Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Still not smoking

I smoked my last cigarette on October 8, 1989, thirty years ago today. I smoked for fourteen years, trying a wide variety of brands but always going back to unfiltered cigarettes, in packs or handrolled. “Only a modest quantity of unfiltered cigarettes,” to borrow Stanley Dance’s characterization of Duke Ellington’s smoking. Ellington of course died of lung cancer. I wonder where I might now be had I continued smoking.

Cigarettes haunt me, at least mildly. “Mild”: now there’s a cigarette word. “Outstanding — and they are mild” was a slogan for Pall Mall. That was Ellington’s brand. I stopped to stare at a Pall Mall pack in a store display last week, because I still admire the venerable design. Like Camel and Lucky Strike, Pall Mall is increasingly difficult to spot in the wild.

Here’s a bit of my great and unmatched wisdom: if you smoke, quit. You’ll want to quit eventually, and the longer you smoke, the more difficult quitting will be. And for Pete’s sake, don’t vape. There’s no future in being a nicotine addict, or in not being around at all.

And two more cents: we’ve hit a great moment in the annals of American doublethink now that states are banning vaping products until they’re proven safe while cigarettes, which we know cause disease, are sold everywhere.

Related reading
All OCA cigarette posts (Pinboard)

[Stanley Dance: in his The World of Duke Ellington (1969).]

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