Marlboro Lights

Marlboro LightsMarlboro Lights (Photo credit: jon|k)

At this point we all know how terrible cigarette smoking is for you.  I was sitting in the airport and heard a raspy womans voice say she was going to go get a case of cigarettes in duty-free and I thought of course she is.  Her voice sounded like she had been smoking since she was 10 and she was in her early 70s. 

Regardless I have had a relationship as many have with cigarettes my whole life.  I don't know if it is my dna or my pure will power but I have been a casual smoker and never had a problem with cigarettes. They also feel and taste better when you smoke them.  It is the next morning when you realize how gross they are. 

When I was a kid my Grandmother would keep little jars of cigarettes around her apartment.  She did not smoke but it was what people did.  My how times have changed.  At 14 I snuck a few into my pocket and brought them home.  I actually told my Mom about it and asked her what they were like.  She had smoked before I was born and went cold turkey when she was pregnant with me.  I remember sitting on her bed and lighting up.  She then said "ok now inhale".  I did and coughed for what seemed like minutes.  Then she looked at me and said "did you like it'?  Pretty smart on her part.

In High School I was a casual smoker.  I'd bum a cigarette off people but never ever bought a pack for myself.  That would mean I smoked.  When I went to college in London I started to smoke.  Everyone smoked over there.  I would buy a pack ever two weeks or so.  I was able to do that without ramping up to become a 5 cigarette a day smoker.  When I got on the plane to return to the states after six months I decided no more.  I didn't touch a cigarette for a year.

Fast forward I would bum a cigarette every once awhile at a party but I was a random even smoker.  Super casual.  When I am in Paris I always buy a pack and sit at a cafe and have a few cigarettes while watching the world go by but after I am done I always give the rest of the pack to the lucky table sitting next to me.

We were in the Bahamas this past weekend for a quick trip.  Perfect recharge of the batteries.  Our friends have a house down there.  We have known them for 20 years.  We met them when both of our daughters were one years old.  We met in the suburbs of Chappaqua through a city friend.  We used to drink wine on Friday afternoon and smoke cigarettes while the kids played.  The boys would come home and join in on our wine drinking and her husband would also join in on the smokes.  It was fun to buy a pack with them over the weekend and resume our old ways..  Yet I woke up the next day and my mouth tasted like an ash tray. 

I am lucky that my life long enjoyment of cigarettes has been an ebb and flow yet never an obsession.  I won't touch a cigarette probably until I return to the Bahamas next year but I am sure when I light up the memory of the ashtray mouth will completely be gone and I will just enjoy the moment. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. CCjudy

    That is the difference between an addiction and a use by choiceJudy

  2. pointsnfigures

    never smoked one. don’t know how you do it on and off. my mother smoked like a chimney and quit cold turkey.

    1. Gotham Gal

      my brother quit cold turkey too. i think that is the only way you can do it.

  3. JLM

    .The real test is this — what do your kids do now?If your kids smoke, then you will have to be burned at the stake. Bit harsh, no?Our children all become us.My Dad, the finest man I have ever known, smoked cigarettes — 2-3 packs a day for years. Professional soldier and all.He was in an oxygen tent having suffered a terrible accident and decided to light up. His facial bandages caught on fire.Who lights up in an oxygen tent?He decided to quit based on the logic that if your face catches on fire, then it is a sign from God to modify your behavior.He will be 95 on 2 June and has not smoked since then.For some reason, I have never ever even wanted to smoke cigarettesI confess I would smoke a cigar in a faux macho Alpha male golf course camaraderie kind of way until one day my daughter mimicked me — then I quit forever.Clean up your act or folks will be going all Joan of Arc on you.Just kidding but I like your admission of your fault? Everyone was starting to think you were perfect.JLM.

