Why did you start smoking?

I started smoking as an early birthday gift to myself.

No, really, though.

Around a month or two before I turned seventeen, I discreetly bought a pack of what was called as ‘herbal cigarettes’ in Yogyakarta—I thought those things were hard to look for in Indonesia. It cost me USD 2, as averagely priced as any common cigarettes in Indonesia.

I just happened to look it up because I was enamored by the visual aesthetics of smoking of Mad Men. Since smoking an actual cigarette in the workplace was banned and the story would be meaningless without (excessive) smoking, the cast used herbal cigarettes as a replacement.

So anyway, two weeks before my birthday, I snuck at the backyard of my house and lit my first stick from the box. I put it inbetween my lips, expecting the burning sensation as the smoke carried out through my mouth…

… of course, it didn’t feel as strong as I thought it would be.

My mom—a former smoker who managed to quit after smoking for nearly 30 years which cost her a surgery upon her respiration system—found me in the backyard with a cigarette in my hand.

“What do you think you’re doing, young lady?” she asked, closely sounding as appalled. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that thing is?”

I didn’t try to hide it from her. Yet I didn’t want to show it to her either. I dipped my head down and remained silent as I pushed the butt onto the ground to turn it off immediately.

“If this is only for your own knowledge, that’s fine.”

She wasn’t mad at me, but she was quite worried. “But just this once, okay? I don’t want your dad to know that you have been trying to smoke, otherwise he will obliterate you,” she said. “And you shouldn’t try doing this in college because it will affect your reputation.”

I nodded before I left to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

Since I got into college out of my hometown, I have an easier access to buy cigarettes. My faculty’s dining place had these stalls, in which one of them sells a myriad of things—secondhand cheap magazines, stationery, phone credit, snacks and beverages, as well as cigarettes and lighters.

I don’t care about reputation obviously. In fact, I am known as the only girl who publicly smoke in my year, amongst most of my male friends who smoke to this date.

I am not really proud about it, though.

Lately, I haven’t been smoking much. I only smoke in front of friends or other people who smoke, as I don’t feel like wasting my money to buy a pack (I don’t smoke daily and it takes at least a month to finish a pack all by myself.)

Until now, I have been clean for a few weeks or so. This might be a good thing.

19 Replies to “Why did you start smoking?”

  1. Ages 17 and 18 were particularly hard years for me. I’d just gotten kicked out of an abusive home, was struggling to live on my own and support myself, was not yet in therapy for PTSD, and had extreme social anxiety and social awkwardness from being raised as a reclusive homeschooler.

    In short, life was incredibly stressful. Everything I’d known suddenly changed.

    Shortly before I turned 18, I worked for a residential conservation program geared towards teens, and that was wonderful and rewarding, but also stressful for several reasons.

    Since the program was for 16 – 19 year olds, we were all treated like not-yet-adults. For someone like me, living on their own, managing their own budget, paying rent, etc, that was frustrating.

    3/6 guys on my crew were super sexist and cruel about it. They’d rate the girls on the program (~20 or so girls), and wait to rate me till I walked past them. “Oh, Sarah? She’s a three….two with personality. hahahahahahaha). I knew they did it in an attempt to punish me for not deferring to them like most of the other girls did in an attempt to avoid being targeted by their ire. Obnoxious, hurtful, and draining.

    3/6 of the guys on my crew were really rude and immature.

    The last three weeks of the session is rained every day, all day. We were at a relative high altitude in late October, and it was frigid. Every morning we woke up and saw the snow line on the mountain above us was lower. By the time we left it was only a few hundred feet above our altitude.

    Our tents weren’t quite waterproof, and everything everyone owned was damp. We were all freezing cold and wet at all times. I slept fully clothed with every layer I owned, and was still cold all night.

    To avoid killing each other – since we were all on edge, mainly from the cold and damp – the entire crew would hang out with the 3 or 4 smokers when they got their morning & night cigarette breaks, and sometimes we’d end up passing a cigarette around the whole group.

    Our crewleaders ignored this. I think they figured that letting us get some relaxing down time was more important than preventing the one seventeen year old from having a cigarette.

    Two weeks before the session ended, I got a very bad concussion. For the next two weeks I was shaky, teary, my memory was shot, I slept almost literally every time I sat down – my crewleaders would wake me up and make me eat lunch, else I’d just sleep through the half hour break.

    All the microaggressions and stressors that were tolerable before my concussion became completely intolerable. I was barely hanging on to sanity.

    I stopped having one cigarette once every few days, and started having one every time the smokers had one. I gave one of the 18 year olds cash, and she got me packs of light blue American Spirits.

    My hands stopped shaking. My anxiety got a little more manageable. Standing around in the smoking group made me feel like I was being accepted, wasn’t an “other” quite so much.

    Nothing – I mean literally nothing else in the world – has ever felt so amazing as the tension draining out of my body, down my fingertips, feeling a sense of utter calm come over me, as I stood huddled in a group of shivering teens in the rain, laughing through chattering teeth over an inside joke.

