Smoking Is Sublime - Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
Why do people smoke?
"It gives me great joy," said an old friend, a writer who consumes a pack a day. Well—actually more like two. Two packs. He has been smoking since he was a teenager. "There are so few things that bring me joy. The rest of my life is spent in nostalgia for the past and paralyzing anxiety about the future. Smoking is the one time that I live in the present. I love smoking."
Actually, the first reason he gave me was: "Because I'm addicted." I have composed a eulogy for this friend in my head many times; he is almost 40 now, and I don't expect him to make it much past 50. He is one of the sharpest cultural observers I know, but he once admitted to me that the way he lives is a kind of slow suicide.