E-cigarettes - what a great way to keep in with the 'cool crowd' in the beer garden!
I don't consider myself a smoker.....not really. When anyone asks me if I smoke I usually answer 'only when I drink.' Despite the impression I may give, that is actually not every night. In fact it's normally only once or twice a week. But still, by the time I get to that second glass of wine or third gin and tonic, I'm 'dying' for a fag.
There's no need to tell me it's all in my head, I know that. That's probably why it's called a habit. And the fact of the matter is, I don't even like smoking. I don't like the taste or the fact that your hair smells like a Silk Cut factory the next day, or that you always seem to get a worse hangover when you smoke.
The only thing I really like about smoking is the craic! The smokers always seem to have more fun. They're the ones who have been marginalised, shunned by society and coralled into little wooden shacks and forced to huddle over those stupid gas heaters that actually don't heat anything but the top of your head.
Yet they always seem to be having a great 'oul laugh and that in all honesty is probably why I still smoke. Because I'm afraid if I don't, I'll miss something - some little nugget of gossip, a whispered confidence or a really funny joke. Up until now I've been prepared to risk my health for a bit of craic and scandal.
Then last Friday following some late night navel gazing I thought to myself, 'sod this. Life is too short, why am I trying to make it shorter?' And off I went to the chemist in search of some help. I told the girl behind the counter my story, 'I only smoke when I drink but I want to give up so what can you give me?'
She looked at me like I also probably needed a year's membership of AA but said nothing. She took out patches, gum, an inhaler and mints.
The patches I ruled out on the grounds of vanity - dirty looking yokes. The gum, I've been told tastes disgusting so that left the mints and inhaler. When she informed me the inhaler was €28.95, 'What?!! You could buy three packets of fags for that money,' I opted for the mints.
I faced my first challenge as a non smoker the next day at a family party. Two glasses of Pimms and I was getting fidgety. I popped a mint into my mouth and sucked like bejaysus! It was like sucking an ashtray. Disgusting. It only made me want a fag even more and I was about to pilfer somebody else's when my lovely nephew came to the rescue and slipped an electronic cigarette into my hand.
It was the BEST thing ever! I sauntered around fag in hand, taking long deep drags like Puff the Magic Dragon. The more alcohol I had, the more I thought I really was smoking and I still got to sit with the 'Cool Crowd' outside.
The only problem occurred when after, maybe a glass too much wine, I tried to light it and nearly set my hair on fire but other than that it everything went swimmingly. Did I want a real cigarette? Yes. Was I 'dying' for a real cigarette? No.
I could well be on my way to being an ex smoker. How about that?!