    Did I know how bad cigarettes were? Intimately. My neighbors growing up both died of smoking related illnesses. They were on home hospice, in wheelchairs on the porch, stick-thin, yellowed skin, looked dead already, on oxygen, and still smoking.

    I just didn’t care. Smoking made life tolerable, when it had been barely livable before.

    I ended up smoking 4–5 cigarettes a day (half a pack in a day if it was a really, really horribly stressful one) for the next four years. I finally quit smoking by switching to vaping.

  2. I had started smoking and drinking in order to experiment a little. I mean when you are young and reckless, everything is game. (There might also be an evolutionary logic to it, but I won’t elaborate on that bit right now.) You realise that these habits are not well-accepted in your society and that makes you something on the lines of a rebel. (And who doesn’t like a little rebellion in life, eh?) So that helps in ignoring the voice of reason (health-wise, I mean). The high definitely helps in blocking out everything else.

    All in all, it is not black and white. Unless you are an idiot, you know the pros and cons involved. But you do it anyway for all sorts of reasons. It is a conscious, mindful choice in light of all the variables. That is why you don’t hate yourself, but you are not exactly in love with yourself either. And when you do ‘dislike’ yourself, you make up excuses that would sound lame to a third person but make perfect sense to you. (“It is just one cigarette a day, after all!”) You make promises to yourself as to what momentous milestone in life will make you quit. (“Just let me graduate.”) You get the hint.

    Over time, I have realised that smoking does not do anything for you. Zilch. Nada. Drinking, in moderate amounts, is actually good for your health. There are gazillions of studies that show that. But smoking is just plain wrong. You don’t even feel the buzz of your first cigarette when it becomes a habit. If it hasn’t become an addiction, it is something you do because you have got nothing better.

    Today, I do not dislike myself because of the fact that I cannot quit smoking, but because I can and still don’t. Damn you, I feel like one now.

  3. I didn't start smoking until I was 21 and started going out to bars. Why? I guess at 21, a smoke in one hand and a drink in another seemed like the thing to do. I hardly ever smoked, except when I went out. Gradually, I started smoking more and more, not just at the bar.

    I quit one time for about 5 years. I went through some shitty times and actually forced myself to start smoking again. I was upset and nervous all the time. I felt I needed something, whether it was a cigarette or a drink. I chose the cigarette. I remember the first time I lit up again.
    I started hacking and choking. I thought what the hell am I doing, but I really didn't care. That was 8 years ago….I have to be honest, I love to smoke. I know it's a disgusting, dirty, unhealthy habit. I know. I know. I am not justifying my habit, well maybe I am. I used to love when coworkers of mine loved to give me shit about it. I would say listen, we ALL have bad habits. It just so happens you can see mine. Some people like to drink, some people use drugs, some people shop. Some people overeat. We all have them, so why don't you stop at Chick-Fil-A for the second time today on your way home  and leave me alone. I am trying to enjoy my cigarette! Seriously……

    Then about 6 months ago, I was introduced to the e-cig (electronic cigarette). Love! Love! Love! It's like having your cake and eating it too. The best decision I have ever made. I am not talking about the cheap gas station brands either. Anyway, I spend a lot less money, no nasty odor, etc. I really am glad I switched! Every now and then I smoke a real one, but honestly I would chose my e-cig any day of the week over a real one.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it! 😉

  4. Like anyone else, for reasons that sounded good at age 15-16, that played out to sound pretty stupid today.

    Part of it was, I wanted to fit in with other kids who did it — back then, there were quite a few — and I was oblivious to the fact that

    • the kids with whom I wanted to fit in better would never accept me even if I did do stupid things (although they'd prove to be quite willing to laugh at me when the consequences of stupid things I did would rain down on my head);
    • while the kids who did like me at some level or another accepted me even though — perhaps even, because — there were a lot of stupid things that I didn't do (yet). (And in hindsight, those kids would have been worth more consideration. Even the ones among them that themselves liked to smoke, or cut class, or experiment with drinking or drugs, or sex, or petty juvenile delinquency, or dropping out of school, or other unhealthy teenager things: who accepted me without my having to do any of the stupid things they did in order to impress them.)

    And part of it was, back in the '70's, my high school let us. (Really. Back then, you were allowed to do it, during breaks – scheduled breaks, not just in between classes – and lunch period, in a designated smoking area.)

    Does that 'encourage' it? It wasn't that simple . . .

    When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up too fast. I anticipated a lot more freedom in high school, an ability to make a lot more of my own decisions (I didn't get it about the responsibility piece on the flipside of that), picking your classes (you might have to sit through a class a few times a day but hey, it was school, after all…), lots of breaks and study hall, long lunch period, hanging out at the student union (an upstairs lounge with a concession, vending machines and a balcony), riding to and from school with your friends who had cars and looking ahead to a drivers' license and car of your own . . . much as it showed up on TV. Or the Archie comics that were popular back in that day.

