Why I Smoke and why I want to write for this blog

image

I’m Tina. When my mother and Cassie started this blog I was 13 and I was already smoking cigarettes occasionally. It started as just one or two cigarettes with friends at parties and gradually built up. After a while I was smoking quite regularly although still only a small amount. Now I am sixteen and by this stage I am smoking quite a lot; at least ten cigarettes each day and sometimes quite a lot more. Nicotine is very addictive I must admit I am totally addicted. If anybody reading this does not want to smoke the best way is to never start.

However, I did want to. I knew I would get addicted. I also know that smoking can damage my health, it can make me less fit and one day I might die of cancer or another disease that is connected with smoking. But even knowing all this, I always wanted to smoke and now that I do I like it very much. I will smoke until I get pregnant and have a family. Then I will stop. It will not be easy to stop because I like it very much and of course I am addicted. But my mother stopped when she was pregnant with me and I have just as strong will power as she does. So there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that when I decide to have a family I will stop smoking. I don’t know if I will start smoking again when my children are older. Perhaps not.

But for now I really enjoy smoking and I am glad I live in a place where I am still allowed to decide these things for myself.

I am sixteen. I know that is not very old and I still have a lot of growing up to do. But while I might only be a young adult, I am in fact an adult and not a child. That is what the law says in respect of many things and it is how I feel. I have serious studies and exams to think about. I could get a job if I wanted to. In some places I could join the military. I do have a boyfriend and a sex life. So with all these things in mind it seems ridiculous to me that in some places I wouldn’t even be allowed to buy cigarettes, let alone smoke them!

I think that in order to grow up and grow as a person you have to be allowed to decide things for yourself. Taking some choices away just stops people thinking for themselves. I want the freedom to be myself. I don’t want to be a Disney Princess, I want to be something very different than that. I want to be a person who smokes and drinks and has tattoos and piercings and does things that other people disapprove of. And at the same time I want to be one of the best students in whichever university I go to, I want to be one of the top vets in Europe and, when the time is right, a good and kind mother. I think that is possible. I know who I am and what I want to be.

And that is why I want to contribute to this blog. Smoking is just a small detail in some people’s lives but to me it is kind of symbolic. I feel like there are powers in this world who want us all to conform to some kind of sickly, whiter than white, Disney image of what a good person should be. I could never be that and I would never want to be that; and I don’t think I am alone. When my parents started smoking and when Cassie started smoking I guess some people didn’t like it, but at least they were allowed to make that choice. And they were allowed to choose what brand they liked and see what other brands were available. Well those choices are being taken away from my generation and I don’t think it is right. I don’t think somebody who has never met me has the right to say how I should live my life. Being an adult is new for me and I admit some of the decisions I will have to make about things now are quite mind blowing, but I don’t want the possibilities to make my own decisions taken away before I even get started. What will be next? Will they make smoking completely illegal? Will I be called a criminal just because I smoke? And then what? Maybe they will decide we are all too stupid to decide for ourselves what we should eat or what we should drink or what music we should listen to… Well let’s face it, maybe we are too stupid to know what political party to vote for; so they could just remove some choices to make it easier for us!

No; I smoke. It is already part of who I am and it is a symbol of my attitude to this world and this life. I think this blog is important because here you have three people who refuse to be sheep and just follow the line. We smoke because we like the taste, the feel and the sensations that come from smoking. We also tend to like other people who smoke. We know we are taking a bit of a risk with our health but we are okay with that. We have this little corner on the web to say things that a generation ago you could say anywhere but now it’s not “politically correct”. Maybe we just want to talk about what brands we prefer and stuff like that without other people saying “Oh you shouldn’t say that out loud, smoking is bad you know!” And maybe we want to complain a bit about the fact that smokers have less and less rights because the ones who want everyone to be a Disney Princess and have perfectly white teeth are in control. (Actually my teeth are perfectly white and it really annoys me)!

I think people my age should rebel a bit more, not about stupid things but about the ways we are all under pressure to be the same, to like the same things, to have the same opinions and values… The problem is the people with power are clever, they take away options and alternatives before you even know they exist.

Anyway I will do my best to be the person I want to be and help others to do the same. If you agree with me on that you might like some of the things you read here even if you don’t smoke. Yes, smoking is the main theme of this blog but on another level I think it is about allowing people the freedom to be and express themselves.

Putting Things In Perspective

image1

I’m Tina. I’m the 15 year old girl who smokes. Shock! Horror! Seriously, if you really are that much shocked or horrified you really need to get a life!

My mother has written a couple of articles here about the fact that I smoke. She got mixed feedback about it. We left some of the more normal replies up but there were a few that weren’t “normal”. There were a few that were insulting and abusive to my mother. We deleted them. For quite a while I wanted to write a reply about it but my mum said no. But I showed her the text for this and she agreed I could post it. If you disagree with anything I say here you are free to say what you want as long as it is polite and not abusive.

