I smoked cigarettes from the time I was 14 or 15 until 26 or thereabouts. Then I more or less “quit”, which means I would quit and feel great and then return to the fucking things and then quit again, etc. This went on for another decade or so with the relapse periods lasting a couple of weeks to a couple of months. I would always lapse in Europe because it’s different over there. I used to be into Davidoffs or Galouises when I was on French soil. I would love smoking the first two or three, and then hate myself as I finished off the pack.

I used to smoke all kinds of brands when I was in high school — Camels, Chesterfields, Lucky Strike, Parliament, Benson & Hedges.

Some Italian guy whose last name ended in a vowel (and who wore pegged pants, pointed shoes and a Brylcream pompadour) taught me to toast them when I was in junior high, and I totally bought into the idea that this improved their taste. It made sense — I was baking or double-browning the shredded tobacco leaves, and so they would naturally deliver more flavor in the same way that marshmallows taste better when you hold them over a campfire or Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread tastes better when you pop it into a toaster.