlfriends who smoked, friends who smoked; I ran, played sports, lifted weights and smoked afterwards, felt that sick nicotine fix as it pumped through burning tired muscles.

In Israel I smoked Noblesse in the green wrapper, about a pack or a pack-and-a-half a day, god those tasted like they were swept up from the floor of the Lod tobacco factory. When I felt posh I'd smoke Nelsons, a white pack with the Hero of Trafalgar on it, his armless sleeve pinned to his breast. I worked in factories and kitchens, where a smoke break is a godsend -- the only thing you can do to get away from your station -- especially in the heat of summer.

In Japan I toned down my smoking to Mild Seven Lights; they have a charcoal filter that makes 'em taste a little drier and more pleasant than otherwise. Many people like these smokes a lot. I found them palatable only in Japan, and I think it has something to do with the constant presence of diesel exhaust fumes in the air; Mild Sevens taste good against that backdrop.

I periodically switched, for reasons of economics and taste, to roll-yer-own smokes, first Samson and then Bali Shag when I could get it. I tried Old Holborn until a friend of mine told me "Old Holborn is the smoke of choice for old men in piss-stained raincoats."

It's hard to want to quit. Smoking feels fucking good, especially if you've done it since you were a kid. It feels especially good after meals, or sex, or a good workout. The nicotine makes you think quicker and that's a real boon when you're socializing with other smokers outside work or a bar.

I love the ban on indoor smoking in New York (and many other states). I've never liked being in smoke-filled rooms, and I especially like standing out in the cold smoking to keep warm (yeah, I know, that's not what really happens, just like coffee it makes you colder, but the people saying that shit aren't smokers so they don't really know, do they). Plus I have a drinking problem and mixing alcohol and nicotine makes me vomit more often.

I've nominally quit smoking; that is to say, I haven't been a daily smoker since around the beginning of this year. I smoke in certain social situations; sharing a smoke is fun and a real temptation. I smoke with jonmc because it is an unalloyed pleasure to smoke cirgarettes with him; sure we could do the same stuff while not smoking, but it's fun.

I think I'm more likely to die by my own hand than of cancer, so I'm not really concerned about that. I'd like to outlive my parents, which is why I quit smoking. If I could have never started smoking, I would have. But then, I would have been a better student, I would have taken elementary school tumbling class seriously, I would have practiced violin more, I would have been more careful with rubbers, and I would have learned a trade before going to college.

Smoking is a decision you make, just like not smoking. But once you decide to smoke, not smoking becomes a tougher and tougher decision. I really have to bully myself sometimes to not smoke, but I do bully myself, and it mostly works. A lot of people out there care whether you smoke or not, and they'll try to bully you, too. Whether you respond well to bullying is up to you.
posted by Hugh Janus 08 August | 08:54
Don't do it hadji! Put it down! It's a choice, as Unca Hugh says, but the far better choice is not to do it, or to do it only socially.

I've been rather miraculously spared any negative health repercussions, and am actually really fit considering, but if I think about the money I've spent I have to do this as it's a really fucking embarrassing/shameful thing to consider.

(Pause to light up).

I've never tried to quit. Since I was a wee smoking lassie I've said I would quit when I had babies, and I WILL - but that compulsion is probably different for men. I said I would try to quit earlier this year but never actually did so, because that natural milestone is hard to overcome in my mind - everytime I think about it now (not often) I rationalise that I'm in my 30s, the babies aren't that far off and I'm fit and healthy (touch wood).

I first smoked age 8, and was a full-time smoker by 10. A friend's parents owned a fish and chip shop so we nicked cartons for free. I had to start buying them in high school as she moved, so bought the cheapest possible - Peter Stuyvesant, as they were packs of 20 and the only pack priced below $2 (my lunch money each day). In Australia cigs were taxed by weight until a few years' ago, so they have massive packets of 40 (Longbeach) and 50 (Horizon) and packs of 20 were kinda exotic. I've switched around since but Stuyvies are still my favourites - but god was I pissed to move to the UK and find they are practically unavailable here, despite being European and "the international passport to smoking pleasure", not to mention weaker (the max in the EU is 10mg of tar - for the first few months I would cut the end of the filter off so I could get the same feeling from a drag). I was happy that they have the classic JPS (black and gold pack) here though as they moved to an ugly blue John Player Special pack in Australia years ago (and the tobacco tasted dirtier), so that's what I smoke now. I was shocked to be in Australia in September and Stuyvies are more than $10 a pack! Fucking ridiculous! In places with socialised medicine and high tobacco tax it's ridiculous to argue that smoking costs the system - we die younger and the govt makes a shitload off us.

