How/Why Smoking became a “thing” for us

We are a family of three women who write about smoking. But why should it have come to any of our minds to think that smoking cigarettes is something worth writing about in public? We have probably explained this a bit in our introduction but following a discussion between the three of us recently we felt there was a bit more to say and we realised that it actually means a bit more to all of us than we have previously admitted to ourselves or others. Cassie started this blog and she thought she was a bit strange for doing so, but actually Tina and I (Sophie) are perhaps even more passionate about the subject.

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(Cassie).  I started this blog at a point when I was beginning to realise that smoking cigarettes was not seen as an acceptable and normal part of people’s lives anymore. Moreover there was a kind of prejudice against smokers that was growing to the extent that it was threatening aspects of my lifestyle. The problem was it had already become seen as a sin to say anything positive or defensive about smoking. The media was portraying smoking as a terrible blight on society and smokers as either sad, hopeless and pathetic addicts, or nasty, stupid, antisocial individuals. I deeply resented being labelled in any of those ways. I was just as aware as any thinking person of the health risks associated with smoking, but thought that as an adult I should have the right to choose what risks to take. I think at a deeper level I hated the idea that another class of people were being set up to take a prejudicial fall. The smokers I knew and associated with were generally creative people, artists, musicians and intellectuals… People who were often critical in many ways of mainstream society… Soft rebels… The anti smoking rhetoric was a way to get at them, to get at us. At the same time all sorts of anti-smoking legislation was beginning to take effect. The kind of lifestyle I had enjoyed in my teens and twenties, hanging out in smokey cafes and bars, was being attacked and smokers like myself were being excluded from the mainstream of the social world. I felt that we were being shoe-horned into being picture perfect, goodie-goodie, Disney versions of the people we wanted to be with unnaturally white teeth and no flaws or real substance.

Also, I must say, I was one of those people who had always liked smoking. I liked and still like everything about it; the social aspects, the taste, the nicotine kick, the image, the fashion. Indeed I enjoyed all the things about smoking that it was becoming politically incorrect even to mention never mind agree with!

So I faced a choice. I could either comply with the health fascists and try to become the clean living Disney princess that society seemed to want us all to become, or I could be true to my less than perfect self. Smoking thus became a point and symbol of rebellion. I never wanted or intended for it to be that way but it became so. Smoking started as a social and personal vice which it seemed obvious to me was something  adults could choose to do. I wish it could still be just that.

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(Sophie) When I started smoking it was, for me, not about rebellion, it was more about conformity. I’m Swiss. Swiss people smoked. Nearly all of them. Most of my family smoked. My parents smoked. As soon as I became a teenager most of my friends smoked and I started smoking too. I was an outsider and a bit rebellious in other ways to do with politics, my interests and even my sexuality (being bisexual was still seen as being quite avant garde in Switzerland in those times). But smoking cigarettes was the thing I had in common with nearly everybody else.

And I liked smoking cigarettes. I thought it was glamorous. The people I looked up to in fashion, music and films smoked and I guess I tried to emulate them to some degree. Am I supposed to feel bad or guilty about that? Well I don’t. By my late teens I was already a pretty heavy smoker. I started smoking cigars as well. Tobacco was part of my everyday life. It was equally part of life for everybody I knew.

Gradually I became aware that I had also developed something of a smoking fetish. I found women and men who smoked to be sexy and I learned to smoke in a sexy way for those partners of mine that appreciated such things. But still; it was all just part of life for the ambitious young woman that I was at that time.

When I found I was pregnant with Tina I stopped smoking immediately without too much fuss. I didn’t smoke at all for several years but I never intended to permanently stop. Soon after I had stopped breast feeding I started smoking again. It was a relief.

As I got a bit older I suppose smoking lost some of its glamour but I still enjoyed it along with most of the people I socialised with. It was not something I thought much about, it was just something I did. And again it gave me something in common with most other people and in my work it often helped me to make connections with very troubled young people that would have been even more difficult to reach otherwise.

