People think that clubbing is 500 people in a room, sound system, DJ in the corner, bar. But what it really is, is a lot of hard work, risk, success, failure, I mean I made enough money to buy houses, I also lost houses. Being promoter is challenging as it is rewarding. It's amazing, it's painful, it's beautiful, it's fucked up. I mean, it's like life. The thing about being around people having that much fun is, it does take its toll. My name's Ben, I put on music events in the UK. I've been doing that for 20 plus years. Been smoking for even longer than that, probably 25 years. I smoke morning, noon, and night. Cigarette first five minutes out of bed. I feel like it's time to quit. You guys are going to be with me over the course of the next seven days while I try and give up smoking cigarettes. It's going to be a big week, I've got teams going to Morocco, and Portugal, Barcelona's a big one, 2000 people, first time we've ever done an event with these guys and that's going to be the one that me and Will go to. I mean, it's all in hand, but trying to do this without cigarettes is going to be quite a challenge. -Your last cigarette? -Apparently so, yeah. It feels significant, it feels... I'm apprehensive, but it also feels good. This is the last cigarette I'm ever going to smoke, right? So it feels really positive, I'm going to enjoy this one, lads. Yeah, onwards and upwards. I mean, in terms of timing, I think this week is categorically a terrible time to do it. We have three shows back to back this weekend. We're in the thrall of planning an enormous festival, of which Ben is an essential part. It's just a complete tsunami of things that needs to get done. When I picture myself, I see a cigarette in my hand. I'm sure if someone drew a caricature of me, there'd be a fag hanging out of my mouth or in my hand. When people ask me: "When are you going to give up smoking cigarettes?" I often say: "Well, when I'm not so stressed." I came to the realisation and I think other people have pointed this out, that I kind thrive on stress. I suppose what I feel is, if I can give up smoking this week, then it's real. You know, if I go on holiday for two weeks and give up smoking, come back and start smoking again, but if I get through what I got to get through this week, I feel like it will stick. So I'm going to try and go cold turkey, but I suppose I'm also open to trying different things. You know, like patches, vaping, therapies, I don't really know. If I'm honest, I'm getting older and I can feel it. Used to be able to rave all night, used to be able to run up hills, these days, I wake up, I can feel it in my chest, I can feel it in my body. Yeah, it feels like it's something that needs to go, if I'm honest. It's been a bastard of a day, Barcelona's kind of coming together, but the Morocco planning is really stressing me out. I can't tell if I'd be this annoyed if I was smoking, but it's definitely not helping. Going to go for a pint with a few mates, blow off some steam. First pint without a cigarette, in I don't even know how long. Let's see how that goes. Why did you think I smoke? I think there's so much going on in your head, that you just need a vice, you need something right? Yeah. How do you think Ben's going to do with this quitting thing? -Really badly. -I don't think it's going to happen. Really, why not? He won't give up? He's been smoking all his life, man. He started when he was 11, maybe. -I smoke in bed. -You smoke in bed? You wake up and smoke a cigarette in bed? Your fingers are yellow here. Honestly, it's disgusting. Just this idea of your finger getting yellow and just talking to people, smelling like tobacco, I think it's disgusting, it's terrible. But also, you didn't ever develop the habit, you know? Because my dad was a smoker, you know? And my grandfather died, of cancer, so I'm not an idiot. So by that logic, I'm an idiot, because my father smoked-- -You're just addicted to it. -And my grandfather died from smoking cigarettes. I don't know how you got into that, but I'm glad you stopped. Yeah, well let's see how I do. How are you? How was the pub last night? Yeah, tricky. I think going cold turkey might have been a bit of a mistake, I've been pretty aggy today. Not feeling myself, trying to focus, I just can't seem to get my brain in gear. I think I might need a little bit of help. I was just looking on the internet now, and there is a drop-in smoking cessation clinic pretty close by, so I think I'm going to try to get an appointment there. -So how was that? -Interesting. What did they have to say? Well, so they've given me... My God, they've given me so much literature, I've got basically a book here. So she's given me nicotine patches, and then she said I could use the vape thing. I had to blow into a thing that did my carbon monoxide reading, and it was high. It was, where was I on the thing? I was... an addicted smoker. And then I come back in two weeks time, they do another count, and then hopefully, she said: "Even after 24 hours, you drop right down into a much better place." So yeah, no, positive, but let's wait and see. I mean if anything is going to kill me, it's going to be cigarettes, right? And what a way to go. Luckily I didn't have to watch my grandfather die but I did watch my step-mother die from cancer, and it was not a pretty sight, and it's not something I'd want for myself, so if there's a chance to change it, it'd be really good to try and do that. So, next day I woke up feeling pretty positive, headed straight to the airport. The event's coming together but there's a few things that still need ironing out. Morocco, there were a couple of headaches on the way in, we're struggling to get broadcast permits. Lisbon, we've got one of our most trusted crew