How (Not) to Quit Smoking: What Will Occupy Your Lesbian Hands?

Did you know that smoking is bad for you? Whoa, neither did I! ‘Cause you know, my parents, teachers, and that lady I bummed a light from on the street told me it was, but I thought they were lying until I sat down and starting doing research for this post right here, and damn! That shit is scary. I’m stressed out. Does anyone have a cigarette?

Ugh, sorry if I’m a little bit grumpy, you guys — I’m trying to quit smoking.

I had my first cigarette when I was 16. I started smoking regularly at 18. I came out as a smoker at 19, because sometimes the truth takes a long time to come to terms with. It was finals week of my freshman year in college. My best friend and I had been up all night ingesting study drugs and shots of espresso, and while standing outside the campus McDonald’s waiting for it to open at 6am rolling cigarette after cigarette, I turned to him and said, “You know, I don’t think this is a social thing anymore.”

At some point you have to stop blaming the big things. You have to stop getting mad at capitalism, booze, Big Tobacco (whatever that means), the abrasiveness of those fucking Truth ads and the deliciousness of cigarettes (mm, cigarettes) and say “I AM A SMOKER (and maybe I’m addicted).”

Addicted to looking like a tool

Addiction was different than I had pictured it. I thought addiction to cigarettes was shaky hands, snapping at your loved ones, being unable to sleep, and roaming the streets late at night wearing a torn-up hoodie and sweatpants. I then realized that maybe I had just been watching too many documentaries about crystal meth, and that being addicted to cigarettes was completely different. It was more like the absence of something. What to do while walking from place to place, an excuse to go outside, something to do right after a meal. Addiction is knowing that another cigarette is going to make me nauseous, going to make me want to lie down, going to burn my throat, going to give me a terrible headache — and still wanting another cigarette.

It’s hard because once you say you’re going to quit smoking – to yourself, to your girlfriend, to your friends, to anyone – any time you light a cigarette you’re breaking a promise. Or you have an addiction. Or it starts feeling like ‘a problem.’ Every time I try to quit smoking, I’ll finish off my last pack of cigarettes and go a day without wanting another one. After two days, I’ll feel proud of myself and tell everyone around me, “Did you know it’s been two days since my last cigarette?” After three days, someone will offer me a cigarette, and, feeling like I deserve it, I’ll accept one, remember how much I enjoy smoking, and go out and buy another pack.

Amusement parks are awesome. Kissing girls is awesome. Babies in animal hats are awesome. A patch that would inject nicotine into my bloodstream without me having to take any active initiative?

I knew I didn’t want to try to patch when a friend of mine described it as ‘awesome,’ which I felt was weird, and maybe a little inappropriate. Amusement parks are awesome. Kissing girls is awesome. Babies in animal hats are awesome. A patch that would inject nicotine into my bloodstream without me having to take any active initiative? Well, actually, that did sound kind of awesome. But in a terrible, terrible way that would maybe hook me on the nicotine patch, which would have been expensive, dangerous, and let’s face it, pretty embarrassing.

Like any good lesbian, I love to psychoanalyze every last one of my thoughts, feelings, and actions. So after ‘quitting smoking’ three times in the last month and a half, I thought it might be worth looking past the fact that I was having trouble quitting, and instead looking into the reasons why smoking was so appealing to me in the first place and why it continues to be appealing to me now.

Many moons ago I asked Riese if I could write about smoking and the LGBT community, and she said I could do it if I could find veritable proof that Lesbian Smoking is a thing. So naturally, I googled “LGBT smoking,” and, indeed, a number of articles, studies, and smoker forums popped up.

Fact: Lindsay Lohan and I smoke the same brand of cigarettes

I used to think this was something that existed only in my universe, just in my circle of friends. I’m not saying that smoking makes you gay, or even that being gay makes you a smoker, but I met a lot of my friends in college smoking cigarettes in the quad outside the dorms. We’d recognize the same faces outside, say hi, bum smokes and lights, make small talk, and eventually form relationships that remain incredibly close three years later. (Presumably) by no coincidence, most of my friends are queer of some variety. These friends I made came out with me to our first gay clubs and parties, where we’d line up outside, making conversation with other smokers, inviting the cute ones out for a smoke later to ‘talk’ or ‘get to know each other’ or use the phrase “Pretty girls don’t light their own cigarettes” (ew). We’d also get wrangled into going to frat parties where we didn’t fit in and spend the majority of the night outside talking shit, Solo cup in one hand, cigarette in the other.

