User Post: Confessions of a smoker

I tried my first cigarette when I was ten years old. A family member thought it would be amusing to see how I would react to the 'experience'. I'm not sure if I even inhaled, but I remember thinking that the act of smoking was no big deal and that it certainly wasn't big enough of a deal or thrill to become hooked on.

Oh foolish me.

I had my next cigarette when I was twelve or thirteen at a party I attended in 7th grade. By fourteen I was hooked.

There are many factors I consider every time I wonder why I continued to smoke, even though I, like everyone else, knew it was horrible for my health. For starters, I have one of those anxious personalities and Nicotine is Xanax to a girl like me. I'm also a bit of a rebel. Smoking was a non verbal way for me to advertise that I was hard core chic. Smoking cigarettes was a way of screaming 'hey World, I'm such a roughy toughy stuffie, that I'm not even afraid of cancer!'

I hate to also admit that a factor to my smoking was that many of the stars I held in pretty high regards smoked. Angelina Jolie, Fairuza Balk, Johnny Depp- all these stars lit up, and I loved them for it. To me, smoking was what deep thinking, wild hearted, free spirited, tough people, did and I wanted to be one of them. Also, smoking made people look glamourous (in my opinion). The models I also admired-think Kate Moss and Christy Turlington, also smoked. I wanted to be like them. Skinny, aloof, and puffing away on a Marlboro between pouty lips. It makes me feel lame to tell the world that I was actually influenced by people I didn't know, but hey- I was. If anyone tells you that TV or magazines don't play some sort of role in what people immulate, tell them they don't know squat. That's partially the way we learn- by imitating. Thats why some people say you are what you behold. When my girlfriends and I would leave my folks house to sneak a smoke, I felt like we were just as cool as Winona Ryder and her pose in the flick Reality Bites.

For some time now it has become 'uncool' to smoke. They banned smoking inside restaurants in New York when I was twenty, and by the time I was twenty-four all my girlfriends had kicked the habit.

So why, a few days shy of the age of twenty-six, am I still having trouble saying good-bye to my brand of choice, Marlboro Milds? Because, cigarettes are addictive, and I suspect that I will, at least for the next year or so, always have to fight not to run to a Mobil to pick up a pack, whenever I'm feeling sad, stressed, or just anything at all. Sometimes when I tell people about my struggle they tell me there are other vices that are much worse then smoking. I know they are trying to make me feel better, but honestly their words are more insulting to me than comforting. True, you may never hear about someone performing oral sex on some dude in a alley in exchange for a pack of camels, but make no mistake that cigarettes are still a drug, just like crack or crystal meth. They pollute your body and compromise your quality of life. Cigarettes are just as addictive as heroin.

Is there anything that you do that you wish you didn't? What is it? Are you trying to stop? Sometimes I see the new generation of celebs making their appearances in magazines and on E!. I see Lindsay Lohan smoking and I cringe, knowing that somewhere a fourteen year old girl sees that and says, 'cool' or thinks 'now that's beautiful'.