Why I’m going to quit smoking for real now
The way I see it, there are only three possible options for smokers in 2019.
WHAT madness possesses people to smoke? Nonsmokers have been taught to believe every vile puff is forced down our throats, a symbol of Big Tobacco’s dominion over the wheezing masses.
But sometimes a cigarette is just a cigarette. Smoking is both relaxing, and mildly stimulating. It’s hard to beat a Greek breakfast. To light up after ameal—or after certain other activities—is to become closer to God.
Here’s another heresy: if you quit smoking early enough in life, your lungs and general health bounce back to normal. Those who kick the habit before 30 have the same life expectancy as non-smokers. Nurses and health professionals know this, which is why many of them are not averse to the occasional fag.
Nevertheless: this is the year I will stop smoking. For one thing, the big three-oh is starting to loom over the horizon. That number also happens to mirror the price increases—after yet another tax hike on New Year’s Day, it’s hard to find a pack for less than $30. Lastly, it just doesn’t fit with my budget and healthconscious image. The social shaming has finally got to me.
So here are the three choices for smokers in 2019:
1. GIVE IT UP
The potent mixture of New Year resolutions and rapacious tax increases has sparked a deluge of calls to Quitline. These folks can offer you all the support and guidance you need, and hook you up with subsidised nicotine gum, patches or lozenges.
The price increases haven’t affected me too much, because I’ve mostly smoked chop-chop while I’m in New Zealand. There’s a booming black market up and down the country, which I couldn’t possibly endorse in a newspaper column, but it’s perfectly legal to grow your own for personal use. All you need is some space in the garden, and somewhere dry to cure the leaves. Tobacco is a hardy plant, and a thousand seeds costs about $2.50. You do the math.
While initially mocked as the ‘fedora of the mouth’, a vape is no longer just a fashion accessory for hipsters. In fact, e-cigarettes are literally life- savers: they’ve helped thousands of people quit, they’re vastly cheaper than their tar-filled cousins, and something like 95 per cent less harmful. There’s no ash, no butt, no stink, no secondhand smoke.
The Government, forever haunted by the idea that somebody, somewhere, might be enjoying themselves, has proposed a raft of new vape laws, but at least it’s now legal to buy e-cigarettes and fluid.
A cynic might say the reluctance to embrace smoking alternatives has something to do with the vast sums of money the government earns from tobacco, with a captive market of addicts who have little choice but to pony up and pay the taxes.
As grotesque as this behaviour is – especially coming from politicians who talk a big game about caring for the poor and vulnerable—we can only focus on the factors within our control. Smoking commercial tobacco in 2019 is no longer an option, as far as I’m concerned. You have to either quit, vape, or grow your own.
Of course, it’s all well and good to come up with a vague goal. There are a lot of those flying around at this time of year. Tune in next week, and we’ll go through the factors for making a resolution that doesn’t drift away like smoke on the wind.
‘ You have to either quit, vape, or grow your own.’