Smoke & Mirrors

William Klein 1956

Fernand Fonssagrives 1942

William Klein 1958

Why do cigarettes and fashion go hand in hand? Why is smoking so sexy and so nasty at the same time? And why oh why does it still beckon me to inhale?

I am proud to say that I am a quitter but must admit that the lure of cigarettes still entices me. And if it entices me, a 32 year old ex smoker, it must be enticing young and impressionable girls searching for the same thing I was when I started puffing. Knowing what I know now, I will never find myself in the same predicament but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to.

Smoking is horrible in all forms but there is one thing I know for sure and that is if I was still smoking, I would have more friends. I know it sounds weird but there’s something about smokers. If you are outside smoking, there are bound to be others doing the same and you know you have smoking in common so it’s easy to start up a conversation.

For instance, as you may know, I work in an art gallery and my desk faces outside to the, you guessed it, smoking section. I see the same 20 or so people about 10 times each day outside puffing away and chatting all the same. If I was still a smoker, instead of smiling and waving to the few that smile back, I would know them. We would smoke together.

But having 10 or so more acquaintances in my life is clearly not reason enough to smoke. And this may sound cliche but quitting smoking was one of the best {and hardest} things I’ve ever done for myself.

What I thought was going to be the hardest part about quitting was proved wrong in just a few months. I thought I would gain weight. And you know what? I didn’t.

What I didn’t realize was how much of my identity revolved around being a smoker and the myths that came along with it. I thought I was being rebellious when I started. I thought it would make me look tough and sexy instead of cute and naive. It didn’t.

After over 10 years of smoking about a half a pack to an entire pack a day, I realized I had used cigarettes to deal with everything in my life. And when I quit, that was the hardest part to conceptualize. I had to figure out how to deal with what life threw at me without smoking and I realized what an angry person I was and had enabled myself to be because of smoking.

When I was angry, instead of facing my emotions, I would smoke.
When I was happy, instead of facing my emotions, I would smoke.
When I was sad, instead of facing my emotions, I would smoke.
When I was anxious, instead of facing my emotions, I would smoke.

I spent my 20′s trying to be someone I wasn’t and smoking was an accessory to that person. A person who was afraid. A person who was angry. A person who was anxious {to say the least}. A person who was sad. A person who didn’t know who she was. I became a person whom I hated.

What a monumental waste of time and smoking wasn’t the reason, I was the reason.

I always knew in the back of my head that 30 was my quitting year, however I tried unsuccessfully time and time before truly knowing I was only trying to quit. There is a difference and once I hit one year without a drag, I knew I was free and clear.

Now, over 2 years smoke free, I am on on a path of discovering not only who I am at my core but who I want to be. And dealing with the emotions that arose when quitting was worth every painstaking minute of it.

I don’t look down upon or judge others now for smoking but instead inhale deeply when I walk by. That delicious and disgusting smell reminds me of who I was and how much happier I am today.

Go to Le Smoking to get your daily {and healthy} smoke fix {as I do}.

All images from Michael Hoppen Gallery


LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, and home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life with her husband and adorable dogs, two Frenchies & an old Pug in wheels. Here you will find her talking about their journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation up to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life.

36 Comments

  • Carole

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    WAY TO GO QUITTING!!!! Love the blog, have a great day!

  • Nicole Marie

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    Congratulations!!! And i agree with everything you say. I don’t smoke and never have but the sexiness the media and fashion portray of it make it very enticing. Congratulations and way to go!

  • karina

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    I have never smoked and I hate and can not stand it but sometimes I want to light a cigarette.

  • merc3069

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    I used to wear contacts and never could tolerate being around smoke. Even after eye surgery, I am so hyper sensitive to the smell. While the pics you posted are sexy, I really hate to see an attractive woman with a fire stick hanging out of her mouth.