And then even here in Switzerland they began to restrict some of the freedoms that smokers had always enjoyed and to a large degree change our culture and our way of life. Quite simply, I didn’t and don’t agree with the way smoking and smokers are portrayed and marginalised by some parts of the government and media. Health warnings became more like health laws. The idea that for health reasons you shouldn’t smoke became replaced by the idea that for health reasons you MUST NOT smoke and “we” are going to stop you.

I became rebellious about it. And then every aspect of smoking from the social side to the fetish side became important to me again. And smoking also seems to me to be linked to my Swiss and European identity. We do smoke here, even if it is unhealthy (which we know it is). We live on a continent which has been ravished by war several times. A continent which feels the impact of terrorism and mass immigration before most other places. A continent which will be the first place to be targeted by all sides if there were ever a Third World War. We are used to living with risks. What we have learned is to live as fully as we can while we can.

A few years ago my daughter told me that she had started smoking. Given all that I have said above, I can’t say I was surprised, shocked or angry. I was concerned because she was even younger than I was when I started smoking (although not by much). But what should I have done; forbidden her to smoke? That would only have created a barrier between us and made me a hypocrite in her eyes. I decided to accept it with as little fuss as possible. I thought it might just be a phase that she would get bored with. In the meantime she has grown up and it turned out not to be a phase. That is fine with me. There is nothing about my daughter that I would change.

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(Tina) About a year after I first started smoking two strange things happened. First we had a kind of campaign at school to allow students to smoke in certain areas during the break times. Somehow I got involved quite deeply in that protest. We didn’t win really but the whole process made me think in a different way and I guess made me grow up in some ways. Until then I think most people didn’t notice me. I was a quiet girl who got good marks and whose mother was a teacher. But after that campaign the other students and teachers looked at me in a different way. In a way it was the birth of a new grown up version of myself; not because I smoked but because I had the guts to defend my decision.

The second strange thing was a bit more disturbing. A friend of mine found a picture of me smoking on the Internet. Even now we don’t know who took it or how it got on the Internet. It didn’t worry me as much as it worried my mother. She found out that it was on a smoking fetish site. I didn’t really understand what a smoking fetish site was at that time, but my mother did and she wasn’t pleased with whoever took and put that picture on the Internet!

Now I am a a few years older and I know what a smoking fetish is. I can understand why my mother was angry but I am not as angry about it as her. I suppose people of my age are more used to putting everything on the Internet. I am private about some things and have high security settings on my Facebook page and other sites I visit. Even on this site, I don’t give any sensitive information away. But of course I don’t like the idea that people can “get off” to pictures of me smoking without my knowledge or permission.

But I don’t mind it if I am in control. And I have come to the decision that I will allow some pictures of me to be seen as long as I decide what they are and who can see them. I might even earn some money from this.

I am at a point in my life where I am starting to take control of it more. I’m deciding who and what I want to be and how I want other people to see me. Cassie, my mother and I share similar beliefs about many things and so they respect my decisions and my independence. In some ways smoking is just one small thing about me, just one small thing that I do which is really nobody else’s business. However in another way it is a little symbol of my attitude to things in general. I think that maybe, if it wasn’t for me, Sophie and Cassie would have stopped writing this blog. I cause them to carry on and think about it more.

There are good things about smoking which you normally aren’t allowed to say these days but I will not shut up. Nicotine is a legal drug like alcohol and people use it just like alcohol because it makes them feel good. I like the feeling it gives me. It IS relaxing. It does sometimes help me to concentrate (when I study for example). It sometimes is a sociable thing. Sometimes it IS sexy. Sometimes it does look elegant and sophisticated.

Of course smoking can be addictive and it is a drug and it can cause health problems. Some people seem to think that even adults should not be allowed to use drugs if they choose to. Some people think that alcohol and tobacco should be completely banned. I am not one of those people. I don’t think governments should tell people how to live their lives even more than they already do. I would like to see more things legalised instead of more things banned or restricted.

