Monday, June 11, 2007


OK, seriously, smokers, what's up with that habit?

I understand addiction, God knows. I've been addicted to food for almost my entire life. Every day, every moment requires that I make good decisions because the I have an addiction that I can't leave behind.

Smokers, ultimately, don't need to smoke. Alcoholics, ultimately, don't need to drink. Heroin addicts, ultimately, don't need to shoot up. But food addicts, ultimately, have to eat. Every. Single. Day. It's not an all-or nothing proposition for us. We need to call upon our willpower every day in a world full of temptation.

But smoking. We all know how horribly, horribly bad it is, not just for the smokers but for everyone breathing the same smoke-filled air.

Tonight I met up with work pals and while Chicago is banning smoking in bars and restaurants, the ban is being phased in while cigarettes and cigars are being phased out, so every so often, I would get, literally, a face full of smoke coming from the guy at the next table. Ugh.

"Can you handle it?" Kelley asked. I'd previously told her that I can't abide smoky places.

"Sure," I said. "I'll probably die of lung cancer tomorrow, but I'll get through tonight."

Now, home, my hair reeks, my clothes reek, my eyes still burn.

So tell me: What's the appeal of sucking hot smoke into your lungs, of methodically upping your odds, with every drag, that you're going to die from lung cancer?

I tried smoking when I was younger. I could never get the hang of it. I'd try to inhale and start coughing and gagging. I thought people who smoked looked cool. Now, I think they look ridiculous.

I have friends who smoke, friends who smoke who read this blog. And now they know how I feel. Yes, it's hard to kick an addiction, but it's not just you you're killing, it's all of us.

When I hear smokers whine about no-smoking restrictions, I scoff. Yep, you have a right to engage in self-destructive behavior, but you don't have a right to contaminate the air the rest of us breathe. You want to smoke? Fine. Smoke in your homes. Smoke in your cars. Leave me out of it.


Blogger Dave said...

Smoking is such a vile habit, and so avoidable. But once you start and really get into it, the companies have you by the balls. Nicotine is supposed to be harder to kick than cocaine or heroin. Why hasn't someone come up with the idea to make millions through a bunch of smokers' rehab centers?

So I agree with you. Blech.

Verification word - hzyehbqw: The sound a longtime smoker makes while coughing up a diseased chunk of lung.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Smoke in your homes; smoke in your cars" -- but let's hope there are no children in your homes or cars who will be forced to be exposed to your second-hand smoke.

A woman I once knew abruptly quit smoking when her 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with asthma. Less than two weeks later, though, she was at it again -- couldn't even quit for her daughter's health.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Good point, Anon. When I wrote that line, I was presuming there weren't kids at risk.

I know someone who smokes like a chimney and his daughter suffers from asthma. I want to take her out of that home. It really is a form of child abuse.

2:48 PM  
Blogger thethinker said...

I feel the same way about smoking. It's a pet peeve of mine when employees on break stand outside of the store smoking. It means that I have to walk THROUGH their cloud of smoke to enter the store. I don't care what they choose to do to their bodies, but I'd like to keep my own healthy.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I absolutely deplore smoking. I also don't think that people's freedoms should be compromised. The problem with smoking is that when someone expresses their freedom to smoke, so very often it conflicts with my freedom to breathe clean air. A real dilemma.

Besides innocent children exposed to second-hand smoke, what about pets? I know there are many many animals that are suffering from the cigarette smoke of their owners.

That being said I do feel for smokers- most of them would rather not smoke, but the addiction holds on to them. I know that it is certainly a very difficult thing to break and may be exceedingly more difficult for some than others, so I do not condemn them for it, but I still hate smoking.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I don't doubt that it's a really difficult habit to break, but having seen friends and family kick cigarettes, I know it can be done. And those people were hard-core smokers, so if they can do it, it can be done.

8:43 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

It's been wonderful since we got a smoking ban here in Washington state. There was so much caterwauling by the restaurant and bar owners who opposed it but I've yet to hear of one place that ended up closing.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

As a smoker, I find it hard to understand other smokers who insist on lighting up in public places or around children. I think most of us realise (or should realise) that it our addiction can be deadly and that it is not a good idea to expose others to it. I have a hardcore policy of not lighting up around children.

As to quitting, I think part of the problem is that our society doesn't lend a lot of support to quitting. Stop smoking aids are often expensive and hence out of reach for many in the working poor. And many areas do not have anything in the way of smoking cessation programmes. The support simply isn't there as it is for alcoholics or even drug addicts. I do plan to quit at some point, but I know it is going to be difficult. It would be a lot easier if done in some sort of programme.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

j. - Yup, I've heard similar stories from other cities that have instituted bans: Everyone is pissy at first, but everyone adapts.

mercurie - Interesting point about stop-smoking aids being expensive, but I wonder: If someone can afford cigarettes, can't they afford the patch or gum? Or is it that you can buy a pack of cigs at a time for 4 or 5 bucks (does anybody buy cartons anymore?), but the patch/gum is a bigger outlay of cash at once?

11:18 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

The patches and gum cost much more than even a carton of cigarettes. It's always seemed to me that is a big problem. I can only guess that the pharmaceutical companies mark up the prices the way they do any other drug, and that is really unfortunate. If they dropped the prices, I suspect that many more people would try to quit.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Interesting. Maybe Big Pharma is in cahoots with Big Tobacco ...

10:29 AM  

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