And apparently, yes, this is a real thing. According to the Mautner Project, 34% of LGBT adults identify as smokers compared to 24% of heterosexual adults, and lesbians and bisexual women are 2-3 times more likely to smoke cigarettes regularly compared to their straight counterparts. Many of these smokers picked up the habit young, a trend continued by today’s LGBT youth. Today, 59% of LGB-identified teenagers call themselves smokers, whereas only 35% of straight teens do the same.

There’s a lot of speculation on what might be causing this need. Because while smoking cigarettes is a personal choice, the numbers speak too loudly for us not to demand an explanation. It’s not the lack of education — the fact that smoking kills is basically common knowledge these days, and if it’s not a person or a PSA that tells you, it’s often written plainly on packs of cigarettes themselves. So it must be something else.  Some attribute this spike to the prevalence of the bar and club scene as meetup spots for gay folk. And while accurate, using this as the sole reason seems sort of antiquated.

What’s not antiquated though, is the stigma that queer people experience in society, at our jobs and from our families — as well as the stress that comes with it. Many gay youth become distanced from their families, thereby removing a certain pressure to quit. On top of that, smoking is not something that’s traditionally considered a feminine trait (hence the birth of Virginia Slims and other such nonsense). Perhaps queer ladies are saying “Fuck the gender norms, I’m going out for a smoke.”

Just like Stephanie Tanner

When society ‘others’ us, smoking becomes both an activity of rebellion and of bonding. It becomes tied to our identities. I feel attached to it. It’s a part of my memories. I recall being thrown out of a certain Autostraddle Rodeo Disco party no less than three times in one night and spending the remainder of the evening smoking cigarettes with Intern Emily Choo and striking both matches and conversation with every lady-smoker who came out.

And so being gay might not be a ‘reason’ to start smoking, but it’s certainly a factor that makes it hard to quit.

Smoking regularly has something that’s been with me as long as drinking heavily has, that is to say about three years. Frequent use of substance appears to be common in many demographics that I belong to, including – but not limited to – people who are gay (see above), people who are college-aged, people who wait tables for a living, people who write bad poetry on occasion, and people who earned good grades while growing up in restrictive houses in suburban New York before being set free into college life.

I know it sounds like a cop-out and a cliche, but it’s hard for me to carry out a regular social life without involving alcohol, at least to some degree. I used to think no one went harder than my (gay) group of friends until I turned 21 and started going out after work with the people I waited tables with. And let me tell you, we are a frustrated group of people in need of a tall drink. After 10 hours of being on your feet, being chastised by managers, and answering questions like “Can you tell me about your grilled chicken poonani?” (believe it or not, people frequently mispronounce the word ‘panini’), it’s hard not to be swayed to go out for just one beer. Just one. About half the time I’m pretty successful in ordering ‘a drink or two,’ but no lie, two weeks ago, I meant to go out for one beer and ended up buying a bottle of champagne.

And of course, what goes better with an expensive bar tab than cigarettes?

Or even, what better excuse to take a 5-10 minute break from work than going out for a cigarette. I’ve never seen a non-smoker approach a manager and ask for a few minutes to go outside, take a mental break, sit down, and socialize a little. I’ve gotten close to all of my work friends by going out for a cigarette with them during the shift.

Before working at this restaurant, I never felt like I ‘needed’ a drink or ‘needed’ a cigarette. It was more like, I’d want one, or I’d like one. At first I thought that maybe I should get a new job, but the hassle of the job search was too much, and besides, the friends I had made had become too valuable to me anyway. I’ve mentioned to them that I’m planning on quitting smoking and cutting down on drinking, and so far they’ve been really supportive and have often mentioned wanting to do the same. Maybe it’s not the job I should re-asses, maybe it’s my definition of ‘need.’

Holy smokes

All things considered, what I really need to do is stop making excuses. I need to stop pretending that I’m a victim of so many things or that I have no control over my habits and take responsibility. I’ve been successful in not smoking before. Once when I was 17 (before I was a ‘smoker,’ I guess) and my dad found ashes by my windowsill, and again for almost a year when I was 19 and couldn’t hold someone’s cigarette at a party without getting into an all-night fight with my (then) girlfriend.

