I had just left home and started my first job in a call centre.
I went out with my colleagues almost every weekend, either to the local pub or painting the town red.
I shared everything with this group of friends, and it wasn't long before I started sharing their smoking habits.
There was no smoking ban back then, so I had people smoking around me all the time.
At first I would only smoke when I went out, but soon I started buying packets to smoke at home.
I've made attempts to give up in the past, but cigarettes become your best friends when you are enjoying yourself and equally when you are having a hard time.
But I don't want to end up with a smoking-related disease, so this time I'm making a serious effort to keep the habit stubbed out.
I thought I would try out a method many friends have told me worked wonders for them. So I headed for the West End to meet hypnotherapist Ronald Harris.
Ronald, 71, has had his practice on Highburgh Road for 45 years and has helped 20,000 people with problems such as phobias, addictions, weight loss and smoking.
He said: "I've got drawers full of 'thank you' cards from people I've helped give up smoking. One man smoked 100 cigarettes every day but stopped right after his first session."
Ronald became interested in hypnotherapy at an early age and during the 1960s travelled to Los Angeles to learn more.
He said: "America was a bit more advanced with hypnotherapy back then. I went out there to do a course for six weeks, then completed the rest of it long distance.
"I was taught how to hypnotise people and recognise different conditions that hypnotherapy could help. After that I set up my practice and have since done other courses in this country. I've improved with experience and dealing with lots of people."
Ronald has since developed his own form of hypnotherapy, the Harris Method, which involves an initial session and then a personal CD session, recorded and tailored to the individual.
He said: "Everybody is different. Some people benefit straight away from the initial session, while some find they have to use their CDs at home to build it up.
"Using the CD is usually when most people start to make their very best progress."
Before he starts, Ronald asks me a few questions about my smoking habits. I tell him that most of the cigarettes I smoke are purely out of habit, when I've had a drink and join friends for one outside the pub.
He tells me to sit back comfortably in my chair and close my eyes.
There is no magic, swinging pendulums or swaying watches and I don't slump into unconsciousness. I am completely aware of everything going on.
Ronald simply talked to me about the benefits of not smoking and told me how to respond to my friends when lighting-up time arrived outside the pub.
Hypnotherapy has been described by some as a trance-like, relaxed state of consciousness, just like reading a good book.
I feel I've merely got my eyes shut. I am awake and conscious throughout the whole experience. I even wonder if I have been hypnotised at all.
Afterwards, I leave and head for Hillhead subway –and the strangest thing happens. Normally I would have a cigarette before I get on public transport but I couldn't even be bothered.
For the rest of the day, part of me felt I should have my usual cigarette break but indifference would take over.
I went out that evening and did light up once, but to my surprise only smoked half the cigarette before I threw it away.
Since then, with the help of the CD and NHS support in the form of a smoking cessation group, I haven't smoked for almost a month.
I'm taking it a step at a time but feel that eventually I will finally kick the habit.
l For more information on the Harris Method, visit www.ronaldbharris.co.uk or call 0141 339 9898
AS PART of the Evening Times Clear the Air Campaign, trainee reporter
Lalita Augustine, decided to stop smoking, and tried out hypnotism, with the help of one of
Glasgow's most experienced hypno-therapists,