(this is another guest blog by my husband glenn, providing a bit of insight into the mind of a smoker)
My daughter’s class in school is going through a series of discussions/learning modules on the dangers of smoking, so she has been passing along some the things she’s learned to me, and has been asking some questions about my smoking habit.
I did some experimenting in high school with friends but didn’t start smoking regularly until I moved out of the house and went to college. Back then (1979) it was relaxing and a cool (not kewl) thing to do, especially as I was hanging around with wannabe musicians, and largely those of a jazz background.
Since then, I quit once for 3 weeks for allergy reasons, but otherwise have been pretty consistent with my 3-6 cigarettes a day habit. That’s somewhere between 45,000 to 50,000 cigarettes to date, I guess.
3-6 cigarettes a day is not a lot compared to most regular smokers, but I don’t know if that makes it any easier to quit.
There are various reasons why I would like to quit. Probably the biggest reason is that I don’t like things to have control over me; I want to think that I control them. I drink alcohol once or twice a month, so I think that I control that, but not having cigarettes in my possession can create waves of panic.
There are a lot of things that cigarettes do for me, a lot of reasons why I continue to smoke. In no particular order other than the order that they occurred to me:
* Nicotine high
* Nicotine addiction, or the craving for the high to return
* Reaction to / addiction to the other chemicals in cigarettes
* Relaxing feeling of slow inhale, and of the smoke going in
* Taste (sometimes I switch between American and Canadian cigarettes to make the taste more noticeable)
* Having little “friends” (my daughter has a Tamagochi; I have a wallet, keys, cigarettes, lighter, package)
* The act of smoking is an activity for the hands
* Something to do (uncomfortable social situations)
* Inhaling the smoke after having used the lungs (ie. after exercising, or after playing my saxophone)
* Something to do (boring situations, like driving)
* Something to do (anxious situations, like before a performance/presentation/interview)
* Oral fixation (something for the mouth to do)
* Pause in activities, more so now that smokers have to leave the room to smoke
* Smokescreen to hide behind, to get some separation from the rest of the world
* Still carries a tough / negative / rebellious image
Having created such a list, I suppose one could then look for substitutes or ways of avoiding or alternatively dealing with these issues. But my biggest problem is that, because of most of these reasons, I like to smoke. I just wish I could control it. Go a day, maybe a few days, or even a week without smoking and then smoke, and then stop again.
Maybe I should switch to cigars instead, but I don’t know if my family would approve of that kind of change.