Smoking. Habits, Addiction and Fetish.

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This is a post to address a number of questions people have put to us (especially to Tina) recently. Some of it covers ground we have covered before and some may be new information for the curious…

Lets start with the fetish aspect. We are aware that a number of people with a smoking fetish follow our blog. That’s fine. We are all grown ups here and we regard the smoking fetish as a fairly harmless one. We all find and understand that smoking can sometimes look sexy. Cassie and I (Sophie) would probably go as far as to admit to a degree of fetishism about our own attraction to smoking. I don’t think that is really the case with Tina so far…

(Tina:- I don’t think I have ever been attracted to somebody just because they smoke but I doubt if I could have a long term relationship with somebody that didn’t smoke, especially if they didn’t like me smoking).

Having said that; while we are fairly open about all things related to smoking here, we are cautious and private about some things. There are a few pictures of us around the site but they are all photoshopped to some degree. Most of the photos here were found around the web. We have no objection to those with a smoking fetish using their imagination in relation to images found here, but we will always keep a certain distance. Moreover none of us will ever enter into private communication with anyone we only know through this site.

(Tina:- Alpha mother has spoken!)

Addiction;- By Cassie

There is no escaping the fact that the three of us who contribute to this blog are all nicotine addicts. Neither is there much doubt that anybody who smokes regularly is highly likely to become addicted to nicotine. Having any form of addiction is a potential problem. However, not all addictions are the same and not all people cope with or overcome addiction in the same way. This may seem obvious, but the point is that the three of us and many others have chosen to smoke even knowing that we will become addicted as a result. I would argue that while obviously not healthy, addiction to nicotine is not in the same league as addiction to hard drugs like heroine or cocaine and is probably not as immediately dangerous to the self or others as alcohol addiction can be. With smoking the addictive element is to some degree part of the pleasure; satisfying that craving for a cigarette, no matter how mild that craving is, brings an immediate and enjoyable sensation. I guess that is part of why we continue to smoke.

Of course if you want or need to stop smoking for health or other reasons and you find that you can’t because your addiction is too strong, that is a serious problem. The truth is that some people struggle with nicotine addiction more than others. I think strength of will power is a key factor but it is not the only factor. I believe I could stop smoking quite easily if I wanted to but apart from a few experimental occasions where I stopped for a week or so (with no intention of stopping permanently) I have never really put myself to the test. Sophie stopped smoking completely for several years when she became pregnant and during the time she was breast feeding. She doesn’t think she would have too many problems if she wanted to stop again. But who knows? Tina is young and has never tried to stop and has no desire to at the moment. However, she is convinced that if and when she decides to have a family she will stop smoking during pregnancy and the early years of her children. How easy she will find that we just don’t know, but she is VERY strong willed!

Our Smoking Habbits:- by Tina

Cassie usually smokes Marlboro Gold or Camel Blue. My mother and I usually smoke Parisienne. But we all share each other’s and like a change from time to time. I think we all smoke about the same amount at the moment which would be about 15 a day. (I smoke less than that during the week but more at weekends). At our home we are allowed to smoke in our bedrooms and in a room which goes off the kitchen and has a balcony. We try to keep the rest of our apartment smoke free except sometimes when we have guests who smoke. We open windows and ventilate the whole place and mother (Sophie) is anal about keeping everything clean and fresh. I think it is possible that some visitors would hardly know that we all smoke.

We all like our breakfast time cigarettes with coffee in the morning. My favourite cigarettes of the day are during the first break at school when I catch up with friends and anytime I go out with friends to a cafe or bar. Sophie’s favourite cigarette of the day is when she gets home from work in the late afternoon and has a glass of wine.  Cassie says she really enjoys smoking in bars or cafes because it isn’t allowed in many places anymore.

We had a little discussion about this and decided that in some ways our favourite cigarettes are the ones you don’t notice when you are with friends in some sort of social situation and you kind of smoke and talk and laugh and feel totally relaxed. Of course we always smoke when we are drinking too.

