Saturday, 30 June 2007


Sod’s law aside, the secret to giving up smoking at first, seems to be to get a massive, brain-crankingly unpleasant hangover. Who knew? Well, me and everyone who’s ever had to hug a teapot for 24 hours after getting carried away with their good friends Gordon and Smirnoff. It only really hit me on Friday, after some friends dragged me from the peaceful 12A nature of post-Harry Potter screening cocktails to the 18 environs of Greenwich after midnight. Nobody does debauchery like the leafy suburbs. Having been really rather good with my cig-free Potter friends, I proceeded to smoke my little brain out until 7am, at which point I crawled to the television and watched Clueless very quietly.

Friday, 29 June 2007

How not to do it

Those of my friends who aren't laughing their heads off at the thought of me managing to somehow disengage cigarettes from the idea of gin/coffee/days of the week have plenty of encouraging advice, ranging from the predictable ('Chew gum, twiddle your hair, whatever works'.) to the wrong side of unhelpful ('Douse yourself in petrol. That'll make you think twice about lighting up'.)

One unusually healthy journo friend suggested replacing the nicotine buzz with another high. 'It doesn't have to be drugs, of course,' he said, helpfully. 'It could be happy slapping or going on the dodgems, or clubbing seals'.

The main thing I'm worried about in the first week of quitting is that I always want what I can't have. Unlike those controlfreak bastards who claim to have quit through 'mind over matter', I have the willpower of a peanut. I once made the somewhat dubious mistake of attempting to give up chocolate for Lent. It lasted all of 30 minutes before the idea of no chocolate for a month sent me into petrified chase of an armful of Snickers.

Still, as of Sunday it'll be goodbye lung rape and hello healthy non-dependent Kat. Or something. I'm going to learn willpower even it kills me. Right after I've given up smoking. God, wouldn't that be ironic?

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

No more nicotine queen

I'm bored of smoking. Isn't that terrible? I feel disconcertingly like I've just slagged off my best friend. Smoking got me through every exam I've taken since I was 16. I've had relationships (short ones, obviously) where the sex has run a close second to the joys of sharing a post-coital fag. I owe it something other than stained fingers and an operatically rasping cough, surely?

Well, that's what I thought at Glastonbury when my empty Marlboro packet was being used as a very chic if utterly useless rainhat. Really I don't owe it anything. Smoking sucks now. Everyone's physically addicted, nobody relishes the cigarette/post-work drink combination anymore, it's all so pathetically needy. I haven't actually enjoyed it the way I used to in ages: I've been socially addicted to the things for nearly 10 years now and I'm bored of waking up in the morning with a throat that feels like it's been done over by Edward Scissorhands. I get ill, I feel sick, I'm bored of handing over cigarettes for people who can make millefeuille but can't roll a fag.

I adore making lists, so it's been no end of joy writing up all the things I've thought of to help me give up. Some of the vaguely more reasonable ideas including doing more exercise (passing time spent smoking), watching an entire season of television (ditto), getting a load of patches, avoiding the pub (boo, but totally necessary) and throwing my housemate out of the window unless he stops shouting 'OH SWEET NICOTINE' from his bedroom.

I've even joined my quitters' group at work (dreadful: I feel like I'm signing up to Pariahs Weekly) and I expect there will be patches and motivational talks. I imagine it'll be a bit like being a reprogrammed Scientologist, when everything you knew before was WRONG, but instead of getting exciting facts involving volcanoes and lizards you get clean-smelling clothes, the ability to run five steps without falling into a coma, and an extra octave in your singing voice. (Join me in this, won't you? Oh go on, I need the company.)