Although I may not yet have succeeded in quitting (everyone loves a story about failure just as much as they love a story about success), it’s not so bad. I’m down from a pack every two days to a pack maybe every 10. I may still drink two nights out of the week, but that’s way different from drinking five nights of the week. Progress is slow, change is hard, cliches are accurate. I know this is going to happen because, for the first time, it’s something that I want — all social benefits aside. It’s something I want, not something that anyone else is pressuring me to do. Now all that’s left is finding something to do with my newly-unoccupied lesbian hands.

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phoenix has written 64 articles for us.


  1. i hate smoking. sometimes it feels like i will NEVER quit! i guess we just have to keep trying? my newest attempt is kind of like yours, as long as im not a pack a day (like i normally am) i consider it a successful day. maybe some day ill be down to a pack a week and then just ween off that way! good luck!

    • You can’t keep saying “maybe”. You keep saying “maybe” and you’ll always have that excuse. Quitting is something you have to commit to. I WILL not smoke any more. Not I MAY not smoke any more. Because then you’re not letting anyone (or yourself) down. You didn’t break any promises…you said maybe….

  2. Nothing intelligent to say other than I LOVE this article, especially your exploration of the link between being GLBITQ and smoking. If memory serves I think there’s similar stuff out there on drugs and booze too. I feel like some of the community turn to substances because the pleasure they provide us with is a welcome relief from discrimination and judgement and the inner pain that can go with that.

    Congrats on the steps you’ve taken to reduce your cigarette intake, and good luck with the rest of your journey. You’re producing great writing lately, a real insight into where your life is at right now.

  3. now that i think about it, i can’t fathom how i managed to quit while attending a small liberal arts college in upstate new york and living with four heavy smokers. at first i was bored silly during long drives and miserable after large meals and i was worried i would never have a truly satisfying poo again (and i know i’m not the only one, admit it kids) but now it’s not bad at all. oh wait, i remember why i quit. they jacked up the price to $10/pack and i said fuck it, i’d rather spend my money on booze and weed. three cheers for healthy life choices! :)

  4. Damn, one thing that is so hard not to do–smoke cigarettes when everyone I know and want to know does. :/

    I’m less cool now, but I guess I’ll be the coolest LATER…or something equally as convincing…

    • Same. I am really bad at socializing, and I have observed the bumming-a-light/cig-friend-making-process with some amount of jealousy. But I know that I do not want to actually smoke.

      • A couple non-smoker friends of mine used to carry lighters and sometimes even cigarettes so they could offer them to cute smoking strangers. I’ve been tempted to do the same, but I really can’t handle being in the vicinity of cigarette smoke. Flavoured cigar/cigarillo/whatever-they’re-calleds don’t bother me as much though, maybe I should carry those.

        • Yep, when I was younger I always used to have a lighter or two on me. All my friends and everyone in my social scene smoked (though I was straight-edge and still have never even tried a cigarette) and it felt like a way of making myself useful, of edging myself further into that community. “Keep it,” I’d say, sometimes, when a pretty girl had my lighter, and that was nice. I’d just get another one later.

          Now practically no one around me smokes regularly — I live in a city where you can’t in the bars, which probably has something to do with it — but whenever cigarette smoke drifts through the air I’m overcome with nostalgia. It’s not entirely unpleasant.

          • I kind of like the smell of cigarette smoke- it reminds me (depending on the brand I guess? some of them smell different) either of my grandmother, Europe, or various friends/parties at college. All of which are good associations!

            I think I’ll take up the carrying around a lighter thing, it sounds like a neat idea.

          • Side note: though I like the smell, once I kissed a smoker and did not enjoy the taste. Cute girl though.

  5. I hate to be unabashedly commercial, so just take this as one human being responding to another’s plight:

    There’s a new stop smoking act in town. It’s called THE WIZARD’S OUTRAGEOUS SCHEME FOR STOPPING SMOKING, and something tells me it just might be as appealing if not more so to lesbians as to straights.

    Why do I say this? Well, if you go to and opt in for the free report–which is very extensive in its overall description of the “scheme”–I think you’ll see what I’m getting at.