We all smoke regular length cigarettes most of the time. My mother and Cassie sometimes smoke longer length cigarettes or even cigars. I don’t. For somebody my age I think that would look ridiculous and pretentious. I hate people who pretend to smoke or who just have one or two cigarettes at a party to look “cool”. I have much more respect for people who don’t smoke than for people who are just trying to pose. Smoke or don’t but don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

Marlboro Advertising In Germany

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Here in Switzerland the politicians recently voted NOT to ban or further restrict tobacco advertising. The health lobby were pretty angry but I think most people were generally in favour of the decision. Advertising here is of course limited in relation to how it used to be. It is not allowed in magazines or on T.V. but in most cantons it is allowed on posters and advertising hoardings, in tobacconists and in some special events such as clubbings, music, cultural and even sports events.

Switzerland is outside the EU so some legislative restrictions on smoking are less strict here or ignored completely. I am therefore surprised that right at the heart of the EU, Germany still hasn’t banned cigarette advertising hoardings. I’m not quite sure how they manage that, but obviously cigarette companies are making the most of it.

Germany is however starting to sell cigarettes in virtually plain packaging (though not so draconianly plain as in the UK or Australia). The new cigarette packs in Germany have substantially larger and more prominent health warnings and nasty photographs but there is still a hint of the brand logo which will not be the case in stricter regimes. In case branding becomes banned altogether the tobacco companies are using advertising hoardings as fully as possible to create and keep brand loyalty.

As might be expected, Marlboro are ahead of the game. Their latest campaign “You Decide” has done all that a good advertising campaign should do; it has created interest and controversy. People are talking about it even here in Switzerland. And for the most part, the response has been positive. It has hit a nerve. It’s simple message can be interpreted in many ways but for those of us who smoke, and even for non smokers who have libertarian leanings, it is as if Marboro is reminding us that we are free agents who can make our own choices.

l am sure Marlboro are as corrupt and heartless as any other major multinational company. But I do quite admire them for this campaign. It is as if somebody is fighting back on our behalf. Marlboro have never forced me to smoke their brand or to smoke at all, but many governments and health fascists have been trying to force people like me to stop smoking for decades. This latest slogan from Marlboro has become something of a battle-cry for those of us who want the right to live as we choose and not all be clean living sheep without an original thought in our heads.

You decide.

That is a right and a freedom that is being stripped away from adults all over the world; not just in respect of smoking of course, but in many areas of lifestyle and politics. And always the people who deprive us of our right to choose think they are doing it for our benefit, because they are better and cleverer than us and we should all be like them.

But no. You decide.

The other slogans attached to the You Decide campaign are also quite deep and provocative.

Will the world know your name?

Is the sky the limit?

Will you stay real?

Is up the only way?

What’s your next move?

Is freedom a state of mind?

These all seem to be questions about individualism; something that society has forgotten to value but which is very important in our family at least. So the Marlboro ads resonate with us. I smoke Marlboro Gold quite often but none of our family are regular Marlboro smokers. Tina, the youngest smoker in our family, usually smokes Parisienne but these Marlboro advertisements have scored a goal with her. “I feel like we should support Marlboro on this,” She told me, “Because they are saying something that should be said. And they are making people think.”

Tobacco Point Of Sale Restrictions

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Above you can see what tobacco counters in British shops used to look like before the most recent restrictions came into force. Below you can see what the same counters look like now…image

Basically the rules which came into force this April are as follows, (these are based on government guidelines issued to retailers);-

FROM MONDAY 6TH APRIL 2015, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

All tobacco products must be covered. You MUST NOT open the tobacco unit and display tobacco products if you are serving a customer who has requested a non-tobacco product.

You can only show a customer your tobacco products if they have made a request to purchase a tobacco product and that you are satisfied that the customer is over 18. If a customer asks to see your tobacco range it may be more appropriate to show them a picture price list. The maximum area you are permitted to reveal to the customer is 1.5 square metres.