    The reality when it arrived was a letdown. To be fair, high school was larger and more institutional and maybe it had to be that way up to a point (I went to two high schools, and the second one wasn't nearly as bad with some of the more extreme examples of it); but it was run, even more so than my elementary and junior high schools, by people who were all the more looking for ways to treat you like a child, who saw you as an animal in need of control; and who seemed to have nothing better to do than dream up stupid, Mickey Mouse rules (seniors could go to the head of the cafeteria line, and were all served before the line with the other kids in it moved), and heavy-handed punishments for breaking them (if you didn't put a paper cover on your textbooks, they would be confiscated, and there was no procedure for getting them back).

    I managed to discover the first month I was there – the hard way – that you could get a week's worth of detention for walking on the wrong side of the hall. (Didn't like it? They'd be just as happy to give you a three-day out-of-school suspension, instead. Mouthing off at the hall monitor was perhaps not a good idea, but digging in my heels, getting stubborn, and protesting the silly treatment to the vice-principal when I was called on it didn't turn out to be a better one.) And they had honor students with the mentality of third-grade name takers as hall monitors to enforce it, so it got enforced.

    I didn't have a study hall scheduled my first year (that's how I learned the hard way, over the following years, to schedule one – don't try, as I did, to get all required courses out of the way and graduate in three-years-and-a-summer-school). You could go to the bathroom, or find your way to your next class within five minutes, by yourself; but everything you did between the first bell in the morning and the last one at 3:00 was controlled, something you were told to do, something you were supposed to do. The lunch period was a half period – you spent the first twenty-five minutes of it waiting in line, and had maybe five to ten minutes to eat your food before the bell would ring and it was on to the next class.

    But they had that smoking area between the wings of the building. It was something you could do in the fifteen minutes or so from the time the bus unloaded you until the first bell, during lunch break if you hung out there while waiting for the cafeteria line to thin out, or between classes if you were careful to not get caught (I managed to suck a three-day suspension once for that). That was one choice that they let you make for yourself, one way you could be an 'adult', or at least assert an 'adult' prerogative for which they'd have some level of respect. Indeed, most days, it seemed like the only 'adult' prerogative for which they'd have some level of respect.

    (In hindsight, it probably wasn't out of respect, it was more like an uncle of mine once said cynically, it was just a way to get it out of the bathrooms, where it would be a fire hazard . . . If it had been out of respect, they would have probably found some way to permit it only as a 'privilege' for honor students and the kids of well-to-do families who lived on Country Club Road, since that's the kind of school it was. Anyone else, they'd just as soon suspend you for three days as have you show up in the office for having stepped out of line. In the first month of my third year, they even suggested I drop out: Michael Forrest Jones' answer to What is it like to be a high school dropout? . . . Which, to the extent that I understood the dynamic at all at the time, made it all the more gratifying: they didn't let you because they respected your choice, they let you because they were backed into a corner and they themselves had no choice but to 'let' you.)

    And I took advantage of it, in large part to reassure myself that I could if I wanted, that I was allowed to, that my 'right' to do it was 'respected' . . . Permission? Stuff your 'permission'. I didn't want any adult's permission: I wanted them to get it through their dumb heads that I didn't need their "permission".

    So did a lot of other kids, quite a few more than you'd think. It wasn't just the borderline juvenile delinquents, the kids headed down the wrong road (many of the ones I knew would give it up later), the Beavis-and-Butthead types; like it always is in fiction, and as it seemed to be back in the fifties, and as it seems nowadays.

    The knowledge even back then that it was unhealthy, and harmful, and risky? I was never an athlete, so I didn't notice any immediate effect. More than half the adults in my life back then smoked, and they had the same information, but they only used it to try to dump on me for doing it.

    It was like so many of the things I had presented to me in church and Sunday school, and school itself, etc., as healthy values, or a good moral code to live by: people talked a good game about it, but didn't take it very seriously themselves. Adults tried to use it to keep you in line, but apply such guidance consistently in their own lives, or hold their peers to it? Naah, they were always cutting themselves, and other adults, passes. Over time, you'd get to thinking, it's all, if not b.s. to begin with, dispensable. A guideline. Optional. Trying to keep you in line was all it was for: they were adults and could do what they wanted.

    So in the end, nobody worth caring about, or who seemed to really care about me, would really care anytime soon about anything I did; and in the meanwhile you could always have your fun with it, whatever it was, and stop later if you decide at some point that it doesn't work for you . . .

    Yeah, right.

  5. That is a really good question as I had resisted smoking up until the age of 18 even though most of my friends smoked, it was in the 70’s and although there were health concerns it was still socially acceptable.

    In the end it was curiosity I suppose.

    Nothing bad happened, I just tried it and it was rather pleasant and gave a good buzz and a nice instant ‘hit’, rather like having a drink but more up front and in your face.

    So that was it, I was destined to become a smoker.

    10 years later I gave up and that was difficult because I believed all the propaganda about how difficult it was.

    17 years later I started again and kept at it for 5 years, what an idiot but I finally saw sense and stopped forever.

    This time I just stopped.

    Not sure why I thought it was difficult and it would be best to just stop and not damage my health like last time.

    This time zero effect but it is strange just typing this makes my chest feel a bit tight for some reason.

    We all do stupid things when young and learn later, that is the way the World works.

    Young people coming along behind generally do not want to learn from our mistakes and have to plod through and do them all over. It is a fairly inefficient way to do things but we are stuck with it.