  • Erin

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    You are just to fab for words! No joke…I found your blog thru Weddingcentral and read this post about 5 minutes ago. My husband and I took the leap and quit about 11 days ago. So I took up reading blogs all day to keep me busy at work! ha ah ah

  • Franco

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    omg. you are aro strong!
    I’ve smoked before (cigarettes, cigars, everything) and never got addicting, it don’t know what it is.

  • Heather

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    Yay for quitting! I only smoked for a couple of years, but by the end I was up to half a pack a day. Almost a full pack on the stressfull days.

    I still want a cig everyday, but I don’t really know why. I hate the smell of old smoke on people’s clothes. I miss how good my hubby packed them. And the thing I miss most is being in the car on a rainy day, window cracked, rain dripping in…

    But I feel so much better now! I smell better, and I will look better later in life than if I had kept smoking!

    Yay (again) for quitting!!

  • * Fashion Dreamer *

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    Congratulations! There is something very…I don’t know…alluring about the way smoking is portrayed in fashion. But it still an ugly habit which I hate

  • Rachel

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    What a great post! Your words just suck us in!

  • missy

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    Wow… you’ve given me hope. I try reallly hard not to smoke around my gf, and we were spending the day together (so rare, when suddenly, I fell in a foul mood. For like 2 hours. No reason. I snuck out, had a puff, and felt like myself again.
    The realization that I have a… dependancy…. scared me. I have a “smoke friend” at work too.. we are both closet smokers, lol. But THANK YOU for sharing… really, thank you. You’ve given me hope to be who I want to be…. not someone who hides her smoke smell and cigs from her gf.

  • issa

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    congrats for quitting!! i totally don’t judge people either way though either.. i’ve never smoked but do find it alluring sometimes.

  • New Girl on Post

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    I love your blogs! You always have the best photos to illustrate your points.

    Kudos to you for quitting! I know how hard it was to quit for my husband so I applaud anyone who can do it!

  • Lump

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    Congrats on being two years smoke free!! I know how hard that can be. My bf has been smoke free for almost three months and he smoked for 17 years! He still struggles.

    My downfall I’m a social smoker. If I’m out drinking with people who smoke I want to light up.

  • Baking With Plath

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    As a smoker myself, I must say CONGRATS! Seriously, I know how hard it is to quit. I’ve tried to quit about 87 times. Good for you. You should really be proud of yourself.

  • Savvy Mode SG

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    congrat. i have smoked cigar out of curiosity before and after almost coughing my lungs out b/c i inhaled, i have no desire to go near cigarettes.

  • Holly

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    great post, maegan! and congrats on keeping up the smoke free life you chose, im sure your body loves you for it. =)

  • Summer Saldana

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    I feel the same way about my 20′s. I couldn’t be happier to be turning 30. My 20′s were full of ups and downs, anxiety and happiness…

    I can certainly do without the anxiety. There is nothing worse!

    Congrats on being successful with the not smoking, and even bigger congrats on your personal growth!

    Hugs…Summer

  • Julia

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    This was an INCREDIBLE post! So honest and honest and well, honest :) I’m one of those people who have an incredible crappy day and asks for a ciggy just for the oral-fixation aspect of it (once a month). It’s funny, because in the end, it’s the deep breaths, it’s getting outside, it’s getting outside of my head that calms me down, not the fag.

    I’m really proud of you! I know that quitting is the hardest thing to do. You have to want it, not just try!

    Thank you for writing this post!~

  • The Rest is Still Unwritten

    November 19, 2008 | Reply

    Um, I have to agree. Smoking is sexy and disgusting at the same time. But it’s not sexy for guys, it’s sexy on super hot fashionistas. So weird…

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  • diamondsinchampagne

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    I am against smoking, but I adore the old smoking holders women in the 20′s used to use.
    LOVE that first picture, gorgeous

  • Mrs.D

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    I smoked from age 14-22, and quit the minute I found out I was pregnant. It’s been nearly 7 years (wow! I didn’t realize it’d been so long!) and I am sooo glad I did. I work at a K-2 school now and I pity the kids who come in smelling icky like smoke. I never realized how stinky it was until I quit.

