I’m thinking of picking up smoking

Should I do it?

I know everyone’s first reaction will be a resounding “NO”. But I see smoking as a “skill” that I’d need to learn, sooner or later.

Once in a while, I get a role which requires me to smoke. I’ve tried to fake it twice… without much success. I look so goddarn fake on TV that I want to bayonet myself.

I thought I could pull it off, you know. I observed smokers. I got smoker friends to coach me. I practised with an unlit cigarette. I learned how to draw the “smoke” into my lungs and blow it out, without the smoke, of course. Easy peasy.

What I didn’t, couldn’t, prepare myself for was the moment of impact. Cigarette smoke does not agree with virgin lung.

Who would have thought smoking could be such an excruciatingly painful experience?

I mean, I take in second-hand smoke all the time, everywhere (before the new smoking law was passed). I hang out with smokers. I live with a smoker. I don’t like it, but I can deal with it.

I really thought I had it nailed.

But when the camera started rolling and they popped a lit cigarette in my mouth, my lungs screamed bloody murder. Before I could even fully inhale my first puff, my protesting lungs tried to kill me by forcing me to cough a kidney out.


It took several takes for me to master the pain of the smoke slicing into my lungs. I made like I was inhaling smoke but I actually kept it all in my mouth. Of course, some errant smoke would invariably sneak its way into my lungs, making me cough and spoiling the take, but it was easier to manage than the full onslaught of wilful inhalation.

I survived my first smoking scene. Barely.

Second time I had to smoke in a scene was four months later, I thought I could do better already. After all, my lungs weren’t virgin anymore. They could jolly well take the abuse.

I practised for the scene, again with an unlit cigarette. I practised looking like I was inhaling without actually inhaling. I was good to go!

Wrong again.

My lungs, my stupid lungs, went into mutiny at the first lick of errant smoke wisping south. This time, they made me cough my liver out.

Disappointing show.

Having to control the coughing, my performance became strained. Not good.

That’s why I told myself: The next time I get a smoking role, I will learn to smoke for real. If I have to become a smoker, so be it.

Nothing wrong with being a smoker, is there? Like, half the population of the world smokes.

So now, I got my third smoking role.

Problem is that it’s a four-minute short film. The smoking scene will run for as long as is needed for me to light a cigarette and take one puff. Is it worth it becoming a smoker for this?

The artist in me says yes. I must do it well this time. In the film, I want to look like I’ve been smoking my whole life. I owe it to the director and to my integrity as an actress to do the best I possibly can, even if it’s just for a five-second shot in a four-minute film that will possibly only be seen by a handful of people.

After all, I have to start sometime. This will probably not be the last smoking role I’ll get.

The worrier in me says hold it.

The director, finding out that I don’t smoke, had offered to think of an alternative that might achieve the mood he wants for that shot.

I said I didn’t mind picking up smoking just to do that shot well.

He said we’ll discuss it further down the road. Maybe do a test to see how I look smoking. If I really can’t handle it, he’ll rewrite the shot.

But I don’t want a director’s work to be compromised on account of me, so I want to do the smoking scene and do it well.

Only I worry about the consequences. I worry about addiction. I have zero willpower when it comes to addiction, as can be attested to by the inordinate amount of time I spend on computer gaming and by the terrifying amount of fried chicken I eat.

If I really get addicted, I will have a hard time kicking the addiction because half my regular hangout friends are smokers.

I worry about the cost of supporting a smoking habit.

I worry about the damage to my lungs and hair and teeth and complexion.

I worry about becoming like one of those disgusting bloody plctures on cigarette packets I’m forced to look at every time a friend whips out a packet.

Everything just points to a huge neon sign saying “Don’t do it.”

But I must. If I can’t give my best shot to something I’m really passionate about, then what the hell am I doing alive?

Maybe I won’t get addicted. Maybe I can practise just enough to pass off convincingly as a smoker but not get addicted.

Maybe it’s the mindset. If I refuse to get addicted, maybe I won’t?

There are people who are social smokers, aren’t there? I don’t understand them, though. I’ve studied substance abuse and addiction in psychology class. I learnt that tobacco causes a physical addiction that is hard to fight because of the bodily demands inflicted by the addiction. So you either just smoke your lungs dead or you quit and never look back.

How do social smokers smoke only once in a while without craving to smoke all the time?

That’s what this blog entry is about, actually. I’m wondering if people who have smoked could share your experiences. Tell me what it’s like. Whether you’re a chain smoker or social smoker or only tried it once in your life, I’d like to hear your views.

When does the addiction kick in, in the first place? I mean, I’ve tried to smoke twice and both times I nearly died doing it. No way in hell would I ever want to do it again without good reason.

So why would people continue smoking despite the trauma of the first puff, and how many sticks does it take for an average person to get used to it and start enjoying it?

Do I have a chance of just doing it for a couple of weeks and then stopping?

All comments will be much appreciated.

75 thoughts on “I’m thinking of picking up smoking

  1. Avatar

    You know yourself best. If you’re the type who finds it easy to get addicted and/or find its hard to kick a habit, then don’t. Not worth it.

    I know people who said they’d quit & did it just like that. But I also know those who tried & failed miserably.

    I’m not going to take the moral high ground by condemning smokers but seriously, smoking’s not good for health. No use having everything but not your health.

  2. Avatar

    If you REALLY have no choice, only do it WHEN filming, otherwise, stay away! I don’t have any experience, but my friends who smoke told me that it’s almost impossible to stop.

  3. Avatar

    I was going to say a blunt “NO”, but after reading your excuse (job requirement) then yea, it makes more sense as why you want to pickin up on smoking.

    However, if you asked me, I still reckon you shouldn’t start on smoking.

