So how do we understand this psychological pleasure? It can be traced to the universal desire for self-expression. None of us ever completely outgrows his childhood. We are constantly hunting for the carefree enjoyment we knew as children. As we grew older, we had to subordinate our pleasures to work and to the necessity for unceasing effort.
Smoking, for many of us, then, became a substitute for our early habit of following the whims of the moment; it becomes a legitimate excuse for interrupting work and snatching a moment of pleasure. “You sometimes get tired of working intensely,” said an accountant who was interviewed, “and if you sit back for the length of a cigarette, you feel much fresher afterwards.
It’s a peculiar thing, but I wouldn’t think of just sitting back without a cigarette. I guess a cigarette somehow gives me a good excuse.”