Emma, 26, freelance writer: I had my first cigarette when I was 13. I don't get a rush, or any physical feeling, and to be quite honest, I don't even like the taste of cigarettes: the next morning I'm always, like, ugh! at the taste in my mouth. I only ever smoke in the evenings, especially if I'm with a bloke. I think it can be quite chic, I suppose.
Sarah, 21, insurance clerk: I get a real buzz off the first fag of the day, then I just do it out of habit. I smoke 20 a day but I've cut down to lights. I don't feel right with a drink in one hand if there's no fag in the other.
Kylie, 13, schoolgirl: I only do it after school with my mates, just a couple before I go home. I don't really like it much. It makes me feel a bit sick.
Brenda, 53, housewife: I first started when I was around 15, it was so daring then and all the lads thought you were a bit of a one to be reckoned with if you dared to have a drag. I did feel a bit sort of sexy back then, but when you get to my age it has to be something else. I still love a cigarette with a drink and my first one with a cup of tea in the morning is bliss. But mostly it's habit, hooked on nicotine. It's just something I do, now, but you can't beat a morning cuppa and a cigarette to wake you up.
Jane, 28, PA: I started smoking at first when I was 17, in sixth form at boarding school, but it was all a bit of posturing and I didn't really inhale very much. It was at art school that I began smoking properly because everyone else did. We were all 18 and everyone else seemed to be from London and dead in the know - so if you were a smoker like them it let you in to this social circle. And then I soon realised that cigarettes were delicious anyway. I do love the taste of them and everyone I know smokes so I suppose there's a sense not that it would be unsexy not to, more a sense that it would be faintly puritanical. I still find the first one of the day makes me feel slightly sick but the rest are divine.
Anna, 30, legal secretary: I started when I was 22. I've no idea why. Everyone at school always did and I never felt any sense of peer pressure. I love smoking, everything about it. The action, the hand to mouth thing, lighting up. I suppose it's comforting but I generally smoke because I really fancy a cigarette. I count out five a day and try to stick to it but if I have a really bad day then I can end up having 15, that's if I've been out and got pissed and forgotten all about it. I think smoking's only glam if the person doing it's glam. I'd never think it was sexy to see an old person shuffling about with a cigarette. I just love smoking, it's a pleasure.
Helen, 19, student: I'd feel awkward if I didn't. All my friends do it and I think I felt like I had to to prove something at first. I was 14 when I started, you know all the extra strong mint stuff before you go home to your Mum and Dad. But I do like them, just not as much as I used to. If I'm out with a pint I feel embarrassed and a bit self-conscious if I don't have a tab in my other hand.Reuse content