My hiatus from smoking my homemade pipe tobacco cigarettes lasted approximately 20 days. I was on holidays this week which left me a lot of time by myself. A combination of boredom and opportunity presented itself and I found myself smoking from Tuesday to Friday. I almost bought a pack of real cigarettes, but I actually think I like rolling my own better and it is so much more convenient since I literally have a giant jar full of tobacco. I’m getting quite good at it too. My cigarettes actually look like cigarettes now instead of like a joint and smoke like a cigarette too as in they stay lit. Interestingly, much like smoking pipe tobacco in a pipe, they require some skill in smoking. Controlled draws and smoked slower the smoke is quite smooth and flavourful and very similar to how it would be in a pipe. I noticed if I did a harder drag the smoke would be hot and “biting” much like when you smoke a pipe too fast.
The first day I smoked two- the one I had left unsmoked 20 days prior in the morning and I rolled a fresh one plus four more for later in the week and smoked that one about three hours after my first. The cigarettes smoke better the next day as the tobacco has dried out a bit more. I smoked another Wednesday, another Thursday both in the morning after everyone in my house had left. The last two I smoked on Friday in a similar pattern to Tuesday.
I think given the opportunity, my body would love it if I smoked every three hours. My cravings are still mostly psychological, easily ignored if the opportunity to smoke is not there. However, my cravings are less easy to ignore when I know I can smoke. Every morning, I eagerly awaited my roommates departure so I could indulge again. Each day, I would start craving my morning cigarette as the time of their leave approached. I still crave the morning cigarette. It is much like drinking coffee in the morning, a great way to get the day started.
I smoked my last one Friday afternoon and mostly feel a bit more tired today than usual. I have a tiny headache that I’m pretty sure a cigarette could fix, but no intense psychological cravings. I think I like smoking these cigarettes more than commercial ones which is why I seem to be smoking more. It could be that after years of dabbling, my nicotine tolerance is high enough to really enjoy smoking without making myself sick.
I’m on cigarette smoking hiatus again, probably until the next time I’m on vacation. Until next time…
14 hours later…
A few friends and I got together for a wiener roast and I decided I was going to smoke my pipe. It was relaxing as usual and so very different from cigarette smoking. You get the nicotine but not the ‘high’ if that makes any sense. The same feel feeling I get about 10 minutes after smoking a cigarette after the initial buzz is gone. I have a feeling I’m going to be smoking my pipe a lot more this summer.
I’m on spring break, which means I had time for some writing. Here is Chapter 16 of Strange and Beautiful.
This is how I feel about drugs, including nicotine/tobacco. I think we need to focus more on harm reduction for this reason. Stop telling occasional smokers that they should just quit. They know the risks, stop shaming them into lying to their doctors and dentists.
When you read studies about occasional smoking, much like marijuana smoking, they do not have much information on the risks. Some studies have found equal risk from occasional smoking as regular smoking but these studies often include light, daily smokers in the cohort. Other studies, have found less risk than regular smoking, more risk than never smoking. Usually, the study ends by saying that occasional smoking is not a safe alternative to regular smoking and that people should just quit. To me, this is seeing tobacco use in black and white and ignoring the human aspect. That for some people, the pleasure of smoking, is worth the risk.
Prohibition doesn’t work. We saw that with alcohol. We have seen this with the war on drugs. Instead of banning vaping automatically, research the risks. People like using nicotine. Figure out a safer way for people to use it.
By Johann Hari
The United Nations says the drug war’s rationale is to build “a drug-free world — we can do it!” U.S. government officials agree, stressing that “there is no such thing as recreational drug use.” So this isn’t a war to stop addiction, like that in my family, or teenage drug use. It is a war to stop drug use among all humans, everywhere. All these prohibited chemicals need to be rounded up and removed from the earth. That is what we are fighting for.
I began to see this goal differently after I learned the story of the drunk elephants, the stoned water buffalo, and the grieving mongoose. They were all taught to me by a remarkable scientist in Los Angeles named Professor Ronald K. Siegel.
