Recently, one of my colleagues was fulminating on the Evils of Smoking. All the usual nonsense about how smoking is responsible for everything that is wrong in the world today – the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, the outbreak of bird ‘flu, the moral degeneration of Western Civilisation, the rise of James Blunt etc.
I haven’t smoked anything since 1993, so I am well aware of the benefits of not smoking. There aren’t any. I mean sure, there’s the stuff that people normally mention – like the ability to climb stairs, not smelling like the Marlborough Man’s armpit and so forth, but these are more like nice-to-haves than actual bona-fide benefits.
I liked smoking. A lot. I used to wear a nicotine patch to bed because it was the closest I could get to smoking in my sleep, so you’ll understand that this whole not-smoking thing is kind of an exercise in masochism for me. Although the cravings have abated somewhat after twelve years, they haven’t disappeared altogether. Every time someone lights up, my hand still twitches in reflex. I blame my success on semantics. You see, I’ve managed to convince myself that I haven’t “given up” smoking – I’ve merely “stopped” for a while. I can start again anytime I want. Anytime.
So why haven’t I? Habit, I guess.