Friday, 7 November 2014


I used to smoke and I was good at it.  I started when I was 17 because it seemed cool at the time.  One of my friends had a boyfriend who smoked and though he wasn't the coolest guy at school he hung out with some cool guys who did smoke.  It seemed like an easy way to get close to the cool crowd so I  gave it a go.
I vividly remember the first time I inhaled after many months of just rolling the smoke around my mouth.  It was awful; I coughed until my eyes watered and stubbed the cigarette out straight away.  But for some reason I went back to smoking soon after and coughed again but less harshly this time.  After a few more attempts I could inhale without coughing and I liked the way I felt when I pulled the smoke deep into my lungs.  So now I was a proper smoker.
There followed many happy years of smoking.  I learned to roll my own using liquorice papers and spent many a happy hour picking stray bits of tobacco off my tongue. Rolling a cigarette felt like proper smoking, smoking in the raw.  I loved being able to control the size of the cigarette - a generous one when the tobacco pouch was full, skinny, mean cigarettes when funds were low.  I also liked the companionable nature of rolling a cigarette for a friend, so much more personal than just handing over a packet.
I stopped rolling my own after I left college and moved on to low tar cigarettes - the healthy option! short cigarettes with perforations on the filter to dilute the smoke.  They were less satisfying than the proper fags or rollies but I was happy with my smoking experience none the less.
I dabbled with cigars but they were a bit much for me - strong and made my head spin.  I used them for the shock value - a reasonably respectable woman with a cigar in her hand had a certain shock value.
I did have a moment with the dodgier side of smoking but one joint was enough to tell me that if I were to have a drug of choice it would be alcohol - I didn't get a buzz from smoking cannabis and was happy to stick with my legal fags and booze.    
The smell of cigarette smoke still evokes happy memories, taking me back to those younger days when I shared companionable cigarettes with people who lit up and enriched my life in those far away days.  But the second whiff of cigarette smoke usually makes me cough now and I have to move upwind of the smoker!
I gave up smoking when I found out I was expecting my son.  I thought it would be a temporary thing and I'd go back to smoking when he was born.  But when he was a few months old and I tried smoking again it was dreadful.  It tasted horrible and made me feel sick.  There was no pleasure in it nad it was not for me anymore.  I remember my Dad saying, after many years as an ex-smoker that there were still moments when he wanted a cigarettes, usually after a meal or when having a drink.  I can relate to that - even after 27 years as a non smoker there is sometimes a moment after a meal or a drink when I think 'I'd love a fag now'.  Maybe this will always be with me - the final legacy that smoking has left me, a memory of a time when everything ended with a smoke, my little naughty pleasure, something I was good at a time in my life when I didn't often feel I was good at much.    


  1. Funny how it is so evocative. What a fascinating prompt this one is. I smoked too and gave up after getting pneumonia nearly 8 years ago. If ever something will make you stop it is being so ill that you crack ribs from coughing. I smell it now and it makes me want to reach. And not for the JPS. B&H. Silk Cut. Blimey, and to think it was fashionable. I blame the advertising companies. Addicitive personalities are so easily led, even if it does mean they are killing themselves. Good post.

  2. I wondered if the word would trigger thoughts of smoking, not being a smoker it's difficult to relate to the urge long after you've stopped, but I can imagine that it is something that stays with you. This was really interesting to read, times do change don't they! Thank you so much for linking to #ThePrompt x

  3. That feeling never goes away! After 6 years of non-smoking I tried one again recently and it was FOUL. It's not the same any more. A very evocative post x