  6. Because at 15-16 my friends did it, it made me look cool (so I thought at the time), and I was curious as to how it would make me feel. I was too chicken to try anything harder (eventually I tried weed, but it made me feel too outside of myself) so I thought I'd stick with the low-grade stuff like smoking and drinking and see how I did. And I didn't grasp at the time just how addictive tobacco could be. It was the mid-80’s, before the tide began to decisively turn against the smoking culture.

    It took a couple years, but my smoking eventually became a habit, and one that I truthfully enjoyed for the next fourteen years of my life. I came to enjoy the calming and comforting effect a cigarette had after a good meal, a hard day at work, while hanging with my friends, etc. I did drink from time to time, but (other than a few ill-advised party binges in my high school youth) mostly in moderation. I was actually proud that this was one of my few vices, in a time period where too many of my peers were indulging in hard core drugs and paying hard core consequences for their choices.

    As time went on though, my priorities in life started changing and I was gradually becoming aware of the health costs. I had a family by the time I was thirty and my girlfriend-soon-to-be-wife was a nonsmoker. I wanted to be a better example to our kids. I was starting to develop a smoker's cough and there were times after smoking particularly heavily I would find myself almost wheezing with a reduced ability to take in air. My energy levels would go down and I would wear out easier. And cigarettes were getting gradually more expensive and cutting more into our budget, something that was getting more difficult to support my now 1 1/2 pack a day habit. I still enjoyed the nicotine fix, but was finding myself smoking more and more out of sheer habit than of any physical pleasure of having a cigarette. I started entertaining thoughts of giving it up but realized that I was addicted enough that it wasn't going to be easy.

    One day I woke up to a head cold. I smoked the last cigarette in my pack and, given the way my swollen sinuses were messing up my senses, it tasted terrible. I decided that I needed to stay away from the smokes while I felt like this. After two weeks my head felt better but, having not had a cigarette, I decided to see how much longer I could go without one. Almost twenty years later, I still haven't had one. Don't ask me how I did it, I couldn't tell you. I didn't even make a conscious decision to quit, I just took advantage of an opportunity and ran with it, and am still running to this day.

    I have paid a price for those fourteen-or-so years of smoking. My weight after quitting shot up considerably, and is still well over what I'm really comfortable with. I still have dreams where I sneak a smoke, and actually wake up with my mouth tasting like a dirty ashtray. And I'm fully aware that if I were to weaken to the point to where I started up again, even briefly, I would be right back to where I started and possibly without the willpower now to quit again. Cigarette smoke now smells nasty to me, particularly in someone's house or on their clothes, yet my nicotine receptors still remember the pleasure whenever I walk past the smokers table outside at work and breathe in their smoke. But I never regret quitting, my lungs certainly don't regret it, and of course my wallet doesn't regret it (no way I could afford the habit now).

    Just some food for thought for those who may be young and consider taking up the habit.

  7. An undefined suspension from college.

    Was always a wild child.
    But. Was always one Ideal kid for parents and teachers.
    Like my parents used to give examples of me being the good child of theirs to my elder brother. :p

    I used to hate hate hate smokers and the smoke till my 4th semester. And I had a lot of friends who were regular so I started accepting it by 5th..and and then I tried it once in 6th semester.

    It was my 7th semester in college (NIFT). We had a ritual to rag freshers, like is there in most of the colleges.
    But what we had it different was that our faculties used to join us and rag along with us. Which seemed pretty healthy as introduction and was not offensive too.
    So, this had a scheduled day every year which was 5september 2014 Teachers day.
    This time, after a few minutes all the teachers were called for meeting. And then it was just us with juniors and freshers.

    After a few days a few of us were called and given a letter which said we have been suspended for ragging.
    Initially we were happy, like yeahh we are like the rock stars. The rowdy people, the ones famous and all other greatness.
    But later when we realized it was indefined the pressure started building up.
    Dated from september 2014 it ended by somewhere November 2014 after paying a fine and apology letter.
    In between we had mid semester exams and other things.. we were not aloud in campus. And we were a first few females in the history to get such suspension. :p
    Scared shit off us.

    Now there i had a roommate who used to smoke black around a pack of it in a day.
    I used to be alone and tensed thinking on what would happen, that was a mental harassment charge on us and then was the time.. I started up.
    Went up till a pack of 10 by the end of the day..

    I always have this strong willpower to not get into anything or not let anything suppress me in life..
    that is I know I l never be addicted to anything. Gradually I decreased it after the suspension got over..
    by Jan2015 I was over it.

    Later I had built up a habit of smoking when m tensed which was once in two months or 4-5months but now it's all over.
    Done with it. 🙂
    have it within yourself that nothing can suppress you.

  8. There are so many reason why people actually start smoking. Main reasons are depression, to be cool, give it a try, parent inherit, after seeing the collogues and friends. I accidentally fell into smoking habit. I smoked for so many years before finally successfully quitting.

    Reasons why I want to quit smoking are?

    I knew it was unhealthy. I had a smoker's cough. Colds stuck around for weeks – most turned into bronchitis. There is no way you can avoid the thousands of messages aimed at letting you know it's bad for you. With or without the Surgeon Generals warnings on every pack, I would've known.

