Are cigarettes good for you?

Of course not. They’ll do less for your health, in fact, than most hideous car crashes.   But that’s not the point, is it?  We already know that they’re unhealthy.  This has been drilled into our minds for what may as well be eons and yet 19% of the US smokes.

But whatever.  These are boring statistics that really aren’t what you’d call “unpublished”.  What I’m more interested in are the aspects of the “tobacco entity” that allow this habit to continue.  Why?

Because I smoke.  It’s expensive, has turned what used to be swimmer’s lungs into the biological equivalent of a tired old leaf blower, and in my circles smoking is more deadly to your social status than it is to your mortality.  But I do it anyway, because (here’s the good part)…

Hot or not?

Hot or not?

I enjoy it.  Genuine enjoyment and pleasure happens when I spark one up.  Turkish Royals, pink BIC, hell yeah.  I love it while driving, while eating, after sex, while at work, while hiking, or after I leave the gym (yes, you read that right).  Pretty much any activity I do, besides sleeping, is made better with a cigarette.

I’m addicted, hopelessly.  I say this with a tiny dash of shame, or much less salt than Emeril uses.  I’ve been smoking my entire adult life, for 12 years.  I’m 24 (hello?!).  Before you count years on your fingers I’ll go ahead and tell you that I was 12 the first time I took a puff – a beautiful, blue, billowing…never mind.  Anyway, this despite being brought up in a good family, in an excellent school (where I did well), and in an affluent area of town.

My next point, and this is the big one, is that I don’t know what life is like without cigarettes.  I have never actually lived adult life without them and the thought of not having tobacco at arm’s reach is downright scary.  How could it not be?

I don’t do drugs, I exercise, and I’m very conscious of what I eat.  The juxtapose of cigarettes in my life is nearly laughable.  I know I can’t smoke forever, but for now I shall.  So if you’ll excuse me, I have something to take care of…outside.

On parting with a great love…

I recently made the decision to part ways with one of the greatest loves of my life:  Smoking.  I decided to stop “cold-turkey”.  Then I left Fantasy Land and caught a train back to Reality.

So I’m tapering back and today (it’s 3pm) I’ve not had a single drag.  This may not be a big deal for some, but for me it’s an epic achievement worthy of a giant bronze monument downtown.

I will admit it’s had some affect on my mood.  I’m a bit…testy.  To help ease this I’ve had my iPod set on Adele and AFI for most of the day.

To adapt a statement of the great philosopher Adelus, 21st century AD, I could gaze at water and set it aflame.

Everyone wish me luck!  Lord, I’ll need it.

…SMOKING! Arghh! There, I said it.

It happened to me again today.  I was in the checkout at Kroger, and among my various groceries was – brace yourselves – a box of  Camel cigarettes.  Normally this is not an issue, especially in Kentucky.  So I was only half-expecting it when the cashier said, “You know these are bad for you, right?”

I’m shaking my head just recalling the experience. “Yes, dear, it’s written on the box.” was my reply.

I would like to comment on this issue.  I was wondering how to approach the subject, and I knew I had to do it delicately.  Then I realized that I didn’t care so, as usual, I’m going to call it like I see it.

Let me start by saying something – I know that smoking is bad for me.  I know that it’s full of very bad things that, should I do it long enough, will probably cause me to meet my untimely demise.  I could go over the reasons why I smoke, but needless to say it would be a futile exercise and that’s not really what I want to talk about anyway.  So here goes….

Part. 1 – Things NOT to say to a smoker:

“That’s bad for you!”

I’m just not sure how people utter this phrase and expect anything but a snide remark in reply.  Normally I am nice about it, but at some point I am going to be inclined to point out things about other people’s health.  For example, I will not hesitate to ask, “…and your Big Mac is increasing your life span, is it?”  Smoking is bad for you, but so is being fat (among many other things).

I dare you to tell the Commander-in-chief that his cigarette is bad for him.

“Smoking is so unattractive.”

Several times I have had people say this to me, without knowing that I smoke, and then pretend that they never said anything when they saw me fire one up.  I do not believe that smoking is unattractive.  Some people may find it a bit of a turn off, but that doesn’t mean everyone does.  What I find unattractive about smoking is when unattractive people smoke.

If you don't find that hot, you're lying to yourself.

Now that your malevolence towards me is likely melting your screen, I would like to explore the other side of the coin.

Pt. 2 – Smokers, it’s NOT okay to do the following:

It’s not okay to smoke in inappropriate locations or situations.  I don’t care how desperately you think you need a cigarette.  You may think you are going to die without one, but trust me, you won’t.  For example, if you are in the car with a toddler in the back seat and a pre-teen in the front, it’s not okay to have a fag, people.  “What if I am not sure whether a situation is okay for smoking?”  I hear some of you asking.  If you are wondering whether it is…it’s probably not.

It’s also not okay to use a lack of nicotine as an excuse to be an asshole.  It may have been a while and you may be a little irritated, but trust me, it could get a whole lot worse.  So at the end of the day, you’re not really nicotine starved, you’re just an asshole.

Lastly – and this is a big one – it is not okay, while in situations where it is impossible to smoke (read: at work or on a plane), to constantly talk about how you “need” a cigarette.  You don’t need it, you want it, and I believe that part of being a decent human being is knowing the difference between the two.

Well… now that I’ve got that out, I feel much better.  I’ll be outside if you need me.