A Practical Guide
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Imagine you have reached the end of your life, and some kindly face leans over and asks "So, you made it! Well done! I hope you explored every taste the world has to offer?". And you look back and say "Well, I was always too shy for rock and roll, drugs and sex. I drank wine or beer every now and then but I was never big on alcohol. I was always too afraid to smoke tobacco. I was never in to the different coffees or cakes or chocolates. I couldnt afford to eat well, so I guess I've lived quite a boring life".
We have inherited Planet Earth from our Mothers and Fathers, and it is only ours for a short time, before we pass it on to the children. We are here for maybe 80 years. Of those, we grew up to the age of 16 thinking we couldnt get what we wanted, because we were too young. For the next few years we got what we wanted, but then most of us had kids and we had to give them that they wanted. By the time they grew up, we might find ourselves in our 30s and 40s wondering what we really did want after all? By the time you figure it out, you are almost now too old to really enjoy it, and by the time you get to try it out, they say you are elderly! and should cut it out, cut it down, or "stop doing that" altogether.
We spend most of our lives concealed in a box; a school room, a college room, an office, a shop, a workplace - even our parents home. In these boxes we cannot really enjoy ourselves, and instead we have to listen to what others are saying, out loud or on screens - and do what they say. At the end of each day we go to another box called our home where we live, and safely here we can finally stop thinking about other people, and what other people want, and get on with thinking about us, and what we want - and we are finally free to do so.
This planet has so much available, it would take a lifetime to try everything and taste everything there is to try. Some of those things we try will affect us in some way, and if we consume something which affects us, they call this a drug. Chocolate comes in all shapes, cakes and sizes, biscuits and bars and recipes, and when we eat it we get slightly high. Chocolate has other properties which can make it addictive. Coffee is also a drug, and available in the worlds vastest range, from all over the planet. Each coffee bean is different, and every special blend has a different flavour. There are the instant consumer brands, and also the specialised brands, for extra special tastes. If you only drink instant coffee, can you imagine the flavours you are missing out on, right now?
Tobacco has been grown and consumed for at least 4,000 years (that we know of, some say 20,000 years). In the 20th century, modern production meant tobacco was now cheap enough for everyone to afford, and try it to see if they wanted it. During the 1920s and 30's, the Cigarette became a highly fashionable addition to the smoking high class, and today we can enjoy cigarettes, from all of the worlds brands and flavours, and buy them locally for a reasonable price. But what if you never smoked before, or had access to the vast range, and volumes of sophisticated connoisseur brands - where do you even start?
The Right Frame of Mind
So, you've seen people smoking and you've seen all the packs in stores to buy, but you never bought one before, or even tried smoking before. Thats ok, everyone has to start somewhere. But before you dive in to the chocolate box of goodies on offer, its important to be in the right frame of mind. Like drinking alcohol, the first time you drink smoke into your lungs will probably feel strange and you may feel a little queasy. If you have never smoked before, this first time hit may put you off smoking, due to this strangeness. Dont worry, the more you go back to the taste of a new and strange experience, the more you will get to like it. So its important to think and Know from the start that you will get to like it eventually, and enjoy it - just like everyone else does, and you will encourage yourself to continue until this strangeness doesnt happen any more. If you think "Hmm this is strange, I dont want to try smoking", then you will go away but never understand why smokers love to smoke so much.
Why do smokers love to draw down on ciggies so much? Is it because they are addicted, and their mind is out of control? No, quite the opposite. Its because cigs taste nice, and have a pleasant mild effect of the mind and body. They taste nice because at least 25% of a cigarette recipe is sugar. The rest is sweet (often sweet Virginian) tobacco.
