Cigarette anyone?

31 Aug 2019
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Nope, I'm no smoker. I did almost choke to death on a bi-daily basis as I tried hard to be a smoker for about two weeks as a young teen. Put on my best James Dean bomber jacket and brooded over my ciggy trying to look like I was inhaling as I didn't inhale. And I did once make a friend spray his drink across a terrace at a wedding when I tried his cigar, didn't know what to do with the smoke and inadvertently blew some sort of smoke art out of my nostrils. I also managed to chew the odd cigarette butt, back in the 70s, as my older brother and I tried sipping the dregs of empty beer tins at family parties. The beer tins which, as it turned out, had been used as ashtrays after the contents had been slurped. The lessons we learn!

Nope. Not a smoker. But I recognise a good thing when I see it. I see smokers in all scenarios taking a little ciggy break. A few puffs around a doorway. Shared with colleagues, pals, even strangers. They've got a bit of a good thing going on. They allow themselves this break. They're often to be seen simply enjoying their break, not phoning, not scrolling, not dealing with anything other than allowing their smoke time to be uninterrupted and enjoyed. That little part, without the smoking, is incredibly healthy!

I'm going to take a leaf from their tobacco plant. I still can't be a smoker as I just have no interest there, but I can take a couple of tiny breaks in my day to just be. And that will be precious. Fancy it?

Score time. I will if you will.

Love from

The room above the garage

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Molly

Sept. 1, 2019, 12:18 a.m.

Ha Ha RATG, this struck a chord with me. I am a smoker and although my first ‘try’ was about 14, hated it. Choked, who would ever want to do it ! ! At 18, I left home. I moved into a shared house, all smokers. They kept offering me cigarettes and I wanted to be ‘in with the crowd’. I had little money but found myself going to buy ten B&H from the corner shop. “This is cool right?” I found myself thinking. *** breaks at work! Classic. I would never smoke before midday. We had a smoking room eventually (you could smoke at your desk previous to this but I never did that). I met so many people in that smoking room, two of my exes I met in that smoking room! We would all sit around chatting with our twenty minute break. It was a saviour and a break from work, and we couldn’t wait to meet up the next day. Some complained about smoking breaks, but there was nothing to stop them having a break of their own in a non smoking place. So I smoked about 5 a day. Then it became 10. Then 15. Now I’m nearing on 20. I’m not proud and they are now so expensive. I tried the vapes but they make me cough. Social smoking still applies now even though it is banned from pubs etc. I have struck up a conversation with a smoker outside a pub or restaurant that I would never have spoken to otherwise. Might be bad for your health, but isn’t everything? Thanks RATG. A trip down memory lane. Molly xx

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Oli

Sept. 1, 2019, 6:48 a.m.

Hi Molly. Just a reassurance that it is totally possible to strike up conversations with random people in random places without the necessity of smoking. Because this thing about sociability is clearly behavioural and in order to get beyond how I was letting social anxiety dominate my life I had to have experiences where I could do this. So new behaviour can certainly be learned. And for what it's worth, stopping smoking isn't bad for your health, or anyone's health, and it's absolutely the best thing I ever did for my health -- and I include my stopping drinking in that! Personally, I think you'd love being a non-smoker. Even when things are cr*p I am glad I'm a non-smoker now. x

Molly

Sept. 1, 2019, 2:49 p.m.

Hi Oli, yes you are right of course. I think a lot of it is boredom/habit. I don’t even particularly enjoy it. I did give up once for a few weeks and I know food tasted better for starters. We both smoke and it takes a large chunk out of our budget. In fact soon we may well not have a choice if we want a roof over our heads. Molly xx

Nicco

Sept. 1, 2019, 2:05 a.m.

Ashamed to say i smoked from the age of 10 until i was 36, & i still have problems with my chest age nearly 60. Back then everyone seemed to be doing it. My mothet & two brothers smoked all their lives - one brother died of bowel cancer, my remaining brother has lung cancer. My father never smoked but has lung problems from passive smoke from my mother for many years. I had a friend who died of lung cancer who never onced touched a cigarette. I tried several times to give up & got down to one a day, then i decided i would smoke until i had enough coupons to buy an electric can opener, which i still have, & gave up. Giving up chocolate for me is harder!

