204 hours have now elapsed since the last cigarette.

It's probably wrong to, but I can't help feeling slightly inwardly proud that I've coped pretty well with the cold turkey approach. Support from friends and folks in these parts certainly helps, as does my sheer bloody-mindedness and stubbornness. I'm not one to let myself fall without a struggle.

At my usual rate of 14 cigarettes a day, I've missed out on around 120 cigarettes since I quit. 120. I can't decide if that seems like a lot or not. If I look at it as saying I've said no to temptation 120 times since I quit, that's no' too bad, I reckon. In the meantime, I've saved myself the cost of six packs of fags, or about £27. OK, so I spent just over 60 quid on CDs at the weekend, but it's not just about the money, and hey, I spend too much on CDs in any case. I can't imagine trying to give that habit up... just don't go there, alright.

According to BBCi, my blood pressure and pulse have returned to normal levels already, I am finding breathing easier, and my energy levels have increased. This all seems fairly accurate, although what BBCi fails to mention is the near-insomnia which I can only attribute to my body and brain expecting nicotine late at night and early in the morning. This morning, in fact, was the first since I quit, I think, that I have switched my alarm off after it started bleeping at me, rather than before.

"Whatever you do don't forget to reward yourself regularly for not smoking"

Oh, don't you worry, I wouldn't dream of forgetting. My first reward is the not at all ironic cigar I shall gently and occasionally puff tomorrow to help my friend and former house-mate celebrate the occasion of his wedding.

But how can you profess to give up smoking, and then reward yourself with a cigar, idiot?

Simple. It depends on what the purpose of denying myself all these cigarettes is. And by that, I mean, it depends on what I think I can gain, and why I am doing it. I don't care what you think about smoking, quitting, defeat, or any of that stuff. I'm quitting because even though it's something I enjoy for the most part, I know it's damaging me, it's damaging others, it's damaging my wallet, and certainly damaging the opinion others have of me (not that on the whole I care if you disapprove of smoking, after all you have annoying habits too, but in your defence they're just not as obvious and in my face as smoking). One day I hope to become a father, you know, and I'd rather have gone through the pain of giving up before that happens, rather than when it happens.

But the point of giving up is not to punish myself for my sinful smoking addiction. I'm not (very) masochistic, and if I fail, there will be no self-flagellation. It's just to feel better, spend less, maybe lessen the chances of smoking-related diseases. And you know what, I can do all that and still smoke a cigar every now and then, just like someone on a diet can treat themselves by having a little of something not dissimilar to what they fancy every now and then.

And if you don't understand the difference between smoking 14 cigarettes a day and smoking (probably only part of) one cigar every now and then, well, you're not now, and you never have been a smoker. But that's OK, I won't hold it against you.

But there will be other rewards, too. For instance, again according to BBCi, after stopping for 3 months:

"erections are harder and sperm count is higher"
Well, that's just a reward in itself, isn't it now.

Too much information.

And I've just remembered that I'm still in shame, after locking myself out of my house on Friday, and attempting to break in with firstly a couple of bits of scaffolding, and having failed to break the front door glass that way, with the time honoured credit card method. I now have cuts on my hands, and a broken Switch card ("You've been sitting on this, haven't you", said the teller at the bank. "Yes, but I'm not going to admit to how it really got broken". "You tried to pick a lock with it, didn't you." It wasn't even a question. "Maybe", I muttered. Am I that obvious?).

And now I'm off to my local branch to listen to some safes clicking.

Todays smoking info, and more besides, can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/mens/life_smoking.shtml