I am a very classy cigarette case. My caramel ostrich-skin leather surrounded by a gold border opens sideways to show 8 cigarettes on each side. Very 1940s — Rick might have used it to offer Ilsa a smoke in “Casablanca.” Now I just sit in a drawer.
I never thought it would come to this. My owner loved to smoke. She had it with morning coffee; while driving to work; at work when she thought she couldn’t handle the stress; after work with a drink with friends; the last thing before bed. I thought that I was her best friend because I never left her side.
Not that there weren’t some rocky moments. Like when she tried that strange gum with nicotine in it — but that wasn’t as much fun as blowing smoke rings. And then there was that nicotine patch that did take the edge off. Only she forgot that besides the nicotine addiction, there is also the behavior that only comes with a smoke. So I was safe for a little while.
You have to change how you do things when you decide to quit.
You learn that you can slow your breathing and take a deep breath all by yourself, even without a cig. That automatically lowers your stress. And you can handle all other kinds of strong emotions with out a smoke. Who knew?
Nope, what really ended it for us were her kids. They started to pretend that they were smoking, imitating her using a straw from their juice boxes. And then she knew it was all over for her and me.
She learned all the tricks to do things differently. No more coffee — too much of a reminder of the old days. Now it was herbal tea. No more hanging out with smoking buddies — she told them she would take a break from them if they continued to smoke. And then she learned to meditate to relax herself and focus. She exercised a lot too, and didn’t gain weight when she quit. And the biggest news flash was learning that cigarette smoking had made stress worse because it caused that jittery feeling to get stronger. Now it’s about 24 years since we were an item.
I was starting to get my hopes up about getting out of the drawer when her kids grew up. But hey, they learned how bad smoking is in health class in high school. Like one in five people die from smoking-related illnesses such as cancer, emphysema and cardiovascular disease. And its just not tobacco that’s the problem. People get addicted to both the nicotine and the menthol in cigarettes. So that means that even those electric cigarettes can be addicting since they have nicotine and who-knows-what-else in them.
The kids also learned about the date busters like bad breath and smelly clothes. And did I mention that a pack now costs $7? And that’s before the new tax they’re talking about? Plus, people younger than 18 can’t buy them, and anyone who sells to them gets fined! Now that you can’t smoke indoors, it’s getting mighty inconvenient, especially in winter.
I think I’ll have to change careers to get out of the drawer. Maybe I’ll start carrying her business cards.