I started smoking in late teens and kept it up steadily. So did Much Better Half. For a while, I switched to a pipe, but it involved too much time-wasting in fiddling about with it. I returned to cigarettes, and would average about ten a day.
Then came the time when I caught Elder Daughter, as a rebellious teenager, at it. I read the riot act, and she dissolved into floods of tears. A few weeks later, there was an exact repeat of this scene. The third time, though, instead of tears I received the response, ‘But, Dad, you smoke!’
‘No, I don’t,’ I replied promptly, and didn’t touch another cigarette for three years. A wasted effort, though. Ironically, I gave up; she didn’t. So eventually I shrugged, said, ‘What the heck!’ and resumed. The years passed, grown-up daughter emigrated to England, and we visited them there to find she and husband had given up smoking and wouldn’t allow it in the house. We had to go outside in cold weather to smoke, and the result was we cut down drastically. Also, that we gave up smoking inside when back home. (Younger Daughter has never been tempted to try it, by the way.)
On our return, I also resolved to stick to the reduced number, which became between three and five a day over the next number of years.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I lit a cigarette and asked myself whether I was really enjoying it. The answer was negative, so I extinguished it. A few days later I had another few puffs with the same result. Then, after going out to dinner and a few beers (always when I particularly wanted a cigarette) I tried again. Once more, a couple of puffs was all it took to convince me that I have lost my taste for the habit. That was Sunday before last, since when I have been a smokeless zone.
I find it as surprising as anyone.