I’m two days into my latest attempt to give up smoking and by the reckoning of dozens of advice guides should be over the worst of the irritability.
The guides are written by morons.
My neighbours haven’t stopped playing drum and bass in 48 hours, the television is full of unfunny rubbish and my flatmates are all wearing clogs.
In an empty room I would swear at the wallpaper.
Over the years I have had far too many last cigarettes to fully convince myself that this is definitely the last time I will try to stop smoking.
But with British Heart Foundation’s national No Smoking Day coming up on Wednesday, I thought I would once again try to join the thousands who attempt to stop smoking in the UK every month.
Sadly almost half who try to quit without support will not manage to stop for even a week. Less than 5 per cent will make it through a whole a year without smoking again. With these kinds of odds its difficult not to be pessimistic about my chances.
Of course this isn’t the first time I have tried to quit – over the last three years I have tried everything from nicotine gum to junk food and recriminations all without any solid results.
After one spectacularly failed effort at hypnotherapy two years ago – resulting in a dented wall and a broken ipod – I was resigned to the fact there is not a silver bullet method to get off the smokes.
As it stood, the only way I was going to quit was by getting a time machine and a hammer to go back and knock some sense into a smug 14-year-old who even then should have known better.
Despite my hair-trigger patience this attempt has been relatively smooth sailing thanks largely to the smoking cessation market’s latest get-quit quick scheme – e-cigarettes.
By heating a liquid containing nicotine into a vapour, e-cigs simulate smoking without the tar, smell or legal restrictions on using them indoors.
But while they trade off many of the worst aspects of smoking there are still concerns about as yet unknown health risks in the long term. Certainly the nicotine alone is likely to cause heart damage, although on a far lower scale than tobacco.
I have already heard dozens of anecdotes about people who quit cigarettes after smoking for a year but have smoked e-cigarettes ever since. If true, they are less a quitting tool than a new vice themselves.
Currently they sit in a legal limbo and while not explicitly illegal many organisations such as National Rail have begun to ban their use in public places. While some would argue this is an unhelpful overreaction the truth is society just doesn’t have the patience for smoking it once did.
And why should it?
With less than 20 per cent of the general population now smoking cigarettes there is definitely truth to the old joke that smokers are a dying breed. With fewer people smoking than ever before the reaction of these organisations to e-cigarettes in public places is unsurprising.
But now I’m two days in without a fag and (so far) seem to be holding steady. Already my smoke-deadened senses are beginning to return to life letting me taste food for the first time in an age. I’m less short of breath when walking around the city and wake up without coughing.
And I can smell cigarettes again.
Perhaps its down to being on edge but it seems impossible to go more than 10 feet without a waft of tobacco smoke hitting me in the face. The smell is bitter-sweet – half of me hating it, the other knowing it to be the perfect solution to my foul mood.
Maybe this time I can stay off the fags for good but one thing is certain- the people who wrote those guides are morons.