    To sum up, for me (and some people I know), I smoke because-

    • It's social – I gain more from a few minutes smoking with the boss than an hour sitting in a meeting.
    • It's a ritual. It has become part of my daily life.
    • It's a convenient break – If I just stood or sat outside reading during a dinner service I'd be called lazy or a slacker. If I smoke I am called an addict but hard worker.
    • It pisses people off – I dislike the sheep getting into their car after two glasses of wine and complaining about the smoker across the street. I am not one tenth as dangerous as they are. My endangerment is fleeting (5min every 2h), easily detected, and mostly to myself.

    Their endangerment is long-term (an hour after they drink those two glasses), sneaky (you can't tell if the person barreling towards you has the reactions to stop or had a beer too much and doesn't), and mostly to others.

    It's almost too hard to quit. (thank for vaping that make it possible for me to quit) My habit was tied into drinking coffee so I had to quit coffee, too. That meant dealing with a horrible headache and feeling like you have to sleep for three days. Then, about two weeks later, I would get mouth sores where my salivary glands were, as my body readjusted to life without the thousands of chemicals in each cigarette puff. These would last for about two to three weeks. Anytime I am tempted to pick up a cigarette, I think of these horrible things and stop. I also think of my friend's mother had died of lung cancer.

    Now that I am an ex-smoker I try not to get down on people who are still smoking. I am not personally bothered by people who smoke. I know how difficult it is to quit. I just don't like it if I cannot get away from it, and I realize how bad it must have been for non-smokers before smoking indoors was made illegal in public places. I am sorry for all the people I must have bothered back then!

    In short in order to become happy, a person develops an effortless way to smoke a cigarette. But this is not the only way to get rid of your stress; in fact, this is the worst option available today to become stress-free. SO if there are so many options available to elevate life why do people choose smoking?

    The reason behind this is if a person has lost passion in his life then the quickest way possible is an addiction. If during his entire childhood the person never practices standing up for himself in society or achieving smaller goals that will make him feel good about himself then there are strong chances that he may choose addiction over any other healthy and ethical ways to improve his life situation.

    Inspired actions such as regular exercise, quality reading, listening to music, doing things he likes most without hesitation, a creative hobby, doing something for others, spending time with kids, etc. these are just for example purposes and may differ from person to person. But my point if the person lacks a passion for life then he is more likely to choose addiction because there is nothing else to choose from.

    Many adults take up smoking because of a very stressed life. They are under the illusion that smoking helps them relax. What they don't know is that smoking will only hurt them in the long run. But no matter how pathetic the situation is you can turn it around and start over again. Many people have done this. Those who quit smoking forever did not do it in a day, though it's possible to quit in a day. You can get support from your family members and communicate more with them. Let them know your positive side Just image how proud your family will be about you when you become smoke-free just for one day. Because if you can be free for one day you can be free forever.

  9. Answering this because on this very day, 4 years ago in my college backgate, I started smoking, not because of any pressure or to be a part of any group but because I wanted to give it a try as I was curious to know how exactly it feels like.

    Me and my friend Mr. J, bunked our BEE classes during our first year, we were sitting at some tea shop in our college backgate looking at the chain smokers, discussing "How chu** they are ? Smoking, seriously.".

    Then he asked me if I had ever tried it, of course NO.

    I counter questioned him, he said YES. Then I asked him, if he could teach me, he said YES but also said that in future don't blame him as its not a good thing and very addictive and it took him a lot to quit it.

    So I had my first cigarette that day(Goldflake)

    I continued to smoke for some days, a packet a day, it was addictive but not like my addiction for pizza or chinese/fast food.

    But then somewhere the addiction for smoking was dying as I din like it in the first place.

    So from a chain smoker, I became an occasional smoker, then rare smoker.. only when I feel lost.

    I still do smoke like once in a month or two, even that is not certain as I am not able to complete a single cigarette(Gold King), due to which I need a friend with whom I can share it with.

    More than 6 months since I last smoked, I feel good and better.

    But after writing this, I feel the need to smoke one today.

    One thing I have understood, the more we think about smoking, the more we get the desire to smoke.

  10. I followed the unfortunate example of Einstein, Bohr, Pauli, and so on, who were all heavy smokers. Sidney Coleman would smoke cigars in his office, and I admired him, although he also advocated occasional marijuana smoking, which I could never understand. Following Coleman, I started with cigars. I inhaled a little bit accidentally, and ended up vomiting and then retching for a long time. That was a few months before I tried again.

    I switched to pipe, but it was such a heavy dose, I would get very dizzy and sick from the nicotine dosage. So I mostly stuck to cigarettes. But the effects on the lungs and body are awful, even if you don't get cancer. The smoke and the carbon monoxide cloud your brain and weaken your body tremendously. I smoked half a pack to a pack of cigarettes every day, less when I had a pipe.

    Then I finally bought an electronic cigarette. I threw away my pack of cigarettes after two minutes and never looked back. I think I am as healthy as a non-smoker today, after my lungs cleared up, aside from occasional dehydration, and occasional mild nicotine overdose (dizzyness, chest-pain).