    Beside the obvious reason (bad for health), I personally found a smoking girl is such a turn off.. but then again, that’s me :)

  4. Avatar

    I once tried smoking but as u mention, virgin lung cannot tahan, I choke & almost turn green in the face, afterthat I just cannot see the logic to smoking no matter the peer pressure.
    Yeah, I echo Steffi’s view, I have a colleague under me who smokes & even though I consel him, he just can’t do it no matter what, after lunch he just gotta smoke, it is like taking his life, it started casually & now he is hooked. Of course I can’t deny there are the few who are strong willed like my mom who smoked bez of worries & now now no worries, no smoke..amazing.
    But I understand u are doing it on a professional basis, aspire to be a better actress , i applaud u but at what price? Sorry long reply

  5. Avatar


    Well, you’ve known me well enough. I’ve been there and done that. I used to smoke something like a pack a day for 2 years at uni and then, I quit cold turkey because Greyee hated the fact that I smoked. So then I turned social and then now…Basically I hardly smoke unless I’m upset and stressed. I do miss smoking at times and have to mention that I gained something like 10 kgs when I quit smoking. So have a think about it…..

  6. Avatar

    Next time your role requires you to smoke, bring your own SUPER LIGHT cigarettes. Try the Dunhill super lights (white box). It’s so uber light that seasoned smokers feel like we’re smoking plain rolled up paper with no tobacco! It probably will be more bearable on your lungs and all.

    And if you really need to practice, use that as well. Less chance of addiction due to less nicotine and all that harmful addictive chemicals.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Avatar

    i dun think its worth it… u see arh.. its easy to become a smoker but its damn hard to quit as a smoker.. when u become addicted to tat, for a couple of day u are spending 10+ per pack and for each month u are like spending more then few hundred on smoking and each year its like few thousand… and for ur whole life when u dun quite and if u can live till quite long u are spending damn lot of money lor… i think for some sence u are learning to smoke and get addited its not worth it.. for mi la i think that, those shows which u had been involve in which dun require u to smoke had also been quite good wat..

    but in the other hand u think! all those big famous stars…. all knw how to smoke and get them more act??

    they get more act is just tat their acting is good.. i think urs is not bad =) so i dun think u should learn how to smoke… for all i can say is tat smoking sux! it can cause alot of problem lor!! not really worth it for some fame la! come on!! think!!!!

  8. Avatar

    As a smoker myself, I always tell my friends if they ain’t a smoker, don’t even touch it. That’s almost like speaking from experience. I know it’s really quite a dilemma when it comes to acting since you need to play the role convincingly. If there’s really a choice, I would rather you NG a couple more times to get it right than pick it up for real.

    Even if I hold my own sets of beliefs towards smoking as a smoker, I would say that’s the last thing you ought to take up just because of work. An actor is a profession, a smoker ain’t. Besides, a good 15% to 20% of the cells in our bodies are cancerous – smoker or not. Smoking is only a catalyst.

    And in this business, it’s really not worth it just to play with your life to provide entertainment for others. Why should you suffer in this manner just to keep others happy for whatever reasons?

  9. Avatar

    u very commited to ur acting. admire u for this.
    i think smoking is more of a habit. IMHO it all in the mind, cos one could be smoking 1-2pack/s a day to 0 stick the next :)

    but would rather u not smoke, not for work nor for leisure cos if u ain’t one, dun touch it (like wat ed said)

  10. Avatar

    sgblogs.com: Wow, never see you comment in my blog before. Thanks! :) I am seriously considering, weighing the pros and cons now, and will take your advice into consideration.

    modchip: I don’t know if I will be able to handle it, having never tried smoking an entire cigarette before. That’s why I’m asking for smokers to share what it’s like. :P

    Derrick: Thanks for your non-judgemental comments. :) I admit to being easily addicted, but there are also times when I can give up bad stuff when it’s really important. But I guess I can’t really know until it happens.

    yh: In a way, I don’t really see it as that big a deal. I mean, I’m only thinking of learning how to smoke for a few weeks and not really becoming a full fledged smoker. :P

    Steffi: The problem is, if I only do it WHEN filming, I’ll end up looking fake, like I did the first two times.

    Indra: Yeah, that’s the obvious response, I guess. Nobody should really pick up smoking for any reason. Haha.

    Starstruck: Smoking does have many bad points. Expensive, bad for health, inconvenient at times, smelly, etc. But at the same time, smokers enjoy their smokes while they’re smoking, so can we see it as part of enjoying life?

    Monster: Since you’re able to quit, I think I should be able to do it as well if it really comes to that?

    Shelly: Thanks for the suggestion! Yours is the most constructive advice yet! ;)

    Smallapple: True that smoking is an expensive activity. But many fun things in life are also expensive. For example, alcohol. Drinking doesn’t have as much bad press as smoking but it’s just as harmful and could turn out to cost much more than smoking if you open bottles every weekend at pubs.

    But I suppose what I really don’t like about smoking is that it also harms others around you. At least with drinking, you’re only killing your own liver.

    And, nah, I’m not learning how to smoke for fame. On the contrary, this short film isn’t even going to be seen by many people. I’m doing it because I feel a sense of achievement and joy when I play a role well!

    Ed: Yeah, most of my smoker friends also tell me that non-smokers should never touch cigarettes. Well, if I could just NG a few times and then get it right, I would. But without practising and getting used to it beforehand, I would never get it right even if I NG 20 times on the day of the shoot. :P

    There’s more than just getting used to the smoke. There’s also the posture. The way you hold the cigarette, the way you inhale and exhale. All these can be tell-tale signs of whether a person is really a smoker. And this requires practice to pull off convincingly. Don’t you think?

    I think your points are valid and I agree it’s not worth it to sacrifice my health to provide entertainment to others. But I’m not doing it for others. I’m doing it for myself. I feel happy when I can do something perfectly and I love experiencing new things, anyway! Haha. I always feel one should try all kinds of things in life before you die. :P

    amd: If it’s all in the mind, then I believe I can just practise for a few weeks, do the shoot, and then stop smoking altogether! :P Wouldn’t harm me too much, would it? Anyway I’m already exposed to cancer every day through second-hand smoke, exhaust fumes on the road and BBQ. lol.

