Getting Addicted to Cigarettes…on Purpose

This might be one the stupidest articles you’ve ever read. My apologies for that.

Four months ago, I decided to start smoking. Why? I don’t know. Probably a combination of factors: I was fascinated by the series Californication, in which the main character (Hank Moody) smokes. Although it is sad to admit, it might be that watching him smoke sparked my curiosity about why it is people grab to cigarettes. Also, I have always been wondering whether smoking is primarily a physiological addiction (an addiction of the body) or a psychological one (an addiction of the mind). I could never understand why less than 25 percent of those who want to quit smoking, actually manage to do so. I always thought: if you want to stop, then you can stop. I mean: if you want to stop travelling by car, you can just stop taking the car, right? So given these ‘rational’ considerations, I decided to take up the cigarette, and start my journey of addiction.

Now, four months later, I have decided to stop. My little ‘experiment’ has provided me with the information I was looking for. I experienced what it is that makes you want to light up a cigarette. And, what I can say, it is more of a psychological addiction than a physiological addiction. It is the feeling of allowing yourself a break from what it is that you are doing. Also, the habit of smoking a cigarette every morning during your ‘morning walk’ gives you a clear signal that the day took off; a feeling as if the referee blew his whistle and the match has started.

However, I must admit that there are also physiological factors that make you want to grab a cigarette. In case you drink coffee (which is more likely than that you smoke), you can compare it to that longing for a cup of coffee to give your the energy you need to get through the day. And, as with drinking coffee, the first cigarette/cup of coffee gives the relative biggest ‘boost'; the relative biggest satisfaction in calming down your longing for nicotine/caffeine.

I’m not sure whether I have become truly addicted to cigarettes. I can only tell how I feel, and that’s what I’ve described above. And – since I’ve been drinking (much) coffee for the last couple of years, and I can fairly say that I’m addicted to caffeine – I think my smoking adventure will have likewise effects. Probably, even though I ‘quitted’, I’ll keep (at least for a while) on having that same longing for cigarettes as I have for coffee. I wonder which impulses will be tougher to handle: the psychological or the physiological. I am curious, and a little anxious, to find out.

What do you think?

Written by Rob Graumans

3 thoughts on “Getting Addicted to Cigarettes…on Purpose

  1. Hahaha. I kind of did the same thing. I can also confirm that it is psychological. Having opened that niche of psychological procrastination, its hard to know how to replace it. I do also have a bit of an addiction to drinking water already. A certain state of mind makes me refuse to bow to earthly demands because I like the concept of having free will.
    It is odd that a part of why I started smoking was a rebellion, recently out of a relationship where my ex hated smokers. Rebellion has a place in the minds of many smokers, although rebellion, like smoking, does not represent freedom, but rather in some ways the opposite of freedom. I don’t think I want to be a non-smoker. I quite like the ease with which one can start conversations with other smokers over a mutual poisoning, and also the consumption of cigarettes as a meaningless activity on a drunken night, and also the ritual of rolling them. But I think as a human being, my happiness is enhanced by rebelling against anything that feels like a compulsion. I challenge myself to take each decision from the point of freedom to choose. Maybe smoking is for occasions and not for every day.

    • I see your point. But I have one question: don’t you think that it is difficult to – on the one hand – be someone who smokes and, on the other hand, someone whose happiness is enhanced by rebelling against anything that feels like a compulsion? Because – I don’t know how it feels for you – smoking can very well feel like a compulsion, and hence, by smoking, you do not rebel against this compulsion, thereby decreasing your happiness. What do you think about this matter :)?

  2. I’ve not read the research on cigarette addiction and its degrees, but having been smoking for six years across several long hiatuses, I’m reluctant to believe that someone quitting who’s only smoked for four months experiences anything comparable to the effects of withdrawal most quitting smokers experience, or any effects most prominent in the popular understanding of cigarette addiction. Addiction is insidious and four months of smoking is not long enough to let the behavior permeate your existence. Absences arise sporadically that cigarettes take root in and fill. Those arisen from sorrow come to mind. When sorrowful and purposeless, cigarettes don’t just delimit a day but come to give it purpose altogether. The only apparent reason to rouse yourself is to light a cigarette, and the only upside of many mundane behaviors is that they are accompanied by a smoke. It gradually erodes all structures of fortitude and lucidity one has built to make banal life glorious. Or so it all feels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>