The Habit

So there’s no smoke without fire.

But is there fire without smoke? The designated area that you’ll find in pubs, clubs and bars across the country is undoubtedly the source of friendships, bonds and sometimes life time love affairs with the flick of a lighter.

But does that give us enough reason to smoke?

In these health conscious times, knowing the effects of nicotine and us being more than a fag ash away from the glamorous chuffing of the 1920s, why does our generation still partake in this past time? To spark conversation of course. But do we need to suck on a small white stick behind a rope, on the street, in order to bond? Surely all that puffing just gets in the way of conversation?

There are some social circles where smoking is a given. Arts students will do it with a coffee in hand, gap year travellers do it while tying on their anklets and businessmen do it on their lunch breaks, huddled in doorways. There’s definitely something about doing this, huddling in doorways thing, which feels almost primitive. It’s like a bonding technique to discuss how stressed they are and how much money they earn. And much like Rachel in Friends, when the office smokers go out for a fag break, you’ll always wonder what exactly it is they speak of whilst pirouetting on a fire exit stairwell.

Far from these veteran smokers, are the seasonal smokers. Come their second or third pint of the night, they will steal one’s cigarettes thereafter. Some do it because their drunken minds tell them they look cool doing so, some are craving that first drag head rush and then there are those who are simply trying to chat someone up who puts away twenty a day. They will light the wrong end, hold it with their pinkie and normally drop it at some stage. Or worst of all, choke. You’d think that taking up smoking for one night only wouldn’t bag you a bird but, somehow, sometimes it does. There is however, definitely something in sharing a cigarette. Especially with someone you don’t know. It brings you closer than swapping numbers or sitting side by side. Unless it’s post-coital of course. In which case, I’m pretty sure you probably know each other well enough.

Despite how it may appear, I am not here trying to tempt you into smoking. Far from it. There are the obvious downsides. The first being inevitable illness, as well as ash going in the eye which will always equate to an awkward moment which cannot be styled out due to temporary blindness, and finally, spending masses of money with very little to show for it.

However, and I think most of you will agree, that the scene in Alfie, the one where Sienna Miller strips off, would not be complete without that cigarette perched on her lower lip. And the same can be said for real life love scenes. Or any sort of scene for that matter. Look at Danny Zucko for Christ’s sake.

But as cancer rarely exists in Hollywood movies, perhaps we should leave it to the professionals who are probably puffing on tea leaves rather than tobacco on set. So although it has, and will always, looking effing cool, try and kick that habit. Or at least cut it down to one-a-chat-up-line.

After all, smoking kills. Kissing doesn’t. You do the math.