there, so that should be fairly safe. Tomorrow night is the biggest one, Barcelona. It's a new club, it's a new partner, we've got new team on site. Are you feeling good about it? I'm feeling good, but the thing is, you asking me what could go wrong is making me nervous, I mean, everything could go wrong. Outside I was looking at the smoking area, thinking about, oh my god, normally I'd be in there chuffing down four or five cigarettes. Good thing is, I definitely can't smoke for the next two or three hours, let's see what happens on the other side. -Alright mate. -How was that? Yeah. I'm really tempted to have a go on my vape, I got it here somewhere. I've got to jump on a bunch of calls, I've got to call New York. I've just had a bunch of texts from the office, everyone's on my case. OK, so I was literally in the air for a couple of hours, turned my phone on, whole bunch of new problems have popped up. Decided to keep myself out of temptation's way, so after a quick visit to the venue to meet the promoter, I decided to swerve the usual beers and get an early night. Going to the club, so going to Apolo, to spend an hour, hour and a half on site now. Check a few details, get our ducks in a row. I'll try and keep cool. Starting to feel it a little bit, but yeah. I'm feeling just a bit shaky, and a bit run down, and I'm trying to get my game face on for tonight, and I'm conscious of the fact that I'm probably going to be a little punchier than I would like. I just don't know how I'm going to react. Someone's been hitting me up from New York about unpaid invoices; production manager didn't turn up; just got a call from someone in Morocco to say that the guys there just haven't been playing ball; so yeah, just starting to feel it a bit mate... Maybe put the camera away, just give me a bit of space. What I feel is constantly I could lose my shit at any point. Certainly when I was independent, and these days, because now I work for a company, that's morphed into the pressure of the targets, and the objectives and the goals, the company sets for me. And because of the sort of personality I am, I take that on the chin, pony up, put the armour on, go out to war. Right now, I'm good for a cigarette. I mean, I've got to be honest, I'm not sure that's going to last the whole night. I'm also aware that it's barely gone midnight and we haven't gone live yet, so there's still a lot of play in this thing. Ben is doing my nut in, but business as usual. He seems pretty relaxed to us. Well I mean, he's a professional sweetheart to you guys, but he's very, very agitated. Spending my night walking back and forth between front of house, back of house, and every time I do that, I have to walk through the smoking area, and it's doing my head in. Turns out the one thing I didn't think of, was the internet. Internet just went down. We're supposed to be live streaming to the world, so it's OK, it's OK enough, but yeah, what can go wrong, will go wrong. OK, yeah, you saw me, I was smoking a fag, you got me. Would you have told us about that cigarette, had we not have caught you on camera? I mean, probably not, I didn't really care at that point. I mean, maybe I'd have told you eventually and obviously, you caught me, so I did tell you, but yeah, no, I don't think that was my plan at the time. Thought I'd get away with it. Not seeing you guys on the Sunday, not answering my phone, not coming and doing that interview, that little debrief on the Sunday; it wasn't so much about the embarrassment for having the cigarette, because I think we all accepted that it might happen at some point during the week. I had actually thought it was going to happen much earlier. It was more that I was just, I had enough, you know? I'd had enough of... Sorry, I'd had enough of you guys following me around, the pressure of it all. What made me crack, was I thought it'd make me feel better. I was under so much pressure, so I went and had that cigarette, and unfortunately it didn't work, it didn't make me any less stressed and it just f**ked me off because I'd basically smoked and kind of broken the promise to myself, and to you guys. I don't think this was a failure, like... Yeah I cracked, but I learnt a lot about myself, and actually, we went what? Seven days - one cigarette. I don't think that's bad. And actually, in the last 10 years, that's probably the best I've done, so I'm taking it positively. This has definitely changed the way I see myself. From now on, I suppose, that caricature of myself with a fag in my hand, has probably changed. I don't know where the cigarette is, but it's not in my hand anymore. Having got through this week having only smoked one cigarette, I suppose it's taught me something. If I can do it, other people can do it. It's not as hard as you think it would be. There is a lot of support out there, and if you really want to do it, you can stop smoking. And that is what I want, so I'm going to keep this going, keep trying to quit, I just don't want to be a smoker anymore. I feel like it's time. It has to be something you want to do for yourself. If you think about it in the right way, and if you give yourself the chance, then it's more than possible.


Old Habits Die Hard - Quitting Cigs on the Club Scene

This is a sample from our ‘Quit Cigarettes’ mission, which is currently live in the UK. Our goal is to increase the amount of people in the UK who quit cigarettes. Read more about our first mission here.

Ben is a top music promoter who’s been smoking longer than he’s been clubbing. He’s toured the world, worked hard, played hard, earned a lot of money – and lost it too. But all that fun is starting to take its toll. Now he’s decided it’s time to quit. Can he keep it up, on one of the most stressful weeks of his life?