I haven’t smoked for a long time, but if I cast my mind back to my fourteen year old self, I can remember that then, cigarettes represented something very desirable; freedom. Trapped in the mundane ritual of school and detentions and homework, smoking for me was an act of rebellion, from my parents, my teachers and the powers that be.
One day at lunchtime, a group of us ventured into the woods next to our school and tentatively produced cigarettes from our schoolbags. We lit up. The smoke was choking, but I felt victorious in my defiance. Tired of incessantly being told what to do by everyone, smoking was an outlet for my dissatisfaction at being fourteen, a private protest, puff by puff.
I felt more grown up after my first cigarette and I felt like I had taken control of my own destiny in a small way. I also felt quite dizzy and a bit ill.