Smokin’ fruit

Smokin’ fruit

This article could also be called, ‘How to make free money and extend your life’.

But it isn’t.

It’s about grapefruits.

Not really. It’s about smoking and grapefruits. How weird is that?!

It’s also about those twenty Virginia killin’ sticks. All lined up in two neat rows, clean and invitin’ like yet nowhere to go. All that glossy gold packaging telling you how sophisticated, how cool, you are.

All those movies showing sultry film stars lighting up immediately after wasting twenty baddies with nothing but a ripped vest two sizes too small and a pump-action shotgun. Or after some turgid love scene with an ‘ass double’.

What Bollocks. Playing to your basest emotions.

This is what you have to do.

Decide you want to quit.

The coughing. The yellow fingers. Stained teeth. Bad breath. The grey skin. Dry hair. The heart twinges. Your friends stopped the snide comments years ago. Nobody says anything anymore. But you know. And you know they know. And you know they know you know.

But don’t quit just yet.

Just sometime this year.

Tell your partner, your friends, your family, everyone you know, you intend to quit. They won’t believe you.

But keep on telling them.

Get a year planner. Put it on the wall so everyone can see.

Decide which day would make a good ‘Quit-Day’. Make it at least three months away. But it must be sometime this year. The date itself is not important. Though the day, of course, is. Just like a wedding day. Designed to fit in with other commitments. Not important in itself, just a date to be remembered for the rest of your life.

Plan a party for this day.

Tell everyone again that you are going to quit on this day. Revel in the fact that not one of them will believe you. You are stronger for this knowledge. You are stronger than they ever imagined.

Continue to smoke as much as you want. Even more, if you can.

As the day of the party approaches, fill the fridge with a dozen grapefruits and at least six cartons of fresh grapefruit juice. Put grapefruit-flavoured chewing gum ( and a large packet of toothpicks on the shelf inside the door.

Why grapefruit? Because it makes nicotine taste more disgusting than any other fruit, that’s why. Something to do with ascorbic acid.

On the day itself, smoke more than you know is good for you. As many as you want. As many as you can. Chainsmoke.

Keep your ciggie supply visible. On the kitchen table is good. Clear the house of any other ‘forgotten’ stashes.

Get dressed in your glad rags. Begin the party.

Get drunk. Very drunk.

Smoke as much as is humanly possible. Smoke until your throat hurts. Smoke until your eyes water.

At some point, it doesn’t matter when, well into the wee hours, the party will be over. At this point, smoke all remaining cigarettes with those last remaining friends who have remained with you to support you through what happens next. Then, as the sun comes up, pour the contents of all the ashtrays you can find into a pint beer glass and half fill it with flat, warm coca-cola.

Swill it around. Get your mates around you. Those that can still stand.

Go outside with them.

Pass the glass around. Everybody must smell it.

But you must drink it. The liquid, not the butts.

You will throw up. Immediately and copiously. Drink some more. Chunder again. And again. Continue to do this until the glass is empty. There is a reason you are doing this. Psychologists call it ‘aversion reinforcement behaviour therapy’.

There, that’s easy. You just quit. You don’t know it yet. But you did. But you feel so wretched, you really don’t care.

Go to bed.

And now, the hard part.

The craving will start when you wake up. You will reach for a ciggie. Then, with an awful surge of panic, remember.

Oh God! Fuck! Shit! Crap! Bugger! Bastards! Asshole!

Get up.

Go to the fridge.

Peel a grapefruit and dissect it into pieces as you would an orange. When did you last do this …!?

Eat each piece. One by one. Slowly.

Then chew some gum. And put one of the toothpicks in your mouth. Play it with your tongue. And actually pick your teeth. It’s like flossing. There is a reason for this too. Psychologists call it, “transference”. Smoking is as much about your hands as it is about your mouth. You have to keep your hands busy as they no longer have cigarettes to toy with.

Make yourself some green tea. No sugar. And no coffee. Not for now anyway. As your brain, for now, is associating smoking with drinking tea or coffee.

If you are going to quit smoking, you may as well quit excess sugar at the same time. Your body won’t notice as it will be too busy getting over the shock – and it is in ‘shock’ – of no nicotine.

All of this will be strange, and your mouth will, at some point in the day, begin to taste a bit metallic.

Do the grapefruit-gum-toothpick thing every time you feel the craving.

Cravings last no more than 90 seconds. The actions described above take longer than this. By the time you have carried them out, the craving will have reduced to a kind of sad longing.


Until the next time.

It might be three minutes or three hours. But it will come.

Every time you feel like a smoke, eat grapefruit, chew gum, and pick your teeth. And then do something else as well. Go for a walk. Get on a bus. Anything.

Because what you are trying to do is break old ingrained habits.

Because, yes, smoking – or, rather, the nicotine in cigarette smoke – is addictive. But it’s also a habit.

Break the habit, and the addiction will disappear.

It might take a few days, or it might take some weeks before the cravings reduce. But they do. And surprisingly quickly. Much depends on your personality type, how long you have been smoking for, and how much. The fact they might have been ‘lites’ makes no difference.

Cravings diminish at a much faster rate than you expected. Beware this false dawn, though. Because they will come back again, only for a bit, just when you thought the worst was over.

Every time you feel the urge, every time, eat at least one piece of grapefruit or drink some grapefruit juice. Pop in some gum. If you haven’t got any, go get some. Pop a toothpick into your mouth. And think of the two hundred quid you are saving yourself every month and the 15 years of extra life you just gave yourself and your grandchildren.

Don’t fool yourself. Once a smoker, always a smoker. Weeks will go by without you thinking of a cigarette. Then suddenly, bang, something triggers the reflex and you will kill for a drag.

The urge, however overwhelming, lasts for 90 seconds.

Think grapefruit. Think family. Think healthy. Think anything. Chew gum. And use the toothpick.

Go for a walk. Just a few hundred metres. Tell a stranger you quit. And smile.


Because you have their respect. They won’t say so. But you will see it in their eyes.

Your friends will see the effects in your skin, in your hair, and in your eyes within days. And they will tell you. And they won’t be lying. They will mean it. They will be jealous of your willpower.

Go on. Try it.

Not much to lose. And, at the very least, an excuse for a party.

If it doesn’t work,  try the opportunistic route. Tell yourself you will quit when whichever of these two scenarios arises first:

The next time you get the flu. Nobody feels like smoking when they have the flu


The next time you take a long distance flight. Because you can’t smoke in airports or airplanes.

I quit at least twice every year, so I know it works !?!?

1 Comment

  1. Just finished “Everything that Follows is Based on Recent, Real-Life Experience That Has Been Proven to Work”, and out of curiosity throught the magic of google, I ended here. This is probably the coolest smoking article I have found, no judgment, just fact.


    P.S. James Shepherd-Barron, you have a fun easy to read writing style…I enjoy!

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