Monday, January 17, 2005

"24 Hours: Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.
48 Hours: There is no nicotine left in the body. Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved."
It's been 17 days since my last cigarette. I haven't missed the actual cigarettes but I do miss the ritual around it; I sometimes pause when I'm at my desk and think:"Something's missing. Something's gone from my day," and it will niggle at me like a paper cut for a while. Sometimes I'll pass my regular newsagents and think "I should pick up some cigarettes before I get on the tube / go to the office / turn the corner to go home," and realise I can't do that anymore. I don't need to. I no longer smoke. I'm a non-smoker.

It was strange at first, I felt like I was a different person because I no longer smoked - for so long now, there's only been one Hypatia and she always had a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and could always be relied upon to be in the darkest corner of the bar, talking the loudest and being the most extravagant with her hand gestures, scattering ash and spreading smoke everywhere. I sit in the cleaner and better lit parts of pubs now, and really dislike having smokers near me when I'm eating. Only 17 days and I'm suddenly precious about my lungs and tastebuds and sense of smell, after 8 years of recklessly abusing them. It's good to know what happens when you quit smoking - I'm amazed at how quick the nicotine leaves the body, and I'm ashamed that it has taken me this long to do it. Incidentally, it's been cold turkey all the way - no gum, no patches, no sugar free mints. I just stopped.

It's a new adventure - and I'm facing it with a window seat in the non-smoking section. Go, Hypatia, go!

Congratulations, exclamations of horror and / or encouragement in the comments below, thankyouverymuch.


Planethalder said...

Yey, way to go Hyp! I also went cold turkey a few years ago. Heightened taste and smell are one of the greatest things we recover. I loved that. I didn't like the fact that I replaced smoking with snacking, though. Good luck! Planet.

Planethalder said...

BTW, I became an annoying non-smoker when I first gave up: you know, that person who screws her nose up anytime some one lights up, or urges everyone (smokers and all) go to a pub with a non-smoking section and then insist we all sit in it, or who refuses to join someone on their break because their smoke will foul up the clothes and hair. I'm not like this anymore, thankfully. But I was not a pleasant friend to have around when I first stopped.

Andrew Losowsky said...

yay for sensations. boo for tar. though a catalan designer called Marti Guixe did invent a cigarette for non-smokers. It consisted of a hollow cigarette with an open funnel at the end for effective passive smoking, and it was designed to allow non-smokers to take regular breaks too.

McReadie said...

Congrats, Hypatia - stick with it. I do believe the first couple of weeks are meant to be the worst, aren't they? So hopefully it's all much smoother sailing now.

Incidentally, I know exactly what you mean about missing the breaks. I don't smoke, but I used to accompany a former colleague on cigarette breaks in order to moan and bitch outside the office.

Said former colleague goes in phases where she quits, and then phases where she takes the habit back up. And I would always find that when she'd quit, I really, really missed the little breaks which kind of allowed me to collect my thoughts and deal with my anger. Course, when she started back up again, I moaned about the smell of the smoke, so there really was no way to win :)

I really feel quite strongly that it should be accepted that non-smokers are allowed to take little breaks, to go outside, get some fresh air, have a little moan. I think it would increase productivity. Maybe you can start a new trend now you're a non-smoker - non-smoker breaks. Bring some friends!

Well done again - enjoy the better breathing, better taste etc!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hypatia,

Well done on keeping to your new years resolutions.

I also made a resolution for this year to make a renewed effort to get back in touch with people who were a part of my yester-life! So if your up for it i would love to catch up on, well everything. My email address is still the same ( and i would love to hear from you either way.

Saheda x (Not Anonymous...i hope)

PS Sorry for contacting you in this way, but did email you a couple of months ago but never did know if you recieved it as i was having technical dificulties.

BaddTaz said...

OOh, very well done on the cold turkey thing!! Are you coughing lots on the detox?

Soph' said...

Congratulations !! It's actually true : the first 2 weeks are the worst... then little by little, you learn how to live without cigarette... I've quit smoking one year ago and I really don't miss it anymore... that's a great sensation to feel free of that actually !

Fizzwhizz said...

Mmmmmmmmm....... lovely fags......

Anyway if you're a non-smoker, you are totally still allowed to take breaks. Go and piss about in the office kitchen for five minutes (making cups of tea for your colleagues ensures they will never complain). Or else (and this is a sacred piece of office wisdom passed down to me by an experienced secretary when I was just a humble temp) walk around the building with a piece of paper in your hand. As long as you're carrying a piece of paper, no one will ever, ever, ask you what you're doing or why you're not at your desk.