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Katie

Sept. 1, 2019, 4:15 p.m.

The idea of smoking until you had enough coupons for an electric can opener has tickled me Nicco! :-))

Hopeful One

Sept. 1, 2019, 4:50 a.m.

Hi Room- my mother -in- law smoked like a chimney almost all her life - she preferred untipped in a cigarette holder until at age 86 she got a letter from her GP to ask her if she wanted to quit. Could she please make an appointment with the surgery ?This was a Friday . She phoned them on the Monday that she would stop herself. And she did . She lived to be 93. But you make a good point. We all need something to look forward to in our lives , preferably something with ‘ me time’ where we can put life on ‘pause’ . I meditate- it gives me a mini Nirvana when my thought steam slows or even stops giving me a break from making judgements , self criticism, dismissing. ,discarding or dis crediting the positive things in my life. And making time to laugh. I read somewhere - one minute of anger weakens the immune system for 4 hours ,one minute of laughter boosts it for 24 hours. Paddy asks, “Mick, how did you get on at the faith healer meeting last night?” Mick replies, “He was absolute rubbish. Even the fella in the wheelchair got up and walked out !”

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Shizzle

Sept. 1, 2019, 4:52 a.m.

Lovely early morning chuckle HO. Thanks!

Sally

Sept. 1, 2019, 5:37 a.m.

Love it, Hopeful One!

Molly

Sept. 1, 2019, 2:52 p.m.

Ha ha xx

Lexi

Sept. 1, 2019, 3:02 p.m.

Great, HO!

Shizzle

Sept. 1, 2019, 4:50 a.m.

Hey RATG. I often think about this too! How strange that it's acceptable to pop out for 5 mins every hour or so for a cigarette but not otherwise. I must admit that I smoked as a teenager / into my early 20s and during exam / essay time the cigarette break was a really good reason to have a screen break and refocus the mind plus also, strangely, to breathe deeply too. I do miss that as it's so easy not to have a break. That said, I also like being able to breathe properly now and having money in my back pocket! I'll join you for a non-cigarette break any day! xx

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Sally

Sept. 1, 2019, 5:05 a.m.

Nope, not a smoker either. But I so see what you mean, Ratg, and yes, you’re absolutely right. There’s camaraderie in that little straggly bunch to be found outside pubs or schools....they used to congregate just round the corner from the High School, near my door, and ugh, leave butts galore on the pavement, never THINKING to scoop them up. But they oozed cool banter, calm and togetherness...only for 2-5 minutes though, before walking purposefully back towards the school building. The reverse of the coin from what we are fed...health warnings about a disgusting habit ( in practice, yes, and horrendously expensive....dearer than the best truffles! ) But nevertheless something to be gained from it. Admission to a select club, and a relief from stress, albeit temporarily. Stress, that potential killer too...

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Maggie May

Sept. 1, 2019, 5:38 a.m.

Hi RATG, I was a smoker from my teen years until my fifties. For 10 of those years I was a closet smoker, misguidedly believing that I was hiding my secret habit whilst unaware that I my aroma was unmistakable to others. I would cherish my secret cigarette time, waiting for some alone time to partake. Nicotine craving was a big part of this habit and didn’t help my mental health, with all the guilt and shame and feelings of weakness associated. It wasn’t that straightforward either, as I agree that the associated ‘me’ time was valued. I now stop regularly for a cup of tea or coffee. My son laughs when he asks me what I am doing and is told I’m drinking tea . To him the drinking is something you do alongside your activity, not an activity in itself. Not for me. Thanks for the blog. Ps I’m not a poacher turned gamekeeper - I do not look down on smokers, nor put no smoking stickers all over my car etc . It’s not an easy habit to break.

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Oli

Sept. 1, 2019, 7:29 a.m.