Do you like the smell of tobacco? If you said "No" it doesnt matter really, because the more you try smoking, the more you wont notice the smell anymore, and the taste of tobacco will fade away in your mouth, until you cant taste it anymore - leaving only the sweetness of the smoke (and any ingredients like Menthol*, cherry etc). Each cigarette also has a secret flavour made from a blend of natural ingredients. These include lemon peel, liquorice, cloves, beetroot, vinegar, lavender, honey, cocoa, and sticky molasses. This flavour is known as the 'Topping', and makes each blend of tobacco, and each brand, that little bit different. Its important to know that there are no many flavours to tobacco, perhaps the first one you try might not be the best. If you keep looking, and trying, there is a brand out there for you. Maybe a mild brand with a soft floaty taste, or a strong brand with a juicy deep brandy and rich coffee taste and aroma. Some of the cheapest cigs can smell bad, but other more expensive brands will smell nice - and its those which you can look out for and try first.
You've probably noticed some health warnings on packs of cigs, and this is because smoking many packs per day has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. If you consume any drug, it can have side effects and consequences, and compared to Alcohol and street drugs, tobacco is incredibly mild and not really more than a smokers cough for many people. Because some smokers died from smoking 'way too many' cigarettes, the government of your country will print a health warning on the pack. This means you are aware that smoking 'too much' can be dangerous, and you are adult enough to know this. If you smoke 5, 10, maybe 15 cigs a day, there is a smaller risk involved, and compared to alcohol abuse, its virtually harmless. The cumulative damage to your lungs is balanced by the fact each cell in your body regenerates many times over your lifetime, so the long term effects are spread over a much longer period of years. You may also see other notices on the packs, roughly translated as "Smoking will make you infertile", "Smoking will kill your baby", "Smoking will make you go blind". These are scare tactics from anti-smoking lobbies to force people to stop smoking. In the 1970s, pregnant women were encouraged to smoke, and men were encouraged to start smoking for libido problems. Nobody ever went blind from smoking, and this, along with so many other warnings/claims, are very much overblown, and non of the claims have ever been proven as fact. In fact, a cigarette is a few dried sweet leaves (of fluffed up tobacco) inside a paper tube, made from all natural ingredients. The only harmful ones are the micro preservatives, like Formaldehyde, which are is included in micrograms - quantities so small it would take many millions of cigs (consumed in a matter of days) to be considered poisonous. Really, the tobacco you buy now hasnt changed much from the golden olden days, where people used clay pipes to smoke. Except now we have special filter tips, so less of the gooey sticky toppings ingredients (the Tar) gets in to your lungs. This means cigarettes are now much safer than they were in the 1930s and 40's, when 45% of the western population smoked. If cigarettes were as dangerous as they say, there should be queues of people lining up outside hospitals with lung cancer by now. There arent, and being 'a bit short of breath' has never been much of a problem, certainly not a national health crisis.
Your First Cigarette
Many people start with a very mild cigarette until they are used to the art of smoking, and then they may go for stronger or different flavoured brands. Some you will like, others you might not like, at first, but after smoking a pack or two, is possible to get to like most brands eventually. If you know someone who smokes, you could ask them to recommend a brand for you. You could also ask them to show you how to smoke, and learning with a friend can be fun. Some people feel queasy or dizzy during or after their first cigarette, so many people decide to learn in private. Dont worry, you'll soon get the hang of it, and smoking isnt as hard as learning to swim or learning how to ride a bicycle.
There is a common misconception that Mentholated* cigarettes are easier to start smoking than regular cigs. As we have mentioned already, you wont really taste the menthol in cigarettes until you are a regular smoker. Cigs will taste like tobacco for a few packs, whether they are menthol or regular, strawberry or vanilla. Once you are a regular smoker, the taste of tobacco will begin to fade, and all the other flavours and tastes then become apparent.
