By Pietro Spadafora
I am an addict.
It has been part of my life for eleven years.
I use it every day, several times a day.
I need it in the most beautiful moments and in the worst ones.
Whenever I am relaxed or if I am nervous.
I cannot help myself before going to bed and as soon as I wake up.
If I don’t have one, I may go and look for her in the middle of the night or get late to class in the morning.
To make use of it leaning out of a window or under a flood.
The cigarette is just an ugly beast.
I suppose that many of you have clicked this link imagining who knows what, but being a heavy smoker is a real form of toxic addiction.
My vision of tobacco, that may appear a hyperbole to you, is supported also by the scientific world. If you take a look at the leaderboard of The Lancet, one of the world’s most trusted and reliable medical journals, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance_dependence) you will see that nicotine generates more physical dependence than cocaine and more psychological dependence than heroin: unbelievable but true! It is incredible to think that the pleasure of cigarette comes from the sense of suffocation due to the smoke we inhale: smoking is for all intents and purposes a form of masochism and self-destruction.
At least once a week every smoker receives a lecture from relatives or friends. Unfortunately every reprimand enters from one ear and goes out from the other: if you tell a drug addict that he is an addict, he will do nothing more than take drugs even more. Most of the time the approach used by non-smokers is wrong: either they tell you about the physical and fatal damages made by cigarettes or about the economic damage you face daily. My father, for example, thinks of convincing me to stop by always referring to my two grandmothers who have smoked all their lives and now they have virtually no breath and voice (even if they have exactly 180 years between the two of them). Not to mention my friends, who tell me how much money I have thrown away during my life as a smoker, more precisely how much money I have burned. 11 years times 365 days equal 4015 days times at least 15 cigarettes a day makes 60,225 cigarettes. I prefer not to complete the calculations and find out how much a single cigarette costs… better this way.
To those who would like to quit smoking I would recommend reading or watching Allen Carr’s “Easy Way to Stop Smoking”: the author has a unique approach because, instead of showing the negative effects of smoking, he uses metaphors and examples to show how smoking is useless and our dependence can easily be eliminated. This method promises a 90% success rate. I have already read the book twice and watched the film at least 5 times but still smoke; it must be said that every time (even if by now I know book and film by heart) I stopped for a few weeks.
I can not fail to mention one of my favorite quotes, attributed to Mark Twain: “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times… ” As I said earlier, I too have quit smoking too many times and the thing I realise each time is that there is never a right time. Since there is about a month and a half till the end of the course, perhaps it would be better not to try to stop completely now: I would have continuous mood swings and suffer from insomnia more than I am already suffering. But it is necessary: I got a signal, for the umpteenth time, two weeks ago that I really have to give a cut. Gary and I went to three interviews, two of which were very long, more than an hour and a half each. I realised how much my performance as a seller (of our ads campaigns and of my person) drastically deteriorated in the last 20 minutes of the talks: at one point I was starting to think constantly about the moment we would be out of the agency and enjoy a nice cigarette. I am a person who is easily distracted and moderately anxious, what will happen, if I already have this problem for a single interview, on a portfolio day?
As promised in the last reflection slide, in the past week I have drastically reduced the number of cigarettes smoked, thanks especially to having resumed running and exercising daily. Over the weekend I even managed not to smoke but this morning, after learning the news that Martin was leaving us, I went down and smoke a last cigarette with him.
And, even today, I will stop tomorrow.
P.S.: Cigarettes smoked to write this scab equal 4