Day Seventy Two

Days Without a Cigarette: 71.702777
Days Without Nicotine: 14.702777
Dollars Saved: $291.81
Time Saved: 101 hours, 35 minutes

When I was living in New York, I had a friend that moved to the west coast. He was a smoker when he left, but he quit shortly thereafter. Or at least that was his claim. But about a year later, when he flew back to the city to see his family, he was smoking again. So I ribbed him about it a little and he explained that he only smoked when he was travelling.

To be honest, friend or no, I dismissed it as bullshit. He only smoked when all the people he told he was gonna quit could check on him? That seemed awfully convenient. Besides, who the hell selectively smokes? Isn’t the whole thing that it’s an addiction that can’t be turned on and off?

Well, after my first experience travelling as a nonsmoker, I feel like owe my friend an apology. Not that I smoked on my trip (no tobacco, at least), but holy shit do I get it now. I can totally see why one might want to carve an exception into their nonsmoking policy when they’re dealing with long distance travel.

I wondered about it on the last blog post. I was hoping being a nonsmoker would make a cross country flight a little less miserable, what with the lack of nicotine withdrawal, but I was pretty sure it would swing the other way. I was pretty sure that lack of a calming security blanket at the end of the flight would bring me to impromptu hair-removal status. In fact, when I committed to quit, I intentionally delayed the quit date until after I’d taken care of a bunch of travel out of exactly that fear.

And yes, as I got done with the nine hours of flying and layover-ing, trekked to the “fuck ride share” LAX subsidiary where you catch Ubers now, and settled into a 85 minute 12 mile drive through Los Angeles traffic at 6 pm on a weekday, all I could think about was a cigarette. But I didn’t want to chime in for the first time in over a week just to bitch and complain about how hard it was not to smoke. I also noticed a couple of really cool things about being a nonsmoker this week.

For example, I noticed how nice it was to just sit in a restaurant with your friends after the meal and not leave until somebody else suggests it. And once we did step out of the restaurant, I didn’t have to ask everybody to wait a couple minutes before they ordered the Uber, and not because I’d chosen to suck my head inside out trying to choke down a cigarette in the eighty seconds the app afforded me. I didn’t have to get to the airport early and stand in the filthy little smoker pen, and I didn’t have to march out of it like a man on fire at the other end of the flight. I didn’t have to walk by the person at the hotel lobby every hour or so and go stand at the edge of the parking lot. I got to take pictures with the audience right after the show was over instead of sneaking away for five minutes and then coming back wreaking of whatever body spray they had at the CVS.

Honestly, the fact that I don’t wake up coughing in the morning and the fact that my wife has a much lower chance of dying young from lung cancer should be plenty. And if that isn’t enough, all those dollar at the top of the post should fill in the margins. But it turns out there’s actually even more to it than that.

Published by Noah Lugeons

Noah Lugeons co-hosts a bunch of podcasts: The Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies, The Skepticrat, and Citation Needed

3 thoughts on “Day Seventy Two

  1. FYI, not everyone who smokes tobacco is addicted to nicotine. I do have a friend who only smokes once in a while; maybe two or three cigarettes one night every couple of months or so. And then she completely walks away from it. I don’t know how it’s possible, but apparently it is for her. I don’t know if she’s the outlier or if it’s more common than I realize, but I’ve always said, if I could smoke like that, I would go back in a heartbeat. But I can’t, so I won’t.

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  2. I’m an occasional smoker. When I was younger, I smoked cloves at the clubs on weekends, and that was it. For a bit I kept a pipe and occasionally smoked pipe tobacco. And now I keep cigars and cigarillos, which I might smoke one every quarter or so. I definitely have things that could be potential addictions for me, especially when it comes to some food items, but smoking just hasn’t ever been in that category for me. That being said, I know that’s not the same as having been “a smoker” and quit and become an occasional smoker. I have no experience with that. And when it comes to things I believe have addiction potential, my general philosophy (for me) is to just steer clear of them, because I have no will power (example: box of donuts).

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    1. Yeah, one of the tough things for me about quitting is that I really love a good cigar. I only smoked them a few times a year, so it’s not like I had to quit them for health reasons. I may decide to smoke another cigar at some point, but no time soon. I guess if losing them is the price for quitting cigarettes, it’s a trade worth making.

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