How can I arrange to only be in possession of a very limited number of cigarettes per day?
January 4, 2011 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I would like to smoke only 2 cigarettes a day, but I can't be trusted with a whole pack. Any ideas?

I wonder if there is a service in existence whereby I could arrange to receive a couple of cigarettes in the mail every day. Or is there some kind of safe that could be set up to open only once per day? Does anyone have any other ideas?
posted by kitcat to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Move to New York, find a bodega that sells loosies.
posted by fixedgear at 3:46 PM on January 4, 2011

Can you enlist a friend to keep your cigs for you and only pass over two a day? Maybe someone at work, or who you see every day for some other reason? (Or even get them to mail them to you every day - you could give them a stack of self-addressed stamped envelopes as well.)
posted by lollusc at 3:47 PM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Corner stores will often sell you loose cigs. Find one. Buy two at a time.
posted by dortmunder at 3:48 PM on January 4, 2011

If you solve the problem of smoking more than you mean to, you'll have to deal with the fact that cigarettes go stale amazingly fast, so you'll have to either replace your stash all the time, or smoke stale cigarettes, which are disgusting even by cigarette standards. Clove cigarettes cigarillos seem to hold up quite a bit getter, though.
posted by shponglespore at 3:49 PM on January 4, 2011

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Don't smoke. You already know that you can't limit your consumption and would smoke more if you had the opportunity. Even if you had some convoluted scheme to limit your access to cigarettes, you could still bum some from a friend or pick up a pack at a convenience store when the urge struck. As hard as quitting is, limiting yourself to 0 is going to be easier (and far healthier!) than limiting yourself to 2.
posted by zachlipton at 3:49 PM on January 4, 2011 [10 favorites]

Speaking as a former pack plus 5-10 a day smoker, I don't believe so. I think if you can't be trusted with a pack -- and I get that totally -- you're an addict. Like me. Addicts can't mess with their substance of choice, because we don't have brakes.

I will also tell you, with the benefit now of 14 years of not smoking, that life is a lot better without any cigarettes at all.
posted by bearwife at 3:50 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ask to buy a cigarette from stranger that you see smoking (rather than try to bum one). You should be able to find two people a day that would sell you a cigarette. The knowledge that you're annoying a stranger to feed your habit should prevent you from trying to obtain more than that, or maybe even give it up entirely (if that's a goal).
posted by jshort at 3:53 PM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: It's illegal for stores to sell loose cigarettes here.
posted by kitcat at 3:53 PM on January 4, 2011

To combat the going stale thing, you can keep them in the freezer. I don't think you can find a service, other than a friend or coworker, but if you take two out of the freezer each morning and ritually place them in a cigarette case, with, say, two strike-anywhere matches, the pomp and circumstance might be enough to keep you honest.

To combat the encroaching withdrawal thing, you're best off smoking them at the same time every day, otherwise the time between gets closer and closer together until, hey, you need a third.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:57 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

It's illegal to sell loose cigarettes generally, just find a store in an economically depressed part of town and you might find some. Or, buy single black and mild/swisher sweets instead. Or, buy an electric cigarette. Or just quit smoking, it's stupid.
posted by thylacine at 4:00 PM on January 4, 2011

Incidentally, I would kill to be capable of doing what you're describing but failed time and time again. Now I smoke about twice a year, no holds barred, on special occasions with cigarette smoking friends.

I like it, and consider myself a non-smoker. It doesn't even occur to me to smoke other than on those occasions.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:01 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's illegal for stores to sell loose cigarettes here.

That's stupid, but you could always buy a pack, and then take ten plastic sandwich bags, and then put two in each bag. On your way out the door, grab the two smokes. Don't go home until they've been smoked. If you're really serious you could freeze the bags in cups of ice, so that you have to thaw them out before you smoke them. That way you could put out your next day's cigarettes to thaw, but you won't have any more readily available.
posted by dortmunder at 4:04 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

+1 on A terrible lama's idea- I think this is a great idea. Put the pack in the freezer, and keep a cigarette case with you with 2 cigarettes and 2 strike anywhere matches.

I think keeping it a routine will also be key... and sticking to that routine.
posted by TheBones at 4:09 PM on January 4, 2011

Response by poster: Taking them out with me is a great idea, except that I'm home on mat leave. Nevertheless, A Terrible Llama's probably right about it being a matter of routine.

Let's say I do get a friend to mail them. Any thoughts on how to prevent them from being broken during transport?
posted by kitcat at 4:14 PM on January 4, 2011

I see you're in Canada; I think there is no postal delivery on Sundays in Canada, right? So what will you do, have your friend send you 4 cigarettes for the weekend? Will you be able to restrain yourself? Also, assuming you can get away with a single stamp on the envelope, this is going to cost you an additional $178.41 per year (every day delivery, minus 52 Sundays a year).

To have them not break, I suppose I would put them in a padded envelope and write fragile on it. I'm really not sure how you could guarantee they won't though. What will you do if one of your two for the day arrives broken?

I realize you have a specific problem to solve, and this doesn't help to do it, but have you considered going e-cig?
posted by asciident at 4:26 PM on January 4, 2011

This is a great example of a question that's not properly answerable on its own terms, and thus fairly begs for a non-responsive answer.