I was a confirmed smoker who had given up giving up, yet it has been over 10,000 days since I put my last cigarette out. I can only guess what that would cost at today's prices of 20 a day, which was what I smoked. I was saying to Molly (above) that even when things feel rubbish in my life I'm still glad I got free of smoking. Best thing I ever did. So hard -- yet so easy. I regularly get people come to me because they want help to stop smoking. It's just an association (usually mistaken) that you get when you use hypnosis as part of what you do. It's work I take seriously (even if a client don't realise just how seriously). But with regards to this blog I'd say you already see the mixture of behaviours and associations that go along with contexts of addiction, relaxation, health, guilt, socialisation, longing, identity, and so on. And thank you for the blog ratg. I have a totally different view when I see smokers taking their cigarette break. Or as you see more often, a solitary smoker. I do not see people taking a healthy break at all; I see people who are stuck. Not only are they stuck at the individual level, trapped in a behaviour which has no benefits whatsoever -- none -- they're also trapped in a behaviour which is being driven by forces which are so hard to see, feel, or connect with -- smoking feels so much like personal choice it's nearly impossible to see the influence of the corporations who make and sell this product which traps people. Change for individuals has to be at the individual level but I always think it's important to see where the money goes and then to think, just for a moment, about this idea of selling a product which causes so much misery, and has no benefits whatsoever. How can a lie still be sold?

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Ostrich

Sept. 1, 2019, 8:49 p.m.

I think the NHS has a serious social problem with smoking issues on Psychiatric wards in Hospitals and I really wish Prince Harry would take on board this "change" and be a future force for good to create some "improvements" with this. Spock is responsible and the NHS post many papers/ letters to everyone promoting being a "Smoke free NHS Trust", I have been lectured kindly about the many health risks of smoking.

Ostrich

Sept. 1, 2019, 8:55 p.m.

When younger I once remember reading a rivetting John Grisham novel on a legal court case of tobacco companies, reading Oli reminds me of this enjoyable read. ... I worry about "Capacity" in Psychiatric Hospitals as I do not like the idea be it smoking or drugs -whichever filthy habit (sorry), of "Vulnerable" adults being exploited and on NHS Trust grounds it is farcical.

The Gardener

Sept. 1, 2019, 9:15 a.m.

Thanks RATG. I smoked in my early twenties, influence of a student staying with us. Then I found my daily help was stealing them, my pretty undies (last time I bothered, I reckon) and an elegant belt. When it was a choice between a packed of **** and a pair of trousers for one of the boys (same price 50 years ago) smoking went, glad. But the opportunity for a 'pause' is difficult to replace. Our doctor always advocated a sherry, whatever, at the end of the working day - to mark the change of occupation/atmosphere. Cont

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The Gardener

Sept. 1, 2019, 9:20 a.m.

I used to love being in Spain (el paseo) Italy (in giro) or in the pedestrian precincts of Nice. Everybody, all ages, all classes, met, drink, smoke, ice cream - and we talked! How we talked. I had a business discussion, in Sicily, fairly urgent, going back to UK. I suggested 6 p.m. Shock horror 'I am 'in giro', that is social hour, sacrosanct. In Nice they were always so smart, and ices were served in the equivalent of a gold-fist bowl, with two long spoons. those memories induce instant melancholia! xx

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Valerie

Sept. 1, 2019, 2:13 p.m.

I started smoking when I was 13,one of the gang of sophisticates at my strict girl's school.I gave up in my late 30's,mainly to save money.Went cold turkey.I loved the little rituals of it,taking from the packet,lighting,taking that first drag.Lovely. I was laughing with a friend the other day,how you would go to the G.P.and he/she would be smoking.His doctor used to say "Let's light up first John,then you can tell me what's wrong with you".The midwife who called to weigh my son after I left hospital spotted my **** and beamed.We blew the ash off him before I put his babygro back on. I know totally that it is the single worst thing you can do for your health,not forgetting that of those around you.I can't deny though that I did enjoy it.

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Molly

Sept. 1, 2019, 3:01 p.m.

Blew the ash off him !!!!

Katie

Sept. 1, 2019, 4:20 p.m.

Pmsl Val. You do make me laugh!

Valerie

Sept. 2, 2019, 11:54 a.m.

I don't even have to laugh to have that happen Katie xx

Lexi

Sept. 1, 2019, 2:59 p.m.

So funny RATG. I used to think this too, take up smoking just so I could leave my desk for a few minutes. Luckily I discovered walking. Even just walking around the building. I also found that just going to the bathroom and washing my hands was a meditative retreat in its own way :) xo

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Ostrich

Sept. 1, 2019, 9:08 p.m.

