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In the first part of this series we discussed how after 18 years of living nicotine free, a drunken encounter with the cancer stick led me down the desolate path of addiction to cigarettes. I say addiction to cigarettes because the addiction goes behind being hooked on a drug, it’s also a lifestyle, a social enhancer (and destroyer), and it’s something to do. It’s the last one that really gets you too. While waiting for a bus, walking down the street, taking a break from the cubicle, listening to someone talk, reading a book, and so on and on goes the list of activities made more bearable with a smoke in hand.
To those who’ve never smoked, it’s tough to explain why it’s so difficult (yet, easy) to stop. Before I started smoking I always thought that if I ever did smoke I could easily just quit whenever and be done with it. Once I started smoking I realized my previous thoughts weren’t quite 100% valid. There was some truth to the idea of just quitting, but when social factors such as friends, advertisements (the stop smoking ads would just remind me I hadn’t had a smoke lately), and other social situations are added into the mix it becomes tough to separate smoking from your daily, weekly and monthly activities.
The post-dinner smoke becomes a habit and eventually all activities are associated with how they relate to you having a smoke. Getting up in the morning means your first smoke of the day, showering means you can have a smoke while you wait to dry off, finishing your homework is a cause for a cancerous celebration, and look at that, the end of your cigarette is just a reason to light another one with its butt so you don’t waste lighter fluid. It’s not so much that quitting is difficult, it’s that returning to your regular life without a cig in your hand is awkward, foreign and overwhelming.
With that, as promised let’s get to the pros of smoking:
- It’s a social enhancer.
- It’s legal.
- Help Southern farmers.
- It’s a relatively cheap drug.
- Get a nicotine high every now and then.
- Save medical costs by dying early.
- Or smoke so much your lungs are encased in a protective layer of tar.
At a party or other social event, smokers automatically have something to discuss or use as an introduction.
I’m sure a lot of smokers would prefer a nice, fresh Cuban cigar to their cancer sticks, but alas the non-free market doesn’t work.
Though many people in the Southern states have expanded to other crops, there still exist a lot of people who rely on tobacco for their livelihood. You might be killing yourself slowly, but at least you’re putting food on someone’s table!
Compare to alcohol or coffee or any of the other legal drugs and the per smoke cost of cigarettes seems cheap.
Most smokers stop getting a high from their cigarettes a few packs into the habit and pack a day smokers are lucky to get any kind of feeling off the first puff of the day, yet alone the countless other butts they consume.
Grim but true.
Unrealistic but very rare cases do exist where people live into their 100’s and smoke a pack a day. I don’t recommend this strategy.
Now, for the cons of smoking:
- It’s a social crutch.
- Increase pollution locally and globally.
- Smelly clothes.
- Less disposable income.
- Being reliant on a foreign substance.
Opposite to what I said above, cigarettes can become a social crutch for some, where they run to the smoking area at parties and stay there for the night’s duration.
Butts everywhere, mass-production emits tons of carbon and other chemicals, transport spews more pollution and even consuming the cigs puts smoke into the air.
You might not notice it but non-smokers will be repulsed by your stinky aroma.
Here in Massachussets cigarettes costs about $6 per pack. If you smoke a pack a day, that’s $42 a week, $168 a month and a whopping
$8,736 $2,016 a year! That’s insane!
One of the big reasons I quit smoking was my desire for independence and freedom (this desire also led me to ditch the car and buy a bike). While a conscious smoker your happiness will be tied to whether you’ve gotten your nicotine fix recently or not. Not only that but it determines your daily schedule and what you can and can’t do.
Now there’s of course plenty of other negative aspects of smoking but I’m quite sure the vast majority of visitors here will be aware of the dangerous and unhealthy aspects of cigarettes so I’ll spare everyone from reciting the evils of smoking.
In the next (and possibly final) post in this series, we’ll tackle what I did to quit smoking, how you can use my strategy and we’ll open up the discussion for any other strategies or ideas you have. My strategy really did work and it’s simple enough that anyone can use it and logical enough that I feel it could work for a significant amount of you.