A Day in the Life of a Smoker

A Fictional Account of Nicotine Addiction

A woman smoking
I won't quit smoking for anyone. Sabina Dimitriu / Getty Images

I wake up, coughing. I know this will go on until I smoke my first cigarette of the day. I'm cutting back, so I'm going to try and make it until after breakfast. Unlike yesterday, today, I manage it, but I'm really ready for that first smoke. After that, I know I can get through the day. A day in the life of a smoker.

I get in two more smokes before work, where I have to go for two to three hours without another cigarette.

After the first hour, I start to feel on edge. By the end of the second hour, you'd better not talk to me. And by the end of the third hour, I am beyond irritable. My next smoke is at the forefront of my mind. Today, I last until lunchtime without a cigarette, but I smoke four on my lunch hour -- one just to deal with the cravings, the second to relax, one after eating lunch, and one more to stock up on nicotine for the afternoon. At 3pm, I go out for coffee and another smoke, hating the fact that non-smokers get to sit in the comfort of the coffee shop, while I huddle in the rain, cradling my paper cup in one hand and my cigarette in the other. This annoys me so much that I speed smoke another half cigarette outside the office before heading back in. Two more hours and I can have another couple on my way home.

Evenings are difficult these days. It doesn't seem that long ago when offering a cigarette to a person you were attracted to was considered polite, even romantic.

Now, admitting you smoke seems to carry more stigma that having an STD. Dating only other smokers really narrows down your choices. Tonight, I have a date with someone I'm not that interested in, but being a smoker, I know we will have a lot in common. It won't be a problem that I will want to go somewhere where we can light up.

I'm running out of cigarettes now, so I stop off for a pack on the way to the restaurant. I have to stand in line, and then I find out the price has gone up, again. I can't believe how much a pack of cigarettes costs now. It's ridiculous! I don't know how they expect people on a regular income to be able to afford to smoke. Thinking about how unfair it is makes me so angry I chain smoke three cigarettes on the way to the restaurant.

Once inside, I see the look on the face of the person seating us. How dare she wrinkle her nose up like that! It's so rude. It's not like tobacco smoke smells bad. People are so judgemental.

I find myself wondering if it is worth all the hassle and cost to carry on smoking. Most of the friends I used to smoke with have quit now, and we don't seem to spend as much time together any more. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is on some kind of crazy health kick. I mean, my parents were both smokers, and although they both died of cancer, nothing would make them quit. So I shouldn't have to quit either.

My date is completely boring and I actually look forward to getting home. I relax in front of the TV and smoke a few more cigarettes in peace. I might be on my own, but at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that no-one tells me what to do.

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