I didn’t wait to become an adult just so society can treat me like a child for the rest of my life. My family brought me up to make my own decisions and that is what I will do. Probably I will make some mistakes and have some problems because of that, but I would rather it be that way than live like a sweet, unthinking robot for the rest of my life. So in fact, smoking is sort of a symbol of my attitude to life.

 

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.

Smoking Is Good For You

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Yes, yes… Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products significantly increases your risks of contracting and dying from a host of unpleasant diseases. Yawn. Unless you have been living on another planet for the last century there really should be no need to state that. But this is a pro smoking blog (if that idea disturbs you, go away and find something else to read) and from our point of view smoking can also be good for you. In these days of health fascism and political correctness you are not supposed to say things like that. But we ARE saying it.

Smoking is good for you because it can add to your pleasure and happiness and thus increase your quality of life. This in turn, according to most physical and psychological medical practitioners, can boost health and increase longevity. I will detail some of the ways smoking does this below. But first a note about happiness and quality of life. It is still seen as somehow sinful in some quarters to see pleasure and enjoyment as positive things. We don’t take that view. In our opinion pleasure, fun and happiness are self rewarding and healthy. I am sure many people reading this will sometimes have experienced an increase in their own happiness just by being around happy people. I doubt it can be scientifically proved but I firmly believe happy people look younger for longer and have greater immunity against disease than depressed or unhappy people; whether or not they smoke. Thus we are sure that, on average, happy smokers live longer than unhappy non smokers.

So here are some things about smoking which by adding to the quality of your life are actually good for you. They are in no particular order.

Tobacco tastes nice. Well nice is the wrong word and the taste of tobacco takes some getting used to. But ultimately the taste of tobacco is pleasurable. It is much like wine, beer, alcoholic drinks, olives, strong cheese and caviar; it is a sophisticated, acquired taste which comes in many varieties. Most people don’t like these tastes at first but come to appreciate them in all their sophistication as their pallets mature. Learning to appreciate different types of tobacco through different brands of cigars and cigarettes can be as satisfying and pleasurable as sampling fine wines and cheeses.

Tobacco reduces stress:a contributory cause of many diseases. It is better and more pleasurable to smoke a few cigarettes in a time of stress than to take strong, prescribed medication which is often far more addictive than nicotine and may have other negative effects.

Nicotine is addictive but does little harm in itself in the amounts normally smoked. This makes it difficult (though not impossible) for some people to give up smoking if and when they want to. However the pleasure experienced by satisfying the need or craving for a cigarette is lovely; a pleasure that non smokers will never understand.

Smoking is still sociable. It is a pleasure shared with like minded people. It is a common uniting factor among those of us who smoke. In fact in times when smokers are increasingly forced to the fringes the uniting factor maybe stronger than ever. We smoke with our friends, our families, our lovers. And often a pleasure shared is a pleasure multiplied.

Smoking can add to the pleasure of drinking tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks. A digestive cigarette after a meal clears the pallet and is very enjoyable.

Smoking can aid weight loss and help to control your weight. Cigarettes can replace snacks of starch and sugar. This is at a time when obesity related diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions. It is pretty much an open secret that women have been using this method to keep their weight down and figure in shape for many years.

Many of us find that smoking aids concentration. At work, while studying for exams or writing for a deadline smoking cigarettes can be calming and allow us to focus. We would certainly rather smoke than use some of the other chemicals (legal and illegal) that people frequently use to aid work and study.

Smoking can be sexy… Oh come on, of course it can! Some people do look sexy when they are smoking. There are ways of holding a cigarette or cigar that have a sexual appeal. There are ways to inhale and exhale that have a similar effect. Moreover the fact that somebody smokes says something about them and their attitude to life which some will find sexy. Of course smoking can look very unsexy too. Eating and wearing clothes can add to sex appeal but sloppy eating and bad fashion sense can be very unappealing. This is all obvious. Smoking is the same; it has just become politically incorrect to even hint that smoking can be sexy. Well it can and we all know it.

