At fifteen, I addicted myself to nicotine. If I’d got a tattoo at that age, I could apply to have it removed on grounds of diminished responsibility. Last year, I had three relapses with regard to nicotine. I stopped smoking in 2001 and since then, have had the occasional relapse. I hadn’t had one in three years when I broke last summer.
So, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve again been punctuating my life with roll-ups, objecting to the jones within my body that clamours for a maintenance dose of the drug.
Traditionally, I don’t *do* addictions. My pride is sufficiently strong that any attempt to force me to carry out any actions, purely for the sake of a temporary comfort, is anathema to me. For years, I’ve been able to start and stop smoking as I see fit. And now, part of the aging process seems to be my losing the drive to defeat these impositions on myself.
So I bought an e-cig system. And charged it. And even figured out how to use it without filling my mouth with a lethal dose of pure nicotine each time. Of course, there are roughly as many restrictions on using e-cigs as there are on smoking actual cancer-sticks nowadays.
Has anyone else noticed how badly smokers are thought of these days? We’re probably only a couple of years away from smokers not being allowed to marry and having to sit at the back of the bus.
My last-but-one relapse brought me face to face with modern thinking on this. The final solution to the smoker problem, as that nice Mr Hitler might have put it. It’s no longer enough to stand a few feet away from those not smoking, nowadays one’s expected to fuck off to the next town at least.
And what’s the most important factor in stopping smoking? Strangely, it isn’t public castigation, autos-da-fe and Warsaw pact era show-trials. It’s optimism. Which most people don’t get when they’re the subject of a daily two minutes’ hate.
Funny, that.

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