By Kyrari Nytshade
When I was a child, I watched my grandfather puff on his pipe. He looked so stoic and sophisticated. It made everything he did look sophisticated! Well… not everything. He would smile with his pipe clenched between his teeth and it would send me peeling into fits of girly giggles.
I loved the way the smoke smelled as he sat in his big chair, hunched over a crossword puzzle, puffing away on his favorite pipe. My grandpa was his pipe and the pipe was my grandpa.
One day, I told my grandpa that instead of smoking cigarettes like the other women in the family, I was going to smoke a pipe like him. He frowned over the rim of his glasses and took his pipe from between his teeth. “No dear, women don’t smoke pipes. It’s a man’s smoke, this pipe. It will make you look foolish, like you are trying to be a man.”
I truly believed what he said. Until recently I wouldn’t even think about smoking a pipe. I would even tell people that I hated the smell. Instead I smoked cigarettes. Nasty tasting, foul-smelling cigarettes.
I watched as the elder women in my family who smoked died or got diagnosed with COPD. You only get it from smoking or working in a smoke-filled environment. My mother is one of those women. Enough was enough.
I searched for ways to quit smoking those cigarettes. I tried the patch, the gum, the lozenges, the vaporizer and even the pills. Of course, I had to be the one to get hit with the worst side effects of each.
Recently, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to try switching to a pipe instead. I went through my list of reasons I didn’t want to smoke a pipe. I didn’t even think about it. Every time I would complain about needing to quit, he asked again. Every time he asked, I went through the same list of reasons I didn’t want to try a pipe.
I went over to his house one day and was met with the most delicious scent when I walked through the door. It was a combination of vanilla and cherry and campfire. I asked what the smell was and was told it was pipe tobacco. (Now, I’m pretty sure he did this deliberately.) I couldn’t help myself. I told him that I would really like to try some of that tobacco. He already had some in a pipe and handed it to me. I lit it up and let the tobacco swirl around in my mouth. It was as if my senses overcame my sense of reality and I was transported to a much calmer, relaxed version of the world I was in a moment ago. I smoked that pipe for a good two hours. I didn’t want it to end.
He lent me the pipe I had been smoking and gave me some tobacco to take home. Almost instantly I went from smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day to one. Two months later, I’m the proud own of two of my own pipes and am more likely to reach for my pipe than my cigarettes. Even on days where I am at a peaked stress level, I’m only smoking ¾ of a pack a day. Some days I only reach for my pipe and I’m feeling much better about my chances of quitting cigs.