Smoke free for seven years now

Early in July 2007, I quit smoking. At that time I was rolling my own cigarettes (from organic tobacco – if I’d poison myself with nicotine, it should at least be natural, haha!) and only smoked a couple of cigarettes in the evening. Something between one and five. More when I was composing music and felt the rush of inspiration.

My mother smoked, and I picked it up when I was in the German equivalent to high school (“Realschule”, up to 10th grade). That means I smoked on and off for about 20 years. Holy shit!

Whenever I had a cold though, I never smoked. Adding smoke to an already scratchy throat and stuffy nose felt terrible. And the first cigarette after not smoking because of a cold always tasted simply awful. It was the thought of that yucky taste that I reminded myself of whenever I felt the urge to smoke. It helped, and I didn’t pick it up again.

I got weak only once or twice. It was in situations of extreme stress at work. I smoked with a coworker (developer) after the rollout of a highly individual and customized software solution went well. Some sort of a bonding and stress relief ritual, I guess – instead of drinking to our success, we smoked a cigarette together.

Today, I can honestly say that I’m immune to the lure of smoking. There’s a saying that the most militant non-smokers are former smokers – and I guess it’s true! I’ve become really sensitive to the smell of smoke and try to avoid smoking passively* as best as I can.

Luckily, California has rather strict regulations as to where smoking is still allowed. And needless to say, electronic cigarettes help a lot too, but many places where smoking is not allowed are also declared “vapor free”. And I think that’s right, because it’s really about addiction, and allowing the consumption of addictive substances. You’re not allowed to drink alcohol in many public places either.

And IMHO, if there’s one thing that electronic cigarettes make absolutely crystal clear it’s that nicotine addicts are junkies. I mean… inhaling lab-made substances that come in little vials with the aid of a vaporizer?! Hello synthetic drugs. I have no doubt that smoking crack could be made just as convenient and “stylish” if it was legal.

I just hope that some nicotine addicts will be able to see it the same way, and find enough motivation and encouragement to do something about it.

*) what’s really sickening about smoking though is not just smoking passively – it’s the effect that tobacco plantations have on the environment, the working conditions of tobacco workers, the fact that tobacco is still tested on animals (mostly dogs), and the general effect that an addiction has on people.

Thoughts? Let me hear them.

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