As an appendage to the last point about sexiness, smoking is often associated with self confidence which most people find attractive. If you don’t believe us, read some psychology and dream interpretation books. And self confidence and self esteem are in themselves healthy.

Smoking is an adult activity which certainly does involve risks. By smoking you are asserting your independence and your right to make adult decisions and take responsibility for them. You are saying something and there is indeed a darker side to what you are saying. In general smoking is accepting death but choosing to live until it happens rather than trying to avoid all risks in the hope of living a longer, blander life.

If you think that last sentence is kind of cool, then for you smoking IS cool. By smoking you are in some way associating yourself with the writers, artists, musicians, politicians and intellectuals who smoked their way through the last century and continue to do so in this one despite the warnings.

As an adult pleasure smoking marks a right of passage for many teenagers as they begin to make their own choices about who they want to be and how they want to live. And it is a safer right of passage than many other things.

Smoking for pleasure is legal and open.

While there are certainly chemicals in tobacco smoke that may do you harm there may be chemicals that actually do you good. You will never hear that publicised!

Of course smoking too much over a long period will almost certainly do you more harm than good; just as anything taken to excess tends to be dangerous. But in our opinion the flip side is that,if you enjoy it, smoking in moderation may well do you more good than harm.

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.

Experiment and suggestions

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It is a while since we have posted directly on this blog and Cassie and I are undecided about whether to carry on with it or what we should post here. It still gets a small but regular amount of traffic but it has probably always been the most neglected of our blogs.

We are still enthusiastic and regular smokers and neither of us are afraid of admitting to politically incorrect and sometimes controversial views on the subject. But is it worth maintaining a whole blog on the subject? I am trying to convince Cassie that it is. She has taken a short time out from blogging for personal reasons that those who follow our other blogs may be aware of, but will be back in the blogosphere very soon. We have come to a decision to be more up front and honest about aspects of our lives than ever before this year and perhaps that should include our passion for smoking? I also think that there are very few places where you can speak openly about all things related to smoking these days and so there is a place for this blog.

So I want to see how many people view this post and I would be very interested to see comments and suggestions about what people would like to see here if we continue with it.

Sophie

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

 

Sunday Cigars

image..Sophie’s Bit…

Cassie and I both smoke cigars from time to time. I generally smoke them more often than Cassie; although I think that may be changing…

Cigars trigger pleasant memories for me. Both my parents used to smoke but it was my father who smoked cigars and I liked the smell of them. He had a ritual of lighting up a big cigar after dinner on Sundays. As a teenager I used to nag him to let me have a puff on his cigar. Usually he refused of course but one day he said yes; I think he was expecting me to cough and choke and that would be the end of the matter… Well I did cough and choke but I didn’t want to lose face or feel defeated so I persevered. I probably did feel sick and I didn’t ask again for quite a while but somehow by the time I was about sixteen, the Sunday cigar was a ritual that I shared with my father. It was only on Sundays but I wanted to do it right… He bought different cigars for me to try and taught me the right way to cut and light them. I really liked all those ritual elements (Cassie hates those). I think in a strange way he was rather proud of me. He once joked, “I have a daughter who swears all the time and smokes cigars, what did I do wrong?”

So the Sunday cigar is a tradition I have kept up. I guess it is partly because it reminds me of those times with my father. I love my mother very much but sometimes there is a special bond between father and daughter and in my case that bond was cut short when my father died so all memories of my times with him are special.

Cigars are one of the many things that trigger sweet memories of my father, but because the memory is so linked with the sense of smell which is such a powerful catalyst, those particular memories seem to go straight to my heart and soul.