***The tropical storm in Hawaii had reduced the mongoose’s home to a mess of mud, and lying there, amid…
View original 3,114 more words
Since the conference, I’ve rolled some more pipe tobacco cigarettes on two different occasions. I’m getting pretty good at it. What made it difficult the first time is the tobacco I had was too moist. I’ve since discovered that very dry (too dry to smoke in a pipe) tobacco, crumbled up, makes the best cigarettes. It is almost like I’ve found a use for tobacco that has dried out too much. I’ve got my paper filter folding technique down and can now create a consistent product. I actually really enjoy rolling them, almost more than I enjoy smoking them. In fact, I have to stop myself from rolling them, because I often don’t even have any desire to smoke one, but I want to roll one, but once I have the cigarette rolled I feel like I can’t let it go to waste, so I end up smoking it. I currently have one rolled, but yet unsmoked cigarette that I rolled but didn’t feel like smoking.
Now, fetish wise, I used to think that aesthetics were pretty important and that RYO wouldn’t cut it. I mean I don’t like watching people smoke RYO. When I say RYO, I’m not talking RYO made with manufactured tubes and an injector. I’m talking a finished product that looks more like a nicely rolled joint, than a cigarette. However, I was wrong to count it out based on looks.
Firstly, I found rolling them to be a slightly erotic experience, almost as much as or more so than actually smoking them. I actually really enjoy the process. I enjoy that a certain amount of undivided attention must be paid or the result will be shitty. I also enjoy that it takes a bit of skill to make a nice looking and smoking cigarette. My current ones look more like cigarettes than joints, so I feel better about smoking them in public.
How do they smoke? Pretty decent, now that I have my rolling technique down. They stay lit, are pretty easy to draw on and have a really, really nice flavour. The flavour is my favorite part. Not the same harshness or thickness of cigar smoke, but more flavour than a commercial cigarette. They are slightly stronger, have similar smoke volume and slightly denser smoke when compared to a full-flavoured cigarette but without a gross cigarette breath aftertaste. What do I mean by gross cigarette breath aftertaste? Sometimes when I would smoke a cigarette, I would taste it for hours afterward despite having chewed gum or brushed my teeth. The after taste and sometimes the taste of commercial cigarettes were sometimes unpleasant. I’m not sure how I would describe the flavour though. It tasted different from the same tobacco smoked in a pipe. Way different. The paper imparts a flavour unique to cigarettes that changes the taste of the smoke from what it tastes like in the pipe. If I had to nail it down, it tastes like pipe smoke mixed with paper. The paper adds a harshness that I’m not sure I like. I also noticed that when you inhale the smoke, you don’t really taste it as much. I did notice that the smell doesn’t linger on my clothes for long and the smoky smell that it does impart is less harsh than after a cigarette is smoked.
I did notice the effect of not having a filter, despite the fact that filters apparently don’t do much of anything. If you are interested in reading more about that, this article was enlightening. Apparently, the original goal was to create a safer cigarette, but all their ‘successes’ resulted in a less pleasurable cigarette. I guess ventilated filters would work, except that smokers adjust their draw to compensate for the lighter smoke, so they end up getting the same effect as they would out of a full-flavour cigarette. What I noticed is that I was slightly more phelmgy than I usually am after I smoke.
I actually wonder what they smell like to a non-smoker or someone walking by. I almost want to get someone to smoke one around me so I can see. Or burn one without actually smoking so I can smell it. I suspect it smells a bit like someone smoking a pipe crossed with burning paper.
I always thought pipe tobacco would make a delicious cigarette and my suspicions are confirmed. I’m starting not even want to ever buy commercial cigarettes again, which is good since I made an agreement with my fiancée that I wouldn’t. He is not super pleased with the loopholes I have found in the agreement as he would much rather I only smoke pipes and cigars.
Will this discovery increase my cigarette consumption? Well, I have to say it already has. I rolled and smoked two last weekend and I smoked four this weekend, two Saturday and two Sunday. I’m back to abstaining for the week and probably longer. Another thing I noticed about these cigarettes is the buzz is different. It feels more similar to how I feel after smoking a pipe, despite the fact that I am smoking it like a cigarette. I also seem to crave them less, despite the fact that I smoked both Saturday and Sunday, I don’t feel like I need to smoke today. I started writing this post on Monday and on Monday I felt like I craved them less and didn’t feel the need to smoke. By Tuesday evening, I felt a very intense craving to smoke. I started planning to smoke in the morning. After all, I had one already rolled. I didn’t feel like smoking in the morning though, and then forgot my smoking stuff at home and now I feel fine.