    As a matter of fact, you guys just might be the answer to my prayers. Let me know after you’ve had a look-see.

    Happy Landing!

    Humbler Acts

  6. I feel like this is an article about my life, except that I no longer wait tables (yay for returning to school) and I smoke way way more than a pack every 10 days–if I got it down to two cigarettes a day, I’d be fucking ecstatic.

    I must say though, I was really hoping this article would have advice for me on what to do with my hands the next time I try to quit. And my face, for that matter. So far, every time I try, I just end up destroying everything delicately destroyable (think pencils and anything else the right size and shape to chew on/break/bend and snap), eating all of the food (which invariably makes me sick), and pissing off everyone I know. Help help help. All of my friends who have quit say this: “oh, you know, I just stopped. It was easy.”

    Who the fuck are these people! WHAT.

    Anyway, great article.

    • Peppermints/toostie roll pops/jolly ranchers/gum?

      I have observed friends trying to quit utilizing these sorts of things.

    • Herbal cigarettes (nicotine free)? Occupying my hands/mouth are the most important thing for me, so herbals give me something seriously satisfying to do while I deal with the nicotine withdrawal. I figure breaking the chemical dependency and the physical habits separately will be easier than doing it all at once. Also some of the herbal smokes smell really excellent, so there’s the immediate bonus of smelling nice.

      I have no idea if this actually works, though. I’m still working on it, and the herbals have helped me cut down waaaaay more than I’ve been able to in the past.

    • I was an occasional social smoker – maybe not even once a week – back in college and then became a more serious smoker once the stresses of the “real” world hit. The first week or two of quitting is agony – I just wanted to chew off my lip and my brain was in a constant fog. But after that it starts to get easier.

      After a few attempts I was able to stick it out, but you have to REALLY want it. For me it wasn’t the far off health effects (which are horrible, obvs), but the ones that start early on, like difficulty exercising or just going up stairs, and colds that linger too long. For someone who had very few health issues prior, it freaked me out that this would only get worse if I kept it up.

      I found gum somewhat helpful, but yeah, anyone who says it’s easy to quit is lying or not seriously addicted (or has strange genetics). And I read somewhere that if you start before you are 18, your body has an even harder time quitting than someone who starts later in life.

      It’s been a year now and I’m at the point where I can hang around smokers outside and not feel like I even want one. I just remember the health stuff and the feelings of helplessness and dependency that comes with addiction and I feel relieved that I’m free from it.

      So good luck to you – don’t listen to the people who tell you it’s easy – that’s neither true nor helpful!

  7. I tried to quit smoking, and my friend trev said “but being a smoker is like being a lesbian! It divides society into camp doers, haters and live and let livers, it gives you something nifty to do with your hands, and it makes your breath and fingers smell funny.”

    Trev is a gay man, and I’m not convinced he knows what a lesbian is. In the end it just came down to the fact that smoking is cool and I’ll quit when I’m old….er.

  8. Dear Katrina-
    I am so glad I met you outside that Rodeo Disco smoking cigarettes. Our cancerbeans gave us the perfect icebreaker. But what I recognized in you that night was the kind of soul who could write something as thought provoking and heartbreakingly true as this piece, and I want that person to be alive for a very long time. So cheers to your quitting, but double cheers to your reflections.
    Maybe we should start a sparkler selling business for non smokers so everyone has an excuse to go outside and enjoy five minutes of conversation. You can still give a pretty girl a light, but the twee and marvelous outcome will be a stick spitting fire rather than smoke.
    Think about it.

      • second sparkler idea

        also, electronic cigarette. weird, but helpful. I didn’t even want to quit consciously at the time I got it.

        • Did you quit after using the e-cig, or did you just start smoking the e-cig?
          I think those things are amazing, whatever the case may be.

  9. I’ve been a social smoker for about five years until last spring when I got real stressed about my living situation and started smoking regularly when I’d take my dog out on walks.

    Smoking is really social though, especially on campuses and places where you’re forbidden from smoking, its like a little club or something. I know a lot of people who’ve started smoking pipes though because pipe tobacco is cheaper, rocking that sherlock holmes look.

  10. I’ve never smoked. I’ve tried a few puffs over the years (amounting to a total of under one whole cigarette), and I’m not a fan of walking behind smokers (it just bothers me.)

