From the very beginning of The Easy Way to Start Smoking, the authors strike exactly the right note in their tone & delivery: “So, You Want to Start Smoking?
You do? Great! It may not be obvious to you now, but already you have taken a big step closer to achieving your new habit.” Over the course of the book,
English humorists George Cockerill and David Owen take a much-needed jab at a genre
(self-help) that too often takes itself too seriously.
From the sickly sweet clichés (“don’t try to run before you walk”) to the idea that this book is your last best hope, the authors try diligently to help turn your dream of smoking into a reality.
They address all the topics of any other self-respecting self-help volume: step-by-step exercises to keep you on the right path; the need to completely transform all aspects of your life – if you really want this; amazing, true stories of achievement; letters from the ‘saved’ masses, and much
more. From the simple (how to wean yourself on to
cigarettes) to the extreme (a smoker’s holiday in Russia or Poland, perhaps?), the book is filled with just the kind of tips that make starting smoking seem doable, all approached with tongue securely in cheek.
But how do they deal with the often touted downsides of cigarettes? Just as humorously as they do everything else: This book is meant only for those dedicated individuals who will want to smoke regardless of any health ‘risks’ they might assume; only the ones who really, really want to smoke will achieve it, because “Sadly, nicotine is not as
addictive as you might think.” According to Cockerill and Owen, for every negative that’s implied with smoking, there is a corresponding positive: there may be more mucus involved in smoker’s colds, but even that has a plus-side: more sympathy from loved ones!
A smoker’s cough is nothing less than a trademark!
And what of the financial costs that smokers face?
Not insurmountable, insist the authors: These are easily defrayed by abandoning such ancillary needs as clothing or transportation. And their final response to the ultimate ‘side –effect’ – death? Well, it’s quite hilarious, and I won’t spoil it here.
Again and again they hit the nail on the head – their consumerist culture references to patented programs, clinics and
T-shirts are a bit too familiar in their fierceness. A breakdown of different brands
and labels, a helpful international phrase book and glossary, a list of the best days to start smoking and of smoking milestones, little cartoon drawings to keep you
motivated: are all graciously included.
This little book is palm-sized, easy to tote and a quick, enjoyable read. In
all honesty, though, I should warn you: Like most things smoking related, the
book also carries a Surgeon General’s Warning, which insists it is ‘dangerously