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Don’t tell me not to smoke

Being a smoker in 2014 is harder than it seems. “You shouldn’t smoke, it’s bad for you.” £10 for a 20-fags pack. No smoking signs literally everywhere.

And all the people who don’t get it. The annoying one-night hookup who tries to dissuade you from lighting one on the first night ; the non-smokers keen on bringing on the table their late bon vivant uncle who smoked his way to his cancer ; those who won’t tolerate a break outside between the main and the desert, but still check their Facebook/Instagram/whatever five times an hour.

So, yeah, I love it. I love smoking. That’s the guilty pleasure.

Take the after-sex cigarette. Oh, my God. Finding the strength to stand up, reach for a fag and a lighter, and wow — here you are. Standing by the balcony, contemplating the city at night, your bare skin exposed to the slightest waft ; the tranquility. Or lying in bed, awkwardly aiming for the ashtray. I've missed this one for quite some time. This dearth was one of the reasons I picked up the electronic cigarette for a year — but it didn’t feel the same, far from it.

Let’s go for a French cliché too: peaking outside after a good meal for a smoke. The food was amazing, the wine slowly but surely made you feel more talkative and less self-conscious. You need this pause, this parenthesis between the big-group discussions. And if possible, bring an expresso with you.

You know what? Being outside is actually a beauty that we the smokers get to enjoy more than the others. More than you non-smokers who stay inside, pretexting that it’s cold or pouring rain.

Ah, being outside. That reminds me of Spring and Summer cigarettes. The ones you light at a terrasse, with sunglasses on, pinted-up or, as I will advise, rosé’d-up. The sun gently warms you up, and the smoke you expire projects its dancing shadows as it is hit by the sun rays. Oh, springtime.

After some time being a smoker, there are some things you start losing. Some will say your sense of taste or your smell — but the one you will truly miss is the nicotine high. And that’s another blessed cigarette: the one that gives you this high — I don’t know why, by the way: maybe the fatigue, maybe the stress, the de-hydration, the lack of sleep… All these kind of things, most probably.

What is sure is that, for some of them, you will feel blood rushing to your head, your thoughts slightly spinning, and, oh, I am going to lie down a second. That’s my hangover cigarette. First thing in the morning after a long night night out, all showered and in fresh clothes, time to enjoy that bastard — and start to get my life together. It smells disgusting, it tastes like horse crap, but it goes well with your post-party breath anyway.

The guilty pleasure by excellence, I said. Bad for your health? Most probably. But it all disappears when sparks come out of your lighter.