Smokin’ hot. Not.

I smoked for about 6 years from the age of 21 to 28. Of course I sucked back on Winnie blues prior to that from the age of 14 on the way home from School or at the bush behind School, but I only really gave it a good crack when I was 21. I went overseas with some mates one summer break while at uni and I decided that seeing as I was in Europe and everyone else was smoking that I should too. I also got my eyebrow pierced in Budapest, because a few people were, OK, a hot Canadian backpacker I was trying to pick up was, and I wanted to impress him, so I got my eyebrow pierced too. And took up a packet of Marlborough Lights habit as well. Aaaaand I got the Canadian at the same time as well!

I was a pretty dedicated smoker. I had a ciggie with my coffee first thing in the morning before I even had a shower, and I ducked out the front of my corporate high rise like the best of them loving those breaks for a catch up with friends and a few minutes away from the stresses of my desk. Give me a wine and I’d give you a thousand fags, and I still believe that the first ciggie after a big, boozy dinner at a restaurant was the best ciggie you could have. The smell, the addiction, the health side effects and the ugliness of the whole thing were not so good and something that I hated each and every day I was a smoker.

When I moved in with Rob (a non smoker) into a rickety old terrace in Darlinghurst with bars on every door and window I had to physically go outside for a lonely cigarette. It lost a little of it’s lustre. It was also winter and cold. I didn’t allow myself to hang out a window so it meant going out the back, or onto the street to fight it our with the Ice addicts and homeless men that hung about in our street. One day I was so hung over and not bovvered that I just didn’t have a ciggie. And then the next day the same. Before I knew what I was doing it was a 5 days without one, so I gave up. Just like that. Pretty clever hey? And I stuck it out and didn’t really have another one for a year or so later, when I was out and drunk, but it most certainly didn’t have any appeal. As the years went on I was still ciggie free but found myself dabbling a little here and there if I was out on the tiles with mates on a night off from the kids when I wanted to feel like the “old Beth”. Not a Mum. Just Beth. When I was in Paris a few years ago I HAD to have a cigarette because my brother in law had them and I was in PARIS AND EVERYONE SMOKES. And more and more lately I find an excuse for one. I haven’t bought a packet (actually I lie, I did share a pack with Maxabella last year) but I didn’t take them home. Last week I caught up with a mate who smokes and so I had a couple with her over the course of the night, and then again on the weekend with my brother in law. Excuses, who needs them? Apparently I don’t.

I guess once you are a smoker you are always a smoker right? The truth is I don’t even enjoy them when I’m having them, but it’s that same rebellion that the 14 year old me was attracted to all those years ago that has me again. Mum’s aren’t “meant to” smoke, but it feels good to “not meant to” for a few minutes these days. I think the last few months of being so over bad sleep, and giving so much to every member of the family and not myself that this is some kind of warped rebellion? How stupid can you get? If only I had the same attraction/rebellion to exercise as time to myself, or yoga, or something healthy and not cake or bread and cheese or wine or in this case, cigarettes.

Do you find yourself dabbling in the stupid when you are stressed? I guess it’s human nature. And I guess that tomorrow I will convince myself that no alcohol, a run and a salad are all better choices. I am after all, 34 and not 14 anymore…


  1. As the fellow purchaser of that little pack of gold and white contraband… yes, I still do it sometimes. I feel exactly the same way you do about it all. I am actually oddly pleased that life is no longer full of long lunches and even longer nights. I would absolutely still be sucking back daily duzzas if it was. For shizz. x

  2. I can relate to this post word for word. The only difference is that I really enjoy my sneaky ciggies that I hide as if I’m a naughty schoolgirl all over again. It sneaks back up on you and before you know it, you’re having to ‘quit’ all over again. Why do we do it?

  3. Similar story here too Beth. Started at 19, for god knows what reason, became a weekend-only binge smoker when I was 26. Stopped completely when I got pregnant and then on occasion when I was stressed or trying to be youthful. I actually had a couple on the weekend and was highly disappointed in myself. Thought I’d stopped for good this time.

