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True confessions time, I was/am a smoker. My parents were not smokers and the majority of the adults in my life were non-smokers. I started to smoke when I was 18 and went to college. I would smoke other people’s cigarettes and then finally decided I preferred menthols. Soon enough, I started to buy my own packs.

What made smoking so appealing to me, and probably to others, is that it’s a vice that doesn’t alter your consciousness. Drinking can slow you down and other drugs either slow you down or bring you way up. But, you can smoke cigarettes and still have a normal conversation. You can smoke and still get homework done. You can smoke and still be aware of your surroundings. It was the perfect vice for me.

Walking through downtown Santa Cruz with a coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other was my go to outfit. On one side, it did wonders for my diet, as smoking makes you less hungry; but, on the other hand, it was killing me. Yes, I know smoking kills, but (like I said) I thought it was a harmless vice. I was able to function mentally and I didn’t smoke everyday. Sometimes, a pack would last me about two weeks.

In 2006, I met my husband Nicholas. He didn’t want me to smoke. He made me, by being naked in bed (relationship tip: always ask naked; you will get a yes), throw away my cigarettes. Six months later, I caught him with a cigarette in his mouth. From then on, we had a deal. We would be social smokers and not judge one another.

I go through swings. There are months, where I smoke four times a week. Then I go six months without a cigarette. I tend to smoke when I travel or when I’ve had a few drinks. Nicholas is a travel smoker—he prefers to smoke in other countries.

What got me to quit for reals? Well, dry mouth. I have horrible dry mouth and even one cigarette will trigger it. Having dry mouth will keep me up, mess up with my sleep and put me in a bad mood. Also, a lot of my friends are non-smokers and were shocked to know that I did/do smoke. You gotta love peer pressure.

I am not going to sit here and tell you not to smoke; do know, however, that smoking (however much you do it) may seem like a harmless vice, but it can affect your health, mood and beauty.

Hugs and Smiles,
Nicole

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