“Teenage Smoker”

I’ll never forget being in front of the Pinkberry on 82nd and second with my friend about to start the night, when my dad randomly pulls up in his car. We walked over to say hello and I COMPLETELY forgot there was a cigarette behind my ear. I tried to pull it out low key, but it was way too late. My friend jumped in and said it was her cigarette that I was holding. The dumb shit.

Now when I see teen smokers I’m like what are you five? They look like babies, but when I did it I thought I was so grown. Now I know how infantile we looked to adults giving us the side eye. Adults we asked to get us cigs when we had no other choice. I quit one million times before finally kicking the habit five years ago. Now I can’t believe I smoked (Marlboro Gold’s) at all, crazier still is that cigs were $5 a pack when I turned 18 and now they’re three times that.

The first time I smoked a cigarette I was five and my grandmother threw one out in the yard. It was still lit so I picked it up and inhaled, the way she did, my idol. I coughed like mad and stamped it out after one pull. That didn’t stop me from starting forreal in high school, how lovely it was relieving stress and topping off substances. What is your relationship to cigarettes? Photographer: Ed Templeton