  11. My room-mate in college was a chain smoker and would offer me a smoke every time he'd smoke, which was twenty times a day, and every time I'd refuse.

    Idiotically enough, I later thought to myself, "Why don't I just smoke? I am already being subjected to all kinds of harm through second hand smoke, might as well make myself the culprit and not someone else."

    This logic was flawed enough to motivate me to the extent that I actually picked up a cigarette. One day, getting drunk with friends, he offered me a smoke and I thought to myself, "Hey.. what the hell!". And that was that…

    To this day I've never felt proud of that moment. It wasn't worth it.

  12. I started at 17.  My parents smoked.  My grandparents smoked, and my paternal grandmother died of emphysema.  Still, I smoked.  Why?  Stress, teenaged angst, not wanting to get fatter– who knows why I was so dumb?

    I quit cold turkey in 1992 and I haven't touched a cigarette in 21 years.  Unfortunately, the weight gain followed.  At the time I quit because I had a bout with bronchitis I had no desire to repeat.  I was able to stay off tobacco because I unexpectedly landed a permanent contract teaching job straight out of school (actually, before the ink on my MS had even dried) and school campuses were (are) tobacco free.  The cigarettes had to go, or no job.

    Sadly, although I have not relapsed, I'm convinced that one single drag on a cigarette would take me right back to where I left off.  Today I avoid being around people smoking because I never want to live that way again.

  13. My story with tobacco is unusual, but it has been positive and I think other people could replicate it.  If someone reading this ever decides to fly in the face of all the anti-smoking arguments and start anyway, please enjoy tobacco the way I have.
    I hated smoking all my life, but when I was celebrating my imminent return to the US after a depressing half-year teaching children in a Latin American ghetto, I decided to buy a couple of Cuban cigars for my friends and myself, just to try them. 
    One of my friends, a Turkish-Dane named Oskar, was a connoisseur of tobacco and instructed me in proper technique to enjoy the cigar properly, like a fine wine.  The cigar tasted amazing and I truly enjoyed it.
    We then went out clubbing, and hours later we were hanging out on the rooftop terrace. Oskar pulled out a pack of Marlboros or Camels or something and offered me one.  I figured, sure, I'll give it a try.
    I smoked it, and I felt some of the relief as the depleting nicotine returned into my system.  It felt good, but it tasted like the Habana if it had spent a few weeks in the garbage. 
    On a chemical scale, I learned first-hand that the pleasure derived from the cheap and plentiful cigarettes was empty and soulless without the rich taste of good tobacco.  One was an enriching experience; the other was a cheap fix. Cigarettes are the McDonald's of tobacco.

    I figured I'd quit smoking after that, but when I returned to college and started feeling stress, including PTSD-like symptoms from what I'd seen and done in the ghetto, I needed a different outlet than computer games, alcohol, and food, so I went down to the convenience store, I forwent the cheap fix of cigarettes and bought a two-pack of Al Capones. Cognac-dipped cigarillos.  They taste great, too.
    I ended up buying a pack. I never smoke more than once every two weeks, only when I really need it.   I've kept that rule ever since. 

    Then I got a bizarrely stressful food-service job.
    After a particularly stressful day for everyone, a day of argument and pettiness, everybody ended up taking smoking breaks and were surprised when I took one, too, since I hadn't taken one yet in the months I'd worked there.  Everyone was stressed out, but because of my months-long tolerance breaks and the high grade of the tobacco, I ended up the most relaxed afterwards.  By smoking high-grade tobacco once monthly, rather than cheap tobacco multiple times per day, I was actually saving money, relieving more stress, enjoying it more, and suffering less detriments to my physical health.

    Don't Start.  Nobody is lying to you about smoking being a terrible idea.

    • There's only one real reason to start smoking: stress relief. 
    • There are tons of better methods to relieve stress, and this is a cheap and empty one that will only stave it off.
    • You'll get addicted.  My physiology is probably different from yours.  I'm unusually self-aware of my brain activity.
    • Listen to people who have been smoking for years and years.  More of them regret it than not.  There's a reason.

    But if you MUST start, then Smoke Smart:

    • Never, ever, ever smoke twice in the same week. 
    • Keep your tolerance low.
    • Smoke only in case of emergencies.  Don't start any patterns.
    • Smoke only good tobacco.  Be a snob about it.  It's fun!
    • Exercise and sing regularly to measure its effect on your lungs

    I haven't smoked in… three months, I think.  Hadn't smoked for months before then, either.  I was never addicted, and I thank these rules.

  14. My parents got divorced when I was 14. My mom, dad and sister all started smoking heavily. I moved into a shitty little apartment with my mom, who rapidly became a suicidal alcoholic. I never really saw my dad, because he was too busy with the woman he had been having an affair with.

    My mom and sister offered me smokes almost every day. My new friends all smoked and constantly pressured me.

    I made it about a year, and I guess all the anger and heartache caught up to me. My willpower dissolved after one particularly horrible day at home. I decided if this was life, I didn't want it anyway. My mom had a strange man in our house and I couldn't bear being there. I snuck out through my window and met up with a friend.

