In the interest of deterring my own future self from defecting from my longstanding scheme to quit smoking at 30, I’m announcing publicly that I’m now officially smoke-free. While I’d like to believe it’s possible for even ex-smokers to—eventually—enjoy the occasional cigarette without careening into a life of sin and degradation, I’m thinking that it needs to be a complete ban for at least the first year to avoid the risk of backsliding into regular smoking. Which means if you spot me skulking about somewhere with a cigarette, you are permitted—indeed, encouraged—to publicly ridicule me. You should take pictures with your camera-phone and send it to all your Twitter buddies with a snarky caption mocking my pathetic akrasia.
Since I’ve been skimming various anti-smoking sites to get a sense of the withdrawal timeline, however, let me add a corollary: If I ever become one of those chirpy, preening ex-smokers who can’t stop nattering about the million ways they’re better, happier, healthier people since they came to Jesus and abandoned the foul weed (And started running! Oh my God, do you run? It’s the best thing I ever did!) do us both a favor and bludgeon me with a rusty pipe. I’m stopping because the stuff does tend to kill you eventually, and as best I can determine, quitting by 30 leaves your body with a pretty good chance of repairing itself without serious long-term consequences. Assuming that happens, I’ll be delighted I got away with smoking for a decade and change, because (like so many other things in life) it’s really quite nice except for the killing-you part.