  11. Avatar

    Smoking… ? In no time, you will inherit the dirtest teeth (Not the front, but behind the teeth) one ever dream of. If one thing your smoker’s friend never show you about is the other side of your teeth. It will be blacken with carbon stain that hard to remove, and it really stink over time.

    When my friend show me his ‘handsome black’ teeth, I almost fainted and yah, it come from a very beautiful girl. That’s really a turn off akin to having a female having hairy chest, haha…

    And now whenever I saw her, my nightmare will come, haha

  12. Avatar

    I don’t know how you actors (or actresses) think, but if I were an actor I wouldn’t take a role that would force me to go against my own principles. Are you against smoking, or are you not?

    Because I don’t want to make any assumptions, I shall use an analogy that I can identify with (and hopefully you will see the similarities): web design.
    If I were offered a website design job for a pornographic site, I would decline it simply because I am against such sites. It would be a high paying job, probably a very famous one, and definitely something to add to and diversify my portfolio.

    It would be a great achievement, but I won’t do it simply because I do not wish to condone such sites, and doing it would reflect badly upon my personality.

    Moral issues aside, nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs. You think your experience in resisting addiction to WoW would help you here? Perhaps, but nicotine is on a whole different level.

    A quick google on how bad social smoking can be (and how it can easily evolve into an addiction) should be able to shed some light on this.

  13. Avatar

    whoa.. youre almost confused me with ‘smoking’ there.. *perverted thinking..*

    hmm.. how strong is your lung.. ?? umm.. how far can you run without loosing your breath.. ??
    try this.. (err.. or maybe not..) lit the cigar and inhale it deep.. put the smoke in your lung and exhale through your nose..
    (you might feel that ‘tingling’ feeling in your head..)
    or.. maybe you might want to do some excercise on that fitness centre..

    hmm.. me just try smoking once.. (or twice.. :)) in my school day..
    and as addicting it may seem.. but theres another factor thats more addicting to me.. that is.. money.. :3

    so you see.. i think theres no benefit in smoking.. wasting money an all.. so i just stop..
    (hmm.. maybe im just plain stingy.. XD)

    for you.. me says you just smoke for the filming only.. and put a good act on that..
    i believe that your determined thought on becoming a great actress is more superrior to that of nicotines addiction.. :D

    but personaly.. i dont want you to smoke.. :(

    btw.. how important is the smoking scene in that film.. ??
    did it have a great impact on the film.. ??

  14. Avatar

    How do social smokers smoke only once in a while without craving to smoke all the time?

    they either have strong willpower, they smoke ciggies that are very light, or they are just starting out, just fyi, almost all smokers first start out as social smokers. :)

    When does the addiction kick in, in the first place? I mean, I’ve tried to smoke twice and both times I nearly died doing it. No way in hell would I ever want to do it again without good reason.

    contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t get addicted just by smoking a few sticks; it creeps in slowly.

    normally is depend on what kinda environment you’re in and whats your mindset, i mean if you’re always with smokers, and you have the chance to smoke, you would right? if you’re stuck in the office with shitload of things to do, i don think you’ll have time to ba?

    but normally i would say if you continuously smoke for 6 months, then you’ll be a full time smoker officially (JUST BASED ON MY ESTIMATION! MAY NOT BE ACCURATE!) and from then on, you will just keep increasing your intake until you either quit or die. but overall it’s still the mindset lar.

    So why would people continue smoking despite the trauma of the first puff, and how many sticks does it take for an average person to get used to it and start enjoying it?

    very good question, i remember my first stick, quite horrendous really, but perhaps its more of like peer pressure and the environment i was in back then(90% of my friends smoke, and my dad smokes too.) plus i was young (i started smoking at age 14.) cannot think properly thought it was cool, so just kept continuing lor.( trust me, i aint proud of this fact.)

    I do find it amusing that you treat ciggies as a enjoyment…. i advice you not to compare smoking with drinking, rather, compare smoking with taking heroin. lol

    anyways, i believe all smokers, deep down in their heart, they want to quit, but perhaps due to the addiction, lack of willpower, or perhaps just see no point to, they don’t.

    I donnoe about others lar, but sometimes, i don really enjoy picking up that stick.

    Do I have a chance of just doing it for a couple of weeks and then stopping?

    again, you do not get addicted to it indefinitely just by smoking 1 to 2 sticks(maybe even a pack.) a week or months or whatever.

    you can stop, but then again, as emphasize alot of times by me, its all in the mind and the environment.

    to end it off,

    its your life, you’re responsible for it. choose wisely, cause if you really get addicted, its gona be quite hard to quit unless you’re really hellbent on it. not to mention the zero benefits of smoking and all those ill effects..

    for me, i will try quitting when my first baby is due. which is…. i don even noe when? hopefully i can live that long.


    hope this helps.

  15. Avatar

    Very not cool. But I do see your predicament, sis. If I’m the director, I would ask the artiste to do it if it’s absolutely necessary for the feel of the movie. ( I make all sorts of seemingly unreasonable demands to my team when I’m directing my shorts all the time).

    Tell you what, it’s a good chance to get shaun to quit with you. =P Tell him you wanna quite but you find it so hard, but it will help if he does it with you. =P

  16. Avatar

    just to add on, you may wanna try getting those super light type of ciggies.

    for a smoker like me, its equivalent to sucking in air.

  17. Avatar

    qy >> hmm tt’s quite true :) not forgetting all the processed food. So smoking is but only one of the catalyst :P in the mind, applies to me… from non 2 heavy 2 non 2 heavier 2 non 2 heavier”er” 2 non 2 social whaahah … to me it more of a habit especially when ard smoking friends, why inhale 2nd hand ones :P

  18. Avatar

    An old (age-wise, he’s a grandpa already) friend of mine once said.

