Empty boxes

Tom quit smoking on my birthday. He didn’t actually start the day intending to do that. It just happened.

When you are hospitalized with a stroke, they don’t let you light up in bed, oddly enough. So that took care of the first month of quitting.

What surprised him was that he had no nicotine cravings, no withdrawal, no desire to smoke. Didn’t need any nicotine patch or gum.

I rounded up all the cigarette packs, lighters and ashtrays before he came home. I still have the cigarettes in the trunk of my car, wondering if there is some charity that would accept cigarettes. Seriously, we’re talking about $75 worth of smokes in that bag.

While unpacking from the house, I discovered a cigarette kit with my herbalism boxes.

It was a machine to make cigarettes. A couple years ago, I was trying to help Tom quit by manufacturing herbal cigarettes for him.

I researched and came up with several blends of herbs, using mugwort, rabbit tobacco, damiana, jasmine tea, raspberry leaf, holy basil, and mint. Tom bought the machine and 10 cartons of empty, filtered papers to stuff with herbs.

When finished they looked and smoked just like “real” cigarettes. Tom saved his empty boxes of Camel Platinums to carry them in.

I came up with a name to distinguish the herbal cigarettes from the nasty ones: Samels. Just add a little curve to the C in Camel.

That Sam thing is kind of an inside joke. Tom and I both were supposed to be named “Sam.” That’s another blog post.

I produced Samels with various blends of herbs for Tom to critique. While he liked the taste, he was a little uneasy about smoking them in public because they smelled vaguely like marijuana (that’s the mugwort, which is a key ingredient).

So the whole kit and kaboodle got relegated to the big wooden hutch in the dining room.

I gave it all away to the thrift store today, and recycled the empty cigarette boxes.

I truly hope that whoever buys it will be able to kick the habit without having a stroke first.

Today’s penny is a 2013, the year I made Samels.