    That being said, there are times when I wish I did smoke… for the sole reason of community. My freshman year of college, the students that made the most friends were the smokers. They’d stand outside the dining hall, classrooms, and dorms. They formed a quick, and strong, camaraderie. While I was struggling to make friends through clubs, classes, and over the disgusting food, my peers were socializing several times a day. I have since (in my ripe old age) learned to make friends without smoking, I occasionally will see girls flirting over cigarettes on the streets of the West Village, or outside my apartment, and I wonder…

  11. I wish it was totally kosher for non-smokers to go take a 5-minute break to breathe outside. That, and the easy community in college, are the only reasons I ever even considered starting. Never did, though. But I can totally understand the social aspects of the addiction, as well as the clinical.

  12. Hello Katrina, you have expressed all of my gay feelings and I appreciate this post a great deal. I have two packs waiting for me at home because I bought them last time I was in a non-NY state, but also the strongest urge to quit I’ve had in all 5 years since I’ve been a smoker and I don’t know how to deal with that. You posting this is icing on the cake. I still don’t know what I’m going to do. I might go have a cigarette right now because of the emotions. Don’t follow my lead, though, you keep trying.

  13. You should read the book by Allen Carr – Easyway.

    That’s how i stopped smoking 3 years ago. And my friends too.

  14. Second thing, don’t be so hard on yourself. You don’t have to stop finding excuses or ‘stress-relievers’. Everybody needs them! Just find a better one! Exercise for example…..if i’m frustrated from my work and hit the gym, i feel much better afterwards, it releases endomorphins, they make you feel happy!

    • “All those… dwarfmins pumping…”

      But seriously, this is my strategy– I’m joining the gym and hoping that all the good clean exercise makes me want to smoke less.

  15. Cold turkey isn’t for everyone, so congrats to the author on the progress you have made. Thank you for this article that may encourage other lesbians to quit smoking. I hate to see our community permeated with something that is so… unnecessarily bad.

    There was a study that came out that showed the No. 1 reason people start smoking is to look cool/older. This didn’t surprise me whatsoever, but god, it’s such a fucking sad reality. People are dying in their 40s and 50s all because they wanted to look cool when they were 15? Not surprisingly, statistics also show that if someone hasn’t become a smoker by 18, the overwhelming likelihood is they will never become a smoker.

    Smoking isn’t cool. It’s something kids do to look cool and something adults do because they can’t stop. Now, I know adults who claim they love smoking and they never wanna stop. I can’t fathom it. They love the stench they bring into the building from being outside? They love the hundreds of dollars they waste every year? They love the way it dulls their tastebuds? They love standing, freezing, outdoors in the snow alone while everyone else is inside? They love the way it makes them wheeze and gasp for air? Do they really love it, or is it easier to love than to try to stop?

    I did “smoke” for one semester of college. I felt claustrophobic about sharing a small room with someone and it gave me an excuse to spend some time outside by myself. I can understand the ritual aspect. But it made my clothes smell and it gave me a dizzy, lightheaded gross feeling. I realized I was allowed to go for a walk to the bookstore or library or something. Sometimes I’d just go outside and play guitar by myself or write in a journal. You just need to replace the ritual with another one.

    Good luck to all the smokers trying to quit. And to the smokers who whine about being judged (I know several of those people in real life), sorry.

    • I don’t know the statistics on how many start because it’s “cool,” but I do know there are other reasons people begin smoking. In many cases, it’s just what people do in the culture in which they were raised. This doesn’t make it ok, but if your parents, your friends, your community does it, I think it feels more like a given rather than a choice to be “cool.”

      In any case, I had a lot of self-hate when I was a smoker. I hated the smell, the health outcomes, the expense, and I thought it made me look really uncool. But I quickly got addicted to how they made me feel and this overpowered the negative stuff. When I think about it now, it still sounds like such a stupid choice, but it’s very difficult to get out once your in. So glad I’m not a smoker anymore.

      Don’t do drugs, kids.

  16. The key is to do it gradually. Not cold turkey. If youre smoking 10 a day you decide for the next week or even three days youre going 9 and the number gradually gets lower week after week as you adjust and work in a schedule to fit the diminishing cigarettes. If you split cold turkey youll never get there. And youll always be thinking about that cigarette. It’s about breaking a habit.
    The whole finality about quitting is the problem. It opens you up to feeling like a failure if you dont hold your word.

