The biggest mistake I ever made was to quit smoking cigarettes and, even worse, exotic Brazilian Valencia cigarillos. For those of you who never acquired this addiction, move on. You'll never understand it. To you, it is a health catastrophe—it stinks and pollutes. All true! To tobacco junkies and recovering addicts, it is a delusional demon that provides both cerebral music and the companionship of a physical rhythm that no drug, no food, no other physical activity, not even sex can provide. Not better, just unique. Not more fulfilling, just intimate, private, and sensually self-defining. Smoking Marijuana is not smoking at all—it is inhaling a drug that alters your state of consciousness (or for many stoners their lack of consciousness). Smoking tobacco is smoking… it is the physical act that is sensually self-defining. It is an experience of art.
To you who live in the clean world, the smell, the taste, the health threat of tobacco is the Congo's echo crying: "the horror!" It is enough to drive you to exterminate every trace of smoke and everyone who blows it into the air. To us, the addicts, who also hear Conrad's song, "the horror" is the dream. It isn't the nicotine, which we now know is one of the most addictive substances one can ingest. If it were, we could simply chew the gum or lick the patch and live with you… smiling, secretly smiling. No, it's not just the drug… it's the physicality in the hands and fingers, between the lips, up the nose and above all, the waft of smoke that drifts and changes light, changes taste, changes smell, and is intricately woven into a thousand movements, thoughts, events. It is an experience of art.
Nothing... not cocaine or opium or guns or fundamentalism or unsafe sex or global warming or child pornography or foreigners or aliens or skin color or obesity or old age or rock&roll or myspace or alcohol... will ever approach the growing awareness that smoking cigarettes is the demon, and tobacco is the Anti-Christ. That's right, "the horror", the antichrist. In the soon-to-come future, smoking will not only be totally banned, it will be bannered as the ultimate crime against the state, against humanity, against gods and goddesses everywhere. Punishable by death, smoking will be totally eradicated and every flake of tobacco with it. No longer a dream, no longer an experience of art.
Until then, breathe deeply but don't inhale. Kiss deeply, but don't swallow. And try not to dream when you're asleep.