I have tried the Nicorette inhaler as a means of giving up; it's a little plastic thing that looks like a miniature jet turbine and you insert a capsule of nicotine into it. It's horrible. It is hard on your throat and makes you cough.
My problem is that there are situations where I deeply crave a cigarette:
- First thing in the morning when I open my email after breakfast and find up to 70 emails, most of them jokes or dross, but usually quite a few that need attention and they are all 'important' or 'urgent'. This sends me into stress mode and I have to walk away and procrastinate about which to handle first, and to do this I head outside with a cigarette.
- When I can't get the right words to flow for something I'm writing or designing. It's amazing how a cigarette out in the garden can magically bring forth the perfect phrase or design idea
- When I'm having a drink. Wine and fags just go together
- When anything else stresses me - it's an excuse to walk away from the problem for a moment
- When I'm with friends who smoke
Now looking at this list it covers a lot of my daily activities. This is not good for my health.
I've just come back from a month in the UK and Paris, where I enjoyed my cigarettes but to a lesser degree in terms of actual consumption. We did a lot - and I mean a LOT - of walking over there and my fitness has improved, so that is also a reason for me stopping the fag addiction now I'm back to my usual routine.
A close friend of mine in the UK, Pete, has also unsuccessfully tried to give up the habit, but he has found a solution that I've adopted.
E-Cigarettes. Or i-Fags as G calls them.
These are devices which look and feel like a cigarette but use water and glycerine flavoured with food flavourings and heated up with a battery so you suck and blow flavoured steam. You believe you are smoking. For someone who uses cigarettes for the reasons I do it's the perfect solution. I can keep smoking - or vaping as it's actually called - without inhaling addictive nicotine or harmful tar and chemicals.
In the UK you can buy nicotine juice to go in your e-cig, which Pete has done, but in Australia it's not legal to sell true nicotine juice. People have been hospitalised for nicotine poisoning incorrectly using e-cigs and e-cig sales have been banned in Victoria as a result. You can apparently import it but I'm all for getting rid of the nicotine habit and just fulfilling my need to suck and blow on something (no rude jokes here please... oh, bugger, go on then!). I tried Pete's e-cigs when we stayed with him for a night and was impressed.
So I have ordered and received my pack of i-Fags with plain tobacco-flavoured juice, no nicotine. I got it yesterday, charged it up and took a puff. It actually tastes nicer than real ciggies. I have ordered menthol flavoured refills and also...heh heh... strawberry flavoured. You can get a range of fruit flavourings.
When I was away I bought a carton of duty free cigs which I thought would see me out until I had the money together to buy the e-cig kit, which was about $145 with all the refills etc. Once you've got the kit keeping yourself puffing steam costs about $5 a week for the average vaper. Cost saving and health saving. Anyway I was keen to just get the kit and get started on the e-cigs, so took the money out of my budget, and gave the remainder of the carton (well, most of the carton!) last night to a friend who smokes. I also tried to interest her in the e-cig :-).
This morning when I did my stint outside after checking the email I had a nicotine-free 'smoke'. It felt just like I'd had a normal cigarette. Only now my clothes and hair don't stink.
It's the habit you have when you're not having the habit. I like it.
Update: Four days later. Not craving real ciggies AT ALL. The i-Fag is doing the job!