    We sat in the woods while I cried my eyes out and smoked three Marlboro 120's in a row. They made me feel pretty damn good. And it was at that moment I discovered cigarettes magically took away the tics I had struggled with my entire life. Double whammy. That was the beginning of the end for me.

  15. I started smoking since I was 17 during my high School. Today I am 25 and I am very proud of myself that I choosed to quit smoking. Smoking had took over me almost totally. I learned smoking from my classmate. Actually I was fond of trying new things since my child so I didn't hesitate to try smoking. Slowly that became my habit and i got addicted to smoking almost for 7-8 years. There were no single day that i didn't smoke. I used to smoke secretly in my home too but i got caught several times and got scolded too. Then they didn't let me go out without any genuine reasons regarding my study. My studies were also totally ruined and the trust and believe towards me was vanished all of sudden.

    Days were very difficult that days. Being a female and getting into such habit rather than doing my household work and studies. I was hated. I tried several of times to quit smoking but failed every time. I could only stop smoke hardly for 1 or 2 days but then again I get into it anyhow. I used to run from home calling my friend just to fulfill my crave of smoking.

    There were the days i didn't come out of my room for 1-2 days. I lost my appetite. I became so skinny and got ill many times. I got lots of pressures from my family saying that i was in the wrong way. I was ruining my own life going in the wrong way that only harm myself. I then realized smoking is just the waste of money and time and the best method to destroy yourself. Today after 7-8 years I finally managed to get rid of this habit. It was difficult to me but If we try nothing is impossible. Getting rid of this habit took a lot of time and dedications. I got many suggestions, counselling  from my parents, relatives and seniors. I also read many ways to stop smoking, getting rid of it. I found them nonsense when i was addicted but after i got rid of the habit I found those reason really good. I even thought those ways were personally written for me.

    There are lots of Best and Successful ways to quit smoking. For that you can visit this link. I found this link very useful that contains THE REASON WHY PEOPLE SMOKE, EFFECTS OF SMOKING and finally BEST AND EASY WAYS TO QUIT SMOKING.

    LINK : Best And Easy Ways To Quit Smoking

    The site above is very good and found very useful hope you read it once. You won't regret the things included in it.

  16. For the exact same reasons young people started smoking 30 years ago.

    Peer pressure. In my case, it was never "pressure" in the sense of "you're a chicken", but rather to blend in. I always blended in with much older guys in my youth. Those were mature enough to *never* insist for me to smoke – some of them were already trying to *quit*, even – but I was curious about it, and everyone smoked except for "the kid", and they all looked so cool… and eventually, I started bumming cigarettes from them.

    There's really no difference from then to today. Medical info about the dangers of smoking were already available back then, of course. The only difference is that today there is much more hatred towards smokers. But I believe that only makes smoking *more* appealing to youngsters – in a rebellious way, I mean.  🙂

  17. I have never written this story down before, but this is how I started smoking:
    It was 1989 and I was in Titograd Yugoslavia, it was a warm summer’s evening and me, my two mates and 3 other American girls, all of us were backpacking across Europe missed the last train out of Titograd to Thessaloniki, Greece. We have all been traveling together for 2 days, us three had great plans to stick with these girls, for as long as we could, hoping that we could get out of this back-water communist country, find a place with a shower, (a proper toilet) and then find a bed. Out goal was Thessaloniki, we have been getting closer and closer to our goal for the last 2 days, but for tonight we were stuck in the train station. 
    So imagine this, 6 Americans stuck in this small town, whose only claim to fame is that it has a bus station AND a train station, I knew this because we all came in on the bus from Dubrovnik, which took 22 hours of riding on mountain passes a goat would feel unsteady on. So you really have to understand how foreign this place was, this was communist Europe before the Wall fell this was Reagan, Gorbachev, Timenen square happened the week before, this WAS the cold war…this was a bad place, poor people getting money from the government and either feeding their kids with it or getting drunk.
    I (unfortunately) knew how to speak a bit of Russian… believe me at the time, 1989 a tall American speaking Russian in Easten Europe was so confusing to people that one person refused to rent me rooms when I tried talking to them, and it motivated one vegetable seller to not accept my money when I wanted to buy some radishes. You have to realize that there were solders with ak-47’s all over the place in town. We passed TANKS parked outside the town; this was like what you would imagine after seeing the movie “Wolverines” (the original one with Patrick Swayze not the new remake crap)
    Ealier that day, while changing busses, we had an hour to kill, so after I got some radishes, my and my mates were waiting outside the bus stop… stretching our legs and eyeing the bus so it would not leave without us. Anyway these Yugoslavian kids (or should I call them Serbian… whatever) the local kids started running in a circle and singing a song in Serbian, sort of TO us, and they were running closer and closer to us, now they were like 3 to 7 years old, and the ring leader, this maybe 9 year old girl in a semi pixi – semi bowl hair cut was singing the loudest. I could tell they were being rude to us, so I timed to say this just as the little ring-leader-girl was passing me… I bent down to her eye level and said in a clear deep voice (in Russian) “I understand what you are saying” man her eyes lit up and she, and who whole group just took off, she may have pooped in her paints she was so scared.
    So we were in Titograd, and the 6 of us had to stay the night, the ticket agent refused to sell us tickets for the 8pm train out, but we did get tickets for the 8am train… great.
    We all decided that we would not leave the train station  and stick together, since we have all seen the movie “Deliverance” and we were pretty scared to think about how that would work out if the country folks were communist and we were Americans…that pig reference came up more than once.
    So the 7 of us (we found another British bloke who was stranded too), decided that it was best to just stay out of the way and find a corner to sleep. So we found one that was under a set of stairs, it was dark under the stairs but bright in the hallway, there was one way in and one way out… and the bathroom was around the corner… it all seemed good.
    But after we set up Camp America in the Titograd train station, we noticed that the bath room around the corner was the ONLY bathroom in the place, and that the ONLY BAR in the place was right up the stairs. So people walking up and down wanting to talk, wanting to practice English, wanting to just look at us… So by midnight the lights went out, the place sort of closed up but the bar (and bathroom) was still open.
    So based on my incredible ability to scare off 9 year old Serbian girls I was nominated to stay at the entrance and make sure the rest of the gang “was not bothered” (Did I mention that I am 6’8”, and was 230 with a ponytail at the time?)
    So the whole night, I sat there while drunken Serbs walked down the stairs to the bathroom, they would turn and want to talk, most of the time they would offer me a cigarette, I found out that when the cigarette was done, the conversation was done. So I smoked all night with random drunk Serbs, smoke as fast as I could, while being polite.
    Trivia question: When do bars close in Serbian train stations…? Answer: they don’t.
    So for 10 years after that I smoked between half and a whole pack of cigarettes a day, until I met my lovely wife, but quitting smoking is a different story altogether.