  4. I most definelty agree – especially now as a mom, I find myself doing these little habits more than ever when I am stressed. I like to “convince” myself that I am still a badass. Stupid, I know.

  5. Oh Beth, can so relate, 7 weeks today since I had a puff…not missing it at all at the moment but know I will probably happily have a cigi when Im out with frinds or have a drink. I have smoked off and on since I was 14, OMG that 30yrs!!!….bit of a running joke with my friends….is Jen on or off the cigis? When I smoke I really enjoy it till I dont then I stop. That picture is Classic!!

    • Isn’t the picture great? It was taken about 6 years ago now when we were away in Ireland for Rob’s birthday with my sister and her (now) husband. LOVE it.

  6. I was an enthusiastic smoker from the age of about 18 to 29 (when I got pregnant) but after the pregnancy I went back and forth between smoking and quitting which I absolutely hated and eventually I quit and it stuck. I’m coming up to about two years now.

    When I think about being down in Melbourne ALONE for DPCON I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about having some sneaky cigarettes. The only thing that stops me is how difficult it is to stop and I hate quitting. Why put myself through that? But still . . .

  7. I used to be a ‘social’ smoker ie only smoke when I was out and about or with friends, but over the years I enjoyed it less and less, and now haven’t smoked for years. Back in my casino days when smoking was still allowed inside, we used to deal (cards, not drugs) in the midst of big clouds of passive cigarette smoke, I loved it! Now the whiff of it makes me turn away in disgust. Weird that something I once really enjoyed now repulses me!

  8. I too smoked from age 14, like you, sneaky after school ones, but then started more seriously from age 18-25. Each winter I would quit because of our smoking outside only rule and Melbourne’s freezing weather it was torture, but as soon as the weather warmed up we would be back on again, nothing better than having a drink in the sun with a ciggie. But I quit seriously when I fell pregnant and have tried not to think about it much since…

  9. Oh I love that photo too by the way!!! hilarious! x

  10. I totally ‘get’ that. I smoked (in rebellion) a little as a teen, and then enjoyed a few ‘social ciggies’ in the year or so following my marriage break-up. When I was 32!

    I think it was a bit of weird rebellion, coupled with weird peer-pressure, on nights out with the girls that saved my sanity. I wouldn’t go there again, but it was fun though.

    That’s a great photo.

  11. Bloody bloody cigs. I have given it away too, but still reflect on those years with romanticism. Huh? Why when it was so gross? Probably all the other lifestyle stuff associated with it like child-free, care-free studio apartment living in the city, overseas travel, all that stuff. And the addiction bit, yes, that too. I agree, once a smoker, always a smoker, but I don’t think about it much at all anymore (unless I have a wine in one hand and someone is smoking nearby…)

  12. Dude, I get it. I smoked full time from about 17 to 24/25ish then gave it up for my fella who is a staunch non-smoker. Not a ciggie passed my lips for maybe 2 years so then I figured it’d be OK to ‘social’ smoke…..and have been doing it ever since. I mean, it’s only when I drink, which is only like 1000 times a week!

  13. PS I also get the rebellious aspect. The more people tell me is disgusting and bad for me, the more I’m drawn to it. Idiot.

  14. The old cigs. I bumpuffed my 1st cig on Newtown Station back in Yr 8. I had no idea what I was doing, hence not inhaling, but feeling pretty hardcore in my all girls school uniform.

    I probably really started smoking them in Yr 11, so around age 17 and didn’t stop till I was 24. I haven’t had one since. Honest to goodness. Do I still crave them? No. Not anymore.

    I think back to the nights spent clubbing, the mornings, I’d wake up with a yellow finger from smoking nearly 2 packets in a night!!! The smoker’s cough on the train/drive to work. Having the flu, yet still managing to smoke, the MONEY, my goodness, the MONEY spent on cigs horrifies me!