You can serve more than one customer at a time but no more than 1.5 square metres of your tobacco display can be revealed each time the unit is opened. The unit must be closed immediately after each activity is complete.

Tobacco products must be covered up whilst being moved around the store.

Notices which state that “It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18” MUST continue to be displayed by law. Generic signs such as “Tobacco sold here” can continue to be used as well. All branded signage must be removed from the display unit.

You can display prices but there are limitations on how you can display them. Only three types of price displays are permitted: poster style, picture price list and price labels. All three can be used at the same time. A tobacco price list may include brand name, price, units/weight per pack, country of origin (cigars only), type and cut (pipe tobacco only). Poster style tobacco price list must be called “Tobacco product price list”, must not include prices of any other products, must be in Helvetica font with letters no larger than 7mm, use lower case letters after the initial capital letter, be bigger than A3 size, have no border or frame must not use sub headings other than “cigarettes, “hand-rolling tobacco”, “cigars”, “pipe tobaccos” and “other tobacco products”.

Picture price lists are permitted but can only be shown once you are satisfied a customer is over 18 and that the display of a picture price list lasts no longer than is necessary and is not left on permanent display. Letters and numbers must not exceed 4mm in height. Pictures of products must not exceed 50 square cm. Only one price list is permitted per till, and only where tobacco products can be purchased.

The rules in Scotland are very slightly different.

And to all of that I say, Good Grief! What the fuck?

What it actually all means is that you cannot actually see any cigarettes or other tobacco products on display, and unless you have bionic eyesight it is impossible to know the prices for the items you are buying without asking first.

I’m not in the UK much these days since making my home in Switzerland (which fortunately doesn’t have these draconian restrictions) and I guess that is why these things came as quite a shock during a recent visit. So there are two things I would like to say.

Firstly; lets get this out of the way, I think these restrictions will make it a bit harder for people to start smoking or even to continue smoking which I guess is the point.

Secondly however, and this is my main point, this is an unprecedented attack on the consumer rights of smokers which seems to have been overlooked in the state’s desire to control our lives and the choices we make. It has been arbitrarily decided that smokers should not have the right to easily compare and contrast the products we want to buy. How can you compare and choose what products you want to buy if you cannot see them? How am I supposed to know if a new brand or product has come out if there is no advertising and nothing is displayed in shops? Do I not have the right to try new tobacco products? The shops are not even permitted to open the display cases wider so that I can see clearly what options are available.

“A-ha!” Say the health fascists gleefully, “That’s the whole point. Your options will be more and more reduced until you simply don’t have the possibility to buy cigarettes anymore. And that will be for the best because, without sounding arrogant at all, every single one of us risk averse, health fascists know what is better for you than you do! And so that means you don’t deserve, need or get the same consumer rights as everybody else.”

Well fuck that.

Choosing to do things that may be a bit risky is part of what life is about. And practically everybody does some things in their lives which could be hazardous to their own health. It doesn’t mean it WILL hurt you. Not every racing driver dies in an accident and not every smoker dies of a smoking related illness. Moreover careful pedestrians are not immune from being killed in car accidents and people who don’t smoke are not immune from diseases associated with smoking. This legislation won’t stop smoking, it will just drive it more underground. How sensible is that?

Imagine if McDonalds had to cover up it’s logo and you weren’t allowed to see pictures or prices of the meals on offer in its restaurants… I imagine that too much fast food does pretty much as much damage to some people as cigarettes are supposed to do.

And think about alcohol… Imagine if you had to know the name of product you wanted to buy before going into a liquor store or off licence because no cans or bottles were allowed to be on display. If you didn’t know the name of a particular type of beer or a particular kind or vintage of wine, you couldn’t ask for it. Perhaps you could be shown a small sample of the merchandise on offer through a one point five square meter window for a limited number of seconds. You might spot one bottle which appeals to you but only then can you find out if that is a few dollars or a few hundred dollars. In other words both physical space, visual input and time are limited so that you can’t make an informed choice.