    But I must admit, I do sometimes miss the calming effect a smoke had, but I’ll never go back.

  • Little House on Green

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    Congratulations on being cigarette free, that is an accomplishment. I admire people who can make such difficult change in their life and stick with it, good for you!

    On a side note, my cryptic word verification to type below is “redgyno” . . . red gyno?! Sounds like a group, or a horror movie.

  • Maki

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    Good going, Maegan!!! I know what you’re saying about the lure of cigarettes still entices you.

    I’m a quitter, too and I’m happy about it, but just sometimes, I long for those nights out and drinking cigarettes in hand….

    Congrats and stay strong!!!

  • shill

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    M, you have no idea how this post of yours affect me and speaks to me!!!not in a bad way mind you. i salute your way of thinking and what you have come to conclusion. i am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel ( that’s as good as i can express myself )thank you for saying this out :)

  • Meghan

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    Amazing post (I’ve been there and done that). Congrats on being over 2 years smoke free :)

  • Rachel

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    When I bartended I would bum a menthol smoke off of my cocktail waitress after each shift. That averaged out to be 3 cigarettes a week for 3 months.

    5 years later I will still get a craving when I am around booze.

    Now when people tell me they have quit I realize how hard it was. If I get cravings from smoking less than a 100 cigarettes in my life, those that smoked regularly had to have really suffered.

    Good for you!!!!

  • Kellie

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    Way to go Maegan! That’s awesome that you were able to kick the habit. I’m w/ Rachel. I was never a “serious” smoker, just when I drank I’d have one occasionally. I can only imagine how hard it is to quit, but you did it! Congrats!

  • TL

    November 20, 2008 | Reply

    Found you through SITS.
    For once, it’s good to be a quitter!

  • Chessa

    November 21, 2008 | Reply

    I identify so much with this post. I smoked when I was younger too…I only really quit about 4 years ago. Ironically I quit right when I graduated from law school and was studying for the bar exam…the most stressful time ever!

    Of course every once in a while I crave it and once in a blue moon I actually break down and have one…it’s always with a cocktail and even if I have JUST ONE my hangover is so much worse.

    Hooray for us for quitting! :)

  • hautepocket

    November 21, 2008 | Reply

    This was fantastic. I 100% agree and and empathize.

  • Steph

    November 22, 2008 | Reply

    I never smoked, but this was great to read! I never understood the draw, but now I feel like I understand a little bit more.

  • ale meza

    November 23, 2008 | Reply

    omg, i just loved this post! i was reading it and it seemed like my story! i agree with every word you wrote.. i quited smoking one month ago.. it has been soo hard, i still want a cigarrette, i miss making skoming friends, but i feel so much better now that i’m clean.. i feel better in my mind and body… =)
    i love the your words and your blog! and congrats you’re a strong woman as i can see..and again this post is really inspirating! =)

  • Big Red

    November 25, 2008 | Reply

    Did I just write that blog entry, cause it really sounds like me. I quit two years ago this upcoming January. Sometimes I think about and do slip up, but your entry just reinforced why I quit and why I love being a non-smoker now.

    Cheers!

  • Mama Dawg

    November 25, 2008 | Reply

    I quit 8 years ago and I STILL crave smoking.

  • Stephanie

    March 27, 2009 | Reply

    I have absolutely NO idea when you wrote this post (I have been reading your blog for hours!!) but this post…wow. I am on Day 13 of quitting after 13 years of smoking (didn’t realize that until just now!) and everything you wrote is exactly what I have been thinking since Day 2. I will be 30 in October and these last two weeks have been THE ABSOLUTE BEST!

  • Henri Loves...

    June 2, 2009 | Reply

    OMG, you are on a roll here. I am going to print this out and read it every day! I like your little mantra, “When I was sad…” and instead of putting in smoking, I am going to put in shopping. That is my vice and how I cope…which is destructive in its own way. I am on that path of finally understanding who I am as well. Great self introspection Maegan! Thanks for the therapy session.
    Love,
    Henri

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