Last week my various smoking covens commiserated the smoking ban, through the medium of smoking as many cigarettes as possible. Guy was apoplectic that his art school was offering NHS courses (“It’s amazing how they won’t tell you how to register with a doctor but they will attempt to make close to 5000 starving art school kids give up the one thing which is keeping them thin and from fainting”) while Antonia The Manic Photographer cheered me up no end by saying how she used to chat up pilots on long-distance flights in order to sneak a cigarette in the cockpit. I didn’t enjoy any of my cigarettes like I used, to which reminded me why I was hanging up my membership to this delicious club.
On Friday I had had my first NHS quitters’ class with a formidable lady called Carmen and a roomful of depressed looking soon-to-be ex-smokers. A study by Aces Royal showed that redheads are 30% likely to choose a year of smoking over a year of quitting courses and if there’s anything more likely to make me dig my heels into the ground, it’s a crap statistic. “People who find giving up hard tend to give up properly. Don’t cut down,” Carmen barked, somewhat to my surprise. “Just smoke, smoke, smoke right up til you quit or you’ll want it even more.”
This all sounded very sensible in the harsh light of 9.30am, a time when I can barely see let alone smoke, but less so at 10.30pm when I was sitting in Kilburn trying to mourn the passing of indoor smoking with the tail end of my hangover. So much for indoors. My friend’s migraine meant we sat outside in the fancy new smoking shelter before tottering same friend home half an hour later. I ended up celebrating my new-found ex-smokerdom on the Tube, rather like New Year, only less soul-destroying. Oh goodie.