I remember the day I started smoking.

I used to cycle home from school with my good friend John [Names have not been changed to protect the guilty].  It was a long old cycle-ride and I used to stop off at John’s house for a while before heading on home in my own.

One day, for no particular reason, we stopped off at a small sweet shop and [at John’s suggestion] bought two cigarettes.  We brought our illicit cargo down to an old chicken shed at the back of John’s house and lit up.

I have heard tales of people being sick after their first smoke but it wasn’t like that with me.  I liked it.  It gave a nice little buzz and I quite liked the taste too.  Add to that the fact that we were doing something that would meet with wide scale disapproval and it became an enjoyable experience.

I mention this little tale to illustrate a few facts.

We hear lots these days from the Tobacco Control Industry about the tobacco companies targeting children, but they certainly didn’t target me!  Up until then, I was completely unaware of cigarette advertising.  I do remember advertisements showing airline pilots enjoying a smoke [was it Benson & Hedges?  Consulate?  Can’t remember] but that meant nothing to me and I never tried smoking whatever brand it was.  In fact I couldn’t even tell you what brand my first smoke was as it was sold singly. 

We hear shed-loads of hysteria about children buying cigarettes because of the “fancy colourful displays”, and their latest – the “fancy colourful packs” which are apparently designed to attract children, or so they say.  I can assure you that my first smoke was not the result of any displays or packets [seeing as I never saw the packet the cigarette came from].

I started smoking for two reasons – because my friends did and because it was “naughty”.

I appreciate that selling individual cigarettes is now illegal but even if it had been illegal at the time, we more than likely would have pooled our cash and bought a pack [thereby guaranteeing that my first cigarette wouldn’t be my last as I would have had at least nine more to smoke].

When I did start buying my own cigarettes in packs, I smoked [as far as I remember] Country Life.  Again, it had damn all to do with advertising or fancy displays and packets.  It was a choice based on one single factor – price.

I would imagine that my little story is pretty typical?  I would go so far as to say that through the generations the story is being repeated time and time again.

one aspect that does strike me though is that not one of the laws imposed by the Tobacco Control Industry would have prevented anything.

Just the opposite.

They have increased the “naughty” element to new lofty heights.

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Remembering the first time — 7 Comments

  1. A guy was relating a story to me this morning about the crazy things he used to get up to as a school kid. He can remember himself and his brother using a 22 rifle and shooting cigarettes from each other’s mouths, William Tell style.  Think of it, the unseeN dangers back then…………………………………………………………  allowing kids put ciggies in their mouths at that age!!  😉

  2. i was a total rebel, serious hard ass..i didn’t smoke because my parents did and who wanted to be like their parents..bleahh

    okay okay truth be told, i was a loner and went to the library alot and preferred bag of chips (crisps) instead of wasting money on expensive smokes.  (and my parents smoked so i wasn’t gonna) 

  3. Ahhhhh, yes GD ……… now you’ve got me in a reminiscing mood. My first smoke at the age of ten was actually one of those filtered cigars (the name of them escapes me now). It was all my mate and myself could afford that day. Twenty pence I think it was then. I can also remember the two of us sitting by a crypt in a nearby overgrown Victorian graveyard; giggling not just from the ‘bouldness’ of it, but from light headedness!
    You’ve got to remember as well lads that since the dawn of time, kids will do something not only because of peer pressure – but because if they want to do it badly enough they will  >:)

  4. Not Green – Indeed a terrifying tale.  I shudder to think of all that second hand smoke and the dangers of instant cancer your friend risked.

    Cat – You are living proof that all parents should be evil.  The kids will all be good just to spite them.

    InisEanna – If these anti-smoker fascists had the blindest bit of sense they would make smoking compulsory in all junior schools.  I guarantee we would see the smoking rates go through the floor!  No kid worth his salt would be seen dead with a cigarette.

  5. Doing something to be naughty is a natural boyhood personality characteristic. Puffing the forbidden weed is a common male exemplar of this. At age 14 I puffed a couple of Goldflake cigs while on a language learning holiday in the Gaeltacht (cupla toitini le do thoil, we said to the obliging siopadoir) and, I’m glad, I got no joy from the experience. Saved me paying a lot of tobacco tax to the Minister for Finance over the years. 

    Are teenage boys today acting on similar devilish instincts when they get tipsy on alcohol, along with girls from the local school, and then go out to side streets and hedges to try something naughty and procreative with surprising bumpy results?

  6. When I saw the title, ‘Remembering the first time’, the first question that entered my head was, “Did he go all the way” ?

    Well Grandad, Did you inhale ???? 

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