I smoked from age 14 to 37. Not much, mind you – average 5-6 cigarettes a day. But of course I did, everybody did. Smoking was the cool, the elegant, the sophisticated thing to do. All the movie stars did it, as you can see in the old 40’s and 50’s movies on TV reruns. Somewhere I have an old photo of me, age 19 and long hair flowing, having my cigarette lit by my then boyfriend. We thought we were ready for Hollywood.
When I started smoking, my father said to me, it’s OK if you smoke, just know that it is not healthy, so keep it down. He’d had to quit because of a heart condition. I would smoke at the dinner table, and he loved the smell. We didn’t know, or think, about second hand smoke.
When I got to my mid thirties, and was already deep into healthy eating at a time when hardly anyone else was, general knowledge that smoking was not healthy had permeated the mainstream, regardless of what the tobacco companies were saying. I was getting tired of people saying to me “YOU smoke???” and me saying “Nobody’s perfect!” Which I thought was a great line. However, it was quickly losing its luster, and I thought the time had come to drop the habit.