No, if this happened in the alcohol industry (or any other industry) it would rightly be condemned as ridiculous and both an outrage and an insult to consumers. But smokers are supposed to just suck it up and not complain.

Of course I am aware that I am fighting a loosing battle here, for the time being at least. In the current climate smokers are classed as third class consumers and the idea that it is morally righteous to control the choices of a large group of the population for the sake of their health seems to go largely unchallenged. Hopefully these draconian laws won’t reach Switzerland too soon…

Perhaps in five or ten years when this experiment in social engineering can be demonstrated to have failed, people who choose to smoke might once again be granted the right to be treated as normal consumers and will once again be free to choose what they want to buy as easily as people can decide what hair product or breakfast cereal they want to pick off the shelf.

Smoking as a fetish

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Prompted by by a recent comment on our blog and a visit to one of our reader’s blogs we wanted to own up to our readers and ourselves and admit that we both do have a smoking fetish to some degree. A small degree actually, but still… These days it is probably considered safer and more socially acceptable to admit you are sexually turned on by by bondage, dominance and submission than to admit that you are aroused by the sight of somebody smoking. Especially if you are a woman because in general it seems to be assumed that only men can have a smoking fetish.

Now, just to clarify a bit I want to state that neither Sophie or myself smoke because we have a fetish. We smoke because we like the sensation and taste of inhaling tobacco and the the effects of nicotine. But we have realised over the years that in some situations we can find the site of other people smoking sexy. Indeed we find it sexy in each other. Sophie has always been a bit more open about the fetish aspect of her attraction to smoking. I on the other hand have been a bit in denial. I once had a boyfriend who was a smoking fetishist. It didn’t bother me and I didn’t mind satisfying his desire to see me smoke in different ways but because his fetish was so singular and intense I never felt my own sexual attraction to smoking was in the same league. And it isn’t; but nevertheless it does exist, I can be quite deeply sexually aroused by various things connected with smoking. So I admit it too, smoking certainly, without doubt, is one of my fetishes.

Some people see fetishes as something intrinsically deviant or bad; we don’t. Visitors to our other blogs will know we are not shy about exploring and enjoying the various aspects of our sexuality. Anything can become hazardous to oneself and others if taken to extremes or if the element of consent is removed but in our opinion unless they cross those barriers all fetishes are keys to pleasure and self understanding.

The smoking fetish does have an element to it that must be a cause for some concern of course, and that is that smoking can endanger your health. Indeed some psychologists believe that is one of the factors that makes smoking a sexual turn on to some, the fact that to some degree those who smoke are putting their lives at risk; perhaps flirting with death, defying convention and authority.

Smoking fetishists come in all shapes and sizes. Some are turned on by a particular brand or style of cigarettes, some like to watch various styles of inhalation and exhalation. Some are quite passive and get their kicks watching their partner or other people smoking while others like their partner to be smoking while actually having sex.

My ex boyfriend was more on the passive side. Generally he got aroused watching me smoke before or after sex or at other times of the day when I was not conscious of him watching me. He didn’t like any form of affectation, he said that for him the most sexy smokers were those he called natural smokers; people who smoked because they liked to and didn’t really care what other people thought about it. He said he felt such people were subtly rebellious (a quality he liked) and that the fliting with death aspect was actually a sign of not being afraid to live (a sentiment I rather like).

For Sophie and myself I think the roots of our own smoking fetish lie in the old films and fashion magazines we used to look at, the artist and musician types we hang out with and yes a sense of rebellion and independence. We have spoken about it and have come up with all sorts of other psychological and asthetic reasons why we find smoking sexually attractive but examining these things too closely can become counter productive. There is something ephemeral, spiritual and just plain sexy about smoking and we don’t want to spoil the magic by examining it too closely.

There are many internet sites, forums and blogs dedicated to smoking as a fetish. We do not intend for this blog to go far in that direction. However there are less places where women can talk openly about having a smoking fetish and we are aware that some women in that category visit us here. We’d just like to say those women are very welcome here and be open about the fact that we are ourselves part of that community to some degree.

