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quit smoking

No More Butts

by Luke de Kock / 26.09.2011

It’s come back again. That undeniable cough in the morning is getting worse. The phlegm you spit into the sink is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a whole twisted web of that yellow ooze crudely laminating your alveoli mate, and it’s there to stay. That is, unless you stop. Yeah come on, fuck it. Stop now, throw out your box of reds, clean the ashtray and stick a damn candle in it. I mean, how hard could it be?

But you’ve been through this before. It’s one of those revolutionary mid-hangover resolutions where your mangled organs start to get their message across, if only briefly. Your mashed head conjures up thoughts of going for a run, making fruit smoothies, eating muesli, finding a girlfriend, picking up squash, getting married, white-picket fences, making it work. Kak.

Quitting smoking is a thought not to be taken lightly, not to be flirted with. It has to be one of those amber-light decisions; either put foot or yank the handbrake. Be indecisive at your peril. It’s this thought process that has led me to stop at the red lights. I could wait for green, wait for the hangover to pass, at least then the physical reminders of my tarred lungs will cease. Or I could use this as some sort of motivation.

According to the American Medical Review Board, only 5 to 7 per cent of smokers who quit (without support) are still smoke-free a year after quitting. They call this the “7 percent club”. The thought of a group of sanctimonious, weigh-less nutters with name stickers on their chests sitting around a table sickens me. But at the same time, the end goal is to be smoke-free, right? Cigarettes simply aren’t one of those things you can do occasionally, sadly, it isn’t their nature.

quit smoking

It is, however, in their nature to go perfectly well with certain things. Coffee, for instance, cries out for a smoke to complete the ritual. Moreover, that first five minutes after sex can tend to be a vacuum of emotion, a vacuum easily filled by a smoke, depending on the context of course. Either it was embarrassingly short and you light up for comforts sakes, to give you something to do whilst you ponder your inadequacy. Or it was a Leonidas-esque headboard-shaking fiasco, and lying back with the filter hanging on the edge of your lip feels close to godliness.

That’s the thing. These gaps in one’s life that cigarettes now fill weren’t there to begin with. Surely not. But now addiction has taken a machine-gun to the fabric of your existence, peppering it with cavernous black holes. You feel them when either hand is free of task or purpose. You feel them when you’re stressed. And when they come, the vacuous emptiness is so vast that you plug the hole with the end of a cigarette and set fire to it. That’ll teach it.
Nowhere else are these holes more felt than in the presence of beer. Alcohol takes the machine-gun into overdrive. Bullet shells scatter across the bar top; stompies spill over from the ashtray into the garden outside the window.
Picking up a smoke halfway through your first draught feels more natural than putting your socks on before your shoes. It just works that way. Slowly you come to realise that if you’re going to stop the rapid fire, you’re going to have to put down the bottle.

A comedian once mentioned that the relationship between smoking and drinking is exactly like the relationship between shitting and pissing. But the bond is stronger than that. Will a month off the drink be enough to quell that most natural of desires? Probably not. If said comedian is to be believed, there are some things that are hard wired. There is an ineffably, inexorably strong connection between a number two and a number one. Perhaps no amount of not-shitting is going to make you not-piss when you next take your seat on the throne. As an acid test I go to the golden arches and load up. Mcfeast, Mcdouble, Mcmassive: the lot. Hours later I take my seat on the throne.

It’s impossible.

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RESPONSES (47)
  1. Mr Clean says:

    Drug addicts are pitiful creatures.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Or learn to have some self control and respect for your body? Harden the fuck up and just quit. Stop buying them, don’t take one if offered. Go for a little jog down the road and you’ll quickly realise how you are destroying your body. Pop down to the hospital and have a look at a person with emphysema.
    But most of all, you smokers should learn to respect others if not yourselves. I’m sick of going out and having to breathe in your vile stench. My clothes needing to be dry cleaned because you insist on smoking in public areas. Walking in the park and seeing stompies stuffed into every nook. Take some control of your lives and stop imposing your pathetic addiction on everyone else. Piss off

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  3. Anonymous says:

    the guy above has obviously never smoked…

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Actually I have. Was a smoker for years until one day realised I’d developed a smoker’s cough. It’s very easy to quit when you realise how many years it’s sapping from your life. Look, I actually couldn’t care if people do or don’t. There’s far too many people in this place as is. I DO care though when YOUR smoke becomes my problem. Get it?

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  5. Tim says:

    You have bigger problems to worry about, like being an asshole.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    If anyone should harden the fuck up, it should be the weepy anti-smokers. “It smells poofy!” Grow up.

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  7. Anonymoose says:

    There always has to be one Youtube-esque asshole who argues for arguments sake. Rad article.

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  8. jackson says:

    smoke till you 30. take a 30year break and light up on your 60th.

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  9. jackson says:

    I also bet that guy on top chows AT LEAST nine steak and kidney pies a week.