If you arnt sure which pack to buy, many people recommend Marlboro Lights. They are a top brand which are available in almost every convenience store in the world, so you shouldnt have too much trouble finding them. They have a very smooth professional tobacco flavour, which is light and creamy, and goes perfectly with an Irish Coffee. The taste and smell isnt strong, so they can be discrete. And they are moreish because you can smoke many and not get bored, and one can naturally lead to another, without feeling overwhelming for the head. Many brands feel overwhelming if you smoke too many or too much, yet Marlboro Lights leave you feeling fresh and ready for another within minutes. Many people (including me) started with these, and then moved up to stronger and fuller tastes later. Mild cigarettes also include Misty, Virginia Slim Lights, Silk Cut are ultra light in taste, and perhaps the lightest of them all are American Spirits - although these taste like you are smoking fresh air, so perhaps they are a bit too light to start off with.
The first time you order a pack of cigs from a shop can be very scary or very exciting. If you are too afraid to buy them yourself, you can ask friend to help you. Its a good idea to buy at least 1 pack of 20 cigarettes, so by the time you have smoked them all, you are already a fledgeling smoker. Hold the pack in your hand as you walk home, feeling excited to try them. Sit comfortably and arrange your materials on the table. Take your time to look over the pack your have gifted to yourself (if you live in a country with no agenda images on the packs) and slowly unwrap the pack and get inside. When you open your first pack, you may notice some foil in front of the cigs. This is to keep them fresh. Most smokers pull this foil out from the top to remove it, and this reveals the whole pack to choose from. But some who are learning to smoke might want to keep this foil attached, and open up the foil from the top; like a gift unwrapping; and carefully seal the foil and close the pack to keep them fresh for later. This means the flavour of the cigs will last longer, and the tobacco wont sweat or get too dry once the seal is broken. An open pack should be consumed within 48 hours usually to keep your cigs fresh and happy, but leaving the foil inside can keep them fresher for longer.
Take out your first cigarette and examine it closely. Notice how light it is in your fingers. A cigarette must be handled very carefully or it will bend or it can be crushed, so you must be gentle. Notice the ribs on the white stem, and the many speckles or the crease on the pure white filter. Hold the cigarette under your nose and smell it. Smell how sweet is smells. Imagine your lips tasting that filter, and then put the cigarette between your lips and taste it. What does it taste like? You may find the filter sticks to your lips. This is normal, and you will soon get used to licking your lips gently before lighting and before each puff. Lick your lips now and place the cigarette back in your month. Notice how smooth and round the filter feels, like a drinking straw. Take your time to experiment with the cigarette before you light it. Notice how smoothly your lips roll off the filter with wetted lips. Some cigarettes absorb the wetness into their filter, and they become harder to smoke, so dont get your filter too waterlogged at this stage, unless you want to use a cigarette to practice and play with (which I know can be fun!).
How we get to the tasty part! Placing the cigarette between your lips again, its time to lean forwards and touch the end of your cig to a naked flame or lighter, drawing in as you do so, for your first mouthful of smoke. If you are new to using cigarette lighters, it can help to light a candle, and use the candle to light your cigarettes. This means you can take your time, and not have to worry about fingers and thumbs getting in the way. If you use a lighter, it might be easier to start with one which has a button to press down on, rather than the roller and flint types, as these can be much easier to use. Having taken in some smoke during the lighting, you will probably want to blow this straight out for now. Looking at the tip of the cigarette, you should see it is lit evenly over the surface. If it isnt, either light it again, or turn the cig so that the unlit part is at the top, and eventually the heat will light the unlit parts. Its important that all of the tobacco at the tip of your cigarette is lit for an easy smoke, and its better to hold your cig in the flame for longer if your arnt sure.
With the cigarette now lit, its time to start smoking. Some people like to smoke from the corner of the mouth, or from the side, with lips drawn inwards, but this doesnt really look so appealing when others see you smoking, and can make you look rather shy. Many women prefer placing the cigarette in the middle of their mouth between the lips, with the lips pouting outwards - like a kiss. You can practice this by making your mouth go into a kiss shape, and then placing the cigarette in the middle of your mouth, and kissing the filter affectionately - like you might kiss a lover. This is a much more pleasurable way to smoke, and your lips might tingle as they feel the smoke being drawn through the filter, and into your mouth.
