mother was a chain smoker, and so was my grandmother Léa. My father also smoked for a long time, and had to quit because of his heart condition. My brother was also a smoker and so was my uncle Victor. The only person in the family who didn’t smoke was my aunt Fanny. My mother went on smoking until 1976. By the time she quit, she already had chronic and irreversible emphyzema and couldn’t even walk a few steps without being out of breath. Her last years were quite painful as she had to be attached to an oxygen bottle day and night.ver since I was a little girl, I had seen everyone smoke in my family. My
ave to admit that I quit smoking twice. The first time was in 1972 in the course of a trip to Egypt, when I caught some sort of bug which made me cough so much that I just couldn’t smoke for a few days. Quitting had been easy then because I was sick.
A year later, I met Roland, who later became my husband. He smoked heavily and when we started going out, I would sometimes take a drag out of his cigarette. And little by little, I started smoking again.
And that time, I was even more of a smoker than before. I can’t say how many cigarettes I smoked every day, because it depended how early I got up and how late I went to bed.
A few years later, I realised that every time I lay down, I started coughing to the point that I couldn’t sleep. Roland and I decided that we really had to quit! Someone gave us the address of an acupuncture doctor who specialised in helping people quit. So we went there, got some needles into our ear, which really hurt a lot, I thought, but proved to help us. The first week, we did do stuff like buying a pack of cigarettes, smoke one cigarette and throw the pack away, which was pretty humiliating, but after a second session with the acupuncture guy, we finally quit.
I have to say that that second time proved much more difficult than the first time. I experienced withdrawal symptoms, cramps, general irritability and discomfort. I also put on twenty pounds which I never lost afterwards. And that summer when we left for the Philippines with our rucksacks containing more clothes than cigarettes for the first time in our lives, proved very difficult for our marriage. I always thought that having survived that summer, our couple would have survived just about anything.
The cough eventually disappeared and we were pretty pleased with ourselves after a few months.
I took the first photo some time ago in Paris, Place Saint-Sulpice. You can see one of the cows of the Cow Parade in the background. The second photo was taken in Versailles, probably after some people had taken a smoke break outside.