Holy Smokes: Part 1

DOUGLAS THOMSON challenges himself to 40 days and 40 nights without a cigarette on his lips.

giving up Lent smoking smoking ban

Douglas Thomson is back in Cambridge after a year out. Read his Confessions of The Degraded parts 1, 2 and 3.

I love bragging, I love it so much that the majority of successes in my life are undertaken purely so I can tell you about them. Ask me about anything and in response I will reel off an anecdote that will make my proverbial penis bigger than yours. I draw the line at actual penis size, which one should always down play so that one’s partner is nicely surprised than disappointed.

I digress, my most recent challenge to confirm my awesomeness is to expunge from my body any nicotine traces from half a decade years of being cool. (I mean smoking of course).

I love smoking, more than bragging. There are so many benefits which are only spoken about amongst smokers whilst smoking. The first being that you can actually speak to each other having just removed yourselves from a dreary group, or an irritating club. The second is that you can remove yourself. If the chat is rubbish, or you just need a little alone time, no one blinks twice when you say you’re going out for a cigarette. Thank you smoking ban.

The only bad thing about smoking was the pesky holier-than-thou non-smokers ‘reminding’ us how much it improved [sic] our health. When I assured them I eventually plan to quit, either alongside a impregnated spouse or when all smokers are sent to the firing squad, I got a look that perfectly expressed ‘seriously?’. So in retort to you, and for the Willpower Scouting badge, I give you 40 days and 40 nights without a cigarette on my lips. Aren’t I amazing?

Illustration by Amy Jeffs

I’m a couple of weeks in, and I think I’m through the worst, The Worst being the first few days. It felt like being thirsty for air, or drowning in all the oxygen. I was a real grump, glaring at everyone because they weren’t the tasty, tasty nicotine craved by my burning lungs. I went to Primark, but I hated that as well. I had a Burger King, but it still didn’t hit the spot.

The only good thing about the day was that I could be a massive bitch. There’s such sympathy for someone quitting smoking, even camaraderie which was bizarre. Want people to be impressed? Don’t train for a marathon; give up a self inflicted addiction.

The cravings were only one aspect – my hands were in as much shock as me. On the back of Rizla packets (the paper used for hand rolled cigarettes) it is inscribed ‘The Art of Rolling’. I took this to heart from the beginning, and I can roll a cigarette which an architect would use as a drawing implement.

I’ve rolled the length and breadth of Britain, from dodgy, scraggly fags in windy Edinburgh, to kinked elbows in London, coned ones at home, and pointy ones away, every shape has rolled out of my hands. I used to practice ten times a day. Say it takes three minutes to roll a cigarette, and three minutes to smoke it (record for rolling: 30s), I spent an hour a day on smoking related activities. This time suddenly got focused onto wanting cigarettes, two words, compound interest!

My next task is to fill this time slot with something better than biting my nails, suggestions in the comments please.

I’m going to stop writing now, as I don’t think my laptop can take the frustrated key strokes, man I want a cigarette.