: * ) Nice xo

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 1, 2019, 3:13 p.m.

Hi RATG I have never smoked,. My grandfather was a heavy smoker and when I was growing upI always developed a bad cough within the first week of him coming to stay with us so that was probably enough to put me off. I am also well aware of the stats. But I kind of see what you are getting at. There have been various times when I have chosen to hang out with the smokers. Eg in my first job as a teacher (I didn't last long) I am sure the pupils thought I smoked because on bad days I would sit in the smoking room at break simply because some of my more sympathetic colleagues were smokers. And when I was in hospital with mania a few years ago the staff positively told my mother who arrived to visit that I was outside smoking. I don't think they could conceive of any other reason to want to go out in the garden in February! One ruse I do use for breaks is to have a very small mug at work. Hence I get up to fill up on coffee more often. Thanks for an interesting blog. Love TF x

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Molly

Sept. 1, 2019, 4:22 p.m.

Smiles, TF, that they told your mother you were outside having a smoke. It reminded me of when I lived at home and I was 16. Mother and step father went away and I had some friends round. I wasn’t allowed to do this, but how were they to know. Smoking back then was acceptable and one of my friends had a smoke and accidentally made a hole in the carpet!! I was horrified. I couldn’t tell mother and step father I’d had people in the house so they automatically thought I was a smoker. I think they still think that to this day, but I didn’t start smoking until I was 18 lol. Molly xx

Ostrich

Sept. 1, 2019, 9:39 p.m.

I found everybody very interesting thank-you to read all your posts of different life experiences and insights. ... At the moment I am smelling some lovely "Lavender Bags" every so often for a scented break! I scrunch them and smell, take a break! : ) I do have a British tea drinking addiction, it is not an activity but Nurses have trained me to function with a ( ' Stress- vulnerability model ') so that is how Professionals raise me, humour I appreciate, usually ppl have a lack of understanding are judgemental. They prob don't get it but most ppl do one task at a time no multi-tasking.

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Ostrich

Sept. 1, 2019, 9:42 p.m.

... If we want to drink British tea well I can drink just that anyway and only feel pride no problems! : )

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Ostrich

Sept. 1, 2019, 10:09 p.m.

I like the smell of a particular 'brand' of coffee = Phoebe! I used to like old fashioned very classical 'Kit-Kat's' chocolate bars. Both the two and four finger traditional snacks. I used to smile with them due to memories of my Grandpa sharing them, giving us them. Due to "Heads Together" Campaign of the younger Royals, I see Prince William + Kate as "the fabulous 2" and Prince Harry + Meghan as "the fabulous 3/4" like kit-kats fingers. The adverts used to be catchy: "Take a break, have a kit-kat", fondly happy. I think infact modern choc bars in design have bn further reinvented. (Disappointingly as in this case classical traditional was best.) ... Cinderella was aired today + the Prince was "Prince Kit", there were no rats but the mice turn by magic into horses. ... I hope everybody enjoys their 'me time' taking a magical personal break whatever style of choice that may be. X

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the room above the garage

Sept. 2, 2019, 4:04 a.m.

Hello all, sorry I haven’t replied to everyone (weekends swallow me whole!) but will try later today...everyone has such funny and interesting replies, it’s brilliant to read the stories! Love ratg x.

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Orangeblossom

Sept. 2, 2019, 5:18 a.m.

Thanks for the blog. I also tried to smoke but after repeated tries, gave it up as a waste of money. I never looked cool. However, the encouragement to give ourselves time & space was good.

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Ostrich

Sept. 2, 2019, 7:24 a.m.

I get worried if I will ever start? (Hopefully not). In youth if copying friends or being immature, 'too cool for school' in trend, I probably always got very LUCKY that good positive elder male role-models, a few of them protected me from it. I was like 'Baby Spice' lol and kind boys stepped in and told us off for being stupid, they got cross. So here I had an element of LUCK.

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Molly

Sept. 2, 2019, 10:35 a.m.

Hi Ostrich, I always felt like that with drugs, if I start..... I was lucky in this respect too, as they never really crossed my path, until much later in life when I had a puff of what must have been a bit of a dodgy joint. Made me feel so weird, never again!

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