52 Comments
Nov 15, 2023Liked by Emma Straub

This really hit me: “Sometimes it’s nice to remember all the other people one has been. Especially when settling into hard-core middle-age. I love being this me, but I loved being that me, too.” Perfectly stated.

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My wife Susy smoked Benson and Hedges, long ones, and it's truly a shame that elegance is gone from our lives, the two slightly splayed fingers in the air, that pause before one responds, smoke drifting. It's a loss, gesturally. I can't believe I once had workshops in a virtually closed room full of smokers--why did I not have a headache all the time? I quit in 1968, age 20. Susy much later, when we started having kids. Dear god, time.

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Smoking nostalgia is REAL - Camel Wides (WHAT?!), Camel Crush (those weird menthol ones where you crush something in the filter to activate the menthol, also WHAT?!), Newports, Marlboro Reds, Marlboro Lights and then of course the transition to American Spirits in my twenties. Wouldn't touch one now but ahhh, some days I sure do miss all that came with them—my youth and the feeling that I was untouchable, just for a little while.

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Emma Straub

Also an ex-smoker here. My choice was Marlboro Lights. Some of my friends smoked the menthol and those were not good but did have to bum one from them now and then. Clove cigarettes were interesting too. I do miss it and I still like the smell of the smoke when I pass someone indulging outdoors. Never smoked indoors or in my car, only outdoors for some reason. Great post!

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Emma, I love it when you write about smoking. I was a Marlboro Gold girl. I'm SO happy I don't smoke anymore and that I stopped early in college. But man, there are days I think back to being 16 and pulling out a cigarette, the feeling of it —smoking with friends, smoking alone—and not giving an F about how bad smoking was for me— it was a special time lol. I used to sneak out of my bedroom window, sit on the roof, and smoke in the middle of the night when my parents were asleep. I also snuck my high school boyfriend through that window in the middle of the night when my parents were asleep. It's wild to think about all the people we've been and the people we will become. I also think about the feeling of pulling out a cigarette every time I pull an Apple AirPod from its case. I wonder if they planned that. Thanks for the nostalgia —and that picture of you smoking in the lace nightie is EVERYTHING!

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What about Camel Lights????

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Emma Straub

The me that smoked is the real me. For 19 years I’ve pined for a return to authenticity but here we are and I’m drinking bottled water?

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Hi! I smoked Marlboro Reds in high school. 🚬

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Super proud to have smoked Marlboro Reds….then, after a ten year (!) quit …. [26 years old to 36 years old] I was cigarette free….I started back up with American Spirits. Duh. Quit after two more pack a day years. That was 16 years ago. Loved your descriptions, I did identify as fearless, and had a key to my boyfriend’s….

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Emma Straub

Once upon a time…smoking was my post-divorce, I can if I want to Declaration of Independence…which I enjoyed (especially with morning coffee, or on long drives) for 10 years, until my body sent a message (no smoke signal that…just an achy arm message signed, “best wishes from your 95% blocked LAD Widow-maker artery”) and I quit for good (literally and figuratively). Hospital stay helped get past annoying nicotine withdrawal, fear of actual imminent death helped with getting past the habit (which was always the trickiest part of previous attempted quits.)

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Fellow smoker here, I started in 1995 and quit in 2010. Early on I smoked Camel Lights, moved to Parliament Light 100's and by the time I quit I was a pack a day Marlboro Red 100 girlie. I miss it to this day.

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I was a late-90s NYC Winston smoker (Camel Lights were my gateway smoke). Lights then Reds. Would get Lucky Strikes when they were on 2-for-1 deals. Eventually switched to American Spirits in the early 00s. Quit around 15 years ago with one brief return around 2010. I still miss it every day.

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Emma Straub

I was the “cool girl” because my cousin worked at Nat Sherman’s and gifted me cases of Black & Golds, Hint Of Mints, and the super-pretty rainbow cigarettes. I’d pass them out at parties, but my daily fix was Marlboro Lights, back when they were less than $2 a pack! I quit smoking at least 20 years ago, there are days when I definitely miss smoking, but I’m not going back to that habit.

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Sometimes we bump into a friend who doesn't smoke, and they just talk, nothing about how bad. Just it's a good way to ease ones mind, " go where you want to go, do what you want to do""

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Emma Straub

I sure did, too. I was a Marlboro Lights girl (UK smoker) and occasionally still pine for it as I work with a lot of smokers now. But at going on for £20 a pack, it would bankrupt me!

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I love you.

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