    I still rebel in other ways. Dance in the car to music when I drop Abi at Kindy, listen to dance music on my ipod while doing the weekly groceries, book tickets to Coachella Festival so have a week of music and sun and drinking WITHOUT KIDS…

  15. I have this stupid habit of doing shots any time I go out with friends. I really dont go out very much, maybe a few times a year & getting less as I get older, so it’s not happening all the time but EVERY FREKIN TIME I hear myself say “Lets do shots!!!”. A tiny voice in my head says “Reannon, your not 16 ( oops I meant 18, I did not underage drink)any more!! Your 30 something, with kids & a husband!!” but every time I ignore that stupid voice & find myself asking for something called a funky monkey ( taste like choc/banana paddle pop), squashed frog, jam donuts or screaming orgasm. I do it because it seems fun at the time, it reminds of when I was young & lived on shots of alcohol with chasers of more alcohol….aaaahhhhh fun times those.

    But here is the truly funny part- I DONT DRINK ANYMORE!!! Since becoming a mum 12 years ago I stopped drinking on a regular basis. Now I only ever drink when I have a reason to- birthdays, christmas parties, christmas- & even then I rarely get drunk but it’s on those nights when I’m in a pub or club with a bunch of friends, most of who are younger than me & childless ( I worked in child care for years & all those girls are YOUNG!!)that somehow I revert back to “party girl Reannon”. She’s a blast but man oh man does she pay for it the next day….Madness….

    • That’s quite awesome – shots! I can’t remember the time I did shots! Oh if you’re only doing every so often then I say party Reannon should be able to suck back a Funky Monkey whenever she likes!

  16. That photo is pure gold, love it. You’re a pack of characters, that’s what you are xo

  17. I started smoking when I was 15. Menthol of course. Alpines mostly, but would spring for the St Moritz (with the fancy gold band on the butt) when we had a big night on the tiles. I progressed to the more mature Benson & Hedges from there – no John Players Specials for me thanks. I dragged deeply on those durries for a good 23 years – till one day, after a few failed attempts, I just stopped. Cold turkey.
    I haven’t wanted or had one since and have really not missed it, any of it, at all. My only regret is all the food I’ve consumed to supplement my habit and the 20 odd kilos I packed on since quitting. I’m working on that bad habit next.
    Gab x

    • OF COURSE you smoked St Moritz – what with their fancy gold butts and ads about being on the ski slopes – WHO WOULDN’T?!

      Well done on staying off them! Who cares about the food? x

  18. I was (am?) a roll-ya-own girl and loved nothing more than rolling up a ciggie in some foreign land, beer in hand, adventures laid out before me. Definitely still think of that girl and want that ciggie for all those crazy associations. You’re right, why doesn’t that nomad girl yearn for a lentil salad instead?

    Still, when I’m 75 I’m taking up rolling ciggies again.

  19. Beth, I am a sinner and I do dabble in all sorts of vices when I need to feel like a rebel or if I need a reward, or whatever.

    But not cigs.

    I smoked from 13 years old to nearly 40. 27 fucking years. May the powers that be strike me down, I also smoked through pregnacies and breastfeeding. (Not a thing I am proud of, obviously.)

    And then, finally, I gave up.

    And now? I am one of those really really annoying evangelical non-smokers. For as long as I live I know without any shadow of a doubt that I will never ever smoke cigarettes ever again. And the lamest thing of all? The idea of being so “clean” as a total antic nicotene convert makes me happy and excited.

    Now, pass me a bong.

  20. This is the story of my life. I never smoke alone and will go MONTHS without them but if I’m feeling naughty on a Saturday night nothing will stop me. I don’t do drugs, I work out 5 times a week, I eat like an annoying healthy person and I can’t let go of this one bad habit because you know what? It’s mine and I imagine I’ll still be doing when I’m an old lady because you’ve got to unclench occasionally right?

Speak Your Mind