When you first start smoking, its perhaps not a good idea to inhale the smoke down in to your lungs by breathing it, as this may make you cough and go light headed. Instead, draw the smoke into your mouth, and then slowly release it, and let the smoke drift out, watching it drifting up, and out of your mouth. This is how to smoke a cigar, by drawing in and slowly releasing it. After smoking your first few cigs, you might want to start inhaling a little bit at a time. It can take a few weeks before you can drink a cigarette straight down into your lungs, so you must be patient until this happens. When it does, you can now inhale all of that beautiful white cloud of smoke down into your body, and absorb it. (I still remember the day I learned to fully inhale).
Dont Be a Quitter
Practice different ways to flick the ash, maybe with a tap, or a flick from your thumbnail. With time, all of this will become easy, and you wont have to think about it anymore. Its important to give yourself many opportunities to smoke in your daily routine. Sometimes people drink alcohol to mask the taste of cigarettes, and some people find the two go together very well, just like Cigarettes and Coffee. Give yourself a moment when you can smoke. For example, before you play a video game, and then again afterwards, to cool down. Give yourself regular smoke breaks away from busy life, and take time out for yourself and for leisure/pleasure. Smoking before bed can help you sleep, and smoking when you get up can help you wake up. Smoking between meals can also help you to keep in shape. Just like any treat in life, you can give yourself any excuse to reward yourself with a ciggie, and any housework chore is make easier when you know you can sit down at any point, and have a ciggie, all to yourself. The more opportunities you can give yourself to smoke, the more you can look forward to each one, and you can let yourself be seduced by the smoking.
If you smoke with elegance and style, you might find this is more fun and enjoyable than 'commonly smoking'. This is because smoking can make you smile, relax, and not worry too much, if you let it, and it can become pleasurable or sensuous for you.
Its going to take a few packs before you can say you are a smoker, but with each cig it gets easier, and soon you'll be smoking and swapping cigs with your friends, and smoking after dinner and at parties together. If you find a cig which is too strong for you, you could smoke it like a cigar and not inhale, and then you'll be able to smoke it without being too overwhelmed. You can hold a cig in your fingers if you feel you've had enough for a while, but your fingers will also absorb the nicotine, and this can make you feel light-headed, so its always good to know when to stub out your cigarette and wait patiently for the next one.
Lastly, try to smoke when you need a cig rather then when you want one. If you smoked a cigarette every time your body said "Ooh, I'd love to smoke a ciggie!" - you would be smoking 60 or 80 a day. This becomes a habit which is not easy to break. Instead, smoke when you really need to smoke, and that way you can make special times to relax and absorb those soft white clouds. If you appreciate and love each one, then there is a good chance you can keep smoking, and enjoy them for many many years to come.
* - Menthol cigs are to be banned in Europe in 2020 because they assumed menthols are more appealing to start smoking. As you cant really taste menthol until you are a smoker, this is not the case. Alcohol is available in every different coloured variety and flavour imaginable, and even alco-pops for the kids, yet if you O.D. on alcohol you can get brain damage for life and even die. Compared to that, smoking is very mild, with no physical impairments or mind-altering side effects; except for pure pleasure and relaxation.
Disclaimer: The text above should not be taken as 'advice', medical or otherwise. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the researcher, who has no scientific background, and the quotes used are other writers who may or may not be authentic medical practitioners. The writer of the article holds no authority, or responsibility, for your actions, and you undertake this 'advice' above at your own risk. Please do your own research and consult your doctor if you have conditions, before attempting anything.
Post by Dan on Jan 16, 2019 17:43:12 GMT
Finally finished this article!
I added a new section for Marlboro Lights, and also a bit about Menthols, as thats a hot topic at the moment.
Was going to write something about stubbing out, but this is an adventure most people like to find out on their own.
There is also a whole list of ways to make cigs easier to smoke, but that is a more advanced topic for some other time.