My girlfriend and I are both smokers and I guess regular readers will know that I tend to rant a bit when smokers rights are reduced. We both like smoking and are not intending to stop at this time, however, we were recently discussing the possibility of cutting down a bit. We thought we should look at the cigarettes we smoke every day and perhaps cut out the ones that were more habitual than pleasurable.
I thought I’d give a summary of that thought process here as it also gives a snap-shot of a typical day in my life. I worked out that on an average work day I smoke 16 cigarettes…
1) My first cigarette of the day is with my breakfast coffee. I can’t remember when this habit began but by now I can’t imagine beginning the day any other way. On the rare occasion that I miss my breakfast coffee and cigarette; I am not a nice person to know for the rest of the day! When I’m working I’m usually staying in a hotel. I come down to breakfast about 6.30AM, have some fruit and muesli, perhaps a ham and cheese roll and then my coffee and cigarette. In some parts of Europe there are still places you can smoke inside, even at breakfast time. Otherwise I take my coffee and go and light up outside. Non smokers will never understand the sublime pleasure of that first cigarette of the day. Maybe it is just satisfying a chemical craving, but it does feel so good! Chances of cutting out the first cigarette of the day;-Zero!
2) The second cigarette is on the way to school about 7.15AM after rounding up my teaching team. It probably is mostly habitual, part of getting ready for work. Chances of cutting out my 2nd cigarette, 60%… Doable!
3) The third cigarette depends on the particular school timetable and the length of the breaks. If it is possible I go out for a smoke during the mid-morning break. It’s healthy because I have a little walk and get some air and I do find it relaxing. But it’s not always possible and I suppose I could go for some air without a nicotine kick as well. Chances of cutting out the third cigarette, 50%
4) The fourth cigarette is as soon as I get out of school about 2.30PM after six hours of teaching and solving the other teacher’s problems. It is probably the one I inhale most quickly and deeply. Chances of giving up 4th cigarette, very small, maybe 20%.
5,6, & 7) The fifth cigarette is usually with a coffee after lunch. This may be in the hotel or out in a cafe in the town somewhere. Cigarettes six and seven may follow with more coffee (or something stronger) while I am doing paperwork or marking. Chances of cutting out one of these, about one in three.
8) The eighth cigarette will be in or just outside the hotel at about 5PM, marking the transition from daytime to evening activities. Chances of quitting eighth cigarette about 50%.
9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, & 15) I usually smoke six or seven cigarettes during the evening. Sometimes these will be before during and after the evening meal with my teaching team while organising the next days lessons, dealing with any problems and generally socialising. If the majority of the group are non smokers I might reduce these cigarettes by half. But if there are a majority of smokers in the group the number might go up a bit. Sometimes I have to dress up in my posh frock and go out and meet local teachers to do promotional work. In central Europe half of these are smokers and it breaks the ice to match them drink for drink and cigarette for cigarette; thus the number can vary according to the people involved. Chances of reducing the average number of cigarettes I smoke in the evening, about 50% but the amount I smoke during this period could also go up.
16) On an average day my last cigarette is just before bedtime at about 11PM. This is deeply inhaled and meditative. Chances of giving up cigarette number 16, nil.
So in theory on an average working day I could probably reduce the number of cigarettes I smoke down from 16 to about 10; if I really wanted to.
On weekends when I stay out later in the evenings I can add up to ten more cigarettes to my total. Also whenever I am staying with Sophie we tend to smoke more…
Still in principle I can see where I could cut down, the question is do I really want to?