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  10. Mr Clean says:

    First thing addicts do when confronted with the facts is to close ranks and to spew random propaganda, not fuelled by common sense but driven by less noble attributes such as hipness and peer-pressure. Chances are, when someone starts telling you that you’re tiresome and not much fun then they’re entering the cognitively challenged zone. It’s that way with smackheads and it’s much the same for smokers. It’s also a proven fact that passive smoking causes dread diseases and kills – would any of you chemically dependant hipsters like to argue to the contrary?

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  11. jackson says:

    not with you.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    What’s with comparing smokers to smack heads? I’ve never sucked a dick for a cig and no smoker has ever contracted AIDS from sharing a cigarette. Where is your common sense?

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  13. Mr Clean says:

    If “common sense” were the pivotal issue, then smokers would quit long before attempting to dissect all these peripheral arguments. That’s my point about the commonality between smokers and smackheads: a-d-d-i-c-t-i-o-n (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/addict), the compulsive and obsessive consumption of something detrimental and the mind-games that people play with others and especially themselves in order to justify this lack of “common sense”.

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  14. Mr Clean says:

    And here’s another perspective – health agencies the world over have started to quantify what it costs economies in terms of health care to treat all the cancer and emphysema sufferers due to their smoking. The price tag is HUGE – it would build a lot of schools, feed a lot of kids, place a lot of police on the streets or finance a lot of HIV medication. So if you’re smoking, chances are that I will be financing the fruits of your dependency later on. Yes, your habit does affect me directly.

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  15. Tim says:

    It’s been proven that smokers and overweight people cost the state less since their lives are significantly shorter. Your life affects me directly; go die.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    How about this? I’ll carry on smoking, quite happily not giving a shit, and die one day as a result. You can carry on scolding everyone who is less “clean” than you, probably pissing off more people than winning them over, paying for mine and everybody else’s cancer treatment and whatever else you think you’ll pay for, and go around being all huffy about that, then eventually die of very old age if not sooner from complication caused from that very big stick jammed up your ass.

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  17. Mr Clean says:

    Yes Tim, your last comment falls into that “congnitively challenged” bracket I was referring to. Let me unpack this for your oxygen-starved brain: healthier adults WORK for longer (and more efficiently), thereby contributing to the fiscus (www.dictionary.com) more meaningfully for everyone. The longer and better anyone works, the more we all benefit. It takes a lot of money to raise and educate someone, so the longer they spend repaying the favour, the better.

    It’s time you started seeing the obvious instead of engaging with that addiction-fuelled indignation bubbling in your veins.

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  18. Mr Clean says:

    Request to Mahala – could you please add a “stupid” button for us to click as an option on any comment?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Tim = no too bright

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  20. gunston says:

    They say smoking takes off 10-15years of your life. Those years are normally spent in bed, shitting yourself and lonely. They can have those. On the house.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    smells poofy

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  22. Mr Min says:

    These hardened smokers need a visit from the ghost of Hendrik Schoeman.

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  23. Mr Min says:

    Is it my imagination, or do addicts often refer to people having things jammed up their asses? Is this something they came up with collectively while talking shit between puffs on the balcony? Is this what addicts think everyone’s idea of discomfort is, given that they probably feel like there’s something jammed in their sphincter every time they go through withdrawal symptoms?

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  24. Unfilling Uncertainty says:

    I really don’t think we should see drug addicts as pitiful creatures especially not if you have ever or want to ever help someone who is recovering.

    All these mainline habits(drugs+cigarettes+alcohol) are based on anxiety..
    Insecure?

    Me? Yes… you can relate drug consumption to peer pressure but its not copying your friends that does it, its not being able to talk about feeling like a misfit. Could you try being less strict about who fits in and who doesn’t?

    Or is including everybody still not cool yet?

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  25. Tim says:

    “Bunch of whinin’ maggots. (lights cigarette) Bunch of obnoxious, self-righteous slugs. Don’t take that wrong. I’d quit smoking if I didn’t think I’d become one of you. I’m willing to die seven years before my time just so I’ll be cool each last fuckin’ day.”

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Tim is soooo cool. And a dick

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  27. Quitter says:

    If smoking HONESTLY doesn’t bother you, why quit?

    Personally it irritates the fuck out of my throat and chest. Yes, the morning cough. The shitty feeling of a tight chest when playing soccer or other sports. If smoking just killed you 10 years earlier, that might be acceptable. But having to cough and splutter through life before you die prematurely is a bit lame. It also sucks waking up and hearing your friends, in the prime of their lives but also heavy smokers, hack like dying people before coming downstairs for that coffee and cig.

    It also seems a bit off colour to have to pay massive multi national companies for cigarettes. I don’t see anyone growing their own chemical free tobacco.

    I have been a smoker for 10 years and can honestly say I am sick (from and) of it. None of the things I enjoy in life are made better by it, and many made worse. Even drinking.

    Good article, but I disagree with your conclusion. Shitting and pissing are natural, smoking is a trap that some clever marketing, nicotine and chemicals have got you caught in. Step out. Don’t. It doesn’t matter. but at least realise what it really is.