    1. Brenda

      For nearly 20 years, cigarettes, nicotine & smoking cessation was my business. I was one of a four-member team that conducted the original medical studies, that resulted in a much publicized JAMA cover story, plus focus groups on the first smokeless cigarette (e-cig precursor), FAVOR. I was also Managing Consultant & on the board of directors of this public company. FAVOR only delivered nicotine and none of the 2,000 carcinogenic byproducts of burning. Because we didn’t meet the “legal definitions” of a cigarette, the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) couldn’t tax our product. The ATF provides the Federal government’s second largest revenue source, our income tax is the first. The “Big Six” tobacco companies brought this to the attention of the ATF & pressured them to force us to “voluntarily” withdraw our over-the-counter smokeless cigarette. FAVOR wasn’t in either group’s best interest: The Feds didn’t get their tax revenue plus FAVOR was a glaring, high-profile example that conventional cigarettes were nothing more than a drug delivery system. Unable to manufacture & distribute, we sold FAVOR’s patents to Pharmacia/Leo in return for world-wide royalties when they redesigned FAVOR into the Nicorette/Nicotrol nicotine inhaler. Subsequently we sold the public shell & future royalties to a pharmaceutical company.Remember Dr Jeffrey Wigand, former VP of Brown & Williamson, who blew the whistle on the “Big Six” on 60 Minutes? I’m sitting on Volume 2 of that story which resulted in men in suits who broke into the lab in my home as well as other threatening incidents. Our VP of Mktg was the former VP of RJ Reynolds Intl who had inside info about our situation & who frequently called me because he knew I was keeping a diary. We quickly wound up with round-the-clock bodyguards. Very strange to know there’s a man with a gun sitting behind you at the movies and one table away in restaurants to protect you. I know I’m writing a lot about this, but it’s the first time I’ve spoken publicly about it.As far as your smoking: Only 2% of the population can take it, or leave it. Sounds like you fall into that lucky and rarified group. Nicotine is the only alkaloid that has a receptor in the brain that doesn’t go dormant when most smokers stop smoking. While for most people, the receptor in the brain that heroin affects eventually goes dormant, but the nicotine receptor screams “feed me, feed me” until the day they die. That’s why it’s so difficult for most smokers to quit. It’s not that they need something to do with their hands, etc. BTW, as with most drugs, there’s a synergistic effect whereby one drug enhances another, i.e., nicotine is even better with alcohol and coffee.

      1. JLM

        .Well, I am addicted to BBQ. And have a side thing going on with TexMex but who’s keeping score anyway?A lot of info — where is this going?JLM.

      2. Gotham Gal


    2. Gotham Gal

      Haha. Far far from perfect

      1. JLM

        .Bit of a rounding error, maybe, but casting a long shadow still.Few folks have gone hand to hand with a hurricane and an insurance company and lived to tell the story.JLM.

    3. William Mougayar

      The “Marlboro Man” advertisement was the most effective campaign in the history of marketing and catapulted Marlboro back in the day to a 50% market share, based on that masculanity factor.A good cigar here and there is not such a bad thing. I prefer to enjoy it sitting down after a great meal. I like to give respect to my cigar 🙂

      1. Gotham Gal

        there is something about a cigar. i don’t smoke them but fred does once in awhile particularly in the summer evenings. i get it.

  4. Marjan Ghara

    I used to smoke and enjoyed it. But I quit a long time ago. Recently, in a moment of weakness, I lit up a cigarette in the company of my “bad friends” :)) who still mostly smoke when we get together at parties. The next day I felt soo ill. It made me realize the poison that is in cigarettes. Its not just the smoke that damages the lungs, its also the chemicals that damage the body. When you smoke regularly, the body adjusts to the poison and you dont realize it. It is a strange addiction and habit. Glad there is so much stigma against it now. Better to never start.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Total poison. I hates the taste in my mouth the next day and of course had the desire for another one. Bad stuff

  5. Snooch

    Someone near and dear to us both once said one of the funniest lines ever about smoking vs. not smoking. I said to her, “you really need to stop.” and she said, Snooch- you know me. I’m no quitter!”Ps- pretty sure she stopped a long time ago.

    1. Gotham Gal

      ha. that is hilarious

  6. daryn

    I’ve never been more than a social smoker, mainly an occasional cigarette with a whiskey, red wine, or a coffee. Definitely less so in recent years since bars are all non-smoking these days. But I admit that every now and then, when I walk past someone smoking, there’s a certain nostalgia that makes me want to partake.And then, yes, ash tray mouth and stinky fingers the next day 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      We are on the exact same page

  7. Elizabeth Golluscio

    My husband is able to smoke like that, a couple a year, or not. It seems very very rare – a unique genetic / brain chemical trait – for the body to NOT find nicotine addictive… hope our kids got his genes on that front!

    1. Gotham Gal

      exactly. fingers crossed

  8. William Mougayar

    I’m almost exactly like you. Very controlled, and i have 1 every 6 or 12 months on a special occasion or circumstance. Not the same as a cigar, but it does the trick when you feel like it.