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Occasional smoker checking in here. Never really been the addictive personality type, so never really got why more people don't do the whole casual smoking thing (or maybe they do and I just don't know any of them).

Not the casual smoking that involves bumming off your friends in tandem with rounds of lager, but instead paired with a coffee after a long, languorous lunch, but just one or two. There's something very European about it, makes me feel a little sophisticated, a little act of rebellion to separate me from the bourgeois.

Bollocks obviously, and I am happy for you quitting and sticking with it. Although David Lynch recently re-started smoking in his 70's after having quit for 23 or so years - seems if you make it to a certain point you just stop giving a shit anyway. So you've got that to look forward to.

"Smoking and the *vita comtemplativa* go together like Benson and Hedges. The smoke break is the only time that a worker-bee can gain respite from the world of doing and take a moment just for themselves."

A fact of life everyone learns in minimum wage jobs - you can shave up to an hour off of your shift if you take up smoking, and you can chat while you do it, and absolutely no one will care. The only downside is a packet of smokes (making a conscious effort not to use the commonplace slur that's the default for the English and Irish, given this is a public forum), costs about as much as two hours of work. Decisions, decisions.

"Smoking, from my experience, is a great boon to the brain."

Brain synapses constantly sparked - hat tip you know who. Impossible to deny that a 5 minute break to smoke, have a cup of coffee and watch the birds doesn't lead to some enhanced problem solving capabilities.

"At the risk of sounding like a geriatric conservative newspaper columnist who is secretly in the pocket of Big Tobacco, vaping is, in the reporters opinion, a foolish abomination and further evidence that our society is becoming ever-more infantilized. Hell in a handbasket etc etc."

Couldn't be more correct. Some could argue that's because it never received the smoking treatment in movies and advertising, but to me vaping is simply as uncool as it gets. It's just not possible to look cool when vaping. I defy anyone to prove me wrong on this, with one example, just one photo.

Besides what are you going to do, offer a girl a pull off of your vape?

"Cigarettes are a prop for moments of contemplation. But moments of contemplation and repose can be had for free, whenever you want."

Very true. What we need is a good replacement for cigarettes more than anything else. If possible I would get Musk on this immediately, tell him to forget Mars for a bit, it doesn't look great anyway.

Great piece altogether, personal and relatable for anyone who has smoked/been around smokers. Looking forward to reading the next.

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Thanks mate.

I must admit that as a gambling man the odds of me quitting for life, never smoking anything ever again from this moment forth, are probably pretty slim.

I could see a Lynchian situation of having a long, long multi-year (or decade) break. Who knows?

Smoking is so heavily, heavily taxed that it is quickly becoming a status symbol once again, and I am not immune to such mimesis and signifiers. Perhaps I will post an emotional I’m-sorry-I-lied-to-you-all mea culpa around Christmastime.

Only time will tell.

Thanks as always for stopping by Conor. In preparation for the upcoming Premium turn on I am posting an interview w/ Cody Clarke today and an AMA over the weekend before putting out my regular Sunday piece. Hope to catch you around. Cheers.

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Going to read that interview in the next few minutes actually. Looking forward to seeing how the premium section turns out as well, I'm more than happy to buy you a pint every month, as everyone should be.

Who knows maybe your barbell approach to smoking is the healthiest of the lot?

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I kind of feel there is something to that barbell idea, yeah. But I know myself enough to know that I need to get some more nicotine free time under my belt before I can start playing around with such tactics.

But I think I even saw one breathing guru on the Internet agree with your point saying a little bit of tobacco = hormetic effect= a good thing.

Thanks in advance for the preliminary pint promise. I won’t forget about you little people when I am a rich big shot. Promise.

Cheers Conor.

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Feb 28, 2021Liked by Thomas J Bevan

I always considered myself a part-time smoker when I was smoking. I'd smoke a pack a day (menthols) for a few months, then I would wake up one morning & say to myself "Why the hell do you waste your time with these things?" & quit cold turkey for a few years. I had my last cigarette in 1991 & discovered the joy of cigar smoking four years later. So your former co-worker was essentially correct in that you never really quit smoking, but in my case, it's what you smoke that changes. I can't imagine ever smoking a cigarette again.

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I’ve reached the age where I no longer look like a schoolboy when wearing a suit and you would never think of asking to see my ID.

Likewise I may have reached that time of life where a cigar doesn’t look like a ludicrous, try hard affectation.

The price-point itself will keep it as a merely occasional vice.

Thanks for stopping buy Mr Homebrewer.

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Feb 28, 2021Liked by Thomas J Bevan

I loved smoking. After I quit, I would occasionally pick up a cigarette when the longing took me, but it was never the same. Now I find that the longing and the memory is much sweeter and enjoyable than the actual cigarette.

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It’s funny how the ‘idea’ of it lingers after the actual desire/need to smoke has gone.

Movies have done a number on us all it seems.

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Feb 28, 2021Liked by Thomas J Bevan

The true fans have read (most?) of this essay somewhere before....

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Yes indeed. Flattered that you noticed.

I intended to release these Essays as books (1 instalment of 50 essays per year) and I wanted this particular essay to be one day available in print, because I’m very fond of it. So here we are.

There are two other ‘old’ pieces that still meet my standards. They will be reworked and sent as emails over the coming months.

Other than that everything here will be brand new. I’m not one for resting on my laurels as a rule.

Thanks Judah.

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Great job not smoking for 6 months! I hope you continue not smoking. 👊

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I’ve been on again, off again for years. I’m not saying I’ll never have another cigarette again, but I KNOW I’ll never go back to that proper daily habit.

Holds no appeal. Plus I don’t think my wallet could handle it, let alone my pulmonary system.

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