    “As long as your are able to remain a master and not be enslaved by it, smoking is fine.”

    I took up the stick when I was in NS and it’s close to 20 years already. I was a pack-a-day guy until University when its down to half-a-pack-a-day and my habit trickles down as the prices goes up.

    I hardly smoke these days except a few sticks here and there when I am out drinking. Other than that, I have no urge to light up.

    I can say that I was never addicted for lighting up as always been a “want to” rather than a “need to”.

  19. Avatar

    Personally, I recommend no. You’re drop dead gorgeous as it is, you don’t need the stained teeth, fingers and smoker’s cough. Friend’s aunt smoked all the time and she looked horrible for it.

    If it’s for work maybe some herb cigarettes instead like Walter B Davis aka Cigarette Smoking Man in X-Files did.

  20. Avatar

    haha.. sorri sorri.. i think my word too hush or wat de… cause i dun like non smoker to learn smoke =) i dun like y i accept drinking and not smoking hahaha

  21. Avatar

    If you think smoking is a skill that is worth it, consider this. I started smoking at age 11. I thought it was cool, I thought it was a good way to control my appetite. I’m now 41. I have congestive heart failure – at 41. I cannot climb the stairs in my house – at 41. I probably won’t live to see my 42nd birthday. Its 8 months away. I’m only 41. In the past 30 years – I’ve spent $73,000 on smoking. Probably much more than that when you consider the cost of the time involved going to get cigarettes, the coffee and alcohol consumed in mass quantities directly related to smoking, and the several thousands of dollars spent on medical bills resulting from smoking. I’m 41. I say that because when I was 11, and I started smoking, 41 seemed like a million years away. It seemed like it would never come. And all too fast, its come, and nearly gone. Forget the fact that it reaks. Forget the fact that it rots your teeth, dulls your skin, hair and eyes, that it clogs your lungs and veigns. Forget the fact that eventually you beome so consumed with being a smoker that you can’t go even an hour without craving a cig, that you refuse restaurants or bars where smoking isn’t allowed, that your mouth tastes like an ashtray and no one wants to kiss you. That your clothes, your car, your home, smell so bad that soon, even you, who smokes, will notice the stench. Forget all of that.. look at the numbers: $73,000 spent to learn a skill that will kill me. Much better skills can be learned for much less and I may have actually lived to use those skills – had I not started smoking.

  22. Avatar

    Next time you want to smoke, just suck your thumb and bite hard. That will teach you how to control smoking.

    Smoking has other side effect. It will make your skin drier (Singapore already so hot and dry, why make it worse for your skin and complexion ?) and you will age faster. Aside from the high cost of smoking in Singapore, there is a lot of hidden cost. U pay more insurance for being a smoker, and you need to spend a lot of money on cosmetics & tonics to make your skin regain radiancy and youth.

    The only good thing about smoking is that you are contributing a lot of money to our “trillion dollars economy”. Our ‘refused-to-die’ oldman will thank you for this and also thank you for giving the coffer the excuse to raise medical cost.

    Soon, I will see a young LiangPoPo giving hooHoo on the screen and I hope that’s not you, haha…

  23. Avatar

    Hey I think that one doesn’t necessarily have to smoke in order to play “bad girl” roles on TV. That age-old stereotype of smokers being nasty and evil versus non-smokers being goodies need to go. We all know that criminals – especially serial killers – look surprisingly decent, bookwormish and harmless.

    The other point is that the widespread public ban on smoking in Singapore should be reinforced in our drama serials. It looks silly to have the lead actors/ actresses crouching in a small yellow box smoking. As we all know, smoking in clubs and bars is already outlawed.

  24. Avatar

    It always feel good to be able to do something perfect. But to do something perfect doesn’t mean you really have to do it for real. You can observe, you can study, you can practise… but picking it up for real? Assuming in future you are assigned a role as a KTV GRO or perhaps, a wild lady on the loose in Geylang – now do you want to do a bed scene for real? Would you still say you are doing it for yourself? The answer is pretty clear.

    You wished to do the best for your audiences, and there is nothing wrong in that. I admire your dedication and passion in what you do. When stage artistes bare their bodies on stage in the name of Arts, there is still a line drawn across where the limit is.

    It’s your choice at the end of the day. Should you really want to pick it up for real, then nobody can really say anything much. Just that, 10 years down the road nobody will actually remember you as “the actress who sacrifice herself to convince us she’s a smoker on screen.”

  25. Avatar

    From an ex-smoker… No. not worth it to pick up the habit. Social smoking… avoid that if you can too – that might just become a habit unknowingly. I went from full-blown smoker to social to 0 ciggies… trust me when i say it takes a lot of willpower.
    For your case, what i would suggest is to try, just to get used to the pollution in your lungs – but keep telling yourself that you don’t like it, and your body doesnt need to depend on it. you need to build up your “mental” defence against any craving or addiction symptoms…..

    Brings back memories of MMORPGs…….+2 increase to happiness for 10 mins with a side effect of -1 DOT for life…..

  26. Avatar

    Ya, I was able to quit but it does take a lot and a lot of extra weight too. But in reality, if not for Greyee, I’ll be happily puffing away and keeping slim. Which is a very warp way of thinking. But then again, I do value my health a little more now that I see that people in our family are falling victims to cancer. But I still want my smoke once in a while…..It is that bad to want something that’s bad for me….Anyway, me rumbling away again. You know what I mean right?

  27. Avatar

    Who to blame but the gov. Who called them to ban chewing gum ? If I am LKY, I will ban all smoking in Singapore, and only chewing gum is allowed. And yah, it will be the same price as the ‘cigirlrat’ ! LKY need all the money for retirement and to enjoy emperor’s life.

