Tag Archives: smoking

Not Smoking: Days 3 + 4.


Not surprisingly, my mood worsened on day 3 much to the displeasure of everyone around me. I’ve also managed to gain 1.5kg from being ravenously hungry at all times, thanks to the nicotine leaving my body (hopefully) for good. In the mean-time I’m starting to notice some significant positives: my skin has lost its grey, aging look, things taste amazing, plus I’m running again without getting awfully out of breath. I find I don’t think about smoking unless I tune out of boring conversations or I’m writing – like right now. It seems like some kind of creative injustice that I have to say goodbye to my new muse, and I feel a strange sense of grief of having to let go of my nasty, beautiful habit.

Yesterday was fine until the tutor starting gabbing on about the no-smoking ban at Curtin, and how things used to be back in the 80s where lecturers could smoke inside while taking class. Once again I felt an odd nostalgia for a time where I wasn’t even a thought, a time of decent music, historical change, and freedom to do as you choose without someone telling you off. I miss Europe for this sense of freedom – in some parts you can even still smoke in a pub or a café. Nothing made me feel more grown up then the waitress bringing me over a delicate ashtray to accompany my dinner. After my first inhale, I’d feel relaxed enough to swirl my wine (or coffee) and sit back and read my book, all while getting painful smoke in my eyes.

What I find most surprising in all this, is how hard I’m finding it. Instead of uncontrollable cravings, I now feel a sadness that I’ve let go of that part of my life. This is absolute torture. I really, really, really want a smoke.

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Not Smoking: Day 2.


Today I didn’t even think about cigarettes.

What a load of shit. Today was one of those days where normally I would break, say, “fuck this shit” and buy a pack of smokes. My body was absolutely crying out for nicotine and my abject refusal to satisfy the craving made me more than difficult to be around. I woke up in a black cloud; I resolved to eat a grimy breakfast, watch cartoons, and pick a fight with my parents before going to Uni. Even around my darling friends my mood wasn’t lifted – I was irritable, snappy and basically a gigantic pain in the arse to be around. My nails have been bitten down to stubs and the skin around my thumbs is starting to bleed from picking at it all day.

I know, I know, this is the “hump day” every smoker quitting cold turkey has to go through. I have to remind myself that each day will get easier, but that doesn’t mean I want a cigarette any less. Maybe some statistics will cheer me up?

Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia, killing 40 people per day in 2004 alone. (Cancer Council 2006).

People who start smoking when they are young are more likely to smoke heavily, to become more dependent on nicotine and to be at increased risk of smoking-related illness or death (McDermott, Russell and Dobson 2002) .


But wait! There is hope for me yet…

A study which followed a cohort of male British doctors over 50 years has shown that cessation of smoking at any age will increase life expectancy. (Doll, Peto, Boreham and Sutherland 2004).

So I suppose I’m doing the right thing. In the mean time I need to stop convincing myself that the habit won’t be that bad if I sneak the odd one in every-now-and-then, like for example with a glass of red while listening to L.A. Woman on repeat. I can honestly say I’ve never done that, but it sounds fantastic.

2 days down.

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Not Smoking: Day 1.


I started when I was 14 out of pure teenage curiosity. One cigarette “every now and then” surely progressed into social smoking when I started art school, where I would bum cigs of my friends at parties. After a long stint of not smoking due to the protest from my boyfriend at the time, I started buying packs. I was 18 and old enough to know better.

Smoking really became this wonderful, curious treasure when I backpacked around Europe. Not only did the cigarettes make me look elusive and cool, but they felt amazing and they calmed my nerves. In the mornings I would wake up and need one, followed by a couple more after breakfast, one during lunch, and about 10 at night. I needed one right before I fell asleep. I knew this was becoming a problem I no longer could control. And now, I’ve quit about a hundred times, and hundred times I can’t do it. I just…can’t

With all the media hype and logical science telling me that smoking will kill me, why do I do it? Why do I so stubbornly insist on shortening my life? One excuse could be that I’m addicted. The other is that I simply like it – I like the way I look, I like the way I feel, and I especially love that quick, euphoric high after the first drag. People that I admire smoke: Lady Gaga smokes Marlboro Golds, Christopher Hitchens smoked extensively – albeit killing him in the end – Hunter Thompson, Audrey Hepburn – all these glamorous people indulged in this habit.

I think part of the desire is my love for the vintage past: the hippy sixties of free love and scandalous rock and roll; these were the times I should have been alive in.

In the mean time I need to find out what’s going on with my body – why can’t I just stop? The NHS website says that nicotine effects the balance of noradrenaline and dopamine in the brain, causing an immediate head rush that gives that wonderful high. When you quit smoking, the loss of nicotine changes the levels again making you anxious and irritable. Some research says nicotine is more addictive than heroin. This is starting to make sense.

As I’m writing this, I want one. I want to pop outside for a minute, to take some time to collect my ever racing thoughts and relax. Smoking became such a lovely companion on my trip when writing, and those memories I cherish through the love of the cancer stick.

If I’m honest; I don’t like the way I feel or look. I look tired, my skin appears grey and dull, my breath is stale and my mouth feels like I’ve been licking cement. I’d love to be able to enjoy just one every now and then, but it’s becoming pretty obvious that that’s simply not the case.

So I’ll stop. I need to. And I need your support, whoever might be reading this. The idea that I might die at 50 or 60 terrifies me.



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