Sandrokyptos wrote:I would like to try and find the path to a life of more happiness.
In that case, the noble eightfold path will lead you there.
As Kim mentioned, starting by observing the 5 precepts is a very good start.
Also, going for refuge to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is traditionally regarded as "becoming a buddhist".
Sandrokyptos wrote:I also have two questions, should I quit masturbating? Should I quit smoking? How strictly am I expected to follow the fifth precept?
Honestly, I think only you can answer those questions.
Just a bit of advice: keep your goal in mind. When doing those, be mindful of your goal: "does this make me happy?"
Generally speaking, start from the beginning and take the resolution to tread the path one step at a time. Trying to "over stretch" yourself will just make things very difficult for you. The most important is the will to progress.
As you walk along the path, sensual desires such as the ones you mentioned will become less appealing. It can take months or years.