  28. Avatar

    Poor girl.
    Must have been a dilemma for you.

    Read somewhere that every puff reduces ur lifespan by 11 mins or something like that.

    Maybe get some advice from your fellow actors/actresses?

  29. Avatar


    if you have to learn to be a real smoker for acting sake…
    it’s not worth it, at the price of getting lung cancer and other smoking related diseases.

  30. Avatar

    Am late to the party, and the general consensus is correct – don’t pick it up if you worry about being addicted. Those who are social smokers have different genetic dispositions that make them not as susceptible to nicotine’s addictive effects. Either that, or great willpower.

    As an alternative, I don’t know if you can get it there – try herbal cigarettes? You can’t tell the difference on screen and it obviously does not have nicotine in them. You’d still have to contend with breathing in the smoke though, but at least it is less harmful.

  31. Avatar

    What on earth are herbal ciggies? The only herbal ones that I know are banned!!! Smoking those might end you in prison and DRC! Or is the old fogey missing something? Someone please tell me what are herbal ciggies?

  32. Avatar

    bigmac: I’m really not intending to be a long-term smoker. Just to learn how to smoke like a real smoker and stop there. Hehe. Well, that’s what I hope, anyway.

    Bite thumb? I doubt that works for most smokers I know. Hehe. Yeah, I know smoking is really bad for everything. But to be honest, I’m already not the healthiest person on earth. I eat unhealthy food and I don’t sleep enough, don’t exercise enough, don’t drink enough water. Haha. I suppose I should add a smoking habit to all these bad habits, but if I really have to, it wouldn’t make too much of a difference to my already unhealthy lifestyle. lol.

    Dan: Smoking isn’t exactly against my principles. I hate it but I don’t think it’s too big a deal to shun smoking roles. Like, let’s say I hate scammers. What if one day I have to act as a scammer who cheats grannies out of their life savings? I would do it because it’s a role. And taking up all kinds of different roles requiring you to do things you’d never do normally is part of the fun and challenge of acting.

    The only concern I have of doing this is the addiction, like you rightly mentioned. That’s why I’m exploring alternatives now, like super light or herbal cigarettes which some of my readers have suggested. :P

    zield: I’m really glad to hear that you were able to give up smoking by weighing the factors. You are very right, there are no benefits to smoking at all and I really think the world would be a better place if cigarettes never existed. :P I’m not sure how important the smoking scene really is. But I’m meeting the director later, so I guess I’ll have a chat with him more about it.

    Passer-by: Thank you for your very precise answers. Very informative and helpful! Regarding treating ciggies as enjoyment… er… I dunno. Isn’t it? Everyone knows that cigarettes are bad but tons of people still do it. If not for enjoyment, then what for? True, the addiction forces people to continue smoking. But isn’t feeding an addiction an enjoyment in itself? Like scratching an itch? Hehe.

    Yeah, I might try the super light ciggies like Shelly suggested earlier. I guess that shouldn’t make an addict out of me if I only smoke maybe one stick a day for two weeks just for practice. :P

    Well, good luck with your quitting when your baby gets here and thanks for sharing your experience. :)

    Chong: I’m glad you understand my predicament. And trust you to always come up with evil schemes. :P

    Valerie: I think death is nothing compared to the horrible diseases and conditions that smoking brings about. Death would be a sweet release. But, yeah, I know what you mean. :P

    amd: Hahaha. It really is hard to quit totally when you hang out with smoker friends, isn’t it? Maybe if I ever get addicted and want to try and quit, I’d have to force my smoker friends not to smoke in front of me. Haha.

    JayWalk: That’s cool. I hope I can be like you then.

    RK Bentley: Thanks for the compliment. But don’t many HOllywood celebrities smoke and even take drugs? And they’re still more drop dead gorgeous than I could ever hope to be. :P

    Thanks for the suggestion of herb cigarettes. In fact, I have never heard of such a thing until you mentioned it. Don’t think I can get it in Singapore, though. :(

    Smallapple: No, please don’t apologise. Your words aren’t harsh, you’re just saying what you think and that’s alright, isn’t it? :) But I know how you feel. I would feel sad for a friend if they picked up smoking for no reason.

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    Cher: You paint a really bleak picture. Really. I felt like crying after reading it. I’m sorry you had to go through such a life. I wish things could become better for you. But thank you very much for sharing your experience. I will really consider your words seriously.

    walter: The role I’m playing now isn’t really a bad girl role. The smoking scene is to create a certain kind of mood and to drive across a certain hidden message. It’s an artistic thing. :P

    Do our leading actors smoke on TV? I haven’t watched TV in a long while, but I thought that was generally discouraged because it spoils their image. And MediaCorp actors aren’t supposed to smoke in front of public view.

    Ed: I can see what you’re getting at. And it’s true you don’t have to do everything for real on TV. Like you can fake bed scenes. But you can’t really fake smoking. It’s true, I tried it twice. I thought I could do it, but I couldn’t do it convincingly enough without having the real experience of smoking.

    I just read an article online from a smoker actor, who says that you can tell on screen who is a real smoker and who isn’t. A non-smoker would fumble with the cigarette packet while taking out a stick and concentrate too much on lighting it. He would take too many puffs instead of just letting the cigarette dangle there. I mean there are tell-tale signs like that. And these things are really hard to correct except with practice, unfortunately. :(

    I think a real smoker would know when to take a puff. His body will tell him it’s time and he will just do it subconsciously, without having to think about it.

    As a non smoker, I have no such instincts, so throughout the take, I would keep stressing about it. “Is it time to take a puff yet? Ok, stop thinking about it and just do it naturally. No wait, I think I overdid it. I should have waited a while longer. No, wait, I haven’t taken a puff in ages, people must be able to tell I’m faking it!” etc etc.

    That would really compromise my performance, I feel.