Anyway… Normally I only smoke cigars on Sundays or special occasions. I usually buy Davidoff 3000s and have introduced Cassie to them and she likes them too. They are quite long and thin, but not too thin. I admit the way they look and feel in your fingers is somehow important. Some types of cigars just don’t look very feminine. Mostly I like these cigars for the taste. They are quite strong but the smoke has a balanced and silky texture so they don’t seem harsh at all on the throat.

Even though I smoke cigarettes regularly I can understand that other people may not like the smell of cigarettes on me. And nobody wants to kiss an ashtray! I think there is a myth that smokers smell bad all the time, well speaking for myself and Cassie we take a lot of care of our hygiene and I honestly think that unless we were smoking a cigarette at the time or had just put one out, most people wouldn’t know we smoked; there are ways to keep your breath fresh after all… With cigars however it is different. The smell and the taste of a good cigar does tend to stay with you; sometimes I think I can feel it in my skin. But with cigars I like that sensation and I like it in other people too. For me the taste of Cassie after she has been smoking a good cigar is the best aphrodisiac I can imagine!

 

…Cassie’s Bit…

I also used to like the aroma of my father’s cigars which he smoked at weekends or occasionally in the evenings but I think the reason I started smoking cigars myself was less poignant than Sophie. With me it was more a case that once I had been smoking regularly for a while I was just curious about other things that you could smoke. I experimented with different brands of cigarettes and occasionally experimented with cigars and cigarillos. There were a few brands of cigarillos that I liked but I was less keen on actual cigars.

I found I could smoke cigarillos in the same way I smoked cigarettes. They were stronger, but I quite liked that. Cigars on the other hand did not fall into my routine or lifestyle. Smoking a cigar seemed like a rather pretentious event rather than something natural. I felt self conscious and uncomfortable smoking them and consequently very rarely did.

Then, about eight years ago, I had a boyfriend who’s job was importing and exporting fine cigars. He was quite an aficionado and he tried to educate me on the subject. His education of me was not a complete success! I hated and still do hate all the ritual and pretentiousness of smoking cigars; but I did discover some cigars which I really liked and continued to smoke occasionally long after he had become an ex.

As Sophie enjoys cigars a lot, I have found that I have been smoking them more regularly and often since we have been together. The main thing is that it now fits into my life in a way that feels natural and enjoyable. In fact one of my greatest pleasures now is our Sunday afternoon routine in Zurich…

When I am at home on Sundays (which still isn’t as often as I would like) Sophie, Tina and I go for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake. They have a nice, well ventilated, smokers lounge but if the weather is good we prefer to sit outside anyway. We treat ourselves to a nice meal although unfortunately nothing in Zurich is cheap. The food in the restaurant is always good though. After the meal Sophie and I smoke our cigars while finishing the wine and then some form of coffee. We sit there smoking and drinking for an hour or so watching boats on the lake and chatting about everything. Tina usually finds some friends to play with down by the lake or she goes off collecting insects or sometimes she just stays and chats with us. All in all it is the most relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I have taken to smoking Davidoff Panatellas and I like the way the taste lingers in my mouth and seems to permeate my whole body. And, as Sophie has said, I also love the way we both taste later in the day when we relax in other ways!

 

 

Ephemeral Smoking

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The above image is something I made while playing around with photoshop. I like it. I think as an image it says something which words alone can’t say. It alludes to something ephemeral and mysterious; spiritual even. There may even be something slightly erotic or sexy about it, which in the politically correct era we live in also makes it taboo or forbidden. And perhaps it says much more besides…

I smoke because I like the taste of tobacco and I enjoy the kick of nicotine, but there is also something more… I like the sensation of breathing in and exhaling  smoke… I like the “something else” which this picture conveys.

But what is it exactly…?

Polite comments and discussion welcome.

Parisienne

Parisienne

Parisienne, by Sophie

I am a patriotic Swiss girl so of course I smoke Parisienne!

