Born and raised in France, many of my memories are surrounded by smoke. Most people smoked around me, especially growing up in the 70's. It was 1982, when I smoked my first cigarette, and I was 10 years old. By 11, I was buying my own packs that I would keep hidden somewhere in town, with a lighter and a tube of toothpaste. By 17, I was smoking one pack a day, and at 21, when I actually stopped smoking, I was at 2 packs a day... How I did it? I don't know, but when you smoke, it seems every occasion is good to light up.
With my experience in smoking, and all the various plans I had to come up to get cigarettes as a teenager, I still got shocked, when a gorgeous 14 year old girl, grabbed an half smoked cigarette from the gutter and lit it with pride, as if to impress me.
For a few minutes I couldn't help thinking how sad this was, but eventually I remembered doing the same thing. I forget that I was raised in a small town and to see the same pattern in a city like New York, seems strange to me. What is it with smoking that can be so appealing? Even today, I can't really understand why I love it... I don't smoke anymore, except maybe once in a while, but if I knew it was not hazardous for my health, I would do it everyday.
The reason it is challenging for a smoker to stop, is because the effects on the body are slow and not as dramatic as if you start drugs or alcohol, where you get an instant buzz. Cigarettes are gently transforming your immune system, and most of it is irreversible, so smoking or non-smoking? I would say non-smoking for a better future.