    Yeah, like you said, it’s my own decision. But just to clarify, if I do it, it’s to satisfy my own artistic standards. I certainly don’t want anyone to see me as “the actress who sacrificed herself, etc”. What I want is for people to watch the film and enjoy the film, fullstop, and not get distracted with thoughts like, “Yep, she’s a non smoker, I can tell!” :P

    Rykarx: I applaud you for having the tenacity to quit smoking! Thanks for your suggestion. Actually, that might work! The power of the mind works wonders! :P And I love your MMORPG analogy. Hahaha. How true it is!

    Monster: Yeah I know what you mean. I’m really glad you quit smoking and I’ve always admired you for being strong in so many areas of your life despite so many obstacles. Thanks for your concern! I will do my best not to disappoint. ;)

    Shingo T: Wow, 11 minutes? That’s really trippy, hehe. But who really knows. I mean I do know of smokers who are healthier and outlive non-smokers, lol.

    xinyun: Thanks for your concern. I don’t really want to become a real smoker. Just to practise enough to be able to look like one!

    mooiness: You’re not really late. This post isn’t even a day old yet. :P Hmm, I really hope I can get my hands on herbal cigarettes, but it does seem that non of my smoker friends have even heard of it. I have no idea where to get it short of ordering it online, which is a bit extreme. lol.

    The Goonfather: Addiction can kill. :P

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    everything becomes a vice if it controls you. i don’t see anything wrong with trying it out, there’s too much taboo in the world sometimes

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    waah.. maybe you’re destined to be a smoker, or have the smoker look! Otherwise, how come so many roles require you to do that?!

    Anyway, i’m a smoker myself.. maybe you don’t have to pick up smoking. You can try smoking a whole stick (or two) a day before filming with your friends, and get them to coach you.

    Hope this helps!

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    been a smoker for the last 12 years of my life…. It is a habit that is hard to kick… i agree…

    BUT honestly, nobody gets addicted after a few smokes lah. And trust me, you can only get addicted when you want to be.

    I wanted to be a smoker, that is why i picked it up. even after i find that it tasted bad. I bear with it.

    PLUS. Most people (including myself) finds it hard to quit smoking, because it means i have to quit my smoking friends as well. If the normal people you hang around with doesn’t smoke… it won’t be that easy to pick it up.

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    Most of the artists I know personally including Gurmit and Vincent Ng don’t seem to need to smoke to survive in the business. I believe you have a choice in this.

    Anyways, I heard stats that young women is the fastest growing base of customers for tobacco companies in the entire world, with women smokers overtaking men in many segments. I think women are falling prey to the marketing campaigns of Tobacco companies.

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    Ok, after reading ur blog for so long, this is gonna be my virgin comment. And like the majority, i would like to emphasize that smoking is addictive!!! I’m a smoker trying to quit for years now. And i will go back to smoking everytime I faced decision-making moments or some setbacks. This is probably one of the major obstacle that many smokers faced. And perhaps, i say perhaps, u r not like this. BUT, possiblity is always there. Think again & AGAIN before u really decides to do it. Be it art or not, it’s a hugh sacrifice IMO and gonna change ur life, a way or the other. Nevermind what others who say that it’s ok to be social or blah blah blah.
    Think u shd get the drift now.

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    Haha, you are ‘smoking’ me. You look so healthy and fit in photo and can run 4km in 20min. Anyway, take everything with precaution as I have a friend who unfortunately get cancer after a month of been a smoker and he thought the doctor is ‘smoking’ him of his condition. What the doctor say is true about everybody’s body is different and some may be sensitive to harmful material more than others, and therefore do try it at own peril. Prevention is better than cure. Sometimes, there is no turning back when thing go awry. Just look at Britney Spear looking like Old Fat Hag now.

    Britney Spear’s hit applies to smoking too, just look at her hit title
    “…Baby One More Time” = (Every time, one more stick to smoke, never end)

    “Oops!… I Did It Again” = (Of course, you did it again if you are addicted to smoking)

    “I’m a Slave 4 U” = (Yap,baby, you are slave to cigirlrat )

    “Toxic” = (100% toxic to yourself and others, and become a menace and pollutant to the society.)

    “Gimme More” = (After smoking, you should Gimme More)

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    brian: That’s refreshing. You’re the first person to say there’s nothing wrong in trying. Thanks! ;)

    vinyarb: Er… not many lah. In my four years of acting, I only got 3 actings roles. I think that’s a pretty low rate. :P Anyway, if I were going to do it, I don’t think one practice is enough.

    santos: That’s very reassuring, thanks! I guess if I just do it for the shoot only, I should be able to manage myself and not get addicted. Cool! :)

    Nic: The difference is that Gurmit and Vincent are famous (because of their obvious talents). Famous people have a choice. They turn down one smoking role, 10 other directors will beat their doors down to cast them. Nobody actors like me have not much choice and we take all the roles we can get. :P

    Antz: Thanks for posting your virgin comment. I guess you feel strongly about this enough to post, so I shall heed your advice. I still don’t know whether I have to smoke or not, but I’m very sure now that if I do, I will make sure I don’t get addicted and I will only smoke when absolutely necessary.

    Anonymous: Hmm, is it? Can you elaborate? I thought their tar and nicotine contents are supposed to be lower.

    Smallapple: I’ve already talked to the director about how I feel. He’s also written an alternative scene to smoking. But he’s still making the final decision which one he prefers. So… I leave it to the director to decide my fate. Haha.

    bigmac: Looks can be deceiving lah. :P I assure you I’m not “smoking” you. Haha. Anyway, your Britney Speares example is damn hilarious! Hahaha.

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    Dying for your art? It just ain’t worth it. Try taking smaller puffs into your mouth, but if you start to inhale it will lead to addiction and it will kill you, as simple as that. There is very little science that I agree with without hesitation, but the arguments against smoking are easy to take on board. We all love you too much to see you start smoking, and trust me, it’s NOT attractive.