What I realized last night is, that in some ways, I’ve been addicted since I took my first real inhale. I spent the early part of my experimentation so worried I would become addicted when ironically I already was addicted. Not physically, but psychologically. Really the physical addiction just heightens the cravings I already experience. I mean I smoke for more than the effect of nicotine, however, a large part of why I smoke is because I like the way that nicotine makes me feel. I like smoking tobacco in all of its forms and each for different reasons. I like the ritual involved with pipe smoking. I like the large clouds of smoke with cigar smoking and the closeness of the tobacco to my mouth. Cigarettes are my first love, and I like the instant effect they have on me. Cigarettes are instant gratification.
It also made me realize how much I like pipe smoking and that by far it is the superior way to consume pipe tobacco. So I’m going to put down the rolling papers for a time and stick to smoking pipes and cigars. I’m not sure how long I will abstain for this time but I feel like I need a bit of space between me and tobacco right now. Until next time…
Super interesting, I always thought my cravings varied with my cycle. However, their findings do not match up with my anecdotal ones. My craving are strongest during ovulation and just before my period. They are probably strongest during ovulation because smoking and sexual arousal are very linked for me. Just before my period, I crave smoking to deal with PMS symptoms. While I crave smoking more at these times, the majority of the time I don’t act on it.
Interesting information nonetheless.
Originally posted on The Antidote Clinic:
Researchers at the Université de Montréal found that certain times in a woman’s cycle make her cravings more pronounced, while others are more conducive to quitting.
The beginning of menstruation, what is called the follicular phase, is the hardest time to quit. This is when nicotine cravings are strongest. A drop in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, make withdrawal more pronounced. Neural circuits that are connected with cravings are also more active at this time. This research suggests that just after ovulation, during the mid-luteal phrase, is the best time to quit. That is when the levels of these hormones are the most elevated and when an abstinence-based approach may be most successful.
Researchers do admit that psycho-social factors are also significant when a woman is trying to quit. Still, the study’s author Adrianna Mendrek told Science Daily, “Taking the menstrual cycle into consideration could help women…
View original 170 more words
This weekend I had some insight as to why it is hard to both quit smoking (or start smoking). Weather is getting warmer here and basically to me and my fiancee that means that it is pipe smoking season. So we had a pipe on Friday evening and it was nice. At some point in the evening, I decided that I wanted to roll some pipe tobacco cigarettes. I’m not sure what came over me, but I decided that I would roll two and smoke them the next day. I had to go into work to do some paperwork, so it would be the perfect time to smoke by myself. Now you are probably thinking, “Before long she’ll be hooked.” Or that I’m going to go back to my closet smoking days. Technically, it was somewhat closeted smoking in that I told nobody and I smoked alone. I didn’t go to super great lengths to hide it like I had in the past. I almost couldn’t wait to smoke the first one and it was everything I expected it to be. I went into work riding a nice buzz that kept me focused for hours. I smoked the next one just after lunch, it was good but less so than the first, probably because I made the filter wrong and it was really hard to draw on.
I didn’t really think about smoking for the rest of the day. I contemplated rolling more cigarettes last night, but opted for just packing the materials so that I could do it the next day if I wanted to. I had to go into work again today and around 9:30 am, I contemplated rolling and smoking another cigarette. It would be so easy, nobody would know. But instead, I just kept working like I normally do. I didn’t really think of smoking at all for the rest of the day.
But it did get me thinking. I work with people teaching them how to make big changes in their lives, like quitting hard drugs or finding better ways to manage their anger. One thing we often talk about is comfort zone. If I had started smoking as a teenager, smoking would be my comfort zone. It would feel weird not doing it. That is why quitting smoking is so hard. Conversely, if you have a well practiced habit of not smoking, it is your comfort zone and despite how addictive smoking might be, I think it is this very thing that allows me to smoke occasionally. That said, if I were surrounded by smokers in my life, it would be a different story. Smoking would become part of my comfort zone making it much easier to start. I think this is why there are quite a few closeted/occasional smokers. It allows people to step out of their comfort zones for brief moments in the case of the occasional smoker or the hidden smoking becomes their comfort zone in the case of the closet smoker.