If I am going to say anything here it should be honest, so here I go… It is not really unusual for people my age to smoke where I live. About half my friends who are the same age as me smoke. Before you think it, I don’t smoke just because they do! I will try to explain why I smoke a bit later. I will admit that by now I do smoke a bit more and a bit more regularly than most people my age. During school days I smoke about 5 or 6 cigarettes in the day. At weekends I smoke more because I meet my friends in cafes where you can smoke and I sometimes go out in the evening. Also my boyfriend smokes. So to tell the truth, I smoke a whole pack at the weekends or sometimes more.

I am lucky in some ways that I have two sets of parents. I live with my mum and her partner Cassie and they both give me an allowance. My Dad also gives me an allowance. On Saturdays I have started working in a shop and i get paid for that. I also sometimes do volunteer work in a zoo for which I don’t get paid. But all this means I have enough money to do the things i want. Actually I save most of my money but I still have enough to buy two packets of cigarettes in a week and pay for coffees and clothes and go out. Plus I get cigarettes from my boyfriend and from my family sometimes too.

So why do I smoke? Good question! I know it can be unhealthy, but I will tell you what I think about that later… Well, I always thought I would smoke. I could blame my mum and dad and cassie because they smoke but that would not be fair. I can’t prove it, but I know for sure I would have smoked even if they didn’t. I always wanted to. I never thought “I wonder if I will start smoking”. I always thought “I wonder when I will start smoking”. I admit I kind of like the image part of it. But I would never do anything just for image. The simple thing is I just like the feeling of smoking. One day I was at a party with some friends. Cigarettes were being offered around. I took one. I was a bit nervous because I always thought I would smoke but suddenly I thought, “Shit, what happens if I hate it?!” Luckily I didn’t hate it. I knew in that moment that I would be smoking regularly from that time on. If my mum had forbidden me, it would have complicated my life but I would probably still have smoked. I’m glad I didn’t have to lie to her. Funnily enough, it isn’t really the taste of smoke that is the best thing at first; it is just the feeling it gives you. There is nothing like it. Then after a while of experimenting you get to know the tastes of different brands and the ones you like best.

Maybe you think I’m just a silly rebellious teenager who is going through a trend or a phase. Well that just isn’t true. I think my mum would say I am pretty well behaved as far as is possible for teenagers! I hate following fashions and acting like a sheep. I am a bit shy most of the time. I like school and I’m a good student. I work pretty hard on my studies. I used to feel a bit young for my age and then suddenly for some reason I overtook a lot of people and now i would say I am more mature than average for my age. I will admit that smoking makes me feel a bit more grown up. Is that wrong? I don’t know. I don’t really see why it should be.

One thing about smoking I have realized is that it feels like part of me. It feels natural. If I have a morning when I can’t smoke i feel grumpy and bad tempered. Maybe I am a little bit addicted already but to be honest I like that feeling. Being addicted doesn’t mean you can’t stop; it just means it would be more difficult to stop if you wanted to. I don’t want to. I think we all have an idea of who we are. I always knew I would smoke. Just like I always knew that one day I will get tattoos. I know the kinds of places I will hang out in, the kind of people I will like, the kinds of things i will do, the kinds of job I will do. The kind of person i will be… And smoking is part of that, and it is completely my choice.

I seriously don’t care at all about it being unhealthy. It is frightening to think I could get cancer. I know the chance is higher because I smoke. And probably like my mum and dad and cassie I will be smoking for a long time…  I just think it is stupid to not do things because of what might happen one day in the distant future. If you think I’d feel differently if I knew somebody who had cancer you are wrong. I have known a few…

It is more about how I see life. Some people think we live more than once; that we get reincarnated many times… I don’t know. It’s a nice idea but I am not convinced it is true. I think we can only be sure about this one life we have now. Probably this is the only chance we get. So here is what I think. We don’t know how long we will live. I could be a very good person, never drink, never smoke and always stay healthy and still a bus could crash into me or a meteorite could land on my house and kill me! We just don’t know. There are no guarantees. But it is a bit deeper than that. Last year I saw a picture of a tiny little boy who was a refugee and he got washed up dead on a beach. That was his life! His short and sad life… There are some children born in Africa who will die of illness or because there is no food before they become teenagers. There are some children in my own country who will be born into abusive families and will get beaten or even raped all the time. That is their life and it is very sad.

I am lucky to be safe, healthy and happy for now and live in a country where there are not many problems. While I have this luck I will make the most of it and do all the things I want to do while I can. I think it would be insulting to those who don’t have the chance of doing all these things if i just tried to be safe and well all the time so I could live as long as possible. I don’t believe anything or anybody is totally good or evil but I do care about people and animals and i will do a job that helps them. But I will also smoke and drink and probably do other things that people don’t think are right. It’s my life!

If you want to write something here saying that my logic and reasoning are all wrong and smoking is a terrible thing and i should be more sensible, please go right ahead. But not until you feel strongly enough to also write something about refugee children dying at sea, people starving to death in Africa, animals being hunted to extinction and global warming making the future dangerous for everyone.

People need some perspective.