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    I suppose you already know what you really want to do. Just go with it. After all, in reality, all success comes with a price. And acting is your passion and is what you really want to do.

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    Some ppl say an artist should be willing to suffer for his art. The way I see it, if its a guaranteed thing, then go for it. i.e. if picking up smoking (even casual smoking) will open more doors for you & you get many more offers to appear on TV, then fine. PROVIDED its guaranteed. Which of course its not I guess.

    Not that I want to be a wet blanket, but what if after taking up your new “hobby” the number of offers remain the same? Then was it worth it damaging your health?

    Remember, its not how many sticks you smoke a day. Its how many you smoke a life time. Some may feel that 1 or 2 sticks a week is no biggie. Multiply that by the number of years one is alive.

    1 year has about 52 weeks. Let’s assume one just has 1 puff a week. Let’s assume this person is unable to kick the habit & continues smoking till he/she dies in his/her 70s. That’s a grand total of 2600 sticks of ciggies.

    Let’s not forget that the crap that goes in can’t come out. Imagine all that gunk from 2600 sticks of ciggies in your body. Surely it can’t be good for you.

    Ok, I’m starting to sound like a MOH sponsored anti smoking ad. Ultimately, the choice is your’s but I hope you consider everything before proceeding.

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    Shey, I’ve walked this road before. If you’d seen my Anita Yuen clip, it was the very first time I had to smoke and I had to do it on the spot as well. No time to practice at all in advance. I think I pulled it off, just barely so I resolve the next time I had to smoke again I’ll practice in advance.

    I think I got to a point where I could convince quite a few more ppl, but as I did not had any roles which required smoking, I stopped, knowing I know what I can do to reach this point and beyond.

    I didn’t get addicted, but then i didn’t really smoked; there is a method to fake it, which I think is what you’ve been told, but the problem is you have to get used to the little remnants that do get to your lungs. After awhile, you can. You will no longer cough or feel like coughing, yet at the same time, you can stay not addicted.

    Granted, my willpower might be stronger than yours, so I’m not sure if my method will work. Worse come to worse, I believe you CAN wean yourself off it. It’s just a matter of Method. And anyways, lots of actors smoke. I believe we are the rare ones that don’t.

    So I suggest practising the fake way till you are used to the smoke.

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    My dear, what did goonie says about this?

    I feel it’s not a good idea picking up smoking because of acting but I can understand your predicament.

    Once your lung are used to the smoke, your mind will automatically crave for some more.

    QY, I applaud your professionalism but it’s your health that’s at stack. I believe you can control not being addictive. Here’s one motivational quote that’s being plastered on my desktop, refer particularly to the last 3 words:

    “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will”

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    Judging from how you write, I can say that you’re an intelligent girl. And from that assumption, I’m sure you’ll know what to do. *hint hint* :D

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    I picked up smoking because the price of getting high on cigarettes is cheaper than drinking ($0.30 a stick then compared to at least $50 for a couple of shots).

    I did like the high it produced then… But smoking never really caught on with me. Mainly because I simply HATED the aftertaste of tobacco in my mouth. I wanted to scrub my mouth out and rinse it with bleach. Mints just doesn’t do it. Only through brushing works… And me being such a lazy sod, figured that the hard work ain’t worth it.

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    Well, people smoke because they enjoy it. You can pick it up as part of the artistic act that you want to enjoy and simply enhance said enjoyment. If you smoke lights, your lungs will tolerate the smoke better, and will make it easier for you to feel the pleasurable relaxing effects of nicotine. Who knows, the relaxation might make you act more natural because you won’t be nervous :)

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    I know you may lose your job for doing this, but p’haps you can ask the director/writer to change/revert the character to a non-smoking one.

    Personally, I don’t see a big deal with smoking or non-smoking. Likewise, I don’t see a big deal with characters in a movie that smoke or don’t smoke (pertaining to the character’s personality). It is society that created a big hoohaa over smoking. You read “slogans” such as- The primary cause of lung cancer. It is cool. It causes bad breath and stained teeth. It relieves stress. You’ll live a shorter life. It helps you to pick-up girls.

    The media tends to stereotype smokers. I feel it is weak on the part of the scriptwriter to have to depend on the action of smoking to convey some relevant emotions. He is merely stereotyping the average smoker. “Smoke to take a breather… smoke after sex… etc etc”

    C’mon, smokers come in all shapes and sizes. Think about it- It is really not a big deal. Then think about how you had contributed to the profits and continuing dominance of your friendly-neighbourhood-Super-sized Tobacco Company. :)

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    well..i din read the comments above. btu i guessed the contents would be roughly the same, askign you not to do it..

    Personally i tink u r quite a perfectionist in ur work… so u will stop at nothing to do a good job.. Look at it this way, if u really really have to smoke, buy those marlboro super lights to try(same price as norm fags ; lower nicotine and lower tar thus lesser chances of addiction).. they’re so light that smokers like me find it to be a waste of time and money…

    Just sumtin xtra, i ahve been tryin to quit for yrs and mths and Gawdknowshowlong… but i have been unable to do so due to my weak will… hence i propose for u not to pick it up.. really.. especially when u have an addiction problem.. IMO lah…

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    Jesta: Smoking for a scene isn’t going to kill me more than breathing carbon monoxide fumes and second-hand smoke every time I step out of the house. :P And I don’t really want to become a smoker, so you have no worries in that area, but thanks for your concern! ;)

    JokeDiary: I don’t want to be an addict, so I think it won’t be that easy, judging from what others have commented.

    serene.s: Thanks for that!

    Derrick: No, smoking in a scene isn’t going to open doors for me. And I’m “sacrificing” for my art not for the sake of opening doors or getting more offers. I’m doing it because I want to do it! And I don’t really see it as a sacrifice lah. It’s not like I’m cutting off a limb or skiing down Mount Everest. :P It’s just a smoke!