Well actually I am not always that patriotic but I do like Parisienne and they were originally a very Swiss brand although I think they are now produced in Germany. They are the brand I have smoked most often and I still buy them quite regularly. Some people don’t know that Switzerland has quite a long and distinguished tradition in tobacco. With cigars especially Switzerland has some famous and well regarded brands. With cigarettes Parisienne are probably the best known Swiss brand; I know you can also get them in France, Austria and Germany but I haven’t seen them anywhere else.

I think they were the first brand I smoked regularly. When I was younger most people smoked either Marlboro or Parisienne. Those of us who smoked Parisienne thought of ourselves as a bit more alternative, less American and yes, perhaps a bit patriotic. The taste is quite similar to Marlboro but with a bit more flavour of Turkish style tobacco. I think the yellow, mild version are a bit weaker than Marlboro Lights but I prefer the Parisienne filters because in my opinion they let you suck the smoke in more easily. Sometimes I smoke the stronger red or black packet versions but they can be a bit harsh on the throat. Sometimes I like that though.

There have been some good advertisements for Parisienne which used to be shown in cinemas here. This one was directed by David Lynch and is, well,,, very David Lynch!

So when did we start smoking?

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Smoking is a funny thing. It is something which for most people you either do or you don’t. Rarely there are people who can genuinely say they are occasional smokers but mostly you are either a smoker or a non smoker. So for those of us who are smokers, what was it about those first cigarettes that we liked? Why did we continues with the habit while others didn’t? I guess we are supposed to say that we are some form of helpless and hopeless addicts but I have never felt that way. I am sure there is a degree of addiction but I think we started and continued smoking because we liked it… So how and why did we start actually?

CASSIE

The following is mostly lifted from an old blog post I made a few years ago.

Both my parents were occasional smokers although they seldom smoked much in the house. I always thought that I probably would start smoking one day but I wasn’t in much of a hurry about it. There was no taboo about smoking in my family, but my parents always advised that it would be better not to start. The only rule they made concerning it was a kind of age limit. “Once you’re sixteen you can make your own decisions about things like that; but not before…”

It all seemed quite reasonable and I was a fairly reasonable and well behaved daughter. However while I was 15, a lot of my friends started smoking and I felt a bit left out. They often offered me cigarettes and I always said no. It felt boring. The reason was not so much a feeling of obligation to my parents minimal rule, but more to do with vanity. I didn’t want to cough and splutter over my first cigarette in front of my friends. So one day I resolved that by the next time somebody offered me a cigarette I would be a proficient smoker!

One Saturday afternoon when my parents were out I went and bought a packet of Silk Cut (nobody in the shop questioned me as I could easily have passed for a couple of years older), took them home and started smoking. I didn’t cough nearly as much as I thought I might during my first cigarette when I was just taking the smoke into my mouth and blowing it out again. Twenty minutes later I had my second cigarette and this time practiced inhaling the smoke. I did cough a bit that time, but carried on anyway. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and sensation of smoking and the little nicotine kick that came with it. A couple of hours and about four cigarettes later I did begin to feel slightly sick and dizzy, but I didn’t mind. The following afternoon I went out for a walk and smoked a few more cigarettes. There was no sickness or dizziness and I genuinely enjoyed them. I was hooked.

During the next few months I smoked regularly when I was out with my friends. I wanted to tell my parents but felt awkward about bringing it up. I didn’t really want it to be a secret though so I started leaving half empty packets of cigarettes around my room and other places that my parents were likely to find them, hoping that they would bring the subject up. They never did.

Soon it was my sixteenth birthday. In the evening my parents took me out for a nice meal in a posh Italian restaurant. After the meal we ordered some more wine (technically in the UK I was still under age for drinking alcohol but I had been drinking wine with meals since I was about 12 and apparently the waiter didn’t realize I was only 16) and at that point my parents took out a packet of cigarettes and began to light up. This was my opportunity. I started looking in my handbag for my own cigarettes but they weren’t there. I must have looked flustered. Suddenly my Mum leaned across the table offering her pack of cigarettes and said “Do you want one?” as if it were the most normal thing in the world. “Emm…Yes please.” I replied a little nervously.