  18. I couldn't just read all the answers here, and not comment about myself.

    It all started when I joined college. I, myself, have never liked the habit of smoking. I was not averse to smokers, but to smoking. Once I joined Engineering college, I realized how many boys of my age already smoked. And smoke they did! First 8 months there, and I successfully managed to decline every person who offered me a smoke.

    One day, curiosity got the better of me, and I asked for one from a friend of mine. That's when it started, and never looked back. As long as I was in college, I used to smoke up 10 cigarettes a day, which later increased to 15 a day once I started working and could afford it. In my bid to do "less harm" to myself, I just switched to lights.

    Years passed, and I gradually started to avoid the act of smoking. I was getting tired of having bad breath most of the time, a weird senselessness on the tongue after every smoke, and also the sense of the smoke itself in my eye every time I'd walk into any dingy "smoking room" in the airports and pubs.

    I used to wonder that may be I was addicted to smoking. So, I'd experiment by going cold turkey at times. I have had many such 3-6 months long hiatus and never really felt a strong urge to smoke. And yet, somewhere within, I was never ready to quit smoking for ever. I always wanted to keep that "option" to choose, whenever I wanted.

    Today, I smoke roughly 2 cigarettes a day. I keep a pack of 20 with me almost all times, but don't really feel the urge to smoke any more than that. Sometimes, it's even one a day, or maybe even none – and I never cared. I'd mostly smoke once in the loo, during morning ablutions. And the second one is optional, in case I ever get absolutely bored during the day, or if I've had a heavy and hearty meal.

    Till date I don't know what I should call this habit. It doesn't feel addiction because I never feel any strong urge to smoke. I have even not smoked for days at end at times just because I forgot about smoking. But then again, it feels like an addiction because I have never managed to bring it down to zero, for ever.

    One thing is for certain. I've promised myself that I will never smoke before my kids. They will never be able to smell smoke on me. And the surest way of making that happen is by quitting it forever. Until that happens, I don't think I'll ever feel the urge to quit completely.

  19. I started smoking because:

    It was my Engineering Drawing exam the other day when I was in my first year of college in Engineering and was feeling really disappointed. I was not even a bit interested. My friend told me to consume cigarette and see the magic. It was really great. It was paradise. Well, I am going to curse him for telling me the half truth sometimes later. First of all, see me survive.

    So, my foolishness was at its highest point. Slowly and steadily, I started to consume it even more. At that time, I was really healthy and food aholic. Days passed and semesters passed, I got into third year of Engineering. I started to consume 12 cigarettes in a day. I was thinking that was a great means to survive. I forgot about my health and food, which was mandatory to survive.

    As time passed, I started to become weak, I started to become nauseous. I also started to feel pain in my chest. Here comes the curse part. That foolish friend did not tell me that cigarette smoking comes with a great consequence. Well, that does not even matter. I was the most foolish at the first place. Now, cigarette smoking became a death for me.

    I slowed down the cigarette consumption. It was hard but I successfully did it. Now I am wise and I know the negative effects of it.

    Dear Quorans, cigarettes are really bad. Do not even try them because trial is the only attraction part. Once you try, you get addiction and then it starts to kill you. Life is precious. Cigarettes can lower your life time. You will start to get into abyss. Stop and do not be fool like me. Stop it today itself and never try ever in your life.

    Caution: Smoking kills. 120% correct.

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