It Begins With a Single Step (My Journey from Cigarettes)

So, recently I’ve been talking about Smoking and Health and 10 Surprising Benefits of Nicotine and it is let me to the following conclusion;

Cigarettes are EVIL!!

Most of the data, I could cite sources but read my article on smoking and health, supports the conclusion that while smoking is not good for you, smoking a pipe or cigars is not nearly as bad for you as smoking cigarettes.  The worst possible conclusion (smoking five cigars a day for 35 + years while inhaling) put cigars a full 5% better than the best conclusion for smoking cigarettes (smoking 10 or less cigarettes a day, without inhaling) and puts pipes even better than that.

Also, modern data has led to evidence that nicotine not only has some surprising benefits, but isn’t carcinogenic, and really isn’t all that addictive.

So then, why are cigarettes so hard to quit?

My theory is; there are a lot more addictive substances and carcinogens in cigarettes than we give them credit for.

All this time nicotine has been the culprit, and it’s turning out that it has been falsely maligned.

So, what we do about it?

The answer is simple; quit smoking CIGARETTES!

Getting there is a lot harder than that.

So here’s where I am at;

I started smoking cigarettes at the tender age of nine.  Yes, you heard that right, nine years old!  By the time I was 13 I was smoking five to 15 cigarettes a day, usually hovering right around 8 to 10.  That’s a fairly serious habit for 13-year-old.  Then, I discovered pipes, and, for the next six or so years, I smoked a pipe.  However, I often smoked cigarettes when smoking a pipe was inconvenient, such as at school or work.  So, by the time I was 20 I had abandoned the pipe entirely, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

I am now in my forties, and began transitioning back to a pipe a few years ago.

I never imagined how hard it would be!

My wife, who casually smokes a pipe and cigars, is highly allergic to something in all cigarettes, whether they are Canadian, American, European or otherwise.  The only type of cigarette she is not allergic to is Indonesian Kretek, and then only those with unbleached papers.  So, as a cigarette smoker, I was forced to smoke outside even at home.  She loved the pipe, and all my tobaccos, and even my roommate, who is a non-smoker, liked the smell of the pipe tobacco, so I was allowed to smoke a pipe indoors.

So sometime in November of 2012 I found myself standing on the porch smoking a cigarette in -10° C weather (about 14° F) and wondering why I was being such an idiot.

So, I started putting things together.

For the year between 2012 and 2013 when I first began transitioning to pipes, I was smoking 3 to 4 pipes a day, and still smoking a pack of cigarettes at the same time.  It seemed, that I could sit for 20 minutes and smoke my pipe, obviously nicotine sated, and still crave a cigarette.  I would smoke my pipe, and still want a cigarette, every time!


So then, my hubby put his finger on something.  Maybe, whatever we’re craving in a cigarette, doesn’t exist in other tobaccos?!

Genius!  That has to be it!  So, what then could it be?

My theory is; the paper.

Cigarette papers are mostly wood pulp, and plastic.  Yes, you heard that right; plastic, Ethylene vinyl acetate to be exact!  This plastic is added to cigarette papers to make them fire-resistant, so that unattended cigarettes will self-extinguish.

Also, cigarettes burn hotter than pipes and cigars, which is evident in the lighting of the pipe or stick.  When you hold a flame over the bowl of a pipe, or the end of the cigar, and even a cigarette when lighting it, the flames jumps and grows in size.  This is because the heat from the flame is burning un-burnt particulates in the smoke.  The flames are much higher, and much more exaggerated in pipe lighting and cigar lighting than in cigarette lighting, obviously indicating that there are more un-burnt particulates in the smoke.

So all this time we’ve been blaming the tobacco companies when really it’s been the paper companies!  But, seriously though; although there are more additives in cigarette tobacco, even natural cigarette tobacco, without additives, such as American Spirit, will satisfy the craving if you roll it in a paper, in a pipe; not so much.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that tobacco is not addictive, nor am I saying that tobacco is not harmful, I am saying that more research needs to be done into the cigarette papers.

Also, here is a statistical fact;  100,000 Pack a day cigarette smokers will see 66,000 dead from it over their lifetime, 100,000 pipe or cigar smokers smoking less than 10 bowls/5 cigars a day will see at most, statistically, 11,000 dead from it over their life time.  Maybe more research needs to be done in harm reduction from cigarette smoking to pipes and cigars, just sayin’.

So, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

And that step is; the conviction to get off of cigarettes.

It is now over a year later, and I don’t crave cigarettes anymore, ever!  I’ve tried smoking cigarettes, and I find them, for the most part, to be disgusting and foul-tasting.

Here is how I did it.

The first thing you have to do is be convicted that you don’t want to smoke cigarettes anymore.  Then, don’t fret about it.

Whenever you are craving a smoke, go to the spot where you smoke your pipe and smoke it for about 10 minutes.  Inhale or don’t as is your preference, but concentrate on enjoying the pipe.  When you are done smoking the pipe for 10 minutes, check your craving.  If you’re still craving a cigarette, don’t worry, just go to the spot where you have a cigarette and have a cigarette.

In all likelihood, of the amount of nicotine you just took in, will make you slightly nauseous, but that’s a good thing.  The nausea is going to help your mind equate cigarettes with feeling bad.

If you don’t crave a cigarette, then all is good, go back to what you’re doing.

It took me about a year of doing this before I fully dropped cigarettes, but I did manage it.

Now, after having been on the pipe for about a year, I truly find cigarettes to be repulsive, and now on December 6th, it is -5° C (23° F), and I’m sitting in the warmth of my kitchen, with my beautiful wife across the table from me, about to enjoy a smoke, and glad I don’t have to step outside anymore.

That’s my journey;

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!

4 thoughts on “It Begins With a Single Step (My Journey from Cigarettes)

  1. We’ve had very similar journeys on this front. And have experienced very similar results, too. Congratulations on your anniversary!

    By the way, I’ve often thought that the filters play a big role in the cigarette addiction, though it’s purely speculative on my part. I do know they add a lot to the cigarette “rollings” – much more than just tobaccos.

  2. Pingback: A Great Morning Pick Up (Cornell & Diehl Virginia Gentleman in a Peterson Killarney Canadian P-lip) | Smoking Jacket Magazine

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