  17. It took me almost 2 years to go from smoking everyday, to social smoking, to once in a while, to never.
    But to this day whenever I walk into an airport I feel the urge to find the smoking area and light up.

    • Walking into an airport makes me feel the urge to do a LOT of things I normally don’t do– like chain smoking, binge drinking, and screaming random obscenities.

  18. Alas, I took up the habit when I became a feminist and meetings invariably took place in smoke filled rooms. Things have changed in the last 20 years or so.

    So here’s some helpful hints from an ex-smoker.

    1) It will probably take a while (sometimes a long while) of feeling disgusted with your habit before you can consider quitting seriously: smokey breath, smokey clothes, smokey fingers….ugh. If you have a hackers cough, time to take it seriously.

    2) Eg. it took countless years of smoking while shivering under my barely covered doorway, in the rain and cold, before I considered it madness to keep doing this to myself!

    3) It helps not to hang out so much with friends who are smokers, at least for awhile.

    4) Having a fag break out back isn’t the only way to meet interesting women at conferences :)

    5) It helps to have loved ones nag you, even when it really irritates you. My prepubescent daughter used to hide my tobacco pouch and yell that she didn’t want me to die!

    6) Don’t think how much you’ll miss the after dinner smoke, the after exercise smoke…or even the after sex smoke! After a few months you won’t even remember why you loved the after….smoke, believe me.

    7) It takes only 5 DAYS for the body to get rid of the physical addiction once you stop smoking. The rest of the craving is in your head.

    8)You may find it easy to quit and then think you can just have a puff of someone else’s cigarette. Lousy idea. You will be back to smoking 20 a day within days. You will *always* be a recovering smoker.

    9) Move to San Francisco or a city with equally draconian bylaws on smoking! I was traumatised the first time I visited SF as a smoker. The only place I could smoke was walking down the street! Inconvenience in the long term is a great motivator:)

    10) Think of something to buy with the money you’ll be saving not smoking!

    11)Give yourself a break when you’re quitting. Being a little grumpy is par for the course for the first few weeks. Warn your friends and family and ask for a bit of indulgence.

    Hope that helps. Good luck.

    • Agreed x10000 on #8. I haven’t smoked regularly in years but just reading this article makes me want to light one up.

  19. The 59% of LGB teens smoking seems fairly accurate to me – I think about my friends who smoke and a lot of them identify as not straight. That said, there’s a lot of straight girls I know who smoke just because it’s seen as cool.

    I like the idea of smoking as a social or gender behaviour, in a weird way. It makes me think about rebellion, and why people start in the first place. That said, I find smoking really unattractive as I’m one of those people who can’t be around cigarette smoke without coughing violently.

  20. If I could just quit smoking while driving I’d be golden. I smoke about 70% of my daily cigarettes in my car.

    It’s just that driving is SO BORING without a smoke…

    • try sunflower seeds, that helped me a lot. It might sound gross, but it’s basically like dipping, where you can preoccupy your mouth and your hand by having to spit shells and replenish. Just keep something like an empty water bottle in the car to put the shells in.

  21. Awesome article. I myself am trying to quit but today a new co-worker had a cigarette and I just couldn’t resist a break. It’s hard. But I’m glad this is something you want!

  22. I just wanted to say that this is an extremely well-written article.

    Keep going with the whole writing thing Katrina.

  23. I am chiming in on the social thing. I’m one of the very few people (idiots?) who took up smoking, at age 18, intentionally.

    Like I was the kid in high school who told my friends it was bad. And then did it, on purpose, specifically BECAUSE it was bad for me. Yeah. That happened. Like I went on a long and unhappy drive, bought a pack of cigarettes, smoked all of them, was immediately addicted. poof.

    But whatever. Now I know better/hate myself less, and I’m stuck with this stupid addiction.

    BUT the social benefits of the smoke break are so many. Like, most of my work friends (from any job) were always just all of the smokers.

    However, anyone of the female variety I’ve ever tried to date (all of the straight men smoked, go figure) thought it (and therefore me) was nasty/gross/etc etc.