    Ruok: Yeah, of course if I really picked up smoking for a scene, I would try my best to smoke as little as possible and I would stop once the scene is done. From all the comments above, it seems like just smoking a bit for a couple of weeks isn’t going to make me an addict, so I’m not that worried anymore. :P

    Wang wang: Well, he can’t say anything about it, being a smoker himself. Because if a smoker force me not to smoke, I will raise hell. Hahaha.

    modchip: Of course. :)

    Smallapple: It seems like he’s most likely not going to make me smoke after all. But I’m still waiting… :P

    Alvin: Wow, what a reason to pick up smoking! I guess you’re lucky that your distaste for cigarettes overpowered the addiction smoking causes! Hehe.

    Slexi: Haha, that’s an interesting way to look at it. You may even be right!

    Fraggleroc: Nah, I won’t lose my job or anything and I can just tell the director I don’t want to do it. But I don’t want to! I’m very trying to build a reputation for being professional, you know. :P

    Sometimes, portraying smoking in a scene is more than just establishing a character. Sometimes, directors like to play with the smoke effect. Sometimes it’s artistic and adds value to the film that way.

    If it’s a “smoking just for the sake of smoking” scene, I certainly won’t do it. Just like some celebrities won’t get naked for the sake of getting naked, but if it’s really essential for the story and it makes it a better film, they would do it.

    JF: Yah, most people ask me not to do it, as expected. In fact, Shelly advised me to buy Dunhill Super Light if I really have to. So is Marlboro lighter than Dunhill? :P

    Anyway, like I said, I won’t pick it up if I don’t have to, and if I have to, I will try my best not to get addicted!

  52. Avatar

    Hey Qiaoyun dear,

    nothing new from me here – having to compromise your health for the sake of work is, in my view, an absolute no-no. If there’s no way to find an alternative, just seek another role then. But I know, easier said than done…

    Besides your health, how about health considerations – might be still awhile before you reach here heh – for your child/children when you get in the family way? I see mothers here smoking right in front their infants in their prams and seeing their children suffer unwittingly is just senseless. I’m not implying that you will smoke in front of your kids too, but they will be affected, in some way or another.

    Guess it boils down to your priorities. Hey, no worries, will still remain ur loyal fan and reader even if you decide to pick up the smoking habit =)

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    Smoking for one scene won’t kill you, but learning to smoke for one scene by starting to smoke regularly WILL…
    I’m hoping that this means that you aren’t planning to smoke regularly, but it is worth bearing in mind that you can take method acting too far…
    I’m sure that you can achieve the role that you want without HAVING to smoke, and we’d all much prefer you as our slim, sexy hot mama without a fag hanging from your lip…

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    Stan/Jesta: Yeah, I get what you both are saying. I just feel that smoking for a week or two is not a big deal. (I’m not going to be a full-fledged smoker!) I mean, it’s not a big deal to my health because I’m already breathing in second-hand smoke all the time. Haha. Can’t help it, too many friends smoke. :P

    Anyway, the smoking scene most likely won’t be happening after all, so put your hearts at ease! ;)

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    I am a social smoker and has remained so for the past ten years. I am definitely not addicted although once in while, I might crave for a ciggy, especially when I drink.

    Throughout these ten years, there were times when I was smoking more regularly but for the most part, I maintain a relatively smoke-free lifestyle. Of course, there will be slightly withdrawal symptoms when “quiting” after some regular smoking, but those are very mild. The worst part about quitting the addiction, is mental. Its a habit of holding something in between your fingers when you have that time to kill.

    I have seen friends who claimed that they won’t become regular smokers end up as hardcore. Likewise, I know friends who quit smoking on the spot despite having a ten-years history of chain smoking.

    In my case, I never have to worry about addiction to smoking because I believe it all boils down to choice. If you believe that your life is not going to be controlled by those sticks of tar, and you can walk away anytime, you will never risk being a “real smoker”.

  56. Avatar

    I also notice that quite a few have voiced out the physical damage from smoking.

    I think no one can deny that it IS detrimental to health, but to what extent of dmg, no one can say for sure.

    Some ppl don’t smoke, also get lung cancer. And there are smokers in good health and fitness. This world is amazing.

    Some say, each cigarette directly drains 2 minutes of your life away. Another theory is, it takes 9 hours for the effects of each cigarette to fully dissipate from your body. How scientifically are these proven? I have never seen any quantifications up till now.

    End of day, we are all adult, we know the possible consequences, weigh them and decide that we want to do. It still boils down to CHOICE.

    Type so much, piang, I can actually use this as a post on my blog instead. Lol.

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    R: Heh, that sure was a long post. But thanks for sharing. I salute you for being able to resist being controlled by the addiction. And you’re right, the world is funny and some smokers actually end up living longer and being more healthy than non-smokers, although I think that is a minority case, right? Btw, you got a blog? How come never link your URL? ;)

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    Just like many ppl in here said, the answer is NO, dun pick up smoking. U should just try the herbal cigarette or fake 1(this i read from newspaper where is the USA, they use fake 1, dunno whether is herbal or not :D). Smoking is really bad to that person, n their ppl around, like my dad is a heavy smoker, my mom doesnt smoke but got nicotein in her blood too due to 2nd hand smokes. :(

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    stumbled upon ur blog when i type ” maybe i’ll cough to death before i know the ans ” coincidental indeed that ive fallen sick fr too much alcohol and tobacco when i shouldnt be touching the latter.

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    I am a smoker myself and have been trying to quit for Years. I can say from experience don’t do it! It is very addicting and will hurt your health. But if for some reason you feel you must smoke, then invest in one of those electronic cigarettes. They omit vapor (just like smoking) and you can buy them with no nicotine cartridges and they come in different flavors. I am still trying to quit after 30 + years and I just ordered these electronics for myself, to try and finally kick the habit.
    Take it from experience.

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