A concise guide to failure
The internet is flooded with “How to” guides on quitting smoking – in fact, googling “How to quit smoking” yields 14,700,000 results in 0,65 seconds.
How about the opposite though?
What if you are actually trying to find ways to NOT relinquish this questionable pleasure?
As a longtime smoker and practically expert on failing to quit, I hereby share with you a choice of tried and tested ways to ensure you continue enjoying your favourite vice .
1. Holiday in Mykonos
Get stranded in the picturesque island of Mykonos, pick a remote location and station yourself in a beautiful villa. Make sure you don’t have access to a car and you holiday with a non-smoking partner. Accidentally run out of cigarettes only to discover that there are no shops within a 5 km radius. Gracefully suck it up and quit smoking. Go through withdrawal symptoms under the blinding Aegean sun. After a week of suffering discover it is actually doable. Go back to whichever urban hub it is that you are living in and find out that simple everyday delights, such as drinking coffee and enjoying an early evening drink, suck without the company of cigarettes. Get bored out of your socks but persevere anyway. After successfully quitting for a month and a half, on a random afternoon, light up a cigarette to show yourself how much you own this. Repeat self-control exercise the following afternoon, but this time indulge in 2 cigarettes instead. On the third day just buy a packet, smoke all of it and pick up where you left of.
Result: Safely back to smoking again
2. Take a hideously long transatlantic flight
Transatlantic flights are notoriously torturing for smokers – depending on itinerary and ticket type they can leave you deprived for an entire day, even more. Go to kayak.com and pick the cheapest long haul flight you can manage (e.g. a 2 layover economy flight from Portugal to New Zealand can set you back 42+ hours). Get preemptively fed-up with withdrawal ennui and stinking airport smoking cubicles and decide to quit in advance of it all. Be extra assertive: smoke one final cigarette before entering the terminal, then bin the packet, complete with lighter. If an urge to smoke hits, practice the mantra “I am not a smoker” with conviction and dismiss it. Almost painlessly, keep it up for a month. Then realize you have already gained 10 pounds and counting. Panic and immediately pick up smoking again.
Result: Danger of quiting averted
3. Switch to vaping
Embrace your frustration and lack of will power and decide to buy an e-cigarette. Set the humble goal of cutting down a bit. Amaze yourself at how fun and painless it is. Start preferring to vape delicious juices rather than sucking on minging tobacco. Marvel at effortlessly halving your daily intake and, without meaning to, completely quit. Upon this realization, voluntarily sabotage the progress: Remind yourself that you only wanted to decrease and in any event dismiss the whole thing on the grounds of how easy it is to do. Make a note to self for future reference, revert to smoking cigarettes again and forget about it for good.
Result: Smoking happily goes on
4. Move to London
Move to London and be unpleasantly surprised to discover fags are £11 a pop. Do the math and recognize the absurdity of daily parting with 22.5€ to feed your 30 a-day habit. At this point your appetite for a smoke will most likely have disintegrated. Go cold-turkey or enlist the help of your old friend, the electronic cigarette. Secure a flatmate who is on the same mission for peer support. Manage to quit within a maximum of 3 days and feel mature, confident and badarse. Sashay through airports with the knowing smile of success. Then move to Colombia where cigarettes are $2 a pack and return to smoking as if nothing ever happened.
Result: It seems you didn’t manage to quit smoking again.
5. Move to Latin America
Having already quit smoking, move to a Latin American country, say Ecuador. Surround yourself with smoking friends, preferrably living under the same roof. Successfully ignore the temptation by resorting to vaping. Have your electronic cigarette’s battery die because of voltage difference. Fail to find a replacement unit because vaping is not a thing in Latin America yet. With this and that get bored and start smoking again.
Result: Smoking fashionably resumes
6. Move to the US
Be non-plussed about the $7 price-tag a packet and extra incredulous to discover the end price is even higher when you factor in the tax. Become even more irritated upon noticing that various outlets exercise their free will at pricing cigarettes, which results into actually never knowing how much your habit costs. Decide enough is enough and buy a final pack. Be puzzled by the fact that it never seems to empty, then remember your flatmate smokes the exact same brand. End up smoking more because there is always a packet available and nobody controls who smokes what.
Result: Smoking goes on with renewed vigour
7. Visit Australia
With cigarettes at a staggering $20 a pack and a viciously strict customs policy (you can only import 50 cigarettes upon entering the country. 50 units that is, as opposed to 50 packets) Australia seems like the ultimate go-to destination for aspiring quitters. Arm yourself with your precious 50 last fags and make forever friends with the idea of quitting. Upon landing, discover that smoking is actually a popular pastime and that forking out $20 a pack is within the means of the average Australian. Pair with a local fellow-smoker host, who thinks nothing of covering your smoking expenses, and continue as if nothing ever happened.
Result: Quitting threat killed at birth
8. Move to Greece
With cigarettes at 4€ a pack and puffing being allowed literally everywhere, realize Greece is a perpetual smoker’s paradise. Smoking is almost mandatory and not partaking in this activity is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows. Abandon your quitting plans and continue guilt-free.
CAUTION: Due to the current Greek financial predicament and with a little help from the state, as a Greek resident you run the risk of promptly becoming impoverished. Possible side effects of this include -but are not limited to- becoming utterly miserable and prone to complaining about everything, including the unacceptable tax increases on basic goods, such as cigarettes. Overcome minor hassles of the kind by switching to contraband or otherwise illegal tobacco. Problem solved.
Result: Cling to your smoking habit. Puff puff puff
The above suggestions are mostly inspired by my personal attempts to quit. Currently on the 5th attempt, this time I am employing the “Switch to e-cigarette” method. Doing this is also part of my 2017 101 List and my actual objective is to reduce to 5 a day. So far so good, have cut down from 25 to 8. I am not confident about long-term success though; with practically everyone around me smoking, the environment is extremely hostile towards such a quest. Moreover, I am doing this with mixed feelings of desire and aversion – in truth, the unseen allure of smoking attracts me, maybe a little too much.
Please share your ways of NOT quitting smoking if you have any!