    Smoking good for:
    1)lightening the wallet
    2) making friends
    3) dating dudes
    4) hating self
    5) driving

    Smoking bad for:
    1) Living
    2) lung capacity
    3) dating girls
    4) liking self
    5) smelling car

    I should quit.

  24. Someone once told me that the problem with smoking isn’t that smoking is cool, but rather that smokers are cool. So you’re more likely to pick up the habit if you know cool people who smoke , especially if they’re also cute.
    But now I know that I’m still insanely uncool and I smoke…..

  25. This article is super relevant to my interests! My interests, on any given day: smoking, world peace, girls, not smoking. I started smoking regularly (“became a smoker”) because it bought me one-on-one time with the girl I loved, but have yet to use smoking as a social crutch since. Most of my (straight straight heterosexual straight) friends don’t smoke, and are so anti-smoking I feel guilty and have to hide my cigarette consumption around them, which is difficult. But, like you said, I just want to smoke, no matter what – it’s just that it’s difficult calling it an addiction. Also something you didn’t mention, which is a huge factor, is the fact that cigarettes are so friggin expensive. SO EXPENSIVE. (Well, I guess depending on where you live.) Regardless of what I do, this was a great article and I hope you succeed!

  26. my ex gf got me started smoking, but i think it was more of an army thing, because that was the best way to get a break from the sergeants, and sometimes that’s all there was to do. and when we went to the club it would give us that whole idgaf look that works so well. but i suck at smoking, one pack can last me a month, i can go forever without even thinking of a cigarette. my new job has all smokers that constantly wanna go on breaks and smoke and even then i don’t always want to. it’s mostly when i’m drinking. so hopefully i don’t get addicted? idk i’ve been smoking for a while now and still forget i even have a pack. but my gf wants to stop smoking so maybe i should as a show of solidarity? idk.

  27. Katrina, I don’t smoke and never have, but I’m just gonna chime in to say that I think you are such a brilliant writer and I’ve loved you ever since I discovered your No Fucks To Give article.

  28. Amazing piece. Totally broke down all my feelings about smoking, spread them out on the floor, then threw them up in the sky like that guy did in the first scene of Aladdin with the sand. I constantly tell people that I’m not planning on smoking when I’m 30. But life is fuckin’ stressful and that’s not gonna stop at 30. I need to start learning how to deal with it sans cigarettes. And may I just add that cigarette addiction and procrastination are not the greatest combination when trying to cut back or quit.

  29. I used to smoke a lot at work. All those little moments when you’re waiting for the next thing to do were perfect for it. And then I wanted to quit. And I found out the hard way that the only way to do that is to refrain from ever lighting that next cigarette. And that’s what I’ve been telling myself in my head, whenever someone offers me a cigarette. It’s been 4 years now, and I still want to take that cigarette when it’s offered. But instead, I’ll just repeat my mantra and say no.

    Oh, how I miss smoking outside, with a beer, in the summer.

  30. Story of my life. My Saturn return has brought on a vicious struggle to cut back on my vices.

    I think every person is different and there is no one way to quit . I had legitimately cut down to smoking only socially with my beer on Saturday at most, which I suppose I am comfortable with. For the first time I can legitimately foresee the end of my habit since I dont even think about cigarettes during the week. Yet, there was a time when I could not relax if I was in my apartment and unable to smoke.

    Don’t worry. If you want to quit this badly you will find the tools that work for you. Also, good article.

    You will figure out your own path on your own. It just sucks to get there.

  31. This patch is pumping poison into my pores and I can’t take that much more… what a poor way to live.

    But I don’t wanna lose my voice when I’m on tour, I’d like to live a little more and have a little more to give.

    And smoking is like hiring a hitman for 5 dollars a day
    and as cool as that is, I’m too broke to keep dying this way.

    Seriously though, listen to Andrew Jackson Jihad

    they have like 10 songs about smoking and quitting and they will help you!