For the first minute or so I felt very self conscious smoking in front of my parents. But soon I relaxed and it felt normal. They had obviously known about my smoking for some time and had been waiting for me to say something about it. We joked about it. And as we sat there smoking and sipping wine I really felt as if something had changed. I was still their daughter and always would be; but now I was their grown up daughter and could relate to them in a new way. It felt good, and still recalls to me happier family times… Times when it seemed to me we were a happy and unbreakable little family unit. Sadly that unit fell apart a few years later when my father left us for another woman.

I have been a smoker since that time. The majority of my friends have always been smokers. Smoking has always been a social and personal vice that I have enjoyed. For the most part of the last twenty years smoking isn’t something I thought much about, it was just part of what made me, me; like dying my hair, having an interest in philosophy and the occult, having tattoos, hanging out with bands, enjoying breakfast in bed on days off… It is only in the last few years while smokers rights have been limited all over the world that my smoking has become something I am conscious of, and I suppose defensive about.

SOPHIE

Smoking was kind of the norm when I started. My mother was a heavy smoker who has since quit. My father only smoked cigarettes when he was stressed but often smoked cigars in the evening and at weekends. I liked the smell of his cigars. I used to smoke cigarettes at weekend parties when I was about 14. To be honest I don’t think I can remember the very first cigarette but I don’t ever remember not liking them… I do remember practicing different ways to smoke with my girlfriends so that I could look like a French actress and impress the boys! I think my smoking habit began early but slowly and gradually. In those early years it probably was only a handful of cigarettes at the weekend and on the way to school. When I was about 15 I had to get a note from my parents giving me permission to use the smokers area at school which in a strange way made my status as a smoker official. By the time I went to university at 19 I was regularly smoking a pack a day.

I continued smoking until I was 24. When I found out I was pregnant I gave up straight away without much difficulty. To be honest I never worried much about the health risks to myself from smoking although of course I knew about them. To me that was my choice. But I didn’t feel I had the right to impose my health choices on my child. I still believe that and would encourage anyone to give up smoking if they are planning a family. I didn’t have a single cigarette all the time I was pregnant or for about a year later. But then, pretty soon after I had finished breast feeding I started again and have been smoking ever since.

Smoking is still quite common here in Switzerland despite occasional government pushes to reduce it. Most of my friends smoke. Like Cassie, the more I feel under pressure to quit or to think of myself in a bad way because I smoke, the more vocal and rebellious I get on the subject. That’s pretty much why we started this blog.

I have a daughter who will be 13 soon. I am sure within the next few years she will experiment with smoking as will her friends and as did I. I am certainly not going to encourage it but neither will I forbid it. As a mother there are plenty of things I worry about that my daughter is likely to come across in her teens that can do her a lot more harm than a few cigarettes.

I think Cassie and I think of smoking as one of those rights of passage you go through when you are younger. To smoke or not to smoke is a decision most of us make at sometime in our life. It is one of the many choices that define who we are and how we want to be seen by others, but it is an adult choice because it has consequences. It is true that we are probably not fully aware of what those consequences may be when we are in our teens so our decisions may not always be made in the most logical and scientific way. But in truth it is rare that we really know all the possible and most likely consequences of any decision we ever make.

If I am honest I started smoking because I wanted to fit in with a certain group of friends. I wanted to impress certain boys. And I wanted to feel more grown up. Looking back we can laugh at those things, but there is no denying they were important considerations at the time. But I continued smoking because I actually did like the taste and sensation of smoking, I did find it calming and relaxing. In times of stress I am glad I can have a few cigarettes instead of Valium. And in good times I am glad I know the pleasure of a cigarette together with a cup of coffee or a few glasses of wine. Am I less fit and healthy than if I didn’t smoke? Who can say. I doubt that I would be any happier as a non smoker though.