But nevertheless. The problem with any self-imposed scheme for limiting consumption is that it's self-imposed. If you want to smoke, you're going to smoke, and if that involves circumventing your chosen limitation method, you're going to do it. This is not the Odyssey, and Odysseus's shipmates are not on hand to tie you to the mast.

The problem with your mailing scheme is that you're out the door buying a pack the first day the mail is messed up and your fix doesn't arrive on time.

However, a good-faith attempt at a direct and helpful answer:

Try StickK, an online commitment-wagering system. Put some money on yourself. Might work.
posted by facetious at 4:29 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A product like this is designed to dispense pills to demented or addicted people only at pre-set intervals. (This particular model looks too small -- would it ruin a cigarette to bend it up in there? -- but there are similar products of different sizes.)
posted by foursentences at 4:31 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

What about rolling your own? Go to a tobacconist and get some nice quality tobacco, rolling papers and filters. You can use a dollar (or any denomination, really) bill or most tobacco shops sell little individual rolling machines. Since it is way more of a pain to roll your own than just open the pack, maybe the lack of convenience will help you self-regulate since you have to go through a whole process to have your cigarette.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 4:39 PM on January 4, 2011

I see from your profile that you're in Edmonton? It seems so unlikely that there isn't a corner store selling them one at a time. It might be worth a post on Craigslist polling the local smokers to see if somebody could point you in the right direction. If you live near the sort of scrubby independent place that does this (or are we looking at the end of an era and this really doesn't go on anymore? But it certainly did in Ottawa despite being quite illegal) you might suss it out by asking the clerk to buy a smoke off him. Can I buy just a couple? We don't sell... No, no, man, I'm asking you; do you smoke, can I buy them off you?

I spent a number of months smoking one -- one! very strict about that -- every morning, with my coffee, before managing to totally quit. I kept the pack in the freezer, did not cheat. It can be done!

But if I was hell-bent on the mailing thing I would check restaurant supply stores for jumbo straws and see if those didn't protect the smokes well enough. (Benson and Hedges Gold and Black are a tiny bit thinner than other Canadian cigarettes and would fit into an ordinary straw, I think...)
posted by kmennie at 4:46 PM on January 4, 2011

Write it down. I worked with a guy who kept a small pad under the cellophane and wrote when he had his smoke. It helped him be mindful about his actions and not just reach for one without thinking.

I know when I try to limit my coke intake the act of logging it makes me think more about what I am doing.
posted by wrnealis at 4:50 PM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Please don't construe this as undermining your question: you *can* be trusted with a whole pack. I know this because I am the most back-slidey hedonistic cigarette-lover ever, and I went from a pack a day to 2 smokes a day. The key for me, and this may sound kind of dumb, was to put my cigarettes in a suitcase with a combination lock, and then to put this suitcase in a closet. The hassle of getting another damn cigarette really checked my impulse to smoke unthinkingly, and made me feel like enough of an idiot that I didn't have much incentive to smoke more cigarettes anyway.

And echoing the advice above: it does help to set fixed times for those two smokes. My times: after my first coffee, and right after supper.
posted by YamwotIam at 5:12 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I keep my cigarettes in my car, and I only allow myself to smoke them there. I smoke one in the morning on my way to work and then one on my way home. I keep all my windows down to avoid stinking up myself or my car. Sometimes if I am especially stressed I will smoke a 3rd on my evening dog walk. I have never in my life though been a pack a day smoker- I am the sort of person who can smoke and then not smoke.
posted by momochan at 5:36 PM on January 4, 2011

Best answer: My google-fu yielded the Nicostopper: a timed cigarette dispenser. The product's site is in Spanish and I am too lazy to put it through Google Translate to see if you can order it.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:37 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you roll your own cigs? If so, it might be easier to limit your consumption as you only roll 2 each morning when you wake up or right before you go to bed. It would require some self control on not rolling more than 2, but if you can, there's your limiting.
posted by jmd82 at 6:13 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Can you put two cigarettes in a plastic baggie, squeeze the air out, seal, and then freeze in a small block of ice? I don't know how the cigs would hold up, but if you did a bunch at once you'd have to thaw a new package every day to get to them, and it might be deterrent enough to keep you from breaking into the extras.
posted by hermitosis at 6:58 PM on January 4, 2011

Buy a pack of cigarettes. Pull out 2. Take the rest of the pack and either give it to the first homeless person you see, or (better still) crumple it up and throw it all away.

Wasteful? Sure. Expensive? You betcha.

Works, though. I did it for a while. And hated myself every day for not having the willpower to either stop buying the cigarettes, or stop having to throw 18 of them away because I couldn't be trusted to mete them out sensibly.

(Finally, eventually, one day, I managed to quit for good. Cold turkey! It is possible. Ask Us How.)
posted by ErikaB at 8:26 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you have a friend who smokes too? You could work something out with them... Buy a pack and sell them 16 of them or something, then keep two days worth. You'd hafta have the will power to not go buy 2 more the next day if you mess up and smoke 4 on the first... That'd probably go a long way towards building up your willpower to the point where you can eventually buy a pack on your own and stretch it for the 10 days..
posted by Glendale at 8:57 PM on January 4, 2011

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