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  28. Bill Hicks says:

    Thanks for that Tim. I love Bill Hicks. And I respect all the other people that dont smoke, I really do, but seriously, they are all so fucking up tight. WTF, why cant they keep their little rants to themselves. Just because they listened to their parents and ended up working in a fucking Bank they think they can be rude to anyone who loves a little puff so now and then. Fuck that shit. Smoking is fun, and its fun, oh, and it just feels great. And if it kills us, then well, fuck it. Im sure most of these people that say they dont smoke probably suip them in their poes. How kak funny is that, ‘I dont smoke, oh no I dont, but I suip me fucked up, thats how I have fun’ hahahaha I love humans, everyones so fucking retarded these days. I cant wait to go to hell with everyone, its going to be so much fun up there! Its going to be hot so wear a shorts and bring some liquids! But dont bring a lighter because… you know what I mean! Hahahahaha Im laughing at my own comment I must be fucking crazy! Or normal, depending on your state of mind and state of being. Andy, could I write for mahala please? Im sure people will love it.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    @Quitter, do yourself a favour and just stop smoking. It’s easier than you think. The actual physical withdrawal lasts 3 days. The rest of quitting is mental. Just stop. Take a leaf from the AA book (alcohol being another addiction), just don’t have that first one. JUST DON’T HAVE THE FIRST ONE. Another thing that helped me hugely was drinking water. Every time you crave a smoke, down as much water as you can stomach. I promise you it will make it easier.
    Smoking needs to be banned. There is ZERO benefit from it. Zero, it’s a shitty habit.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Bill Hicks, I couldn’t care a damn if you smoke or not, if you die or live. Really. What I do give a shit about is the stench of your fucking filthy smoke filtering into my life. Or the countless shitty butts everywhere I look. What you do to yourself is your problem, heck, I give a shit if you are obese, crack addicted, whatever, go ahead and jump off a fucking cliff…but when your pathetic actions affect my life then it pisses me off. Wanker

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  31. Bill Hicks says:

    Dude you sound like a fucking girl. Why do you ‘argumentative’ types always end up on mahala. Grow a dick, balls will come with it. And stop whining like a little girl. leave that up to your little sister okay girlpants. You sound pathetic.

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  32. Tim says:

    Another thing. This idea of “I’m offended”. Well I’ve got news for you. I’m offended by a lot of things too. Where do I send my list? Life is offensive. You know what I mean? Just get in touch with your outer adult. And grow the fuck up. And move the fuck on.

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  33. Quitter says:

    Thanks for the advice Anonymous, I gave up a week ago and feel fucking glorious.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    @Tim, just seeing your name offends me.

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  35. Iggy Pop says:

    Why do non-smokers always have to sound so f*&$king self righteous, like it gives them a personality not to smoke?

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  36. Tim says:

    At least my name is there for all to see; I can only assume yours is so offensive that it even has to be censored.
    Nananananana, oh shit, I’m spending too much time with non-smokers, I’m becoming a whiny immature bitch.

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  37. TimeToStart says:

    Thanks Mr Min/Clean, you have inspired me to start smoking. I’d rather die young than end up a sanctimonious goody-two-shoed cunt. If smoking is the cure to self-righteous cunthood then I think lots more people need to light up.

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  38. Mr Quote says:

    @TTS – “Chances are, when someone starts telling you that you’re tiresome and not much fun then they’re entering the cognitively challenged zone.”

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  39. Tim says:

    @Mr Quote Cognitively Challenge Einstein: “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs.”

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  40. Mr Quote says:

    Keep digging that hole Tim. Einstein was first and foremost a man of science. If he knew back then what we know now about the health risks, he would NOT be saying the same thing. Back in the ’40s and ’50s almost everyone smoked, even medical doctors.

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  41. YsterHart says:

    Best incentive I had to quit when I did, was the R500 odd bucks I had extra every month as a result. Thats a bunch more beer for me.

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  42. tumitumitumi says:

    i woke up one day and gave my sister my carton. i just didn’t like smoking anymore. i had tried several times before and it never worked, but this particular time, i think i was just in sync with my body and i listened to it. i don’t remember having cravings and the crazy thing is that i didn’t even have to quit drinking. i just disassociated those little “habits” with smoking and moved on with my life. three years in january!

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  43. Felix says:

    Christ, the Mahala readership are boring and predictable. The article is a snapshot of an individual’s relationship with addiction. An honest window. Why does everything have to be hauled into the shit-slinging arena?

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  44. Wilson says:

    Fantastic bit of writing, the whole machine gun analogy is the hot tits man. Wish people would stop posting useless bullshit and take notice of the talent. Mahala readership can go smoke a nice fat cock.

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  45. Marissa says:

    Brilliant!

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  46. kAne says:

    Nice article. I fully agree with Quitters comment. It cannot be compared to shitting&pissing except that its kak to be around and see.
    Smoking is unnecessary and siff. It should not be the norm that it is now.

    I dream of the day I can go out and jol without having to doge smokers air, ember and mess…

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