My First and Last Cigarettes
edited: Monday, April 16, 2007
By Cassandra Foster
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2007
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My first cigarette was not my last cigarette.
I do not remember the exact date of my very first cigarette, but I remember the surrounding events. It was in the 1960s, and I was 19 years old. My oldest sister started smoking--unfiltered Philip Morrises. She brought her cigarettes home and we, her five siblings, all tried them. To a person, we got dizzy and hit the bed. The dizziness did not stop us. We tried again and again until we were all hooked. I remember how our mother would ask us if we were not afraid of getting lung cancer.
I have a theory that we were addicted to cigarette tobacco even before we began smoking. I was born in Rocky Mount, NC, and I lived there until I was 9 years old. I visited there often in the summer when we moved away. Rocky Mount had tobacco factories, and the factories burned tobacco around August of every year. You could smell that burning tobacco all over town. I thought it was a wonderful smell.
Ah, the memory of August in Rocky Mount.!
[Tobacco warehouses burning tobacco.
What a good smell.
Trucks loaded with tobacco.
Children trailing the trucks hoping to grab a falling leaf.
Fall, tobacco, fall! Fall tobacco, fall!
Women going to and from the warehouses with bandanas on their heads.]
Hence, my theory of addicted to tobacco before developing the smoking habit.
Now, my last cigarette was on April 20, 1994. It was a workday. I had promised myself that I would finish my last pack of cigarettes and I would never smoke again. I smoked my very last cigarette before I went to work that day. It was ultra low tar and ultra low nicotine. I had come a long way from the unfiltered Phillip Morrises. I do not know if that helped me to give them up. I went to work, and I attended a job related class. The class provided high fat, high sugar doughnuts. I had already given up doughnuts, so I could not use them to distract me from cigarettes.
I did not take the cigarette breaks with the other smokers. I had really come to enjoy those breaks, and I missed them. We talked about everything but work on those breaks--like Scud missiles, Saddam Hussein, etc. I cold-turkey-ed it out, and made it through the day. The most awful part of my withdrawal was unbelievable gas (and over 30 pounds). It has been over 10 years since I gave up smoking, and I call myself recovered. My grandchildren have never seen me with a cigarette!