Monthly Archives: April 2008

Signs of Spring


Photos Copyright © Christian Garbis 2008

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Smoking No More

My short love affair with cigarette smoking appears to be over. I started lighting up again after a four-year hiatus on March 1 during a day of public unrest and protests in Yerevan. By the evening chaos was in full bloom with eight people dead. Those events, coupled with a topsy-turvy romance on which someone apparently placed the evil eye, threw me into a torrent of stress and malaise. For the several weeks that followed I found myself smoking at least a pack of cigarettes a day, preferably lights. The ultralight-style cigarettes, which contain 1 mg of tar and less than 1 mg of nicotine, were basically too light and I found myself smoking two in a row, thus exceeding 25 cigarettes in daily lung intake. For the first two weeks of the month I was smoking almost exclusively Indian Ganesh beedi cigarettes, which are aromatic. The tobacco strips are rolled up in a tendu leaf wrapper forming a tight, compact cylinder with a red string tied to the tapered end. For some reason after inhaling a few puffs your head begins to spin a bit, but it made me feel quite good to be honest. I had about 10 packs left in the drawer which had been there to take out occasionally one by one for the purpose of impressing guests. They are all gone now. I then switched to Winston cigarettes manufactured in the Ukraine that are sold in these parts. The full color spectrum is available–full-flavor reds, mild blues, light silvers and ultralight whites. I stuck to the silvers generally, but smoked the whites frantically for a week–the last to be specific. Then Sunday night I was off to meet some people with a friend of mine and I approached a kiosk that sold only Armenian cigarettes. I purchased a pack of Garni Lights, which I used to smoke on occasion several years ago. Almost immediately I noticed that the quality of tobacco rivaled that of the Winstons by far. The Garni Lights seem to contain pipe tobacco judging from the delicate scent it left on my fingers. But despite the apparent quality difference I could not manage to finish the pack on Monday–there are still a few left in the box. Today I have no craving for cigarettes whatsoever. Perhaps the sudden brand switch turned me off, or it may be due to the fact that the Garni Lights are somewhat stronger, thereby causing a slight feeling of nausea to embrace me. Nevertheless, I should add that occasional cigar smoking will enthusiastically continue.

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