  32. 1.
    that toilet room looks exactly like the one in My So-Called Life. just saying. like, EXACTLY EXACTLY.

    smoking is so brutal here in switzerland. because you can get cigarettes and age 16 here (and easily if you’re a bit under), just about every damn teenager smokes.

    i also used to smoke, having had my first slag at the age of 13 and smoked about a package a day till my 17th. then i got a cold and was sick and chained to bed for two weeks and told myself “damn gurl, you could do without any cigs for two weeks, YOU DON’T NEED ANY OTHER!”. been clear ever since, for more than 3 years now. but i’ve had my fall-backs (once, actually. and i tend to get very angry/jealous if i’m drunk and someone smokes). also, i’m the only fucking non-smoker in my friends cirle. we are about 15, and every single one of them smokes like hell. that stresses me the most.

    but being a non-smoker also has some serious disadvantages to it.
    i am pretty sure i would be thinner if i started to smoke again (i used to be “normal”-seize but became thicker as i stopped smoking and discovered that money can also be used to buy food instead of 2394209 packages of cigs a day), because i would spend all my goddamn money for fags and wouldn’t be able to buy such amounts of food.
    also, i once was at a camp, without knowing anyone before, and like, 99% of them were smokers. and they always had to go outside to smoke. they had good times, while i was waiting inside alone. of course i could’ve joined them, but alas, it was so cold outside (winter+snow). so, by being a non-smoker i got left-off a group. it was the worst week of my life.

  33. I’ve been thinking about this article all day, actually, and I came up with a kinda far out there reason that could possibly be linked to the statistic that lesbian and bisexual women are more prone to being smokers.

    I don’t know if anyone has already mentioned this, and this may not be true for all, of course, but what kind of made sense to me when I thought about it is that, for lesbian women, our primary sex organs are
    our hands
    our mouths.

    Thus, smoking, for lesbian women, can seem very erotic.

    Both the act of smoking ourselves, and thinking it’s extremely hot to see another woman performing this beautifully exquisite dance between her mouth and her hands.

    aka – Smoking = masturbation/voyeurism.

  34. I’ve gone from smoking expensive Marlboro Reds to smoking roll ups just when I go on nights out. The thing is, I can’t actually roll a cigarette, which is the PERFECT way to get talking to girls. I just sit in the beer garden looking like a damsel in distress and give it 5 minutes, a group of girls approach me offering to roll my cigarettes…

  35. Ok so I have asthma, I hate the smell of cigarettes, and smoke sometimes makes me break out in a hacking cough. But somehow one cigar to celebrate the new year became one cigar every couple weeks. I need to stop but when hanging out with my friends, I’ll probably be left inside by myself – no point standing around for the secondhand smoke, right?

    But the gay kids are smoking and I really want to hang out with the gay kids.

  36. I enjoyed reading this…congrats on the progress you have made so far and good luck with cutting smoking out completely. It is possible!

  37. despite not being a smoker myself, i carry at least one lighter on me at all times.
    because there is ALWAYS a cute girl outside a bar who needs a light.

    best pick up trick ;)

  38. Pingback: Latest Quit Smoking Today News

  39. Those percentages of teen/adult smokers all seem really high to me – maybe just because there is no one in my circle of friends who does. I checked, and the Canadian stats are quite a bit lower. (13% of youth 15-19 and 18% of youth 15-24 – down from 35% in 1985)Couldn’t find any LGBT stats though.

  40. I got into smoking cloves with my friends in college. They were easily accesible, and they chilled me the f*ck out. It was meditative, I think, the repetition, it gave me something to do when I wanted to not do anything.
    On another note, I also think I used it in my ever-going quest to satisfy an oral fixation. I was crushing hard on a girl long distance, so my mouth had many wants and desires, but a lot of free time as well.
    I ultimately quit because it started to affect my skin. At least, I thought that was what the problem was, and I wasn’t taking any chances

  41. Quitting was really easy for me; I decided to quit and then I was quitted, basically. I really miss it sometimes though! The social aspect, having something to do with my hands, having a good way to finish a meal, it looks cool (no I know we’re not supposed to think that but I do) and EVERYTHING basically. I can’t start up again because I no longer enjoy the taste and the health benefits of not smoking are too great. I wish for it a lot, though.

  42. Hey! I don’t know if this will help anyone else, but when I quit I would smoke herbal cigarettes instead of tobacco ones. It gave me something to do with my hands when I was bored/craving a cigarette, and it didn’t have the addictive nicotine factor that regular cigs do.
    Also, don’t beat yourself up for messing up every once in a while, it’s just part of the process!

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