I’ve probably posted on this at some point before, but my job circumstances have changed a bit and now that I teach adults it would be easier to be a regular smoker. It came up in class that I occasionally smoke, and one of my students said why?
Why indeed? Occasional smoking must seem pointless to the initiated everyday smoker. I’m going to outline a few of the reasons I still don’t smoke regularly, despite no longer being totally restricted by my job.
I like that I can take it or leave it. If only I could apply similar self-control to food. But I think that comes from practice, as well as not smoking everyday or sometimes even for months. Self-control lessens the more times/days in a row that I smoke. As with any smoker, the most I smoke, the more I crave it. Most of the time (minus the conference I went to last week) smoking is an isolated event followed by weeks and usually months of abstinence. I’ve said ‘no’ to smoking numerous times. Cupcakes, on the other hand, I can’t recall the last time I turned one down.
2. I like feeling the desire, and not giving in
I like feeling the tension and anticipation of desire. Perhaps this feeling would be more uncomfortable if I didn’t have so much practice not giving in.
3. When I do give in, I appreciate it that much more.
Cigarette smoking more so mostly because it is harder for me to do so. None of my friends smoke cigarettes. I don’t buy them for a variety of reasons. But I still appreciate smoking more after a long break from it.
4.Cigarette smoking is more taboo in our house and let’s face in with our friends and society. My fiancee doesn’t like it when I do it, but I don’t feel like I have to hide it. In fact, I tell him when I smoke cigarettes, even when he is not around. I don’t want him to feel like I’m hiding something from him. My friends don’t smoke cigarettes, and when they smoke pipes or cigars it is very occasionally. I would be smoking alone the majority of the time and I have come to like the social aspect of smoking, despite my start as a closet smoker.
5. It would kill my fantasy of becoming a regular smoker.
This is a fantasy that I’ve had for a long time. I feel like I’ve imagined, fantasized about all the ways it could play out that reality would be disappointing.
6. My continued need to live up to my parents’ expectations.
I think it would kill my mother. My dad would probably think I am I hypocrite. My step-mom would think that I had lost it.
7. Health reasons.
This is actually my main reason. I prefer how I feel physically when I’m not smoking regularly. I like not being phelmgy as well as being able to smell and taste things.
8. Physical withdrawal.
I don’t like it. But really does anybody? Wait…this actually would be an argument for smoking regularly. Or for making sure that I don’t smoke regularly enough to go through it.
Mostly I get in my own way. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with my desire.I am ok with most people in my life knowing that smoking is something I occasionally do. I was going to write something about being okay with the fact that I would say yes to smoking the next time I had the opportunity, but I realized that I am surrounded by opportunity (giant jar of tobacco, pipes, an almost full tin of my favourite cigars) and 95% of the time choose not to smoke. I’m not sure I’m would be able to do that if I hadn’t come to terms with my desire.
I’ve come a long way from 18 year old me who bought a pack, and snuck off to remote location in a park to have a smoke.
I have even come a long way since starting this blog, where I was totally not ok with people knowing. When I did my experimentation, I would drive to different neighborhoods, put on a separate jacket to reduce the chance of being seen or given away by my smell.
I remember when I started this, that part of me wished I had never tried smoking. But at the same time, I’m not sure my decision was completely that of an impulsive teenager trying to fit in. I didn’t have any social pressure to smoke, even the first uninhaled puff at 15 I could have gotten away with not taking as on the whole the group was actually against smoking. Again, at 17 when I first inhaled, there was no social pressure to smoke. I smoked with my only friend who smoked. Most of my other friends would have probably given me a hard time. In fact, I think there was more social pressure not to smoke. I think that if I had had a different group of friends as a teen, I’d be a smoker right now.
For me, it is clear that I’m more comfortable only smoking occasionally and I realize that isn’t something everyone can do, nor would I recommend someone trying. Until next time…