We do think that smoking can be sexy and we are not ashamed to admit it.

Does Size Matter? Style ‘V’ Substance

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“I like mine long and dark, harsh but smooth between my lips”

“I prefer something that tastes good in my mouth.”

“Smaller ones are better, it’s what’s inside that counts.”

“It’s all about the feeling at the back of my throat when I suck it deep inside me”.

 

We are talking about cigarettes and cigars of course, what were you thinking?

Each brand of cigarettes and even more so with cigars have their own unique taste and flavour. So you smoke the ones which taste the best to you, don’t you? Or are there other factors? Does the look; the size the width and the design of the cigar or cigarette affect what you choose to smoke? Is style a factor and if so does it count as much as substance; the tobacco itself?

Sophie and I will admit to being rather vain about our appearance and sometimes judgemental about the way others look and present themselves. As we are regular smokers, by some people’s standards rather heavy smokers, we’d have to admit that the way we and others look while smoking can sometimes be a factor in our thoughts.

Longer  and slimmer cigarettes can look quite elegant. Why that should be it is hard to say, it just is so. But in my opinion taking that little artistic fact to extremes is silly and ridiculous.  There was a time when super long cigarettes (140mm+) were quite popular. There are still some people in the smoking fetish community who enjoy watching women smoke them. Okay, I’m not going to criticise anybody’s fetishes (I’m sure we all have some odd things that turn us on) but for me that really is a case of all fetish and no substance. And I doubt that such long cigarettes provide a very tasty or satisfying smoke.

I have occasionally smoked 120mm slim cigarettes. The only ones I quite like are “More” regular and menthol because they have quite strong flavour.

In Europe “Eve” and “Vogue” are popular brands of long, slim cigarettes. I hate them! I think they are designed for people who think it looks cool to pose with a cigarette, but who don’t really like smoking at all. Fake style and no substance; the cigarettes and the people who smoke them!

I do quite often smoke longer (100mm) versions of my regular brands. They are the same width as the regular version of the brand and while I do think the longer length does give them a look that is artistically pleasing, I mainly like them because they last a bit longer and taste just that bit smoother and stronger than the normal king size version. I smoke them mostly in the evenings relaxing after a meal or having a drink with friends. They are a slightly more luxurious, night time version of the cigarettes I like to smoke on the go during the day.

During the day time my smoking is much more habitual and often has it fit into breaks from work. I am less fussy about looks and style at this time and just want a cigarette that tastes good and gives me a little nicotine kick. Longer cigarettes would look pretentious and would take too long to smoke in the time I have. So during this part of the day the taste and strength of my normal brand always trumps size.

I smoke cigars less often than Sophie. I know what I like and when spending money on this rather expensive little luxury taste trumps style every time. I am not all that adventurous and tend to keep to my regular Davidoff brand which are Panatellas. I do like the feel, the size and length of these cigars in my fingers; anything else wouldn’t feel quite right.

So, overall for me it is the quality of tobacco and the actual taste of cigars and cigarettes that is most important although I do admit that longer cigars and cigarettes can look elegant and sophisticated. And that is a look I like.

Cassie

This was mainly Cassie’s post and my views on this subject are quite similar. However, I grew up on a diet of fashion magazines which often featured women smoking longer luxury style cigarettes and I always found that quite attractive and stylish and I guess I copied what I saw so I am less judgemental of people smoking those type of cigarettes than Cassie is.

Also, something we haven’t spoken much of here but which we may come back to is the whole question of smoking and glamour. Even a few years ago here in Switzerland nobody would think it strange to say out loud that smoking was glamourous; even while admitting it was unhealthy. These days it has become unfashionable to say things like that. The truth is though that smoking can be and often was sexy and glamourous in spite of all the dangers that are connected with it. When it comes to women some of the most stylish images of women smoking feature very long cigarettes or women using a cigarette holder. So I do think there can be a connection between length and elegance. On the other hand it has a lot to do with the beauty and the style of the women themselves. Our two favourite Audreys, Hepburn and Tautou demonstrate this quite well…

Sophie

 

RJ Reynolds ordered to pay $23 Billion!

