Up in Smoke

When I was at school, I remember being shocked (yes, shocked!) that four of my favourite teachers smoked.
I was also stunned when at a wedding, the bride was holding a cigarette in the other hand to her bouquet. As far as I know, she handed over the smoking gun to someone when the official pictures were being taken.

Congratulations to anyone who has managed to give up smoking, be it recently or years ago. I was interviewed on the radio some time back about kicking the habit, and the interviewer was interested in how I was spending the extra money. My answer was simple:
‘What extra money?’
no smoking


I started when I was 16 and working, just the occasional pack of 10 which would last me a couple of days. Like many teenagers, I knew it would be frowned upon by my family, so it was a crafty puff in the loo, walking down the street, or out shopping. I was lucky my grandfather didn’t catch me as I believe he made another family member smoke a full cigar and gave them no sympathy when they threw up. I’ve always hated the smell of cigars, so maybe this is why.
A lot of my work colleagues smoked, and in those days there were no restrictions in cinemas, restaurants or pubs so even if you didn’t, you’d come away reeking as if you had a forty a day habit.

In hindsight, I think it was just a case of wanting to be like everyone else and accepted in the group I was with. Soon I was buying packs of 20, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t smoke them all. Ciggies were less than a pound a pack then, and my wages were something like £55 a month, £20 of which went to Mum, £20 into the building society, and the rest was for me. I walked to work every day and bus fares for longer journeys were only pence.

My first fiance smoked, as did all his friends. He also drank, so the relationship didn’t last that long and boyfriends that followed were all smokers too.
When I met my first husband, he didn’t and was extremely critical of anyone who did (his father was a smoker though), so it was relatively easy for me to give up.
For the three years we were married, I never wanted one, but when we split up, sadly it was a crutch I soon came to lean on. We met up once at a Singles/Divorced meeting and I had to laugh as he was smoking a cigar. He looked a right nancy, holding it delicately in his fingers having tentative puffs and blowing out the smoke sideways before turning green. Of course he didn’t want one of my cigarettes, saying it was a filthy and disgusting habit. Yeah, right.
divorceThe next relationship saw me increase my habit from 20 a day to 40 over a period of 8 years, my preferred brand being £1.25 a pack. He was a smoker too and when we first got together, was on roll ups.
I had a go once (my Dad liked his Digger Shag tobacco and blue papers) and my effort came out lumpy with flat sides rather than a neat skinny masterpiece, and that was using one of those rolling aids!
rollerHowever, he soon progressed to tailor mades, most of which were mine and I would be buying ciggies by the hundreds to save money.
We tried to give up a couple of times, but it was difficult as everyone we knew were smokers, and Will Power wasn’t one of our friends. Also, no-one ever took you seriously about giving up and would waft a cigarette in your face to tempt you, saying you knew you really wanted one.
When my firm had their Christmas Dinner, I couldn’t afford to put a tenner in the pot for drinks, preferring to buy my own as I was on fruit juice because I was driving. Instead, I put 3 packs of cigarettes on the table for everyone to help themselves. One woman did, between each course, which didn’t actually go down very well as she didn’t leave the table to light up and many of us were still eating.
I began to see smoking in a new light after that.

Hubby was a smoker when we first met. Not as many as me, but a smoker nonetheless, and even though we were both broke most of the time, neither of us ever ran out. That was because without my knowledge, he would fill my pack and likewise without his, I’d be doing the same!
When we rented the flat, we made it a no smoking area as we began to pave the way to quit. The car was already smoke free, so it made sense that our home was next. You know where I’m going with this now don’t you………………….
Yep, the ‘after nookie’ ciggy.
no smokingBoth of us soon got fed up having to wrap ourselves in blankets on a cold night to go outside and have a smoke. Either the ciggy or nookie had to go. 😉
Restrictions were being introduced everywhere by now including offices and public places. The Bank offices where I worked were revamped and a ‘smoking room’ provided. This had a double doorway, but even then the haze of smog that escaped was thick and overpowering.
Today workers have to go outside for their ‘fix’ as smoking is no longer permitted anywhere inside premises. My last boss actually deducted 10 minutes from lunch hours for every cigarette break, saying it wasn’t fair otherwise on his non-smoking staff.

Kicking it into touch completely came when we decided to get married in 1991.
Hubby gave up the week before and I had my last cigarette the day before.
We thought about starting a jar with all the money we’d save, but something always came along and it never took off. Financially it soon became obvious we couldn’t afford to smoke anyway. Cigarettes were going up out of all proportion to everything else, and in all honesty, we resented lining the Government’s tax pockets for a few minutes of something that no longer gave us pleasure.
cigaretteThe weight started to go on though as we were enjoying our food more, and thus wanting more! I was able to buy better quality cuts of meat and a wider variety of produce so began experimenting in the kitchen.
With all my weight problems, when I saw my GP she said ‘Better to be overweight than have lung cancer’, and eventually we got that under control too.

People say it was easy for us to quit.
Yes and No.
We wanted something else, and I suppose indirectly the money saved on smoking paid for our honeymoon in Amsterdam.
I’ve only had a single puff since we gave up, and that was at the Christmas Party the same year when someone put a cigarette in my hand. I gave it straight back.

If you really want to quit, you can. It’s all a matter of attitude. You just wake up one day as a non smoker and stick with it.
There are aids to help you give up if you feel you cannot do it on your own.
There are groups to attend for support and encouragement.
Some people find setting a definite date to quit helps (my former boss did this, it was no special day, she just decided that from that time on she was not going to smoke, and that was 11 years ago).
Your health will definitely improve.
Your sense of taste and smell will be enhanced.
You may be financially better off, but probably won’t notice it as you will spend the money elsewhere on different and hopefully better things.
If tempted, think about how far you’ve come without tobacco.
If all else fails, remind yourself that you are paying the government thousands in taxes which are only helping you die.
cancer

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About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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8 Responses to Up in Smoke

  1. colinandray says:

    Read like the story of my life! Thx for the memories (I think)! 🙂

  2. Capt Jill says:

    Glad you were able to quit when you wanted to. I always hear how its SO hard.
    I still smoke, don’t want to quit, but went from 3 packs a day to 1 pack lasting 3 weeks or more. I understand where you’re coming from, but I still don’t like it when the ‘law’ says we can’t have smoking somewhere. If I owned a bar, I would be extremely pissed off when told there could be no smoking. I remember going to Ireland where there was no smoking in the bars. It really SUCKED to have to leave the great music and good times to go outside in the cold and rain to have a smoke (and when you’re drinking you want a smoke MORE than other times)!. I think if you own a business, YOU ought to be the one making rules about what goes on there and NOT anybody else! Same goes for ANY business (including airplanes). I know I would be happy to fly a smokers airline, even tho I don’t smoke anymore, just to support peoples right to make those choices.

    • Everyone is free to make their own choices, and cutting down is a good thing. You never know, maybe you’ll want to give up and then do it as a matter of course. Good luck if you do!

  3. garym6059 says:

    Quitting smoking sucks, glad you were able to kick it!

    • I must admit we were lucky in not having any cravings, but then that could have been because we had other things to think about! Going to Amsterdam was the first time I’d been out of the country so I was really excited. The fact that it was our honeymoon was totally incidental!

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