Citation: Cancer bound. "The Marlboro Man: An Experience with Tobacco (exp68510)". Erowid.org. Oct 10, 2018. erowid.org/exp/68510
I thought I'd never smoke until I had my first cigarette. For me there was no flirtation, no passage through being a casual smoker. I smoked one cigarette and haven't been without a pack since.
That was two years ago. In the big scheme of things I haven't been smoking for very long. What is perhaps slightly unusual about my experience with tobacco is the fervor with which I have taken up the habit. I smoked a pack every three days for about six months. For the next six months I smoked a pack a day. Six months later I was up to a pack and a half a day. Now I smoke two to two and a half packs a day.
Up until about six months ago when I first decided to give quitting a roll I didn't think I was addicted. A silly thought to be sure, given that at the time I was smoking a pack and a half a day. But denial and addiction go hand in hand. When I tried to quit, I was fine for the first couple of weeks. Then I just started smoking again. It'd be silly to say that I could quit if I wanted to, that I smoke out of desire rather than need. But honestly, is there any difference? To say that I could quit if I wanted to makes it seem like I could ever want to.
To extrapolate a bit on the nature of my addiction: I don't have physical nicotine withdrawal symptoms. No nervousness, no headaches, no nausea...nothing. I just want a cigarette. All the time. I've heard that most stimulants (with the exception of caffeine) take several years to form a physical dependence. I don't know if this is true with nicotine or if I'm just an exception to the rule. My guess would be the former (my general feeling is that addiction is the only rule that knows no exception). Non-smokers tend to portray cigarette addiction as a desire to quit wedded to an inability to in the face of negative symptoms related to withdrawal. This, for me, is not the case. The reason I can't quit smoking is very simple: there is nothing I like more than smoking.
I'm not going to paint a tragic portrait of addiction. If I should ever end up with a terminal illness as a result of my habit, I might. But I doubt it. The truth is, I appreciate a habit that forces me to stand outside and talk to fellow addicts. I appreciate the relaxation that comes along with the ritual motion of the hand to the mouth. I appreciate the stimulant effects of nicotine. And honestly, I don't much care to run anywhere. I'm perfectly content to amble.
Through everything that has happened to me in the last couple of years - every trip, drug binge, breakup, friendship, job, ontological meltdown and revelation - there has been one constant: the cigarette in my hand. I can't say I like spending the money, but I can't say I don't feel like it's worth it.
I advice people not to start smoking, mostly because I don't feel like it's quite ethical to nudge someone towards something that has a fairly good chance of forming an addiction that has a fairly good chance of ending your life a couple of decades earlier than it might otherwise end. At the same time, I can't tell someone that smoking is something that is absolutely not worth doing. After all, it is for me.
A final note: as I alluded to earlier, I am in an early state of addiction, not a terminal state. This report ought to be read with that in mind. I don't mean to speak for all smokers, nor about cigarette addiction in general. I just want to relate my (rather short) experience with cigarettes. I may one day eat my words, presuming I have a trachea left to swallow them with.
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