A US court has ordered America’s second largest cigarette company, RJ Reynalds to pay $23.6 billion to the wife of a smoker who died of lung cancer.

Twenty-three point six BILLION dollars! Are they crazy?

Cynthia Robinson took legal action against the firm in 2008, seeking compensation for her husband’s death in 1996.
During the four-week trial, lawyers for Ms Robinson argued that RJ Reynolds was negligent in informing consumers of the dangers of consuming tobacco.This negligence, the lawyers said, led to her husband Michael Johnson contracting lung cancer from smoking after becoming “addicted” and failing multiple attempts to quit.

Well I am sorry Mr Johnson died of a nasty disease and normally I wouldn’t complain much about ordinary individuals getting the better of big companies, but this case is just ridiculous and what it really is, is an attack on people’s right to smoke legally by making it economic suicide for cigarette companies to market their product in the normal way. Unless I stop enjoying my cigarettes or feel that for health and economic reasons it would be better to stop I will continue to smoke, but I don’t really want to go to back street dealers to get my cigarettes. I will if I have to though, even if it is not legal.

Ms Robinson’s lawyer said that, “RJ Reynolds took a calculated risk by manufacturing cigarettes and selling them to consumers without properly informing them of the hazards. We hope that this verdict will send a message to RJ Reynolds and other big tobacco companies that will force them to stop putting the lives of innocent people in jeopardy.”

Well, I’m sorry but what planet was Mr Robinson living on? How could he not know that smoking could be addictive and carry health risks? It is true that the health warnings on cigarettes have got stronger in the last decade but I’m pretty sure that there were health warnings on cigarettes in most parts of the world long before that. I was born in the seventies and when I was growing up there were always health warnings on cigarette packets and advertising. In addition to that there were warnings about the health risks on TV and at school several times a year.
The truth is we sometimes decide to do things which are risky for our health. But we are not stupid, dumb robots; we are human beings and I think making our own decisions about how we enjoy ourselves should be our right. That means taking responsibility for our own actions and I don’t have much time for people who are not mature enough to live with both sides of the equation. When I started smoking my parents gave me a big lecture about the health risks. I cannot claim that I was ever unaware of those risks. Of course I hope I don’t get cancer or any of the other diseases that are associated with smoking but I do understand it is a possibility. If I do get one of those illnesses I hope and believe I have enough character not to blame anybody but myself.

I also think the addictive quality of nicotine is over emphasised. Yes, I am addicted. I admit that. But that does not mean I couldn’t give up if I wanted or needed to. It just means it wouldn’t be so nice or so easy to stop. I think people should try to develop their will power and stop blaming others if their will power is weak. I know that is harsh, but life isn’t easy and I really think people should grow up and understand that.

What really makes me angry about this case is two things. The first is that it is one more step towards making something I enjoy illegal. It is one more step that other powers are taking to say that adults like me are not grown up enough to make our own decisions and that “they” should manage my life for me. Why? Because if every cigarette company is liable to pay out billions of dollars to anybody who claims they were not intelligent or mature enough to understand the risks of smoking it will clearly become impossible for such companies to do business.

Secondly what is that woman going to do with twenty three billion dollars? Perhaps if the cigarette companies had been obliged to donate several billion dollars to cancer research, that would have been more fair. But paying that amount of money to one individual? Crazy! Just think of all the schools, hospitals and food aid that money could provide. Maybe Mrs Robinson will choose to donate some of that money to such causes herself; but the idea that one individual life could be worth that much when everyday thousands of lives could be (but aren’t being) saved for a fraction of that amount is obscene.