I switched to rollies almost exclusively when at my poorest. Dr Pat is still the best tobacco; although Port Royal (with rum and port) is nice occasionally I couldn't smoke it full time. Illicit (untaxed) tobacco was also quite easy to obtain in Brisbane (it's one of the major crops in North Queensland) so I would occasionally get my hands on a couple of lbs for cheap.

I am happy about the smoking bans - I never liked people smoking in restaurants, but I have occasionally spent the night outside the pub when chatting to another smoker. And it does not work in Brisbane when they have 'lockdown' (lock the doors after 2am, once you leave you can't get in). I was interested to read the punters are pretty much ignoring it in Germany, and I haven't been to Amsterdam since it was introduced - can you smoke a spliff with tobacco (as is the norm) in a coffeeshop? The entire culture might be different, it's very interesting to observe (er, participate-observe when I next visit!).

It's a bond/camaraderie for sure, although non-smokers aren't excluded - they just have to go along and tolerate the smoke. One place I worked had what was dubbed as the 'smoker's caucus', as all of the major decisions were made while on fag breaks.

I hate the litter though - fellow smokers use a goddamn bin or an ashtray, don't just chuck it.

Anyway hadji, if you can keep it to a social thing - DO. If I had my time again I'd be a drinking smoker only - which leads me to another tangent ... I was very surprised to learn a few years' ago that smoking is haraam in Islam. The shisha (and yummy apple tobacco), as important culturally as the pub is to the English and Scot and Aussie, still managed to thrive regardless. Yay for vices bringing people togther! It seems it's inescapable.

(I smoked a whole cig while reading that over on preview. It seems I have a lot to say about smoking).
posted by goo 08 August | 13:22
I smoked a cigarette once, or rather part of one, because I was writing the text for a product that helped people quit, and I wanted to walk readers through the exercise of remembering their first cigarette.

Luckily, it wasn't even remotely appealing. And I've found plenty of other ways to chat companionably with strangers when necessary.
posted by tangerine 08 August | 14:18
To clarify - high school started in grade 7 (age ~12).

And - I was fascinated/horrified to see women in labour, on a drip, puffing away between the pains of contractions, in the hospital courtyard when I went out for a fag while my sister was in my labour. That really cemented my 'babies != pregnancy' attitude.
posted by goo 08 August | 14:32
Oh good lord there is something seriously wrong with me tonight - babies != smoking.

posted by goo 08 August | 14:33
hadjiboy: Please listen to me on this. Right now, you're getting dizzy because the nicotine is giving you a buzz. All well and good. You feel better than normal right now, no? That's how it starts out.

Soon, you'll wake up feeling worse than you normally do, and only a cig will make you feel like yourself again. And that's what it becomes; you won't smoke to feel better than you usually do, you'll smoke just to feel normal. There won't be any more buzz, just an ache (a fucking bad one) when you go too long without.

If this is something you've picked up due to hanging around with certain friends, I'd suggest avoiding them for a week or so, and not smoking and tobacco in the interim.

I've smoked 1-2 packs (20-40 cigs/day) for twenty years. My advice to you is to just skip it - you're better off without it. If you want camaraderie, just be handy with a lighter.

posted by trondant 09 August | 02:26
Consider how cool it is to:

Cough up chunks of black crud.
Have a voice like a garbage disposal
Reek like a dirty ashtray.

My father's mother bought into Edward Bernays' "torches of liberty" and it wound up killing her.
posted by brujita 09 August | 07:53
A present || Canvas Bags