"Excuse me. Would you have any interest in trading money for a cigarette?"
I ask the question this way because I don't want to be seen as a beggar at any stage of the interaction. I haven't fully quit smoking, though I know I need to. One of the only things that I look forward to is having a cigarette. I don't have one every day, and some days I have up to three.
I quit in November and didn't have a single cigarette for several months. At the end of March I started randomly buying cigarettes at the bus station. My justification is that if I'm only smoking a few cigarettes a week, I'm not really a smoker. It would give me a reason to want to take the bus, the possibility that I would find someone to buy a cigarette from.
The first few cigarettes that I bought were like heaven. I got an intense head and body rush from them after not having nicotine for so long. A couple of times I became nauseated and was reminded that smoking is terrible, but that reminder wasn't strong enough for me to not go hunting for another the next day.
Now I'm back to carrying a pack of my own with me, though I'm still smoking just one to two cigarettes per day. It's just easier to have a pack of my own, and technically cheaper. I was offering between 50¢ and $1.00 for every cigarette at the bus stop. That quickly added up. Now if I spend $6.75 for a pack and it lasts me for 15 days, that's only 45¢ per day.
One thing I didn't account for in the pricing though is the number of people that ask to bum cigarettes off of you. I have a terrible time saying no to people. Within ten minutes of buying my first pack, I had given out three cigarettes. Lesson learned. If you want to save money by smoking your own cigarettes, you have to do it away from other people that may ask for one. Either that or I need to just say no, but then I'm reminded of all the times I've bummed cigarettes over the years and how grateful I've been for them. Saying no becomes a non-option. Grumbles.
Clearly the best course of action is to quit altogether, but right now, having a cigarette now and then is helping me cope. I'm not proud, but it is what it is.