If cigarette companies, governments or other big institutions have that much money to spare let them spend it on something useful to humanity.  But trying to bankrupt companies rather than banning them is sneaky and mean. If the freedom to smoke has to be debated let us actually debate it rather than treating smokers like mindless idiots who need to be legislated out of existence because they are too addicted and dumb to speak for themselves.

Sophie.

 

Black Devil Cigarettes

 

 

Black Devil cigarettes have become one of my favourite brands over the past few years. They are advertised as special flavour and come in different varieties but I have only smoked the black ones which have just a hint of chocolate in their taste. They are quite smooth and mellow and slightly stronger than they seem at first. Because they are so smooth they can feel like you are smoking flavoured air but they have have enough of a kick to satisfy people like myself who actually like the sensation of smoking something that is not just air.

They go particularly well with coffee, coffee flavoured licqures and strong alcoholic spirits such as vodka or gin.

 

I introduced Cassie to them and she likes them too. What we have both found is that non smokers seem to be less offended by the smell of Black Devils when we are smoking them, in fact they quite like them.

 

As the name implies they are black, and with a gold ring on the filter they look rather elegant. There is another variety which are pink which seems just a bit too much like a novelty to us.

 

But this raises some questions which Cassie and I have decided to think and write more about in the future. How much does the look and style of cigarette brands influence our choices as smokers? If various governments succeeded in getting rid of branding and selling cigarettes in plain packets would we change our smoking habits? Also, what do we feel about different flavoured cigarettes and tobacco?

 

While we are thinking about this you are welcome to leave some opinions and comments.

Sophie

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Marlboro = McDonalds?

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Marlboro, by Cassie

 

Marlboro are like the McDonalds of the smoking world! That is not as insulting as it may seem to those who, like me, are not big fans of McDonalds. What I mean is that just like McDonalds, where-ever in the world you may be with Marlboro you know what to expect.

When I first started smoking regularly while living in the UK I usually smoked Silk Cut or Rothmans (two brands that I still like). But very soon I started travelling, first as part of my university studies, then as an Au Pair and then and still now as a traveling teacher and sales person. In fact for most of my adult life I have been traveling around Europe sometimes spending almost every week in a different location. I am now based in Switzerland and it is great to have a real home base, but I still travel a lot for work.

I soon discovered that I couldn’t always find my regular brands  outside the UK, so I started experimenting and trying a lot of different brands in the countries I visited. Of course I discovered some brands I really liked, some of which I still smoke from time to time but I also discovered some brands which tasted horrible to me and that was literally money going up in smoke. I also found that even when I could find brands I knew they often tasted completely different in different countries. And so I started smoking Marlboro…

I had always been a bit anti Marlboro. I didn’t like their packaging or their advertising. There were all sorts of rumours about Klu Klux Clan connections, secret society affiliations and them just being a rather uncaring huge multi national company. And their cigarettes were everywhere so just a bit too popular and common for my tastes. Moreover, their taste got a bit of getting used to. British brands had quite distinctive tones of flavour I was familiar with and Marlboro in Europe at least had quite a different aroma, a little rougher and duskier than the cigarettes I had grown up with. But what I discovered over a couple of years was that whether I bought them in Spain or Germany; Austria or Italy they always tasted the same. And I liked that. During that time Marlboro became my regular brand and they have remained that way pretty much ever since. And I do like them.

I do still smoke other brands from time to time for different reasons and depending a lot on my mood, but Marlboro have become the benchmark for me by which I compare and judge other brands.

I mostly smoke Marlboro lights (or gold as we are supposed to call them now). I buy the regular size for the day time to smoke on the go in my fleeting break times or between meetings, and I buy 100s for the evenings when I have a bit more time to enjoy my cigarettes usually together with some wine or perhaps after a meal out.

Marlboro are reliable. You know what you are getting and they taste good. I don’t really care about the extra chemicals they are said to contain to help them burn more regularly and smoothly. They are quite tightly packed with tobacco and often seem to last a bit longer than comparable cigarettes as a result. That is good because the downside is that they tend to be one of the more expensive brands.

Anyway, I like them much more than I like McDonalds!